I’ve been working with Rockets through the virtual studio during lockdown and also looking to the wider arts community and its response to Covid-19. Finding ways to connect and share during this time has been vital for all arts organisations and Rockets has responded quickly to maintain connections and find new ways of working. Inclusive arts practice focuses on collaboration and building trusting relationships to enable artists to ‘travel together’ on a creative journey, even if the end point is unclear. Covid-19 has made this need for embracing uncertainty even more relevant and forced Rockets to create new spaces for creative exchange. As well as online many Rocket Artists have also been communicating with the studio over the phone and by post. I’ve enjoyed working ‘side-by-side’ on video chats with Rocket artists, and have been surprised that it is still possible to connect through art-making on this platform. Discussing ideas, making suggestions and sharing progress can still happen and new opportunities have arisen for artists to run workshops in our group sessions to share skills. It’s inspiring to see the work that others are making in isolation and to know that exchanges, big and small, have been happening across the Rocket Artists network throughout this period. The difference between working in the studio and virtually are stark and the space between us limits the embodied experience of working together, sharing space and materials. I am keen to develop new ideas for communicating through the post, swapping work and sharing inspiration. However, digital inclusion is a huge challenge for Rockets and many other organisations and it is important that we find ways to improve access to technology during this time for those who would like it.
1. (Black and White) 'How do we work together?" Illustration by Kelvin Burke and Jo Offer, Inclusive Arts Practice and Research: A critical manifesto, Routledge
2. (colour) by Tasha Winton in response to online session led by Beth, Rocket Artist