My name’s Josh Grigg. Currently I am a sound designer, mainly. Which means I, um, design… and make music for theatre productions and sometimes dance as well.
In late 2012 I applied for an internship that was for people on low income that wanted to… get into the participatory arts. Um, and I’d had a, a… background in, in theatre from doing a degree in Theatre and Performance, and then I’d been working making music for a while and then I was a bit unsure about what I should do. And I started working with kids, and working at a library, and I knew there was this kind of area to do with performance and erm… workshopping, ah, and participatory arts that I really wanted to get into. Um and, Spare Tyre’s office was in Stockwell which was just round the corner from me and I was searching for jobs in the area to do with that and found this internship.
I’m interested in relational art projects, and I’d done a few things, um, with my friends, um… running like noodle bars, or, running… kind of themed events but, but for friends mainly in galleries. Or helping with friends’ art shows that had stuff to do with participation. And then when I was working with kids I got interested in how I could use my kind of technical background to… make workshops for them and get them involved in creating things.
I… am part of a computer club, um where… we help people to solve their computer problems. And through doing that I’ve had this… kind of thought or experience that, because of my background and my privilege from, y’know, gender and race, I am in a position where I have a certain amount of knowledge, or I’ve had a certain amount of agency in learning some things. Um, and it feels important for me to try and, um, disseminate that knowledge to… to other people who maybe don’t… have the confidence or maybe haven’t had the… the opportunities to learn those things. Participatory arts has… something to do with that in it for me. That I feel like I’m in the position that I can, I can facilitate these, these workshops, or I can facilitate these projects. I think… I like this other aspect of participatory arts that… is a kind of shadow curriculum or shadow agenda that you have that’s about you… like the facilitator spending time with people. And learning from each other, learning how to communicate with people and… (…) I feel like you learn a lot of very subconscious… er, quite deep experiences, um, when you’re just exposed to different people, different strangers you’re all working together. People on a one-to-one level get a lot out of it. It’s almost a type of therapy maybe, um, and an outlet for people.
The current project is called ‘Moving Portraits’ and it’s for the 40th anniversary of Spare Tyre. And it’s a project that involves a green screen and filming people in front of the green screen and trying to create a live video portrait of them. It has a lot of room for people to take it as far as they want to take it, um, because we just set the parameters of how they’re made, so we know that we have this camera and we know that we have this green screen. People are free to do whatever they want in front of that, and to kind of make that their own, and I enjoy that process. It’s a project that ends up, like, being very communicative, like you’re constantly talking and like trying to work out what to do next. Maybe it’s less to do with trying to look your best, and more to do with trying to present yourself. Present like, a more full version of yourself than just the kind of, the image.
Spare Tyre’s kind of the only, only thing like it in my life really. What really stands out is just they’re, they’re totally up for these ideas. They’re very um, they feel very progressive and positive and they put a lot of faith in me, and a lot of faith in my ideas and um, helping to make them happen. And um, not being… very prescriptive over what the outcome will be, um. But yeah, I find Spare Tyre are just very generous with their time and thoughts. That the people running it are just, they’re not… they don’t give up, and what they provide is pretty unique. And the output that they make is pretty unique, so, I think they’ve just got a constant place in the world.
I love Spare Tyre, I love working with them, and, they really changed my life
Josh joined us as an intern in 2012 and has since worked on several of our projects as a sound artist, including Roehampton Radio and The Garden. Most recently he led a series of nationwide workshops with learning disabled people as part of our ST40 project entitled 'Moving Portraits', this project provided opportunity for participants to explore the idea of identity and representation.
Josh spoke about what it’s like to work with us, and what motivates him in his creative work.