Critical Mass:

Is Critical Mass an alternative to an MA / MFA?
It is not an accredited programme and does not adhere to a formal education structure. Artists could participate in the programme prior to or following postgraduate education.

What is critique / critical conversations?
An in-depth discussion surrounding the individual artist’s core practice concepts or works in progress or recent works made, aiming to question and add more depth to the artwork produced or future developments.

What is skill sharing?
Sharing your own knowledge and skills with other participants in the programme. We may also invite our network of represented artists to share their own skills if applicable. Skill sharing could be practical or information-led.

Do I have to commit to attending all the creative retreats?
Yes. It is important all participants attend the whole programme.

How will you tailor the programme to my practice and requirements?
At the start of the programme we will arrange one-to-one meetings with each artist to discuss their individual requirements, needs and ambitions for the programme. Regular conversations will take place following this to ensure content and delivery can suit the artist’s developing requirements. All feedback and information will be combined and included within the programming of the creative retreats and other activities.

Where will the retreats take place?
The first retreat will take place at The Old Sunday School, Macclesfield. The location for the following retreats will then be agreed in relation to the content of the programme and requirements of the artists. If any of the retreats or sessions are scheduled outside of Macclesfield centre, advance notification will be given along with support planning transportation. This could include rural areas surrounding Macclesfield or visits to institutions in Manchester city centre.

What will be the format of the retreats?
Each day will be split into two sessions – 10am-12:30pm and 1:30-4pm. Evening sessions, gallery visits and talks will also be facilitated in addition.

Will food be provided on the retreats?
No. Artists will be given information at the start of the programme about the best places to buy food and drink.

Where can I stay during the retreats?
We have negotiated discounted accommodation with Sleep Eat Retreat B&B, Macclesfield for each of the five creative retreats at £65 per person / per night including breakfast. Other accommodation is available in Macclesfield including: Travelodge (from £30 per night). Further information will be supplied to the participating artists when selected.

What will be the content of the retreats?
The content of the retreat will be programmed in response to the specific needs and requirements of the participating artists. Example sessions could include:

  • group and one-to-one critical dialogue sessions
  • artist professional development workshops (see below for more details)
  • one-to-one mentoring and advice sessions
  • meetings with curators / producers
  • artist master classes
  • talks & workshops led by leading artists and industry professionals
  • skill sharing workshops

What could the artist professional development workshops include?
This could include any aspect of building and nurturing a professional and sustainable career. Workshops could include (but not limited to): funding and fundraising / writing applications / developing relationships / finding opportunities / communicating your practice / finance and budgeting / strategic & career planning.

Who might I meet as part of the programme?
As part of the tailored programming, we will invite guest speakers and workshop leaders. These could include: curators, producers, commissioners, writers and other artists. These individuals may have been highlighted by the artist or by Mark Devereux Projects.

What are the one-to-one mentoring sessions for?
The one-to-one mentoring sessions taking place every 6-8 weeks will allow each artist to individually discuss specific areas of their practice, work or professional development. This could include critiques of work in progress, support writing applications or general advice. Each session will be up to 1-hour.

Will there be an end of year exhibition?
No. We feel this can become a distraction to the learning and development of the artist and take away from the content of the programme. Instead of this there will be opportunities for the participating artists to create their own events, exhibitions, etc with the support of Mark Devereux Projects to test ideas and new approaches.

How will you support a funding application for participation on the programme?
We will read, comment and edit a draft funding application that directly supports participation in the programme for participating, selected artists only.