I recently attended the Royal Geographic Society Annual Conference in London, co-presenting a paper as part of the ‘Travel, Tourism and Art’ sessions, with Kevin Hannam from the University of Sunderland. To add something different, and compliment the usual Powerpoint presentation, I brought a small group of my work for audience discussion and interaction. Using objects in this kind of context is not that common. Although giving such presentations to a academic audience can be quite pressured, there was generally a very positive response. Most were fascinated by this chance to interact, handle the work and ask questions.
Other talks offered a variety of new topics of interest; from Japanese book illustration to the picturesque. In particular it served as a reminder how we (as artists) often see and communicate somewhat differently, and how essential it is to communicate what (and why!) we create to non-art audiences. I found immersion in this context (as the only practicing artist) of geography and tourism researchers, architects, art historians and PhD students, to name a few, a rewarding experience. It has encouraged me to continue to research other fields of interest that can inform my work, and to continue to consider it in a much broader context. I was delighted to be selected for this prestigious event, and hope to attend next year.