Artists: How To Stop Worrying and Instead Learn To Write

The tail-end of the year always seems to be a time when some of the best little events manifest, and 2011 is no different. On Monday evening I was invited to speak at a workshop session – ‘Writing About Art For Artists’, an event pulled together by local artists Jacqueline Bradley and Bettina Hill. The two had recently been the deserving recipients of Art Start grants from the Australia Council, and in their applications nominated writing workshops as being an important way in which they could further their practices. Trouble was, after extensive research, they couldn’t find any workshops that fit the bill, and decided to take matters into their own hands (nice one ladies). The workshop was completely free, and the program of speakers was as follows:

“Artists statements and exhibition proposals”

HELEN ENNIS – Associate Professsor, ANU School of Art 
“Addressing criteria”

YOLANDE NORRIS – Festival Producer, Freelance writer and Curator
“Writing for the web”

KIKI SKOUNSOS – Arts Development Officer, artsACT 
“Preparing budgets”

KATE MURPHY – Lecturer, ANU School of Art
“Writing about your practice”

It was a cracking lineup packed with sound advice. While I felt largely (hugely) ill-equipped to speak about writing for the web I do hope I motivated some artists in attendance to take control of their web presence and create free blogs or studio logs, while they wait for enough funds to one day create a ‘proper’ site.

I particularly enjoyed Kate Murphy’s (aka: artist Ellis Hutch) presentation. While it was titled ‘Writing about your practice’ she opened this even further to consider ways in which writing may inform artistic practice, help distil ideas and be considered a practice unto itself. I highly recommend taking a look at Ellis Hutch’s blog, where you can read her full talk – it may influence your own practice in ways you didn’t know you needed.

Much of the material covered in the presentations reminded me of posts I’ve made here at Useless Lines over time. If you went along to the workshop, or you wished you had but couldn’t be there, these might be of interest to you:



Leave a Reply

  1. Glad I stumbled upon your blog. I just started blogging to try and get my writing out there, and I’m no good at self promotion, so I think I could learn a thing or two here. Thanks!


    PS — Is the post’s title a play on the film Dr Strangelove (“Or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb”)?


    • Yup – you guessed it! Even though I must confess to never having seen the film in its entirety. Heh. Hope you find those posts of some use!


  2. Hi Yolande- bad time of the year so i didn’t get along to the session but it looked great. I hope you repeat it next year… maybe the timing could be different. thanks for the blog report too- I will be directing people to it next year.
    xx raquel


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