Rachel Dobbs: artist & educator

Artist

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I have been working as an artist since 2003, as one half of the collaborative duo LOW PROFILE (with Hannah Jones). We show our work nationally and internationally to a range of different audiences in galleries, at arts festivals and in… Continue Reading →

Educator

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Alongside my arts practice, I work as an educator in a variety of formal and informal settings. I am actively engaged in research into radical pedagogy and experimental methodology in teaching. As an arts professional and educator, I believe arts… Continue Reading →

Arts Funding: Applying For Grants

What do you need to know before you apply for grant funding for an arts or community project? A series of video guides to understand fundraising & applying for grants.

Useful Resources: Pre-Launch Crowdfunding Checklists

A selection of crowdfunding campaign checklists to ensure your new crowdfunding project is as SUCCESSFUL as possible!!

Useful Resources: Preparing your crowdfunding campaign page

Here’s a step-by-step guide to preparing your crowdfunding campaign page, with lots of useful resources to get you started on setting up a successful project page.

Enrol Yourself, Learning Marathons & Self-Directed Learning

Zahra Davidson (co-founder of Enrol Yourself) joins Rachel Dobbs (artist & educator) in conversation around learning marathons & self-directed learning

Useful Resources: Understanding Copyright

I’m often invited to speak on topics to do with IP, copyright and appropriation in relation to creative projects, making artworks and DIY arts activity. Here’s a collection of useful resources (available online) that I’ve been recommending that people read, watch… Continue Reading →

Creative Crowdfunding Reward Ideas

Looking for crowdfunding reward ideas, or just need a little inspiration? Read in Feeling a little stuck for reward ideas for your crowdfunding project? Here’s a whole load of crowdfunding reward ideas, starting points and inspiration to get you started…. Continue Reading →

Designing great crowdfunding rewards

Offering great crowdfunding rewards (for Kickstarter, IndieGoGo or Crowdfunder campaigns) can be a key way to involve your backers in the creative process, provide an incentive for people to back your project and allow backers to own the end product

Learning about coaching: reflections of a trainee coach

What is coaching? What is it like to work with a coach? What is the difference between a coach & a mentor? Some reflections on learning how to coach with RD1st Relational Dynamics techniques…

Building a crowdfunding team

Read in Alongside building a crowd around your crowdfunding project, this post investigates why and how you should build a team around your Kickstarter, IndieGoGo or Crowdfunder project and campaign to ensure its success. Initially inspired by Bethany Joy Carlson’s… Continue Reading →

Building your crowd: social media tips for crowdfunders & creative practitioners from Guy Kawasaki

Need to build a crowd around your project? Here’s some vital information for any creative practitioner, anyone planning a crowdfunding campaign or anyone who wants to build their social media presence.

On Closer Inspection: the work of Stuart Robinson

This week I received Stuart Robinson‘s new book Ham Fisted Half Cocked in the post. This was particularly exciting because I had written the foreword essay for the book!! Here is the full text of the essay, with photos from… Continue Reading →

How Plymouth Art Weekender can can help nurture the city’s arts eco system

Exploring ideas on how Plymouth Art Weekender (PAW) could develop further for future weekenders by reflecting on my experiences this year (2016). What is Plymouth Art Weekender’s role in nurturing the city’s visual arts eco system?

A short history of Plymouth’s contemporary arts ecology

I’m having a go at compiling a short ‘history’ of Plymouth’s contemporary arts ecology, and significant milestones that have contributed to the development of visual arts and experimental arts activity in the city. Please contribute!!!

Social Making Symposium – Plymouth 2016

A series of articles reflecting on Social Making: Socially Engaged Practice Now & Next, organised by Plymouth-based social makers Take A Part – focussing on the methodologies employed by a range of socially engaged practitioners operating in the UK (and further afield) and the human scale impacts of chosen case studies.

Achieving Empowerment

How can communities and artists work together to achieve empowerment? Reflecting on Take A Part’s Social Making: Socially Engaged Practice Now & Next, read a series of ‘take home’ points for artists & organisations working in socially engaged practice.

Re-defining the currency of success

How do artists, organisations & funders measure success in relation to socially engaged practice? Reflecting on Take A Part’s Social Making: Socially Engaged Practice Now & Next, read how researchers have teamed up with Situations to develop a new Visual Matrix methodology and what action points project creators need to consider.

Building in succession (as a requirement) in arts & community projects

Why is it ESSENTIAL to think carefully about succession in arts & community projects? Reflecting on Take A Part’s Social Making: Socially Engaged Practice Now & Next, read how successful socially engaged arts projects have managed the process and what action points project creators need to consider.

Building more empowered local communities through local global online learning

Read my recent provocation on Open Education and how digital platforms can enable improved community learning and development for Digital Plymouth Conference 2016. It’s sparked lots of conversation since the event!!

ACE Grants for the Arts – application TOOLKIT / CHEATSHEET

Here are 2 useful documents that could revolutionise writing your ACE Grants for the Arts applications!!! A handy ‘overview’ document (for brainstorming / planning / tracking progress) and a set of the current questions, colour coded to use with the overview to write your drafts on… You can thank me later!

Supporting neurodiverse & neurodivergent artists

Over the last few months, I have been supporting a number of neurodiverse artists to make ACE Grants For The Arts applications. As someone who is relatively neurotypical, this has made me increasingly aware of the problematic nature of application processes / systems of gatekeeping put in place to select which arts projects receive funding. Here’s my first attempt to write about some of the things I have learned…

Crowdfunding Project Analysis Toolkit

NEW: Free download – Crowdfunding Project Analysis Toolkit PDF. Learn how to make a great crowdfunding project today!!

Why I’m backing Statecraft

Statecraft is a new political strategy boardgame for 2-6 players that has just launched on Kickstarter… Now if that is not enough to whet your appetite, here’s a little about why I am backing this game…

Top 7 Reasons I Would Back Your Crowdfunding Project

Here’s a quick run-down of really important things your crowdfunding project needs to communicate to potential backers

Useful Resources: DIY Arts Activity

I’ve been invited to speak at a number of events recently on topics to do with fundraising, pitching projects, setting up and managing DIY arts projects. Here’s a collection of useful resources (available online) that I’ve been recommending that people… Continue Reading →

Makey Makey @ Summer Mix 2015

During July & August 2015, I ran a series of Makey Makey workshops as part of Plymouth City Council’s Summer Mix project (free summer courses for young people between 11-19) at Plymouth College of Art. I was aware that the… Continue Reading →

Zombie Apocalypse Planning: Preparedness, dry runs and speculative survival strategies that allow us to discuss the unthinkable

ESSAY:

Here’s an academic paper I wrote and presented at Plymouth University’s Zombies – Walking, Eating and Performance Symposium in 2013… It’s an oldie but a goodie!

Embedded in the zombie genre and mythos is the immanent threat of apocalypse – the complete and final destruction of the world as we know it via an uncontainable, untamable and ever-growing army of the undead.

Makey Makey & the Green Orchestra

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of working with Take A Part on their Green Orchestra project (led by artists Neil Rose & Natalia Eerstmann, in partnership with iOrchestra & the UK’s National Philharmonia Orchestra) – a musical ensemble… Continue Reading →

Being the average UK boardgamer (and inclusivity, diversity and microaggression in boardgames)

Over the last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about inclusivity, diversity and microaggression in boardgames and the boardgaming world – in terms of design, playing, advertising and assumptions that are made by those commissioning, publishing and promoting… Continue Reading →

Why you should go to a Boardgame Convention…

I never thought I’d go to a boardgames convention. I am a complete nerd for lots of things… learning stuff, cover versions, stand-up comedy, weird electronic things that make strange noises, wikipedia, other people’s obsession with survivalism… but I don’t… Continue Reading →

Why I set up the Plymouth Boardgame Meetup

In December 2014, I decided to set up a brand new Meetup group for people to come together to play boardgames in Plymouth. After a little looking and asking around, I was finding it difficult to find existing groups of… Continue Reading →

Only Yourself To Blame: Barry Sykes

REVIEW:

Barry Sykes’ performance lecture Only Yourself To Blame (2013) at ICIA, Bath.

Where Sykes offers his audience the choice of three possible pre-prepared but unscripted ‘talks’ and we choose the one about his pencil collection.

Bruce Asbestos: Tiny Canvas Friday

INTERVIEW:

Talking with Bruce Asbestos about his recent Tiny Canvas Friday project on Facebook and the notion of entrepreneurship as a creative practice, social media as ‘form’, inhabiting online spaces, A/B testing and soliciting interaction from potential audiences in social spaces.

7 things artists could learn from board game Kickstarters

Over the last 2 years, I have worked on 2 successful Kickstarter campaigns (Cornish Smuggler & Waggle Dance, raising over £50,000 in total) with Grublin Games (an indie boardgame publisher based in Cornwall) which has involved a fair amount of research into different approaches to using Kickstarter. In that time, it has also become more usual for artists and arts organisations to use crowdfunding as a way to raise money for their projects.

Use Kickstarter as a distribution model & a tool to gauge interest

As an artist, what are your challenges when getting your work to an interested audience?

What is the established distribution model for the types of work you are interested in making?

How can you use a crowdfunding platform to by-pass that distribution model to reach an audience that would be interested in your work?

Stop thinking of Kickstarter as a platform for donations

Your Project Rewards shouldn’t be an afterthought – they can actually be a way to form your project.

How can you think about the exchange value of what you are generating through the project and approach this creatively to give your campaign a better chance of success?

Use Kickstarter to create a new community around your project

In the most successful boardgame projects, there is an on-going conversation between the project creators and backers, and between backers from around the world. The sense of temporary community generated through this conversation creates an engaged community of interest and can be exciting to be involved in.

What are artists missing out on by ignoring the potential of conversation in their crowdfunded projects?

Develop projects where a Kickstarter campaign is an integral part rather than an afterthought

What does it mean for a ‘crowd’ to fund your project?

What makes your project, its outcomes and rewards interesting, unique, novel and different?

How can you avoid becoming ‘just another’ crowdfunding campaign?

Focus on your timescale and actually delivering

How are you going to break down the timeline for your project into separate stages?

Will your timescale be realistic?

Will you actually be able to deliver your rewards?

Use Kickstarter as a way to generate excitement about your arts practice

What are the other benefits of running a Kickstarter campaign?

Would you like to give a worldwide exposure to your work, make new professional connections and find new audiences?

Some people are never going to back things on Kickstarter

How can you give your project life after the Kickstarter campaign?

What do you need to consider when making an ‘exit strategy’ for your project?

What do you do after it’s all over?

On Collaboration

On Collaboration is a short essay I wrote as part of my MA research (2008 – 10), informed by my experiences of collaborative practice as one half of LOW PROFILE and the on-going requirements in educational settings to reinforce individual authorship…. Continue Reading →

Long Conversations

As part of LOW PROFILE’s Picture In The Paper project, Hannah Jones & I started a series of co-authored conversations focused around engagement and participation, that discuss details of participatory arts projects by those who make work in this area.

I have borrowed this format for a series of interviews with artists whose practice I’m interested in, as a way to capture thinking about ephemeral moments in practice for further research.

DIY Culture

I have over 10 years experience in developing + delivering artist-led activity in Plymouth and am regularly asked to speak as an advocate for DIY arts practice in the South West.

Mentoring & Project Development

I work with people to develop their ideas for creative practice, entrepreneurial projects and professional development. If you’ve got something you’re trying to work out, get in touch and let’s see if I can give you a hand!

Web & Online

I regularly work with clients to design digital platforms, make websites and build digital communities for real-world activities using open source platforms like WordPress. Over the last number of years, I have been responsible for the design and delivery of… Continue Reading →

As British as a Bank Holiday Weekend: S Mark Gubb

REVIEW:

S Mark Gubb’s exhibition History Is Written By The Winners at Exeter Phoenix (Mar-May 2014)

The review reflects on ideas of Britishness, conflict, the writing of history, TV comedy and class brought up in Gubb’s work.

Coding For Women

Documentation of my work as participant on an MzTech Wearable Synthesizer workshop hosted by AIR Falmouth (an arm of Falmouth University modeled around the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol) – an opportunity to spend some quality time on further developing my understanding of Arduino coding and to tryout a Lillypad Arduino board and soft circuitry…

MAKEY MAKEY Workshop – Falmouth University

Following the success of using Makey Makeys to introduce everyday-tech hacking / customisation / re-purposing as part of my Digital Performance Practice module at Plymouth University, I was invited by the head of Dance at Falmouth to create a 2 day workshop introducing the Makey Makey to dance & choreography students as part of their Enhancement Week offering…

Gambling Man: Mark Greenwood

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Writing and reflection around the ideas of provincial poetics and DIY aesthetics with reference to Mark Greenwood’s spoken word recordings White Mice, All Colours and the indie record label one.c from July 2010

“In the aftermath of the Artists Lottery Syndicate launch, having retired to a back-garden in Ealing, I find myself discussing, with two of my fellow syndicate members, a kind of ‘provincial’ experience shared by artists like ourselves, having decided to base our arts practices outside of London (in Nottingham, Glasgow and Plymouth respectively)…

Never can say goodbye

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Writing in response to Sophie Calle’s exhibition Take Care of Yourself & Gob Squad’s video piece Live Long and Prosper from January 2010

“For a little while now, I have been wondering whether I should make a disclaimer for those I enter into romantic relationships with, warning them of the possibility of them ending up in my work…”

Girl On The Bottom…

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Writing in response to Performance Re-enactment Society’s Untitled Performance Stills & Cupola Bobber’s The Man Who Pictured Space From His Apartment from March 2010

“I have to admit, I took part in the Performance Re-enactment Society’s piece more by accident than design. It was definitely a case of “the right place, the right time”…”

Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be Dickie…

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Reflections on on Elodie Pong’s Secrets For Sale, Forest Fringe Edinburgh 2009 & Rotozaza’s Wondermart & GuruGuru, from Aug 2009

“Down to my last £2.60 on my final day in Edinburgh, I leave the house for a day of looking at art – always a reliable, cash-free option! After spending an hour (yes, an exceptionally long time) with Elodie Pong’s video piece Secrets For Sale, I find my mindset is well and truly altered…”

A Very Incomplete Lexicon of LOW PROFILE

LOW PROFILE – A Very Incomplete Lexicon of LOW PROFILE

This “lexicon” (written as part of my MA research 2008 – 10), frames a process of interrogation (searching for, finding, close questioning and unpacking) of terms I have used to tag or label areas of my practice and research, with the aim of developing a vocabulary for discourse around our (LOW PROFILE’s) particular the area of research/inquiry.

This document includes writing on ephemera, the status of the non-virtuoso and the idea of working ‘in series’.

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