Making space for art and people to connect.
Jo is an inclusive arts practitioner, collaborative designer and educator. Her practice can be described as ‘designing experiences for people, with people’. She is also a social entrepreneur and founder-director of two not-for-profit Community Interest Companies: Rocket Artists Studios, dedicated arts provision for neurodivergent and/ or learning disabled artists, an accredited disability day service for Brighton & Hove Council residents and the new online project, Together Studios.
A life-long problem-solver and asker-of big questions around the role of art, how it contributes to our relationships and how creativity and environment connect, Jo believes meaningful access to the arts is not only important in terms of our individual needs; such as health, belonging, self expression, etc but that it is also fundamental to our collective experience. This space is where she shares and documents her questions, projects, research and collaborations and also where you are invited to connect and join in:
- Sign up to Wondering Out Loud quarterly newsletter for latest projects, creative prompts and freshest thinking from Jo and others – to sign up CLICK HERE.
- Access practical support, resources and inspiration created in collaboration with other artists, designers, academics, researchers and experts – because knowledge is power and should be affordable and accessible.
- Connect with Jo and SOCIAL ART SPACE book an informal call to find out about 1:1 support on specific issues or questions you have on anything that surrounds creativity and involves people. Some common concerns might be: “what does inclusive practice mean and what does inclusion look like in my organisation?”, ‘how do I develop a fundable proposal and budget?”, ‘how do we collaborate, meaningfully?”, “how do I create a sustainable project?”, “how do we increase social engagement in our project?”, “Help! I’m an overworked, underpaid, stressed arts worker / facilitator / arts manager / leader…”. Book a free, confidential call to discuss how I can help via the WORK WITH ME page.
PHILOSOPHY & APPROACH
JO’S CREATIVE INTERESTS have always steered her towards a curiosity about people, the social systems that help or hinder us and the role that art plays throughout our lives. The language to describe an artist who works with people keeps changing … (which is an interesting and important topic to be discussed another time) … however, the key ingredients in Jo’s practice are people, art and environments. Sprinkle in an emphasis on learning together through collaboration and a spoonful of questions to challenge norms and assumptions – and that should give you a taste of what to expect.
Her research explores the relationships between art and design, product and process, communities and communication. An MA in inclusive arts practice focused her research around the combined experiences of being a commercial artist with her knowledge of working with marginalised groups. Her contributions to the field of Inclusive Arts practice continue through her academic teaching and research (at University of Brighton and various research and visiting lecturer positions) as well as her dedicated and passionate involvement in community based activities – through setting up, collaborating on and supporting several not-for-profit and enterprise arts projects. This combined approach provides valuable, first-hand insights into ways of working that continues to drive her practice and research interests. This space is where she combines knowledge and reflections to offer specialist, bespoke support and resources for other creatives and arts organisations who find themselves in need of something to help navigate the sometimes complex spaces where we bring people and art together.
JO HAS BEEN WORKING IN ART AND DESIGN alongside diverse community groups since 1994 and as an Inclusive Arts Practitioner since 2010. She initially trained as an Illustrator (BA) then as an Inclusive Arts Practitioner (MA), is a Senior Lecturer in MA Inclusive Art Practice at the University of Brighton and external examiner at Portsmouth University. Founding business manager and co-ordinating Director at Rocket Artists’, an artist-led CIC social enterprise supporting neurodivergent and learning disabled artists.