Leverhulme Arts Scholarship | Julia Head

20 Mar 2018

My name is Julia Head and I am an emerging director based in Bristol. I am one of this year’s recipients of the Bristol Old Vic Ferment Leverhulme Arts Scholarship and last week I was fortunate enough to be part of Springboard; a week long workshop run by Young Vic. Here’s what I thought.

To be fearless despite being full of fear.

I have always found art galleries boring. Not because of the art, but because of the way you are expected to experience the art. Slowly, softly, quietly, calmly and thoughtfully. My brain doesn’t work like that. I am not slow or soft, quiet or calm, so I don’t visit them as often as I should. I want to touch them, to feel them, to get so close I can smell them, to laugh loudly at them and shout at them when they are bad. I want to be totally consumed by them.

Last week, I was fortunate enough to be part of a week of workshops at Young Vic, curated by their new Associate Director Nadia Latif. I say ‘curated’ because Nadia had carefully decided the artists who would come and share their practice with us. Some of them had taught her or worked with her, some had inspired her and some she just thought we should know about. But she had not decided how we, as an audience of emerging artists, should experience these sessions, or what we would take from them.

The result: A group of emerging artists who began developing their own practice, who decided what to hang on their walls and what to set fire to. A group of artists who were given the confidence and the opportunity to choose. I believe that to be a very empowering way to learn. 

Here are some of the things I chose to hang on my wall:

  • To take no one and nothing for granted.
  • To form and develop profound creative relationships by sharing experiences with collaborators.
  • To go to art galleries, watch films, go on walks and read books.
  • To make food with the people that I wish to make work with. 
  • To cook it and eat it together.
  • To embrace what has gone before, and have the confidence to change it.
  • To respect the idea that, in every piece of art, is a piece of someone’s soul.
  • To choose great people to put in a room together and then get out their way.
  • To lead with love.
  • To say “I don’t know” is always better than pretending you do.
  • To be fearless despite being full of fear.

I took too many notes to quote individuals (bad curating on my part) but I am incredibly grateful to; Imogen Knight, Sue Dunderdale, Rob Watt, Omar El-Khairy, Brad Birch, RashDash, Alice Birch, Somalia Seaton, Natalie Abrahami, Derek Bond, Pia Furtado, Tom Scutt, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Nadia Latiff, Sue Emmas, Kirsten Adam and everyone at Young Vic. For their wisdom, their honesty, their time, their genuine want to help a group of emerging directors, their part in helping to make this industry a kinder, more supportive and more open place.

It was a complete privilege to sit in the company of incredible creative minds and to share in the energy of other emerging artists. I feel somehow more solid than I did before, and I feel ready. I think these are pretty good feelings to have at the start of a career.