Alice Theobald.

I am an artist, a visual artist and musician. I work with video and film and performance, sound, sculpture erm and they usually sort of become quite immersive installations.
Working with companies like Spare Tyre and Heart n Soul is kind of so important to me. I guess I’ve just always been interested in that rehearsal process and I think process in general. I think it’s sometimes more interesting than the outcome to me.

I think Arti is very good at kind of providing those sort of opportunities to different people with different sets of skills and I dunno I guess she saw, she saw something (laughs) I think… that I could contribute so.

I guess specifically something like dementia which erm is still very much in sort of early stages of kind of research in a way erm and I think I was definitely sort of conscious of you know that not being my research area.

We were going into these care homes and had care workers who were sometimes quite sceptical ambivalent towards towards the, it was felt sort of challenging because it was it felt a bit like “who am I to come in?” but it it also kind of reminded me the importance of the arts in all these different communities and just through being there and sort of seeing some of the reactions of what could could work. And there’s so many different people involved it’s not that you have to kind of think about and erm consider. It’s not just those that have dementia it’s also erm the families erm and it’s also the care workers and it’s also the homes erm themselves which all all have their own kind of restrictions and limitations that we have to consider and work with and adapt to. Erm so it was trying to create something that could… could be flexible enough to accommodate all those all those things. Very much sort of situated within that that moment without pressure to have to kind of achieve something or, or have an outcome or to remember something. Yeah I think it’s, it’s just very much about the moment.

I think the intuitiveness of of people with learning disabilities, erm kind of in particular is is just so refreshing. I don’t know I think we live, we live in a world where (laughs) where I think people are so self conscious all the time and and so scared as well I think in some ways of kind of expressing themselves whereas being within an environment where those sort of inhibitions aren’t there in the same way is so valuable and amazing to kind of work with.

It (participatory art) provides a platform for people to kind of see and demystify certain groups of society that erm you you probably wouldn’t be exposed to otherwise and it kind of makes makes things less of a taboo. I think it should, the reach should be bigger and there should be more work towards it being more inclusive. I think it should just be more out there somehow for, it helps, I think it’s just it it’s so important in terms of how people empathise and understand each other and you know empathy is and understanding is is how we function harmoniously as a society which erm I dunno is being pushed and pulled so much right now erm. I just wish it was sort of seen more and sort of respected like had the amount of respect it kind of sort of like deserved erm and for it to be to a place where those ability, race, gender aren’t don’t need a tick box (laughs) if you know what I mean? And it’s just like an equal plane. I think we’re I mean it’s it’s a long process but it’s I think we’re you know we’re on this sort of path.

Alice is an artist and musician, exhibiting and performing both in the UK and internationally. She is one of our Associate Artists, and began working with us in 2009 as a designer for our Trojan Women show, more recently she’s worked with us on our dementia projects. Alice’s work explores the relationship between reality and art.

Alice spoke to us about working on our dementia projects, working with learning disabled artists, and the ability arts can have in allowing people to understand each other.