Reflections: Annie Birchenough, ARTiculation Alumni

Four years ago I found myself in front of a large audience, preparing myself to tell them all about Random International’s Rain Room exhibited at the Barbican in 2013. It won’t be a day I forget in a hurry – that feeling of both excitement and slight terror, and most of all awe at my fellow speakers.

This week I was thrilled to be back, helping the fantastic ARTiculation team, and experiencing the whole event from the far more relaxing seat in the audience, and yet again – what a memorable experience! Having gone on from ARTiculation to study History of Art, I spend a lot of time listening to presentations and lectures, often from my classmates. Publicly thinking, speaking and listening about art are the absolute foundations on which the degree stands, and the Dulwich speakers not only taught me brand new things (much of which I will be poaching for my own essays!) they were all also wonderfully entertaining and engaging.

Moving through an unparalleled range of subjects and materials from performance and photojournalism to architecture and tapestry, each speaker embraced every second at the lectern and commanded the room, whilst oozing genuine enjoyment. I was particularly struck by the incredible sense of self-affiliation the participants had for their chosen artists, and I was touched by the candid and open way they offered their personal challenges to the audience.

dulwich-compilation

I greatly enjoyed being introduced to the striking photographic work of Diane Arbus as well as the deliciously textual work of artist Mariam Schapiro and both speakers gave wonderful insight into works as yet unknown to me. Similarly it was great to see a student engaging with contemporary African Art and that of its diaspora, something I have recently personally been very engaged in, but a topic is still incredibly under-represented.

Returning to watch the ARTiculation heat at Dulwich reminded me yet again of what a fantastic undertaking it is. Three years on from my own experience, and ARTiculation continues to be something I gain a huge amount from, regularly meeting people on my journey into the art world who also took part, and it’s a lovely thing to share in.

The ARTiculation prize is not just a competition, it is a family into which you enter and which will stay with you long after you have forgotten what you ever even presented on! Seeing the passion and confidence of those at Dulwich, I know we’ve got some great new additions to the gang, and I wish Edie and Benjamin the best of luck at the National Gallery next month.

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