breaking down the barriers for mature female artists with second collective and marta dyczkowska

Imagine! Belfast is delighted to be able to support an exciting project supporting mature women artists delivered by our festival partner Second Collective. The project, funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Department for Communities, will begin with the commissioning of a solo exhibition by local artist, Marta Dyczkowska. Marta has created an exhibition for the festival that will be accompanied by an online artists’ talk and interview facilitated by Cathy Scullion and Sinéad O’Neill-Nicholl from Second Collective on 28th March from 2.00-3.00pm.

Accompanying the exhibition, Second Collective supported by Imagine! Festival will deliver a two day ‘learning event’ later this year aimed at addressing the barriers that mature women artists experience. The event will consist of a series of seminar sessions and workshops for emerging, mature female artists with preference given to mature women aged 35+, women from minority communities, women from lower income backgrounds, those who have not yet had significant artistic recognition, including mature artists who are studying, and those who face barriers to accessing creative activities. The aims of the learning event are:

  • to develop network connections for artists with curators
  • to increase levels of knowledge around contemporary art practice
  • to inspire confidence in mature women
  • to create an accessible environment (child friendly)
  • to share skills and learning
  • to develop community connections
  • to support women in overcoming barriers to creative arts in the wider community

The recent report ‘Representation of Female Artists in Britain’ by Kate McMIllan contains a wealth of evidence supporting the need for new thinking around the promotion and representation of female artists.

Second Collective is an organisation dedicated to supporting mature female artists by providing paid exhibition opportunities for fine artists, offering practical and mentoring support to these artists and by promoting learning opportunities and skill sharing opportunities for women in the fine art sector and beyond. They value the contribution of artistic practice to the wider community and this is reflected in a commitment to ensuring that the artists they work with benefit from both financial remuneration and the practical support required to further their creative practice.

Second Collective are embarking on a long-term project which will form an ongoing artistic conversation between mature, female artists in the early stages of their artistic careers.

They intend to provide professional development support, in the form of:

  • short term residencies and access to studio space
  • physical resources (access to gallery space, dance studio, Belfast Tool Library)
  • mentoring and research sessions
  • curation of solo exhibition and corresponding events, e.g. artist talks/workshops
  • event organisation and promotion as well as
  • practical skills and equipment (such as video, audio and lighting installation)

that will result in paid exhibition and learning opportunities for women in this particular category.

These exhibitions will also provide opportunities for the chosen artist and the wider artistic, female community to participate in events, such as artist talks and workshops, with a view to engaging women’s groups from the wider community that experience difficulty in accessing the arts.

The main focus will be to engage with women both locally, nationally and internationally who are experiencing a variety of support needs as mature women in the early stages of an art career; this can include but is not limited to:

  • lack of studio space
  • financial need
  • access to support (including funding)
  • lack of resources
  • personal circumstances
  • language and cultural barriers
  • lack of confidence/experience in self-promotion.

There will be an artist talk by Marta Dyczkowska on her ‘Shut The Front Door’ video and photography installation, facilitated by Second Collective, on 28th March from 2.00-3.00pm.

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