Interview with Jackie Haynes, artist and Kurt Schwitters PhD Studentship holder (Interviewer: Pete Kalu)
Q:What’s your PhD focused on?
JH: The Kurt Schwitters Studentship, University of Cumbria, is focussed on an art practice-based exploration of selected aspects of Kurt Schwitters’ one-man art movement – Merz. It has an underlying theme of movement in both the research and the practice. The research asks if Schwitters’ legacy of Merz can be considered as a nomadic entity and transformative site for affecting change to social, subjective and economic relations through art practice.
MA Textiles at MMU was triggered by a eureka moment one Halloween in House of Haynes. What felt like a deliberate and timely U-turn was a re-application of existing skills from making, designing costumes and running a business, to art. With the design practice, its trajectory unfolded organically and the process will hopefully be repeated with the art practice.
Whilst on the MA, a proposal for making site-responsive pies was selected for Constructing Landscapes exhibition at the Merzbarn site in Cumbria. From this introduction sprang various forms of involvement with Littoral Arts Trust’s Merzbarn Project. At Housing Merz – Littoral’s conference at Tate Britain in 2014, I wrote notes referring to plans for the creation of an art practice-based scholarship to study the legacy of Kurt Schwitters at the University of Cumbria. This finally appeared via social media two years later, I applied and got it!
Q:What makes your heart leap with joy art-wise (if anything)?
JH: Generosity of spirit. If that can be transmitted through art activity, then great! Schwitters was generous spirited, stating ‘if you people of the future want to do me a special favour, try at least to recognize the important artists of your day. It is more important for you and a greater pleasure for me than if you discover me at a time in which I have long been discovered.’ He also said ‘I grew up to give happiness to others’. The opportunity to do that is a great thing.
Q: Any advice to your younger artist self?
JH: An artist never gives up.
It’s better to sell owt than sell nowt.
Have a word with yourself.
Go into the eye of the storm.
Do the best work possible.
Understand what drains you and what energises you.
Acknowledge whose shoulders you are stood on.
Square your shoulders for the next generation to stand on.
Jackie Haynes will be delivering her first paper at the 15 July 2016 National Association for Fine Art Education Symposium (see link) and has the October NWCDTP postgrad conf @ RNCM in her diary. :http://www.nafae.org.uk/events/research-practice-practice-research
PS. If you are a NWCDTP student and wish to be interviewed for this blog, do get in touch.