Late Calls

This report by François Matarasso assesses the impact of a week-long pilot lab that offered early career artists, aged 50+, time to explore how creativity can be nourished and how artists can challenge themselves to develop.

The Older Artists’ Lab took place in February 2017 at Cove Park, led by Luminate in partnership with Magnetic North and a-n The Artists Information Company. From over 130 applications, six artists – Ian Cameron, Kate Clayton, Annie Peel, Frank McElhinney, Lesley Wilson and Beatrix Wood – were selected to take part.

Magnetic North’s Nicholas Bone and Alice McGrath worked with the group reflecting on the question ‘What nourishment does an artist need to keep developing?’ Mornings were spent in group discussion, with afternoons for artistic work or reflections. In the evenings there was opportunity to socialise and share creative activity.

A group of people are taking part in a movement class inside a modern building that references rural steadings , clad in timber with large picture windows on two sides.

Cove Park

Photo: Eoin Carey

As an older artist it was lovely to spend a week debating what that meant, sometimes just about being an artist, sometimes about the pros and cons of being older

Lesley Wilson, Artist

Writer and researcher Francois Matarasso observed sessions and spoke with participants and facilitators before and after the lab. His report offers insights into the impact on participants, the particular needs and concerns for early career older artists, and suggestions for how to build on the lab’s success.