Here she tells us about what she learnt from making the films about the Ripples on the Pond artists in an interview conducted by Contemporary Arts MA student Camilla Nordgren who is on a student placement with GWL.
Camilla: What drew you into the library?
Jenny: I was involved with a company called Momentum which helps young people into employment, either as a volunteer or in a paid position. When they asked me what kind of job I might like to do, I told them that I really enjoy writing so they suggested the library as a good place to start. I then went for a visit and started working as a volunteer. Plus, having grown up with three brothers, it has felt really good to have a place where I can come and talk to other women and learn from them.
C: Why did you want to work with the Ripples on the Pond group?
J: I was asked if I’d be interested in getting involved with the project and as I have always been interested in learning more about the media, I decided that this would be an interesting project. As well, when I realised there was an opportunity to work with filming equipment it got me extra excited.
C: What was your view of art and culture before getting involved with GWL and this project?
J: I never had much interest in art or visiting art galleries before but since my involvement with the project, I’ve visited GOMA on my own a couple of times and have redone my own research about the artists online.
C: How was working with the group?
J: The group was always friendly and welcoming and it was always easy for everyone to express their opinions as your views were always listened to and respected.
C: What did you think about the Gallery of Modern Art and the Ripples on the Pond exhibition?
J: I thought it was interesting and I enjoyed learning about the artists and what the inspiration behind the works was. I was inspired by the works and they got me thinking about how women often go unrecognised, and how their work is rarely spoken about or shown to people. I think the exhibition is trying to get people talking about the lack of acknowledgement of women in the art world, as in everywhere else, and really working towards changing people’s perceptions about women not being as talented as men.
C: Were you aware that there is such great inequality in the arts before getting involved with this project?
J: No, I wasn’t even aware of the inequalities women still face until I got involved with GWL, but now I know how difficult it is for women to be recognised for their achievements. That is why I think women-only spaces like GWL are so important because there are still so many women who aren’t aware of how little recognition women’s achievements get, but in a female-only space you can discuss these issues confidently.
C: Do you feel like you have benefitted from being part of the Ripples on the Pond group?
J: I do because they’ve helped spark new interests in me and taught me new useful skills. I now have a better understanding of how to work with cameras, as well as how to write reviews about art works. I also feel more confident about sharing my skills and knowledge with other people.
C: Has your view of arts and culture changed by getting involved with the library, and Ripples on the Pond specifically?
J: I would definitely say that my views have changed. I now feel like I can visit an art gallery and admire the work and be able to understand what the artist is trying to say without relying on someone else explaining it to me.
C: Has being a part of the Ripples on the Pond project altered your perception of your own abilities, and your abilities to take part and contribute to the arts?
J: I now believe that I am capable of making it in the world, I enjoy writing stories and the project has inspired me to write more and send my stories away for publication. If these women can do it then so can I.
C: How does it feel to know that you are leaving a mark and a contribution behind with these films?
J: It feels great knowing that members of the public will see these works. Hopefully people will be inspired to reach their own full potential in all aspects of their life.
C: What do you want people to take from the films?
J: I want people to have a better knowledge of female artists and their work, and for female artists to get more recognition in art reviews. I also want people to feel inspired about what they see and hear about the art works.
If this has inspired you to volunteer, you can find out more here.