Notes from Wales Issue 1: Autumn 2014 - Page 16

From our correspondent in... West Wales Alicia Miller, our west Wales correspondent, introduces the people and places you can find way out west One of the Pecha Kucha sessions at ‘Let your Hair Down!’ artist networking event at Narberth Museum, June 2014 West Wales, like so much of Wales, is largely rural. You spend a lot of time driving between places and put much effort into building a network of connections with other artists and art professionals. The world definitely doesn’t turn up on your doorstep – you have be active and out there, as a willing participant making things happen. But the fact that many people are busy doing just this makes west Wales a great place to be and make work. Turning up at Narberth Museum on a Friday night in June (a two hour round-trip for me that seemed an entirely reasonable distance) for ‘Let Your Hair Down!’, an artist networking event organised by Linda Norris, I was surprised by a strong turnout of 30 or more artists who had come for the ‘pecha-kucha’ session – an opportunity to show work and see the work of other artists in the region. Artists enjoying ‘Let your Hair Down!’ networking event at Narberth Museum, June 2014 It was a congenial and friendly occasion with an array of work presented by accomplished artists and makers. Events like these are critical in helping artists to find and get to know their ‘local’ art community, especially when its spread covers a 60-mile stretch and three counties. Profiled I’ve lived on the coast of west Wales for six years now, and for almost four of those years have had the pleasure of working for Axisweb as their Associate. It’s been an immensely enjoyable experience that has introduced me to a lively and generous group of artists and arts organisations around the country that makes Wales a great place to live and work for those engaged with contemporary art. I’ve worked in the visual arts for more than 15 years in a wide range of capacities. I started out as a photography curator and have an MA in the history of photography. It remains my first love. I’m excited to sit on the board of Ffotogallery here in Wales and to be a part of such an ambitious organisation with a rich history. Over the years, I’ve also worked as a gallery educator, art reviewer, public events organiser, strategist and many other things. In my work with Axisweb, I conceptualised and ran a range of artist professional development programmes from symposiums like this year’s Behind the Scenes of the Museum at the National Museum of Wales (with over 200 people in attendance) to artist commissions such as Real Institute’s Analogue Web Portal (2012) and Axisweb’s mentoring programme for recent graduates, Out and Beyond (2013). Throughout my career I have written regularly on the contemporary visual arts, it is an active and important part of my practice and keeps me engaged with current issues and dialogues in the contemporary visual arts. In addition to my Axisweb blog, this year I’ve written essays on Bella Kerr’s Keeper exhibition at Mission Gallery and Rhôd’s 2014 exhibition Deall y Lle:y filltir sgwâr. See Alicia’s Axisweb profile > NOTES FROM WALES | AUTUMN 2014 15