Artist transiency

Posted July 3, 2012 by Maja Kuzmanović

FoAM’s ‘artist in transience’ Dougald Hine will set out this summer to wander Europe as a guild journeyman: collecting stories, learning, connecting and contributing to resilient cultural initiatives along the way. In the guilds of the middle ages a journeyman was someone who had completed his apprenticeship and was competent in his craft, but had not yet risen to the level of master. Deriving from the Old French journée, implying the ‘travel’ of a working day rather than the activity we associate with the word, there is yet a long tradition of the wandering journeyman, moving from place to place to learn more about the practice of his craft. In some parts of Europe, this continues to the present day.

As the journeyer of the Guild of Resilients, Dougald will embark on a quest in search of people, places and projects that have something to teach us about deep cultural resilience. Along the way he wants to learn more about the history of the European guild, the figure of the journeyman, and other wandering traditions - and hopefully make some useful connections between those he meets.

We invited Dougald to be our first 'artist in transience', adapting the role of a traditional guild journeyman to today's creative practices. What inspired us in the journeyman's role is the movement and sharing of knowledge, making connections between people and places, as well as itinerant, practice-based learning. Travel and exchange enrich both the journeyers and the people they visit. What differentiates this role from that within a traditional guild is that we see the sources of the knowledge being open rather than kept secret within the walls of guildhall and that today's journeyers should be able to travel across boundaries of disciplines, cultures and genders as well.

A Resilients journeyer is a part of a larger support structure we envisage for those who see the arts as a place to prototype social change or cultural revitalisation. At the moment, there are six organisations and several dozens of practitioners involved in the project, as apprentices, journeyers or masters. In the medium term, we're interested in forming a distributed Guild of Resilients, able to provide opportunities for personal and professional development, technical and conceptual infrastructure for research and creation, as well as food and shelter for Resilients in transience.

We wanted to test these ideas in practice, with someone who is aware of the cultural and social challenges we're experiencing today, as well as being able to extract meaningful lessons from the past. We were looking for someone comfortable with being a part of an experiment that does not have a predefined route or methodology. The Resilients journeyer should be curious, adaptable and eager to connect people and ideas on the fly. Dougald seems to be the perfect candidate.

We asked him to go native and become a Resilients journeyer for a time. His task on the road is to seek out, learn about, collect and connect examples of cultural resilience, historical guilds and guild-like structures of today. It's up to Dougald himself to decide where he goes, with whom he meets and what he does. During this journey he'll share his reflections on what it could mean to be a Resilients journeyer - for himself, for the people who host him, as well as society and culture at large.

Dougald, we wish you wonderful travels and look forward to your stories!