© 2016 by Frances Bossom

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Preparation

June 23, 2018

 

 

 

The reason I've haven't blogged for year is that I've been pouring any spare time I've had into the application and interview process for Collaborative 3D3 Studentship Award for a practice based PhD in partnership with UWE and Arnolfini. In April I was offered the post. Apart from a couple of meetings this July, I won't begin the PhD in earnest until October. In May I finished my freelance role with Liz Clarke. Sensing these changes will place new and challenging demands on me as a practitioner and parent, I also applied for and accepted a place on Extend, a leadership training course for those working in the arts.

 

This is my moment to step up.

 

So I'm nesting - in the way you do when you are expecting. My rational, organised self has been telling the rest of me that it's because I need to get organised and improve the way the house functions - so as a family we can manage our busy lives in a much more conducive space. The physical process of re-configuring cupboards, putting up shelves, creating storage solutions, filling in holes and giving rooms a fresh lick of paint mirrors the intellectual process of applying for a PhD. I've had to think carefully about my previous practice, analyse what I have to offer and how this opportunity will open up future potential. A lot like home improvements.

 

 

 

I'm making myself again and again. Just like Alice Walker.

 

 

 

This is one of those moments where I acutely feel ever tremor and sensation of change and time itself slows down. I remember feeling like this; just after leaving art college, meeting my partner, gazing out to sea on holiday and at milestones in our children's development.

 

I'm in an intoxicating place, a hiatus, the pause before a dramatic drop or a heady moment of vertigo. It's a rich, fecund, positive and powerful place.

 

Over the next few months I will be unpacking, piecing together and making sense inter-related questions including;

 

What is leadership?

How is leadership relevant to my PhD?

How is leadership relevant to the position I find myself in?

What tricky situations, encounters and questions could the PhD raise?

How can I balance the needs of my family with the demands of a PhD?

How can I still be present for my partner, children and parents?

Can we afford a loft conversion and new bathroom?

What decisions do we need to make in this process?

How can I resolve my youngest son's congestion?

How can I enable my eldest son to manage his worries?

What relationships do I want to establish between my advisers, the University and art institution?

How does parenting, home making, undertaking a PhD, leadership connect and interweave with my previous practice?

How can continue threads of my previous practice into the future?

How can I give back?

Who, what and how can I enable? How can I collaborate?

What kind of leader could I be?

What or whom will I lead? What impact could I have?

What grit can I work with to create pearls?

 

I've been tentatively beginning to read around leadership by browsing through the Extend Leadership Programme Resource List. Whilst reading Jennifer McDerra's 'Diary of a Clore Fellow: Newcastle, New York, New Ways of Belonging', I was reminded to the importance of having time and space to stop and I also discovered Sister Love: The Letters of Audre Lorde and Pat Parker. Jennifer encountered a shop sign quoting Audre Lorde whilst walking through New York. The book this quote is taken from is a compilation of letters and notes from two poets exchanging advice and support. The quote resonated with me immediately. I am at that point of terror, justification, distraction and unlocking.

 

 

 

I am surrounded by so many creative, courageous, daring, trail blazing and audacious women who inspire me deeply. Some I have worked with closely, others I've barely met. Whilst I am working in the sheltered space of my home I am connected to world through social media. These women remind me of how important it is for us to lead the way in gender equality in the arts. I am so mindful of my privileged position as a white woman. Equality is such an easy word to say but is a value we have to live.

 

On Monday 25th June I will climb into Carrie Creamer's car and she will drive us up to Leeds for the first Extend residential.  And so my process of preparation and change continues. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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