Building Skills & Confidence – reflections on the Plymouth Platform scheme

As part of Visual Arts Plymouth‘s 2017-2018 talent development programme, VAP has been matching early career artists, creative practitioners and arts professionals with mentors (more established artists and professionals in the region) through the Plymouth Platform scheme.

Install details from Laura Edmund’s – A Soft Introduction – shown as part of Plymouth Art Weekender 2017.

We catch up with two of the artists involved in the 2017 Platform – Laura Edmunds &  Hannah Rose – to find out what taking part in the scheme has meant to their arts practice…


Laura Edmunds:

The Plymouth Platform enabled me to achieve a set of goals in a way that gave me enough structure to feel supported, but enough freedom and independence to decide on ideas or methods myself or with my mentor, Hannah Rose. As a scheme, it could be tailored to your project and interests, which I found immensely freeing.

It gave me some sort of blueprint to work with when planning exhibitions from an artist-led or independent perspective, whilst also being safe in the knowledge that are a lot of different ways of making things happen.

Working with Hannah was excellent as her experience as an artist and networks within the city were fantastic resources that she shared with me during the scheme. I observed her commitment, energy and pace, and felt like I was truly supported during the process. Hannah’s experience in writing and reading grant applications, in making decisions and problem solving taught me methods of ensuring that my practice become more resilient and professional.

Install detail from Laura Edmund’s – A Soft Introduction – shown as part of Plymouth Art Weekender 2017. Image Credit: Dom Moore

Going forward, I feel so much more confident in my decisions and my work as an artist. I loved observing the other mentees projects and how we all approached the mentorship in varied ways – this demonstrated that there is no correct way of resolving a project.

As an artist now, I am much more clear about how I manage projects, collaborations and ongoing research. It showed me that working with other people is a valuable, enjoyable and exciting way of making things happen.

It demonstrated that an arts ecology is possible if we are supportive and supported by one another. A lot of people contributed to the project in various ways: mentoring sessions with Hannah, proofreading, chats in the studio corridor, studio visits, technical expertise. Previously, I had worked very independently and normally alone, and Plymouth Platform showed me that that isn’t the only way, nor the best way.



Hannah Rose:

I really enjoyed working with Laura on developing her ideas, being part of an artists creative process and helping to shape a project is really rewarding. It’s great to be able to share and work through different ideas as well as hopefully offering useful practical advice.

Being able to step inside someone’s practice is a real privilege – I feel that I have a real insight into Laura’s interests and will continue to look out for other opportunities that I can send her way.

I’m aware that my own hardcore workplans and structures for delivering projects can be a bit overwhelming and not to everyone’s tastes – but Laura is very organised and committed and responds well to setting herself challenging goals so we were a good match!

I was really pleased to see Laura pushing herself through this project. Especially with working with new technology/software to create a beautiful and compelling soundwork which for me, expanded her drawing work in a really exciting way. I’m looking forward to following her practice as it develops and hopefully getting to hang out more in the future.


Plymouth Platform is designed & coordinated by Visual Arts Plymouth, informed by previous mentoring schemes run by VASWa-n (review bursaries) and Hand in Glove (Bristol) and is supported financially through Horizon – a collaborative two year programme of visual contemporary arts, funded through Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence fund and supported by Plymouth Culture.