As my time as the Associate Artist in the Theatre and Performance department draws to an end, I reflect on the position with great fondness and gratitude. As the Associate Artist, I have not only had the privilege of having my performance work supported, but I have developed invaluable experience as a facilitator and practitioner through assisting students with their practical and academic projects.
The greatest personal journey I have experienced in this position is a lesson in patience and unpredictability. Of course, 2020 has brought along personal and professional hardships for almost everyone. These unprecedented times have provoked feelings of loss and uncertainty as we navigate the loss of work, opportunities and human connection.
Like many artists, I have had work cancelled or postponed this year. My solo show SWARM was meant to be performed at The Brighton Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe, but fortunately, both events will be taking place next year instead. The absence of live performance from my work has indeed made me reconfigure my ‘professional game plan’. Before lockdown, I had the privilege of taking part in WoLab’s Actor-Writer development programme, as well as performing SWARM at Camden People’s Theatre, and also performing with OPIA Collective in This Queer House at VAULT festival. As an emerging artist, the absence of creative spaces means missed connections and opportunities that are integral at this stage in my career. As the future of live performance continues to be uncertain, I am reminded that the artistic industries have always been precarious pathways that require much determination and dedication. I am grateful that my position at Goldsmiths has provided me with stability to negotiate new realms of creativity, whilst allowing me to be a figure of support to students as they also venture into unsettled new worlds.
For many creatives like myself, ‘work’ is not just for monetary gain, but rather an outlet for expression; and the closure of performance spaces, as well as the overall treatment of the arts during the pandemic, has not only been detrimental to livelihoods, but also to the voices of resistance and innovation in our society. It is almost as if the maltreatment of the arts by the government is an intentional tactic to disempower radical voices of dissent… but ANYWAY, I digress…
By definition, we cannot prepare for the unpredictable, but rather stay present and adapt. We must embrace change as a means of dismantling our own complacency and developing our capacity for openness. When we allow ourselves to move away from the rigidity of structure and expectation, we facilitate a space for versatility and compassion.
Whilst we may not be able to plan out our immediate futures in the same way as before, we can now focus on the changes we can make as individuals and as a collective in this given circumstance. As a result, I highly regard Goldsmiths’ approach to the adaption and diversifying of their teaching methods during this time, as well as the crucial introduction of the Black Associate Artist & Researcher Awards. Goldsmiths, along with all other educational institutions, must continue to listen to the needs of their students to continue being exceptional places to learn, create, grow and inspire. I feel very fortunate to have been nurtured by an establishment that champions the new, the bold and the radical, and I have Goldsmiths to thank for shaping the artist I am today.
I would like to thank the Theatre and Performance department for this incredible opportunity, with particular thanks to Katja Hilevaara, Ben Levitas and Philippa Burt for their continued support. I would also like to thank Rosie Scanlan-Leroux and Jacqueline Ahwieh for all their assistance over my time as the Associate Artist. Although I am sad to be leaving this position, I look forward to experiencing new opportunities, as well as continuing my work in the department as an associate lecturer. As I pass the imaginary baton to the new 2020/2021 Associate Artists, I can’t wait to see what opportunities lay ahead for these artists, the current students, and indeed the department itself. I would also like to take this moment to once again congratulate the graduating classes of 2020 for all their fantastic work and embracing unpredictability to their advantage.
Thanks to everyone who has continued to support my work over this past year. It means so much more than I can put down in words. I hope you will all join me on this next part of my journey.
Not a goodbye – but cheerio!