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Advancing Artists

The sharing of the arts is an integral way of helping individuals in communities find the means to express themselves and create change in their society. To enable this often small but powerful change, artists need confidence, know-how and resources. The aim of Advancing Artists is to equip ambitious artists with the inspiration, knowledge and confidence to begin to develop their work within communities.

In 2017, in conjunction with Farnham Maltings, we invited Surrey-based artists of all disciplines to take part in a free, three-day professional development course exploring what is required to be an artist working with community groups in Surrey. All artists, from photographers to actors, ceramicists to musicians, are welcome to take up this opportunity that could add a new branch to a creative career.

Advancing Artists will continue to grow as a CPD development programme for professional artists based in Surrey.

Meet the 2019 cohort:

(Click for profiles)

      

      

 

Joanna Barnard

Joanna is an award winning, published writer and facilitator. Joanna won the inaugural Bath Novel Award in 2014 and her two novels Precocious and Hush Little Baby are published by Ebury. Since 2017 she has been lead facilitator of So:Write Women an Arts Council funded initiative in Southampton. 

Joanna is Farnham based and is keen to develop her networks in Surrey with both artists and potential partners. She is particularly interested in working with women and older people. She is passionate about supporting and improving mental health and well-being initiatives. 

 

Tell us Joanna… 

What excites you most about being part of the Advancing Artist programme? The opportunity to work with and learn from artists across a range of media, and hopefully be able to reach parts of the community who haven't previously accessed arts-based events or activities 

What is your main ambition for 2019? To develop my practice in teaching creative writing as a tool for enhancing wellbeing and also an opportunity to build social groups and alleviate loneliness and isolation within more vulnerable sections of the community. 

Which artist or art work has inspired you the most and why? SO many writers have inspired me that it feels impossible to pick, so I'm going to answer a little differently and choose an artwork I first saw in person a couple of years ago: Michelangelo's David, in Florence. It's awe-inspiring to the extent that I stood in front of it and cried. I have no explanation really for why it moved me so deeply, but the fact that art has the power to do this inspires me every day. 

What does ‘community’ mean to you? As a writer, I'm obviously interested in words, and the meaning for me is right there in the word: it's having things in common, whether that's as simple as a common geography or shared background, or something deeper, and it's creating unity where those commonalities exist and also where they don't. Community is, for me, about coming together and bringing all of our unique talents and traits to a common table to share with others. 

Where is your favourite place in Surrey and why? It's such a big county with an array of interesting places. If pushed I have to say I love Box Hill, for the walks and the views and a little hint of Jane Austen! I'm pretty fond of Farnham Library, too

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Beth Hopkins

Beth is a visual artist from Surrey. She works in a variety of media, including textiles, sculpture and collage. Her work explores mental health, recovery and creativity. Beth’s past work includes two research projects with Welcome Collection and a residency at Bethlem Gallery which culminated in a solo show ‘Traces’. She has recently had two pieces acquired by the Wellcome Collection. Beth runs art workshops in a variety of settings, including the Bethlem Gallery and Art Matters in Redhill. Beth is keen to develop her connections in Surrey and is looking forward to meeting a great mentor and shadowing local projects in which she can get more hands on experience. Beth has a strong desire to develop her specialism for working in mental health settings and is excited to introduce her work and approach to communities in Surrey. 

 

Tell us Beth… 

What excites you most about being part of the Advancing Artist programme? I am looking forward to working with my fellow cohorts. It will be great to work with a mentor on a one to one basis to develop my artistic practice. I'm excited about building relationships with artists and art organisations in Surrey. 

What is your main ambition for 2019? My ambition for 2019 is to continue to develop my practice and the work I make. I have a commission from Bethlem Gallery to create new work for a exhibition in June, so seeing that develop will be exciting. I am also part of a training programme at the charity Create to learn how to deliver arts projects in the community. 

What is your main ambition for 2019? My ambition for 2019 is to continue to develop my practice and the work I make. I have a commission from Bethlem Gallery to create new work for a exhibition in June, so seeing that develop will be exciting. I am also part of a training programme at the charity Create to learn how to deliver arts projects in the community. 

Which artist or art work has inspired you the most and why? I have been most inspired by the Dream House, owned by artist Stephen Wright. As you walk in you are completely absorbed in his world. The walls and ceilings are encrusted with mosaic and found objects. Stephen makes life sized human figures out of textiles. The house keeps growing and changing and is a work in progress. I find the it inspiring because it shows Stephen's absolute dedication to his work, making art part of his home and part of his life. 

What does ‘community’ mean to you? For me, community means support, shared experiences, and sharing skills. Community is about embracing different perspectives and welcoming everyone. You can create a sense of community on a small scale very quickly in art workshops, as making together can be a very bonding experience. 

Where is your favourite place in Surrey and why? My favourite place in Surrey is Art Matters, a mental health recovery studio in Redhill. It is always an inspiration and is packed with artists and artwork which changes and evolves all the time. It means a lot to me as it has shown me how to manage my mental health using art and creativity. This is something I would like to share in my future collaborations with the public.

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Hollie Miller

Hollie Miller has exhibited, performed and screened her work nationally and internationally in museums, galleries ans festivals in fine art, performance art and land art. She has created site-specific performances in Ireland, Switzerland, Italy and UK. She is a recipient of A-N Mentoring Bursary and is currently working on The New Bridge Project Newcastle. She also has had residencies at La Ira de Dios (Argentina),; Serlachius Museum (Finland); NAIRS Contemporary Art Centre (Switzerland); Hogchester Arts (UK). 

Hollie is excited to develop her work within a social context in Surrey. She is keen to use her artistic approaches to empower and inspire communities. She hopes to encourage change through research –led community projects and performance. Hollie has a particualar interests in working with young people outside of intuitional contexts and exploring the connection between community and the landscape. 

 

Tell us Hollie… 

What excites you most about being part of the Advancing Artist programme? I am keen to develop the socially engaged aspect of my practice by sharing my research questions with a community group to help open new ways of thinking and feeling with their bodies in relation to nature. 

What is your main ambition for 2019? I am keen to help young people find ways to express themselves so they feel empowered to create change and shape their future with the support of their community. 

Which artist or art work has inspired you most and why? I am inspired by works carried out in the natural landscape by women artists such as: Teresa Murak, Ingeborg Luscher and Lita Albuquerque. 

What does 'community' mean to you? The word 'community' resonates to me as a 'collective body'. 

Where is your favourite place in Surrey and why? I enjoy going on long solitary walks in the Surrey Hills.

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Sarita Piotrowski

Sarita is a Choreographer and Movement Director specialising in movement for screen and productions fusing media and technology. Her main ambition is to create work that raises awareness of humanitarian subjects, social and community issues. 

Sarita has had a highly successful career as a dance artist with internationally renowned companies and on a freelance basis. Sarita is keen to develop her network and portfolio in Surrey and is excited to form new collaborations and partnerships.  

 

Tell us Sarita… 

What excites you most about being part of the Advancing Artist programme? Having some support as a freelance artist to approach some of the daunting yet necessary tasks required advancing in the direction I am focused on. To learn of the other AA selected and network with new artists/organisations/bodies through the programme, in hope that new and exciting working relationships might be discovered. 

What is your main ambition for 2019? To make big advances by creating more opportunities to strengthening my all round necessary practices and to access the means to create or start to create a strong piece of work that represents my voice as a choreographer / movement director in contributing to society and the world in some valid way. 

Which artist or art work has inspired you the most and why? There isn't one artist or piece of work that I could select; I draw from so many sources... people, places, music, vision, feelings, memories, experiences.... When dancing was my only ambition I would say contemporary dance inspired me the most although I enjoyed experiencing many forms. What does ‘community’ mean to you? Community is a regular connection of people having something in common (supporting, sharing and/or contributing to). Personally, I feel community is something that I had a stronger sense for when growing up in my home town area, within my living environment. Other than this, the only community I have felt hugely connected to is that of which is connected to my work in the dance world and when travelling to other countries with time to observe or integrate. 

Where is your favourite place in Surrey and why? The landscapes of Surrey Hills; a place to draw inspiration, to collect my thoughts, to connect with nature and with silence

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Raghad Haddad

Raghad is a pianist and viola player from Yabroud, Syria. After graduating from the conservatoire in Damascus, she began teaching, performing with the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra for Arabic Music. Since being granted asylum in the UK in 2017, Raghad has performed at numerous charity events in London and Brighton and recently performed with Damon Albarn, The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians. Raghad also joined a group of Syrian professional musicians called The London Syrian Ensemble, who perform traditional and classical oriental music around the UK and Europe.Raghad was recently commissioned to be the creative director for the highly successful I Speak Music Community Orchestra. 

Tell us Raghad… 

What excites you most about being part of the Advancing Artist programme? I am excited to meet other artists with different experiences and to extend my networks and be open to opportunities that come along. But most of all I am excited by the support that the programme offers me which will help me to stand on my own feet again. I have a lot of experience from my own country but not in the UK. Here I started feeling lost then I started to get involved but I still need guidance to help me find my way in this new country. 

What is your main ambition for 2019? I hope to start making a reliable living from my art. I want to get regular work that matches my experience and skills. I want to find these opportunities and join projects where I can show what I can do. 

Which artist or art work has inspired you the most and why? It is my brother Bassel. He used to play piano and Oud and Buzuk. He has a rare genetic illness in his eyes which make the vision cells die over time. And now he can hardly see; just only shadows. But he didn't stop doing what he likes. He was able to finish his master’s degree in English literature beside music and he teaches music to more than 30 students of different instruments. He is leading and training children’s and an adult choir in my home town and they make great concerts. Also, he created a special choir for children who lost their parents and homes in the war. He goes there and teaches them music. For me, Bassel is a great artist and has a great message to pass to communities. 

What does ‘community’ mean to you? It means a group of people who have different backgrounds or experiences or abilities but where everybody has a responsibility to use their skills to improve the group. They may have the same or different circumstances but they are working for the same aim. 

Where is your favourite place in Surrey and why? I don’t know Surrey very well. I have been to several places like Guildford, Woking, Farnham, Weybridge and Leatherhead but always to do some project. This project is an opportunity for me to visit more.

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Farhang Nekoi-Rizi

Farhang is a musician specialising in the Tombak, a traditional Persian percussion instrument. Before moving to the UK, Farhang played and performed in various concerts in Iran; with musical ensembles ‘Sarvan’, and ‘Navahange Zarb’ and also taught at the Musical Institute in Esfehan “Sorayesh & Farabi” Farhnag is an active member of the I Speak Music and UP Orchestras. Creatively, Farhang is interested in exploring cultural tolerance and understanding through fusing musical genres. He is keen to develop stronger links within his community and within study and is interested in sharing his experiences knowledge and skills for the greater good. He is particularly interested in developing his teaching outreach in Surrey, with a focus on reaching vulnerable, isolated young people and creating a sense of connection through his music. 

 

Tell us Farhang… 

What excites you most about being part of the Advancing Artist programme? I have been able to re-connect with my past path and to continue to grow in that way. 

What is your main ambition for 2019? To join and become a part of many different musical organisations, so that I may be able to advance in my ventures. 

Which artist or art work has inspired you the most and why? An Iranian musician called Arjang kamkar, because music is my passion and I can see this same passion in him. 

What does ‘community’ mean to you? A space where I am taken away from my loneliness and anxieties. Somewhere I can both share my abilities with others, and learn from others as well. 

Where is your favourite place in Surrey and why? I like everywhere, particularly going to UP! Orchestra in Surrey because I can join in and share in the happiness those others are experiencing, and experiment altogether also.

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