Category Archives: Council House

Artist as Curator – Reflection on Curatorial Project: Plymouth City Council House

The Plymouth City Council House group exhibition was truly an artist as curator project.  In the early stages of this assignment we had initially wanted to borrow work from an artist and curate the space within the Council House foyer.(  However, as our ideas developed we collaborated together with artist Lee McDonald to produce new original artworks specifically for the foyer space and the Council’s theme of The Future of Plymouth

I was particularly drawn to this project as the space was not the typical gallery space one might expect and it presented a challenge in terms of the listed featured which could not be removed or changed.  I personally relished this opportunity because I have had experience of working in similar environments (in Local Government with Council Members) in the past in non-artistic roles and felt this was an excellent opportunity to connect my previous experience prior to my studies and my current knowledge of fine art and curatorial practices.

This was an exceptional assignment which our tutor Edith Doove had put us forward for and the group members including myself, William Danby, Kath Howard, Maddy Crossley, Jess Bent, Tiffany Smith and Sarah Hughes made it our priority to make this project a success.

During our studies we had been encouraged to attend gallery spaces and exhibitions that allowed us to network with fellow artists and curators.  By doing so, I met local artist Lee McDonald at the Plymouth College of Art’s Ephemeron, “Artist as Curator”, Critique Event at Karst in April 2013. ( This connection with Lee ultimately led to this collaborative exhibition The Future of Plymouth, 2014.

I saw my role during this project as the organizer, administrator and all-round helper and supporter to my fellow group peers.  My input and duties involved the following:

I also consider one of my roles in this group project as keeping the group’s morale up and encouraging everyone in their endevours during this project.  I think I took on quite a lot of responsibility during this project but was happy to do so as I am quite impatient and like to get things organised efficiently and effectively to produce the best possible outcome all round.

I enjoyed working on this group project and felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction on pride on completing this project.  I feel that all group members worked together fantastically and harmoniously.  I would say that my strengths during this project were in the administrative and organizational processes and this was balanced out by William Danby’s technical abilities with Maddy Crossley’s assistance, Kath Howard and Jess Bent’s production of the wall pieces/prints and blog and Sarah Hughes and Tiffany Smith’s input into the draft proposal, poster and finishing touches to the sculpture and plinths.  Lee McDonald was a joy to work with and remained extremely humble and a team-player throughout the project.

Although the artworks produced during this project were not necessarily something I would have undertaken on my own, I enjoyed assisting in realizing our curatorial and artistic vision for the Council House foyer.  As mentioned in earlier posts we wanted to create something that they had not seen in the space before. Previously, the artwork had been mainly wall-hung pieces, however we wanted to change the space and create a playful nature in the somewhat intimidating, official space.  We did this by thinking about audience participation and Lee McDonald was an obvious choice to work with because of his interactive work.

By accurately measuring the space, we prepared ourselves well for all eventualities with the sculpture and wall pieces fitting perfectly within the space without causing obstruction.

The feedback we received was excellent and I feel we that we achieved what we set out to do.

This project was one of the main highlights of the BA (Hon) Fine Art, Critical & Curatorial Practices course and I am delighted that I was part of it.  The line between artist and curator was undoubtedly blurred during this assignment and I savoured every moment.