INTERVIEW: Undutiful Spirit | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

Narc. Magazine Online

Reliably informed

Image: Harriet Sutcliffe, Rosie Morris and Gayle Meikle by Jade Sweeting

Rosie Morris, Harriet Sutcliffe and Gayle Meikle wear many hats: artists, curators, researchers, lecturers and now residents at the BALTIC for six months as they investigate the archive and women’s position within it. As the collective Undutiful Spirit, they seek to look at BALTIC, its archive and the North East art scene as a whole through a welcomed, feminist lens.

It’s a really interesting site to attach this idea of female identities and perspectives in archives and history,” says Gayle, with Harriet adding: “we’re also interested in what’s not included in the archive.”

The canonisation, preservation and inclusion of female artists in exhibitions and, consequently, archives are at the forefront of the trio’s minds. “We’ve been trying to bring out the hidden voices, which are typically female, we’re interested in addressing the imbalance,” adds Rosie.

Off the back of their discoveries within the archive, they want to evolve Undutiful Spirit beyond the three of them by creating forums and a network of female creatives. With the feminine experience transcending one dimension, they understand that it’s personal to everyone: “we’re open to other perspectives, different lived experiences.”

At times it feels like a competitive community in the arts. We want to support, nurture and lift others up within our practice and residency

Creating for the future, but indebted to the past, Gayle quips that “Undutiful Spirit has come from a long lineage of feminists around this idea of not being expectant of a woman’s role and being resistant to the perceived notion of what that should be.”

They’re adamant that creation shouldn’t be competitive and that the network and voices they find are for the purpose of communal progression, as Rosie states: “At times it feels like a competitive community in the arts. We want to support, nurture and lift others up within our practice and residency.”

She adds: “The idea of Undutiful Spirit comes from this idea of polyphony and the synergies and divergences between different voices and we really want to bring lots of different voices in and not just our own. It’s super important to spread beyond that.”

Rosie and Harriet both champion site-specific work, and so for them BALTIC will assume the position of canvas for investigation, discovery and creation. The residency will culminate in an exhibition in July to mark the end of their journey, and will also coincide with BALTIC’s 20th birthday celebrations.

The six-month residency is full of possibilities for Undutiful Spirit, but still shrouded in uncertainty and excitement. They find themselves heading into the archive partly blind, knowing the things they want to look for, but unsure of the impact this will have on their artwork and practice. “The more voices we bring in, hopefully empowering them, the more we’ll learn from it. I’m sure it will feed into our practice, it feels like everything is coming together, but we don’t know where the snowball is headed yet.”

Like this story? Share it!

Subscribe to our mailout