We're excited to announce a new team member – Grace Crabtree!
What’s your backstory?
I’m an artist, having graduated last summer after a degree in Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, and before that an Art Foundation at Falmouth University. Since then I have been on two artist residencies, in the South of France and in Lisbon, which is a brilliant opportunity for artists to have a studio space for an extended time, while getting to travel. I’ve also participated in some exhibitions, both live and, more recently, virtually. I’m based in Bridport, where I grew up, and this year I’m doing a remote Correspondence Course with Turps Banana Art School. You can see my artwork on my website and Instagram account.
What’s your role at Stir to Action?
I’m the communication and research assistant, working at the Stir to Action office in Bridport. I work on various aspects of support across the programmes. With the quarterly STIR magazine I communicate with contributors and publishers, and through transcribing and proofreading articles I have learned a lot about new economic systems and models for change. I also work on social media scheduling for the training programmes and other events.
What other initiatives are you involved in?
I’m part of Chasing Cow Productions CIC, an arts collective based in Bridport, which I co-founded with a group of friends after graduating last summer. With an eclectic mix of specialisms, from English literature and fine art to politics and puppetry, we all have different areas of interest that we are channelling into creative projects. During the first lockdown we started a quarterly zine, Matter Out of Place, featuring essays, reviews and fiction, and original artwork. During the summer we premiered our first film made over the winter of 2019-20, Brink by Brink, and we have a trio of new projects planned for the next year: a short narrative film I am directing, a sci-fi short involving a large puppet, and a video essay. Hopefully we’ll be able to hold a live screening of these in the summer of next year, pandemic dependent.
What keeps you up at night?
Did my autumn wildflower seedlings sprout too early, or will they survive the winter?
One thing you are going to change?
As an artist, I’m constantly engaged in the process of looking and seeing, which necessitates an attention and sensitivity both to the smallest details, and to the broader picture. Sometimes we forget to look around us, which is unsurprising in a hectic daily life, but I think this can have repercussions on not just our state of mind, but also to our actions and preconceptions. I’d encourage people to pause and really look at things more often, even if it’s just examining a fallen leaf, or the sun on a window-pane. An act like drawing, whether from life or from imagination, involves engaging with the world in a different way which in turn helps us understand how constrained our usual ways of seeing can be. In this sense, as John Berger said, the act of looking is a political act in itself.