From invigilating for Wales in Venice in 2013, she’s now working as Assistant Curator for Wales in Venice 2019, working on many international projects in between.
Following on from her time invigilating Wales in Venice in 2013, which was her first experience of working internationally, Louise was awarded the Jane Phillips Award to curate an exhibition at Mission Gallery. In parallel to this, Wales Arts International supported Mission Gallery to invite curator Nathalie Anglès, director and founder of Residency Unlimited (RU) in New York City, over to Wales as part of our 2014 programme of International Curator Visits. Nathalie then invited Louise to undertake a month long residency at RU following their meeting in Swansea. Louise was supported to undertake this residency through the International Opportunities Fund.
‘My time in New York enabled me to encounter different - for me - modes of working, dialogues, references, ways of learning and of working together. Reflecting on these conversations, I could then look more critically at my own position as an early career curator working in Wales / UK / Europe.’
During her time in New York, Louise made a number of new contacts which lead to other exciting international projects. She met Czech artist Roman Štětina on a studio visit, who she went on to work with on a new commission for Cardiff Contemporary 2015. She also met artist/curator and soon to be collaborator Will Owen, who’s based between NYC and Philadelphia.
In 2016-17, we launched our International Curators Visits, which enabled Louise and Wales based curator Sam Perry to invite Will Owen and Stockholm based artist/curator Josefin Vargö to travel Cardiff. Together they met with a number of galleries and artists based in South Wales and wrapping around these conversations, they developed a collaborative dialogue as a group. Working then as the collective Case Studios, they went on to work on the project 7 Common at Flux Factory which, supported by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee, examined artistic strategies within food politics, societal culture and commuting along the route of the 7 Train in NYC.
Through growing her own network and being generous and open with her contacts, Louise has been able to facilitate other relationships for the benefit of the arts sector in Wales too, such as introducing Australian Curator Eleanor Scicchitano to g39 and Artes Mundi, and helping a Danish artist with contacts on her visit to Cardiff.
The opportunity to go and see international events to develop networks has not only helped with her international network, but also with her UK and Wales-based networks too. Through WAI’s visit to Manifesta and Berlin Biennale in 2017, Louise met James Harper, Curator at Tŷ Pawb - the lead organisation for Wales in Venice 2019. Through other more recent visits, such as to Documenta and Munster Sculpture Project, and also Valletta for a course in Curating and Social Practices, Louise continues to develop her networks.
"For artists and curators in Wales to develop and sustain a creative practice, I feel that international working is essential. That it is through the experience of international residencies, exhibitions, projects and training that we are able to gain a critical distance from practice, process and peers, enabling new dialogues, ways of thinking, ambition, awareness and criticality to emerge. Through international working, we are challenged to review our individual and collective positions within international contemporary art practice, and perhaps most importantly, to consider how we each relate to one another and the time and place we’re in.
We often talk of networks and contacts, however the words I might use include hosting, generosity, care, learning, reciprocity, collaborative dialogue and exchange. I’d also use the word friendship."