The artist and her studio

24 Apr

I’ve been having trouble deciding on where I want to work. When I was writing my Lit Review I generally came into Manchester to work in the MMU library twice a week. These were definitely my most productive days compared to the days I tried to spend working in my Warrington flat. However, trains are expensive, and it takes me a lot of effort and travel to do this too often.

I also get quite annoyed listening to students natter on about what they did last night in the ‘quiet’ zones, and hearing their ipod music buzzing out of their ineffective headphones. Probably my biggest annoyance is people eating when there are signs up everywhere forbidding this. I suppose it is quite comical watching them consume a full feast/picnic/banquet right under the noses of the staff who don’t seem to care about their own rules. Sometimes I think the students are in competition to see who can eat the most outrageous snack and get away with it. Right now, for example, the girl opposite me has just opened a massive tupperware box of nuts and seeds and has spread a whole pot of yoghurt over them. Yummy. If you ever read this, girl, you have incited my wrath! I’ve just noticed there are new posters up saying ‘don’t feed the animals’ with a picture of a rat, suggesting that food is encouraging pests in the library. I’m now going to sit with my feet curled up under me!

I have sometimes been back to Mansfield Cooper Library at Manchester University. This is a nice one as it has all the books I need and it doesn’t let people check them out so they are guaranteed to be in stock. I do feel cheeky going there as I’m not their student anymore, and I sometimes wonder if I will get ‘busted’ and shown out. The other problem is I can’t use their wifi.

I think the problem with my flat is that it’s open plan. I’ve cleared the dining table and have a good workspace, but I keep looking longingly at the sofa and the tv, or at the kitchen and I get too easily distracted.

Lately, I’ve been trying to look for a good workspace in Warrington so I can get out of my flat but not have to travel too far. I tried Warrington library. I found a nice table to sit with my laptop, but soon realised that the library is the main hangout of Warrington’s unemployed and homeless. I felt quite intimidated sitting out of site of the main desk and was really aware that men were loitering near me keeping one eye on my laptop. After a while I escaped upstairs to the deserted but brilliant Warrington Museum to restore calm and remind myself that Warrington does have something nice to offer after all. I’ve loved Warrington Museum ever since we studied it as one of the last surviving evolutionary ethnographic museums on my MA course. Sadly, the old ‘ethnology’ gallery has been completely refrbished now and has lost what remained of it’s original historical interpretation, but it’s still a fabulous place.

I’ve also tried Stockton Heath Library, which is much nicer but doesn’t have many work tables and can get a bit noisy. I always had a romantic image of what my life would be like as a PhD student, and I thought I would occupy coffee shops with my books piled on the tables. In reality, too expensive and too noisy!

I remember going to an exhibition a few years ago at Compton Verney called the ‘Artist and their Studio’. Until then, I had never really thought about the significance of the workspace used by artists and it was interesting to see images of these very personal spaces.

For me, I think I’ve concluded that it’s all a bit fruitless. There is no ideal workspace out there for me. Or rather, I should be seeing every space as a potential workplace, and I need to get over my objections and stop them getting in the way of a productive session!

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One Response to “The artist and her studio”

  1. mtchelzbt April 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    Have you tried working in the Special Collections room on the third floor of All Saints library? Very calming. I have arranged my desk at home so that it faces the window, away from the rest of the house and all the distractions therein. It works, actually, although I also find that a change is as good as a rest and having a number of different places to work is sometimes good!

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