Charlotte Mann

Artist with experimental teaching practice

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Before Covid I spent most of my time on large artworks made to commission. You can see examples on my website. I was lucky, often having really interesting clients who trusted me and didn't dictate tightly what they wanted. In short I was generally able to make the work I felt compelled to make and a practice evolved where I was able to explore the strange in-between 2 and 3 dimensional territory, of large site specific life size drawings, made at scale.

An art practice cant entirely fit this model, you need time to work on things; not knowing where they are going and a client commissioning an art work naturally wants to know roughly what they'll end up with.

As I was making only just enough money to survive in London, a backlog of partly explored projects was building pressure in me so I started to looking to other ways to fund what I do.

I am Dyslexic and have ADD, what I found when I approached the world of funding applications was that the work it entailed, which almost no one actually likes doing was so profoundly counter to my mental make up that it almost undoes me.

So out of impatience, frustration and mostly sheer longing to work I tend to just volunteer to run sessions for free paying for materials myself, which is an unsustainable situation financially.

This is why Im am turning to Librapay, to see if there are people out there who would like to support the work I do.

Much of what I am seeking to fund relates directly to teaching. I have been teaching in art schools since 2001.

My teaching practice has shifted and evolved over the years. For a few years I was too busy to teach regularly and I paused my teaching at UAL and RDS, during that time I missed it and started to volunteer; I also wanted to experience teaching in contexts other than art school. Now it is no longer simply a job on the side but a central part of work I feel compelled to do even if Im not getting paid for it. I have a LOT of thoughts about teaching, I love it, but I also feel profoundly despondent about a lot of the way schools and universities function, this despondency also drives me.

In 2015 I started a project called Drawing Lab. Initially at The Royal Drawing School. I designed classes and led sessions with the mindset of this being my work rather than 'a job'. The feedback I have had from students who have experienced these classes has been inspiring, moving and occasionally overwhelming. Drawing Lab has been taking over my thinking now for some time. For a couple of years I was able with Covid recovery funding from UAL to run Drawing Lab sessions At Camberwell Art school, and again received incredible feedback.

I am interested in the way the predominant, technology driven materialist capitalist culture of the global north simultaneously encourages self-centered behaviour while actually (and very specifically in education ) undermining peoples belief that what they experience un mediated via there own senses has value.

It all starts and ends with a body in the air on the earth. All my work is dealing with physical presence. Over the years I have become increasingly more involved with, community projects, the importance of nature and a sustainable relationship to our planet and the universe and the urgency of facing up to the mental health catastrophe that is unfolding around us.

So I have been trying to find ways to fund more of these encounters and this work.

This is a list of some of the voluntary teaching/art projects Ive been working on over the last 4 years almost entirely without funding:

DRAWING LAB ON TOUR A SCULPTURE TO TEACH INSIDE - The sculpture is an arrangement of fabric: blinds or curtains in the room that enable us to switch simply and quickly between two modes of working 1: The whole room and everyone in it visible. 2: an enclosed private space where you can only see your own body and whatever it is you are looking at/working on. In life it is difficult to manage distraction and gain a state of openminded sustained attention. We make work in this calm limited environment as a way of exploring and engaging with our perceptual and cognitive experiences, then when we raise the blinds and re enter the communal space we have much to share and learn from each other. The work made in these sessions then forms an exhibition.

MAKING MENDING MONDAY CLUB - An after school club for children and their carers where we learn to make and mend. I am especially interested in weaving, both in practical terms and as metaphor in these sessions we learn to darn while contemplating the book of Kells early Ethiopian art, poetry and more

DRAWING-READING-LISTENING-LOOKING a weekly community group, we read environmental texts and poems about nature to each other while drawing weeds, we are currently drawing Sycamore twigs as they change with the seasons.

DRAWING LAB LYNDHURST - an after school drawing club at a primary school I ran this for 3 terms. We looked at drawing and memory and drawing and observation and for the last term I took the children into a local church yard one day a week and we drew trees from life.

PORTRAIT OF A COMMUNITY AS A FOREST - This is a project that I have spent many hours on but am yet to find funding for the full version of it- every member of a selected community is supported to draw trees and plants from their local environment from life I then take these drawings at least one per person and develop them in to a composition that generates a physical sensation of space from touchable presence to deep distance, this is then produced as a large mural, possible encircling a school football pitch.

PLAYGROUND TREE SHADOW - a simplified image of a specific local large tree is reproduced life size in tarmac refresher black on the playground, children are then able to use this as they wish as a context for play, they are given chalks and invited to draw tree housed birds nestd and whatever they want into it, theres are washed by the rain.

ART CURATION FOR MAYTREE RESPITE - I am working with the trustees of Maytree Respite (a free residential care service for those with suicidal feelings) to curate art work in the house. I am interested in the potential mental health benefits of being in the presence of drawings or paintings made by artists who were physically present in nature while they were making their work, the mental health benefits of being physically present in nature have been much studied, I am interested in discovering wether there is a difference between an image made about nature and an image made in direct response to it.

LUGARD GARDENING GROUP - I set up a community garden with a neighbour, I teach the children on the estate about plants and growing, and help them to design, plant and tend their own gardens.

MY SYCAMORES - a children's book set against the backdrop of looking at Sycamore trees that grown along a railway line visible from a child's bedroom window, a book about physical presence in the world, different sorts of looking, what its like to hold something and loving things in relation to owning them or not.

HEDGE SCHOOL BOOK - I am researching the Hedge Schools of Ireland (stealth educational practices that evolved mostly in rural areas during the Penal Laws when Irish Catholics were prohibited from educating their children) Im interested in its relation to Liberation Theology, Paolo Freire, and Bell Hooks's Pedagogy.

RECORDING REAL HOMES - an ongoing project making faith-full life-size drawings of homes, related to my LIVERPOOL HOMES work which is installed in the Royal University hospital in Liverpool.

179 BURNT ASH HILL - The house my grandparents lived in is falling down and destined to be sold at some point. I want to document it before that happens. The history of this home relates to much of what moves me in my practice elsewhere. My grandfather was a family doctor with a practice that spanned pre NHS and NHS times. The house contains his surgery left Mary Celeste like almost untouched since the 1980's. My grand parents and later my uncle after they died ran the house in such a way that the extended family and their friends - so quite a large circle of people - could go there and be looked after no questions asked if ever they needed that. The Psychoanalyst Neville Symington spent a long time living there as a young man during a break down after leaving the priesthood, he writes movingly about his gratitude to my grandparents in his autobiography. My feelings about the importance of 179 relate to my Art project at Maytree Respite.


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