Modern Fairies and Loathly Ladies - the First Workshop
Wednesday 11 July 2018
It was absolutely right that the first ‘Modern Fairies and Loathly Ladies’ workshop should be held at St John’s College, Oxford on Monday and Tuesday, 2nd and 3rd July. There’s a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition about JRR Tolkien on at the Weston Library in the centre of Oxford this summer. Spellbound, a new autumn exhibition about magic and enchantment of every kind, opens at the Ashmolean Museum on August 31st.
This is truly Oxford’s ‘Summer of Fantasy’, and so there was clearly something in the warm summer air that cast its spell over the Modern Fairies’ Project’s first gathering at the Barn in St John’s College, University of Oxford, the college’s dedicated art and music space.
This was the first time that the artists had come together on the project, and it was very exciting for the investigators to meet our musicians, writers and artists and to see how such a talented and imaginative group of people quickly began to gel together, to start throwing out wonderful and vivid ideas.
The stories about fairies that the artists have now begun to think about will be reshaped into different forms: art, words, music and drama that will truly challenge and inspire audiences as their ideas take on fuller form.
The creative team are:
Patience Agbabi, poet and performer: http://www.renaissanceone.co.uk
Lucy Farrell, musician; www.lucyfarrellmusic.com
Sarah Hesketh, poet and writer: http://www.sarahhesketh.co.uk/
Jim Lockey, videographer and film-maker: http://handheldcineclub.com
Ewan Macpherson, musician: http://ewanmacpherson.com/Musi...
Jackie Morris, artist and writer: www.jackiemorris.co.uk/blog
Barney Morse Brown, musician: https://www.duotonemusic.com
Ben Nicholls, musician: https://kingsofthesouthseas.net
Inge Thomson, musician: http://www.ingethomson.com/
Marry Waterson, singer and animator: http://marrywaterson.com
Terri Windling, writer and artist: www.terriwindling.com
Fay Hield, the project leader: http://www.fayhield.com
The artists talked about their prior ideas and thoughts about fairies and how their reactions changed when they read the stories chosen for the project to focus on. Themes that began to emerge – the ideas that somehow caught light – centred on ideas of loss, differing notions of how time passes in this world and the fairy world that lies just to the side of it, the sense of slippage when people travel between worlds. Other artists picked up on the radical possibilities fairies, especially urban fairies, might offer, and were seized by the summoning power of spells.
Musicians, illustrators and writers broke up into fluid small groups, experimenting, talking, singing and playing; kernels began to emerge from which new pieces will sprout; ideas about how to bringing the themes together were tossed up in the air.
Steven Hadley, the Project’s Research Associate, interviewed the artists about their ideas about their creative processes and the kinds of audience they imagined for the work. Sessions were filmed and / or recorded for future analysis, allowing the project to trace ways in which artists’ thinking about their own work in progress changes and grows as their immersion in the project develops.
The Project next meets in Sheffield on September 26th and 27th; work in progress will be presented in the Festival of the Mind’s Spiegeltent on the 27th and we’ll see what the seeds planted in hearts and minds this week have sprouted into.
All blog posts:
Modern Fairies Gatherings at The Sage, Gateshead, 12 May 2020
Of Land & Story The Process of Forgetting and Remembering, 30 April 2020
Time Squint, 24 January 2020
Fairy Sources, 24 January 2020
Sleepers and Glitches, 24 January 2020
Alyson Loathly, 24 January 2020
The Green Children, 15 January 2020
Fairies of the Trees, 15 January 2020
Hares, 15 January 2020
The Light Cutters, 14 January 2020
We Dance to an Other Tempo, 14 January 2020
Selkies, 13 January 2020
Artist of the Week - Elly Lucas, 10 June 2019
Artist of the Week - Fay Hield, 15 May 2019
Artist of the Week - Natalie Reid, 1 April 2019
Signed posters for everyone, 24 March 2019
Artist of the Week - Steven Hadley, 18 March 2019
Podcast Series 1, Now Live, 14 February 2019
Artist of the Week - Patience Agbabi, 5 February 2019
Artist of the Week - Ben Nicholls, 8 January 2019
Artist of the Week - Marry Waterson, 11 December 2018
Artist of the Week - Barney Morse-Brown (Duotone), 6 December 2018
Artist of the Week - Terri Windling, 19 November 2018
Artist of the Week - Inge Thomson, 12 November 2018
Modern Fairies at Festival of the Mind - Sheffield, September 2018, 4 November 2018
Artist of the Week - Sarah Hesketh, 2 November 2018
Artist of the Week - Fay Hield, 4 September 2018
Artist of the Week - Lucy Farrell, 31 July 2018
Artist of the Week - Ewan Macpherson, 22 July 2018
Modern Fairies and Loathly Ladies - the First Workshop, 11 July 2018