Artists Lucy Cran and Bill Leslie, otherwise known as the creative duo ‘Leap Then Look,’ have spent the last year putting together participatory art projects across some of London’s most renowned art and education institutions including the Royal Academy of Art, Tate and the Thomas Tallis School.
Their work is underpinned by the philosophy that contemporary art practice should and can be made available to everyone and that people of all ages can greatly benefit from playful ways of making, thinking and looking.
With funding from a-n The Artists Information Company, Lucy and Bill have recently put together the ‘Leap and Look’ podcast series featuring interviews with artists working at the intersection of art and education. It features interviews with contemporary artists Natalie Zervou-Kerruish, Pester & Rossi as well as Annis Joslin & Sarah Cole.
A common denominator between these artists is that they all do collaborative art projects that involve other people. When talking about the philosophy behind the podcast, Lucy commented that:
“For these artists, working in this way is not secondary to their artistic practice, it is central to the work they make and the artists they are… the topics that are discussed in the podcast – such as experimentation, playfulness and collaboration – are also partly in response to what is happening, or not happening, in mainstream education.”
In each of the podcasts, the artists discuss recent projects they have worked on as well as the challenges and possibilities of working at the intersection of contemporary art and education.
Podcast 1: Natalie Zervou-Kerruish aka. Starting with Art
Natalie Zervou-Kerrish is an London-based artist who creates projects and workshops for people of all ages. Natalie studied new media at Norwich School of Art before working in an early year’s setting before doing her Masters in Art Education at University College London. Her works feature playful sculptures and installations and she frequently collaborates with children in her art.
In her interview, I really enjoyed Natalie’s discussion on what parts of her art activities she designs and what parts she leaves for the kids to construct. For example, when discussing the selection of materials Natalie commented that:
“I am very specific about the materials I bring into the space and that’s because of my interest. Materials are really important to me, like the sensory qualities such as colour. I also like having a limited range of materials that encourage people to be more creative.
The space is one of the most important things in my work. When I worked in early years settings, I was interested in the Reggio Emilia approach that talks about the space being the third teacher. I guess for me it is really important to evoke a sense of curiosity in how children interact and look at materials.”
The interview also touches on the need to plan art activities but also leave a certain amount of openness in which people can respond to the unexpected things that occur. There is also some great discussion on how children make meaning and express themselves through interactions with materials.
Podcast 2: Pester and Rossi
Ruby Pester and Nadia Rossi are an artist duo based in Glasgow. The pair create large-scale art installations, inflatable objects and costumes that people can engage with in a myriad of ways. In this interview, Ruby and Nadia talk about their recent interactive installation at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art as well as the ethics of letting participants do what they like in their pieces. Similar to discussions in the other artists, the duo talks about the need to respond to events that happen in the moment, stating that there is a need for planning but also for listening and reacting.
Podcast 3: Annis Joslin and Sarah Cole
Annis Joslin and Sarah Cole are two artists who have been working together on a project titled Messy Business that is being run in collaboration with a group of women who are survives of domestic violence. Despite the heavily themes surrounding the project, Annis and Sarah approached the work with sensitivity and a sense of humour. One of the most interesting bits of this interview is when they talk about the need to acknowledge the complexity of any situation surrounding a collaborative art project. Sarah comments that an inherent part of her creative practice is about:
“…understanding that every context is quite complicated. And it is not just the people but the environment and how the environment forms how you behave and what you can do with it.”
Here is the link!
You can listen to all three of the interviews FOR FREE via the Leap then Look website (here) or on the Castbox or Apple Podcast app. Leap and Look also have a wonderful Instagram feed where they post pics of their latest projects.
A second season of the podcast is also on the cards (pending funding) so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Hope you enjoy!