Fulbright: Three Months In

Time is speeding up.

The last month has shown dramatic changes in the landscape, from snowy winter to melting ice to brown grasses, with spring trying to make an appearance. Next week will mostly be below freezing, though, so we’re not there yet. And in the meantime, my days in Edmonton are beginning to grow short, even as the days grow longer, but my various projects are well underway.

Several weeks ago, I went to Toronto as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar, to work with students at OCAD University and do some studio visits. When I met with Charles Reeve’s Historiographies of Art class online, they happened to be reading about and discussing some early 20th-century German art, so it was a great opportunity to introduce them to the work of Alice Lex-Nerlinger, and fun to revisit that research from a decade ago. I took the ferry out to Toronto Island one day to visit the MOTHRA Artist-Parent residency run by Sarah Cullen at Artscape Gibraltar Point. Artists were hard at work; kids were running around in a pack and keeping each other occupied. Fun to see my books there offered as resources in their library. And taking the ferry in the fog felt magical!

Shortly after returning to Edmonton, I gave a talk for the Sound Studies Institute, which was such a good opportunity to gather and present ideas, and think through them with the group gathered. “Winter Walking and Other Scores: Listening as Artistic Practice” is now on YouTube for anyone interested who wasn’t able to attend. (Related- here’s a short Q&A published last month through SPAR2C, Shifting Praxis in Artistic Research / Research-Creation.) While I’ve been reluctant to say yes to too many things while here, the SSI talk felt very worthwhile and useful, and then I agreed to give a short provocation as part of yesterday’s Art & Care Study Day at Cambridge School of Art, which offered a similar motivation to get some writing done quickly.

I finished printing the series of letterpress prints in the studio after returning from Toronto, and I’m now working on building portfolios in which to house them. It’s a time-intensive process with lots of glue and drying time involved, but I think it will look great when it’s done. I’ve also started working on some digital prints, which I’ll continue developing over the next month.

The accumulation of daily drawings and daily accordion books is growing larger by the day. Daily walking helps me to listen and notice as the seasons begin to change. I’ve had more new walking partners this last month, and I’ve participated in more river valley walks focused on Indigenous knowledges and histories, so I continue to try to listen in new ways.

And some of this fellowship period continues to be the gift of time to read and think about ideas. I’m grateful for the time, and for the writers who push my thoughts in new directions.

Even as I enter the fourth and final month of this Fulbright, I’m beginning to think ahead to what comes next. Heads up to Lawrence and Kansas City friends that there’s an exhibition opening in your area soon, which Maria Velasco and I began working on together pre-pandemic. Making It Work: Art + Parenting will open at the Lawrence Arts Center at the end of May. It runs through summer 2022 and we’re very excited about the lineup of artists.

One comment

  1. Hi Rachel! Loved reading this blog entry. I’m happy for you that you’ve had this time to expand on so many levels in your work!

    I’ll write more later. Came across this article and thought of you.

    My last quarter at SCAD and working on ideas for November. Definitely portraiture maybe we can talk more in a couple weeks.

    Miss you!!

    Julia

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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