In May 2013 Carolyn presented a talk at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery as part of their talks programme. She was invited to talk about her interest in art & science and how it evolved from her art practice to producing and presenting cross-disciplinary projects. The video of the talk will be available soon.

Carolyn came to Shrewsbury, the birthplace of Charles Darwin, to talk about her work as an artist and curator connecting artists with scientists.  Carolyn’s talk was perfectly pitched for the audience and achieved that fantastic combination of being challenging yet accessible – the feedback was excellent!  Carolyn has a gift for communicating complex cultural and political ideas and the after-talk q+a session really engaged and inspired the audience to participate…

Adrian Plant, Shrewsbury Art Gallery

In December 2012 Carolyn finished delivering ExLab, a scattered-site project in Dorset. 5 new commissions, 7 locations, 7 member organisations and many partners – Creative Coast, National Trust, Dorset County Council to name but a few of them; and part of both Maritime Mix and London Festival 2012, it was certainly a challenge! She contributed to the documentation catalogue, which you can download: ExLab 2 documentation 2012. The focus was artists exploring the geology of the Jurassic Coast, both by the sea and inland too. The best way to tell you about how it came together is by sharing snippets of the feedback Carolyn received from the 7 Big Picture organisations:

exlab top ten

the 10 most common words used in ExLab feedback

like the west wind to our ashes and sparks

  1. Dorset Visual Arts: On behalf of Dorset Visual Arts, a big thankyou for your hard work, leadership, and the experience and imagination that you brought to bear on ExLab.  It is really appreciated.
  2. Bridport Arts Centre: Thank you for so much hard work and commitment to the project, and for justifying our feeling at the interview that you were the only person we saw who could not only do the job, but do it well!  It’s been a pleasure working with you and I look forward to doing so again at some point in the future.
  3. B-side: It was great fun working with you as we both battled our way through the bureaucracy of Summer of 2012 in all its gloriousness! Thanks for all your hard work on ExLab, and I really hope we have an opportunity to work together again.
  4. Sherborne House Arts:  The project needed a spirit to ignite its potential and I feel greatly privileged to have had the opportunity to work with you, like the west wind to our ashes and sparks. It would be wonderful to encounter such passion, with a method, more often. It was a tough call to manage all of us as well as a multi site project AND with the unexpected additional Olympic demands. Your generosity of spirit got us through some difficulties – maybe not everyone was aware of fully. It was a pleasure to work with you and I’m going to miss those long phone calls!
  5. Walford Mill Crafts: Thank you for helping us to achieve our Big Picture Project of Ex Lab and all that it entailed. ExLab has been an exciting project for us all and when you first took up the challenge I don’t think you quite realised the mileage you would cover because of the disparate locations and that you would be charging up and down the length of the county at such a pace!
  6. Diva Contemporary: Thanks for coming with us on the ExLab journey this summer and helping to sow some very positive creative seeds. We can all be proud of the work, which was delivered with your unending support – it was a challenge and you faced it head on! I’m certain the Artists, the Partners and the County will reap the benefit of the networks which have been established as a consequence of the project well into 2013 and beyond.
  7. Artsreach:

Before you fly to pastures new, Just need to express my thanks to you,
For all your support and help to us, And the time you have given with little fuss.

Your willingness to get stuck in, Your diligence and  brill admin,
Your vision and all your tweets, Your doodles, clouds and other feats.

All of this and more ensured success, of ExLab – and DLA no less!
Good luck in all you plan to do, Ex Lab would not have happened but for you!

Thank you to Big Picture for letting us share these.

Some of the artists and partners also sent a few lines about the experience of working with Carolyn on ExLab:

“Carolyn has the unique ability to see both the fine detail as well as the bigger picture of a project and always works hard to make projects a success. I learned a significant amount of useful things from working with her.” Zachary Eastwood-Bloom

“Carolyn Black combines a passionate belief in the potential that art can offer with the knowledge and experience that are necessary to actually make it happen – a winning formula.”Mat Chivers

“Working with Carolyn was a true partnership: complementary skills, hard work and a drive to realise A Natural History of Pseudomorphs in the best way possible.” Simon Ryder

“Carolyn Black was producer of my Inland Sealand commission in Sherborne, Dorset. Carolyn was a reliable and constant source of support and invaluable information. Crucially, she was always available to answer questions and
sort out any problems. This is exactly the kind of attention needed to help make the commission a success.” Simon Callery

“Carolyn’s pragmatism and clear head helped a great deal to steer my collaboration with artist Simon Callery. Not only was she able to help our research remain relevant to the brief but was also able to make her own creative, and helpful contributions. Overall a valuable asset.” Sam Scriven, Earth Science Advisor, Jurassic Coast World Heritage Team

” Carolyn was hugely knowledgeable about all aspects of producing installations outside of gallery spaces and especially in rural and protected landscapes, which challenge traditional approaches to almost every aspect of the presentation of visual art.  The project required working with many partners from many sectors and Carolyn made strong relationships with the whole team.  She brought a great deal of imagination, pragmatism and energy to this project, and I hope that we will work together again in the future.” Daisy Sutcliffe, Creative Coast 2012 Coordinator

And from other people I’ve recently worked with:

“Carolyn worked tirelessly to coordinate the UK tour of Aeolus. She also helped fundraise for a significant part of the project too. She’s a great partner to have on board and I’d be very happy to work with her again.” Luke Jerram

“Carolyn Black has a fantastic knowledge of the ever changing world of contemporary art.  Her drive,  positive approach, imagination and encouragement were crucial to developing and raising funds for the House of Mirrors project from seed of an idea to what became a successful touring installation. I look forward to working with her again.” Rob Olins

See FCA Advice for feedback from mentees

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