Going into the scholarship I had a few aims: maintain a routine in the studio, exhibit my work a few times, not lose my mind and continue growing and exploring my practice. I feel confident in saying that I’ve achieved a few of these, as well as succumbing to the pressures of life and failing at the others. Though I noted these goals, I worked hard to stump any expectations, as they would only cause to harm my progress when things inevitably didn’t go as planned.
Having this scholarship has alleviated the worry I had of finishing university and losing all resources to continue my practice. The studio has been my saving grace, as well as a hub of anxiety, though I did start this process with my own baggage. My studio has been the most vital aspect of the scholarship, allowing me to curate a space that’s entirely mine and is set up specifically for my needs. Though life has gotten in the way and prevented me from being there nearly as much as I initially intended, it’s importance isn’t lost on me.
I’ve had a few exhibitions and other opportunities since finishing uni. Though they weren’t a consequence of the scholarship, I have been able to use the advice from the scholarship team to navigate payment and other details attached to these processes.
Jo Clements’ sessions are another part of the scholarship I enjoy, I feel Jo is responsive to my practice and processes and reminds me of the bigger picture when we speak, as I am wont to over-analysing my actions and rendering myself anxiety ridden. She also always has references and recommendations that are helpful and reinforce the importance of the advice of peers/community/others when creating and just being an artist out in the ‘real world’.
Keeping up with the other scholars has been great, though I haven’t done it as frequently as I should. A core peer group is necessary, not even just for advice pertaining to your work, but to sound off on the ‘struggles’ of being a ‘proper’ artist and to know that they aren’t unique to you. I feel that we all get stuck, feel depleted, lack time and resources, have jobs and bills and a plethora of other things going on that can feel like a hindrance to our practice, progression and dedication and it’s always great to speak with other people who feel the same and inspire us to keep pushing.
Something I’ve learned over the past seven months and am still trying to fully process is to relish the time and resources I have instead of mourning those I’ve wasted/lost. It doesn’t help to chastise yourself constantly over things that can be out of your control, or those that aren’t, and preventing you from making work. Instead just use the time you choose to spend making wisely and make plans to better your planning and time management going ahead.
With fiveish months left, I’ll still struggle balancing everything and adjusting to the realities of life ‘in the real world’, but I know that this first year fresh out of education was supported in a way that I couldn’t have done without this scholarship.
Important things I’ve learned:
Note your processes, progression and feelings throughout the scholarship.
Apply for things that suit you and learn to say no to opportunities that don’t, even if you know they’d be good for exposure, in my opinion, it’s best to work with integrity and not commit to something that makes you uncomfortable.
Push yourself….I can’t be clearer about this because it’s subjective, but if something seems good/positive/rewarding at the core, but effort to reach, you should probably just try it anyway (though not at the expense of your mental health!)
Make the work you are compelled to make, try not to question the validity of it too much if it is something you’re passionate about or just enjoy and feel is worth doing.
Explore your options and resources and be open to adapting to your circumstances, try not to limit yourself and be open to working in a way that you aren’t used to and possibly with less resources than you are used to.
Sadé Mica, April 2019.
Sadé was in the 2018/19 Graduate Scholarship Programme, with a studio at Hot Bed Press, Salford.