Miss Pilchard wonders whether one ought to adopt some form of cunning disguise when in Manchester, in order to avoid detection.
The passage to my new studio
Inside the doorless room
The coming of Autumn in Scarborough.
When I was first allocated a studio space at Crescent Arts in Scarborough, I was thrilled to acquire my first choice - a large, quirky space with a fireplace, random shelves and the strangest floor I have ever seen (hexagonal tiles, painted in a deep red). However, in recent weeks I have realised that whilst I like this room as a space, it is not ideal, for me, as a studio.
In the past I’ve always had a much smaller, whiter, plainer space, with plenty of natural light. Most importantly my previous studio spaces have felt like blank canvases. My current one felt too busy, too big, too dark and too bold.
Fortunately, I have been able to change to a new space, and have just moved in today. It’s smaller, plainer and lighter. It doesn’t currently have a door, and there are some gigantic spider webs on the ceiling. Nonetheless, I am hoping that a simpler, less overwhelming workspace will help in working through the creative block I usually get around this time of year.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by an independent radio producer, who is putting together a programme about the Armenian diaspora for BBC Radio Four. She invited me to come to Manchester for an interview about my former project, A House In Didsbury, for which I traced the history of an Armenian family - the Funduklians - who once lived in my then home; a flat within a large house in Didsbury.
To get a true sense of the story I was asked to talk about the project outside the house itself, and at nearby Southern Cemetery, where the Funduklians (and many of Manchester’s Armenian community) are buried.
It was a good opportunity to critically re-examine the work, and I’m excited to hear the finished documentary, which travels as far afield as Paris, Russia and eventually, Armenia. I’ve no idea how much, if any, of my recorded contribution will make it into the Manchester episode of the programme - each episode is only 15 minutes, and they are interviewing some fascinating people along the way.
Either way, I think everyone should have a listen. It’ll be on air (on Radio Four) during the last week of December, so I’ll post a link once I know more.
Before I discovered the history of my former home (having since relocated to Scarborough), I had never heard of Armenia. It has been a privilege to find out more about this country and its long history, which includes the migration of many of its people to far away places. It is exciting to think that the upcoming radio documentary series will bring these histories to a wider audience.