permanent commissions
temporary projects
curating & consultancy

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Jane Watt Artist

I am a visual artist, researcher and lecturer now based in Suffolk. I have made installations and site-specific work in the public realm since 1994.

I approach each project afresh: the place, people and situation all feed in to the development of new work. I adapt everyday materials or situations to create extraordinary and delightful interventions that uplift and challenge the viewer’s usual perception of that object, place or environment. I have changed the skyline of Hoxton with a flock of one hundred artificial birds on a city roof, researched how to make a straight rainbow on the Pentland Hills and gathered 6000 words from archives and the people of Cambridge for the worlds’ largest word search wall.

The interaction of light is an important consideration in my work, and I try to exploit both natural and artificial media so that my work can be experienced in different ways according to light levels, weather conditions, and the time of day or year. An intrinsic part of my creative process is the on-going dialogue with different people who assist in, and contribute to, the realisation and reception of the work. I have enjoyed fruitful design collaborations with architects, lighting designers and engineers. I work with a range of groups and individuals affiliated to projects that are situated in the public realm, from councillors to street sweepers, school children to company directors, local businesses and residents.

Permanent Commissions
I have undertaken a number of public art commissions including work for the Edinburgh Dental Institute and the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, both of which were awarded Saltire Society Arts in Architecture Awards and a largescale design commission for Land Securities in Cambridge. These permanent projects, which often evolve over a number of years, enable me to work on an ambitious scale and with a number of interesting materials.

Temporary Commissions
I enjoy creating temporary works that allow more immediate approaches and ethereal interventions. These works can include large-scale works such as Trip the light fantastic in the windows and streets of Archway, north London, a building wrap design Justice shines by its own light for the new UK Supreme Court in Parliament Square, London. As well as more intimate and interactive works such as Reflectagon, a camera obscura for Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire and A Taste of Summer, a light installation/performance for the Forces of Light Festival, Helsinki.

I have exhibited widely in more conventional gallery spaces in Britain and abroad including: Millais Gallery, Southampton; Buzzer Thirty, New York; the Crafts Council, Café Gallery, and Dominic Berning in, London; the Harris Museum, Preston and Varberg Museum, Sweden. I have had solo exhibitions at 11 Spitalfields and The Economist in London, Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth and Damasquine Gallery in Brussels.

Curation and consultancy
I have curated temporary projects that examine artists’ response to place including Open Space across four towns in Essex commissioned by Essex County Council and Commissions East, as well as 1ST Out as part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail. My interest in supporting artists’ practices has led me to mentor a number of emerging artists as well as mid-career artists on Making Art Work, a professional practice scheme run by Suffolk County Council and Method, a pilot scheme funded by the Cultural Leadership Programme. I have worked with a-n: The Artists Information Company since 2003 as freelance writer, researcher and online editor.

I have developed modes of critical engagement in site-specific installation and writing through practice-based and field research. My research focuses on how artists negotiate with, and involve, people and place. I examine the practical, social and political issues and how these influence the creative process of the artist. The primary evidence that I gather through observation, interview and discussion with others directly informs my creative practice, as well as published works including Navigating the Unknown: the creative process in contemporary performing arts, eds., Bannerman, Sofaer and Watt (London: MU Press) and Reflections on Networking and Impact of Networking (both Newcastle-upon-Tyne: a-n The Artists Information Company).

My PhD research at Manchester Metropolitan University led on to my four year post as Research Fellow at ResCen (Centre for Research into Creation in the Performing Arts) at Middlesex University. I was Associate Lecturer in Art History and Contextual Studies at Roehampton University for five years. I am currently Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and Course Leader in MA Arts Practice/Fine Art at University of Suffolk.

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