Paying my dues

me and Rosy Martin

ROSY MARTIN

1992 ‘I never studied photography,’ I tell Rosy; ‘I just made it up as I went along.’ 

‘What ingenue crap,’ Rosy says. She is lying on a kitchen floor in Exeter, blowing cigarette smoke out of a cat flap. We are houseguests of the Visual Arts Officer, who doesn’t smoke. Rosy smokes a lot. Rosy is quite intimidating, but we get on, so long I don’t come out with ingenue crap. 

2017 Rosy and I arrange to meet at a Griselda Pollock lecture, possibly the most Feminist Artist date imaginable. She knows everyone. Afterwards, we eat at a Lebanese place in Camberwell where I lose a scarf the size of a bedsheet. We talk about crediting, collaborating, ground rules, hindsight. I realise I have not been great at crediting. Not much of what I have done has really been all my own work, and this seems important to realise. I want to acknowledge all the people who help. I need people. I can’t manage alone. These are not signs of weakness. Beginning on new collaborations, we discuss the detail of how we shall work; we establish ground rules, agree on how to credit and who owns what. Thanks, Rosy.

(From my catalogue notes, ‘Watch This Space’ exhibition, Goldsmith’s College, Feb/March 2018)

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About claire collison

Writer, photographer, creative facilitator, and breast cancer survivor, I am currently Artist in Residence at the Women's Art Library (WAL) My first novel was a finalist in the Dundee Book Prize, and my short stories and poetry have appeared in print and online. In 2015 I was awarded second place in the inaugural Resurgence Prize, the world's first eco poetry competition, judged by Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. This blog began as a space for words generated on my walking/writing workshops at the Mary Ward centre in Bloomsbury - Writing the City (WTC). WTC has since grown to include many other venues, including the Museum of Broken Relationships, the Barbican, the River Rom, Southwark Woods, Aylesbury Estate, and most recently, as part of Walking Women festival, An Intimate Tour of Breasts. I have worked with Kettle's Yard, Cambridge, as the recipient of the first Max Reinhardt Literacy Award, designing teaching resources; and for The Photographers' Gallery, helping school children develop visual literacy as part of 'Seeing More Things'. If you would like me to design a workshop or walk for you, please be in touch!
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