Reporting back from Jamboree 2018
Plymouth College of Art partnered with Plymouth-based artist duo LOW PROFILE to support their delivery of Jamboree; a four day event held at Dartington in July, bringing 150 artists and curators together to meet, share practice and test ideas.
Six students from a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes supported the event, helping to organise and document the participant-led programme of talks, workshops, walks, exhibitions, seminars, screenings and an artist shop. Three students acted as observers in their roles: sharing documentation via social media and writing blogs for a-n on different aspects of the Jamboree programme.
Plymouth College of Art student Alice Orr reported on artist Zoe Toolan’s walk and talk titled ‘In Bocca Al Lupo’:
"Zoe’s enthusiasm really brought out the inner children amongst the artists on her Wolf themed walk and talk. To enter the pack everyone had to be awarded a black wolf nose (eyeliner) - even Andy the event photographer. Then we prowled into the woods to howl. Each artist howled their in a unique way, before realising it everyone was filling the forest with a new language.
"Each howl was a therapeutic, pent up release, that probably wouldn’t be socially acceptable in many other scenarios, but here it was encouraged. Zoe talked about pack mentality and why some wolves prefer to be lone - it’s either the aggressive hierarchy of the pack’s society or simply that the wolf is a bit lost. Something that we could all relate to, and together we formed a pack of lone wolves.
"We learnt an Italian phrase from one of the artists ‘In bocca al lupo’ translation to into the mouth of the wolf, said to wish good luck. The common reply is ‘crepi il lupo’ - may the wolf die."
2018 Fine Art graduate Katherine Hall blogged about Simon Lee Dicker’s Silent Swim School:
"It was an unseasonably hot day in the grounds of the Dartington estate. Bathed in the dappled sunlight filtering through the canopy, a group of artists and curators headed towards the river Dart.
"Led by the artist Simon Lee Dicker, who brandished a pair of undies on a stick, some chatted excitedly, getting all of their words out before the silent activity. Some participants were discussing the differences between fresh and saltwater swimming, others the inherent meditative quality of swimming in nature. More yet were comparing their badges which Simon had given out before we had set off to the river – a variety of the old swimming rule pictures, but without the NO.
"Taking a breath, I dived into the river, revelling in the orange water. I kicked, propelling myself along the smooth, slippery stones on the river bed, and opened my eyes. Dappled light filtered down from above, the orange fading to green.
"To the left – fish!
"I tried to get a closer look, but they darted away, flashing like light on tiny knives in the murky water. Lungs bursting, I came up for air and came face to face with another person. Rubbing the river out of my eyes, it took me a while to recognise them as my uni lecturer. My first instinct was to say: 'Steven! Have you seen the fish?!'
"…But this was Silent Swim School, and I bit my tongue. Smiling, he dived and swam on. And so did I. Alone, but together.
"After the event, I asked Simon why he decided to do a silent swim, and what drew him to wild swimming. He responded saying that Silent Swim School was 'borne out of a desire to disrupt the order of things by creating a space for independent thought and reflection whilst still in the company in others', rather than a specific attraction to wild swimming itself. He likened the event to an ‘anti’ walk and talk that 'encouraged direct, unmediated contact with the world around us', and in that aspect he definitely succeeded; it was a beautiful experience. An experience that seemed to take place in not-place, where time and being dissolved into the rich brown water, and flowed out to sea. There were no expectations, no obligations, and only one rule. Sssh…"
The student interns were invaluable in the lead up to and during the Jamboree event, and the experience helped them identify opportunities and connections as artists based in the South West. Kat Hall says of her experience working on the Jamboree project:
"I've been so glad to be part of the team, I feel like I helped build up the hype and get people interested online, and keep that hype going throughout the weekend with the coverage. I helped people to establish connections with others before the event so that they could then build on those in person at Jamboree. To me, Jamboree was all about overcoming the obstacles life throws at artists/curators/creatives, and everyone supporting each other with their work. In this respect, I think the spirit of Jamboree helped me as much as I helped with Jamboree."