Where Are They Now?...with Hannah Kemp-Welch

Hannah works for the Learning department at Tate Britain. She's also been an artist-in-residence and led, collaborated on, and taken part in a number of arts projects since doing her Gold.

Where Are They Now?...with Hannah Kemp-Welch

What are you up to in your creative work at the moment?

Since completing my Gold Arts Award, I've worked on a number of solo and group projects – taking advantage of networks constructed online and through meeting professionals at arts events. I've performed as an amateur dancer at Tate Modern, re-enacted works by 1960s artists at White Cube and spent a week as artist in residency at Middlesborough Institute of Contemporary Art. I've also presented at several arts conferences, and was featured as a guest artist on NTS Radio's sound art show. Currently, I'm collaborating on a sound work exploring movement and flux – the space in between two states. We hope to tour the performance around several galleries, and then evaluate the project as a 'performance paper' at a conference.

What are the highlights of your arts career to date?

Last year I had the opportunity to perform a series of scores by an artist who has been hugely influential to my practice – George Maciunas. I was invited to interpret the art-instructions he created at White Cube, as part of the Christian Marclay show. The irony of this was that Maciunas' work was anti-institution, anti-hierarchy, anti-commercialisation of art, and I was performing it in a space which in many ways embodied all these things. So I was a little cheeky with it - I chose a score which instructed the performer to spit and break glass. So my homage to Maciunas was spitting on the gallery floor and shattering glass bottles across the shiny white gallery. And I got a positive review in Artlyst magazine as a result!

What do you hope to be doing in five years time?

In five years' time, I hope to be working for an art gallery in a role focusing on live art or time based media. I currently work in the education department of Tate, working with young people and digital art. Through this I'm developing skills and experience, and I hope this will lead me to one day be able to make a career out of my specialism – sound art.

How did you use your level of Arts Award to develop your creativity or skills?

I used my Arts Award Gold to investigate a practice I hadn't tried out before – artists' books. Though fascinated with design and language, I hadn't seen many books made by artists before, or taken the time to investigate the methods, meanings and possibilities within this art form. As I take an active role in activism and have a keen interest in politics, I was able to use this to question how a book conveys knowledge, holds power and shares histories. This formed the basis of my research project, resulting in my first work in this medium – a compilation of texts by local artists responding to the question 'does the artist have a responsibility when representing conflict?' designed as a digital artists' book.

What advice would you give to young people doing Arts Award who want to follow in your footsteps?

I was in a very privileged position during my Arts Award, to have support from Young People's Programmes at Tate. They supported me through mentoring, a budget and a venue for my event – which made the process so exciting. My advice is contact education departments at local arts venues, contact artists and people you look up to, apply for a small grant for your project. My experience has been that people have been extremely friendly and willing to help. It's a great opportunity, so try and get the support you need to make the most of it.

015b56a98b3e8ecec9a5dcc018d62978374ff422.pngIn what ways, if any, would you say doing your Gold Arts Award helped your creative development?

In many ways, it gave me the space and time both to branch out and reflect. Usually, projects have all kinds of pressures attached – deadlines, finances, space, commitments. During Arts Award I could take a step back and enjoy the arts – consider my place in it, examine my values and goals.

Can you show us/take us through what you did for your Gold portfolio?

My Arts Award portfolio is an online blog. It records every stage of the process I underwent in developing both Units. It contains my research, draft versions of works, briefs and finance documents – the whole package.


Could you share with us any highlights you can remember from doing your Gold?

My Unit 2 Gold Arts Award event was a real highlight of the process. I developed and delivered an event at Tate Modern, commissioning two performance artists to debate an issue of ethics within an exhibition. It was amazing to see my ideas come to life, to work with artists and see the audience engaging with the concept. It was my first experience in the role of curator, and the process of research, planning and enacting the idea was a real eye opener. Opportunities such as this are hard to come by, and yet vital for the CV when striving for a career in this competitive field.

What advice would you give young people doing their Golds now to help them get through it?

My advice to anyone doing Gold at the moment is give yourself time to do it. I had to fit mine around a full time job and a host of other commitments. If you can avoid that, do! It's a unique opportunity to find yourself in the arts, learn without pressure, and grow in the way you choose. Enjoy it.

Hannah's is just one of the portfolios created entirely online which are featured on our Gold Hub - have a look at them all!

This article was amended on 18 April 2016 to state that Hannah works for the Tate Britain, not the Tate Modern.


Bhavesh Jadva

Bhavesh Jadva Voice Team

Former Media Editor on Voice and former Arts Award Editor on AAoV covering film, TV, music and comedy.

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