Magnetic North Blog
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Magnetic North, Playwrights' Studio, Scotland and Playmarket New Zealand are delighted to announce that playwright, theatre-maker, actor and musician Morna Young has been selected for the second year of an international exchange between the two countries.
Morna will be hosted as a Playwright-in-Residence by BATS Theatre and Toi Põneke Arts Centre in Wellington, New Zealand. The companies will commission a full-length play from Morna and accommodate her for 12 weeks to write in their organisations. During the residency, Morna will also take part in Magnetic North’s first Rough Mix in New Zealand as well as a one-week writing residency at Strathean Retreat in Te Horo with Playmarket New Zealand.
Inspired by the traditions of Scottish and Mãori cultures, Morna’s play will be an exploration of our human connection to the elements, of landscape memory and emigrated culture. Following on from successful Scotland-wide tours of her plays Neverland and Netting, this opportunity will allow Morna to develop her writing through collaboration with international arts organisations and individuals. As Morna says, “In a time where borders and national identities are becoming trickier and more restrictive, the chance to embrace international exchange feels vital and poignant.”
The exchange builds on a hugely successful pilot in 2016, where New Zealand playwright Arthur Meek was Writer-in-Residence with Magnetic North. The resulting play, Erewhon, was subsequently co-produced by Magnetic North and Christchurch Festival in 2017.
I am a sculptor and visual artist with a studio practice and a socially engaged, participatory practice. I am based in Sheffield with a studio at Yorkshire Artspace. I have exhibited around the UK and been commissioned for many public artworks, mostly with consultation and creative input from local communities and organisations in areas of social disadvantage.
Since 2009 I have been working mainly as an artist within art gallery learning programmes in contemporary public art galleries in Nottingham, Sheffield and Yorkshire. I have been developing and facilitating workshops, resources and long term projects and research programmes that engage diverse audiences with exhibitions and collections, and encourage discussion and creative responses in a variety of media.
Space/Time came at a perfect time for me. Between January to July 2018, I am taking an unpaid six-month sabbatical from working with the galleries where I work on a regular basis, to focus on re-connecting with my studio practice and consider new ways to disseminate my work. My studio practice had become sidelined and I was missing the process of following my own lines of enquiry and making work without the restraints of facilitating others. I was also feeling burnt out by the pressure of constantly responding creatively to other people’s briefs, timescales and agendas.
The retreat gave me the opportunity through the discussions to think through some of my sometimes conflicting positions about being an artist as producer and artist as facilitator and animateur. It was very interesting to find that the other artists attending the Space/Time retreat, although working in other creative disciplines, had worries, issues and barriers that were very similar to ones I have. We were able to share experiences, get new insights into creative approaches and give practical support to each other. The sessions were very deftly facilitated by Alice and Nick to give everyone a chance to ponder on the questions that were concerning us, deconstruct specific situations and consider how to make positive changes.
I found it particularly inspiring to share my work with the group and to get genuine feedback about my ideas and recent sculpture. From this I am now taking forward new ideas of ways to disseminate them and am hoping to collaborate with one of the participants as part of this.
I also gained some useful practical advice about how to manage my various areas of work so that I don’t get into the same situation of burnout and lack of balance again.
Space/Time was a very positive experience; although it didn’t provide concrete answers to all the issues I am facing, it gave me the opportunity to reflect in a supported environment and to feel much stronger about working towards making changes.
From 23 February five artists will embark on a creative retreat we call Space/Time in Dumfries & Galloway.
Space Time is a paid five-day creative retreat for experienced artists. It aims to refresh participants and allow them to re-boot and flourish.
The artists taking part are:
Gillian Brent (sculpture)
Gillian is a sculptor and installation artist based in Sheffield. She has worked with welded steel for all of her career.
Claire Halleran (set design)
Claire has been working as a freelance designer since 2002. She is based in Glasgow and works on projects at home and abroad.
Harry Harris (songwriter)
Harry is a songwriter based in Edinburgh. His latest release, The Andre The Giant EP, is a collaboration with producers Chemikal Recipe and designer Gavin Day.
Carol McKay (creative writing)
Carol writes fiction, life writing, and poetry, and also teaches creative writing for the Open University along with private classes. She is based in South Lanarkshire.
Ewan Robertson (sculpture)
Based at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Ewan lectures in sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art.
Sign up to our Artist Development mailing list to be notified when more information is available on our next Space/Time residency.
In partnership with Playwrights' Studio Scotland, Playmarket New Zealand abd Creative New Zealand, we are delighted to announce the opportunity for a playwright based in Scotland to spend three months as writer-in-residence with a theatre company in New Zealand.
The residency foolows Arthur Meek's successful residency with Magnetic North in 2016, which resulted in him writing Erewhon Revisited, which premiered in September this year at the Christchurch Arts Festival.
Experienced playwrights based in Scotland are eligible to apply - you can find out more here. The deadline for applications has been extended to Monday 19 February 2018.