Claire Hicks, 26 January 2015

The group, approached the discussion from three main propositions.

1. to leave London ‘permanently’ - to relocate

2. to create stronger artistic relationships outside of London

3. to metaphorically leave London, ie to give it less value & power over artistic


People talked about their own experiences of leaving, making work & living outside


Opportunity to reinvent myself

I could be influenced by the people around me not by the art of London

Found normal life influences, in London other artists and their work can be limiting

I found it easier to find a sense of self

It can be an insular, though not inward – a community, a family

There can be less money, but there are lower costs

Moved for artistic reasons, artistic drivers….

Some people move because they will get more funding and support (perhaps building

on organisational support or artistic relationships)

Collaborations with people in London continue, your don’t have to leave everyone

behind and make a clean slate

I was able to pursue my individual experimentation

I am building an artistic community without the eyes of others upon me/us

Outside of London there is space – to be the first, the best….

Allows experimentation

Artistic growth.

Journeys of self discovery.

Going abroad can be a choice too.

Living abroad gave me a sense of how to build a sense of community, allowed me to

find a way to be self-sufficient and through this to find a tribe of my own.

There are places outside to come and make work (e.g. performance lab) to get away

and focus on the art being made

Being outside London offers different models of living

Rural areas provide a different kind of work, a different way to make work, and really

good work is being made there.

By not coming into London or living there, I avoid the social overhead.

London can be a distraction.

New context, new identity, new opportunity.

Places outside of London that we spoke about positively….



The North East




The South West





Rural places



And their thoughts and desires and fears around leaving.

Do you need an ‘invitation’, something to go to?

Will the local pool of artists be more restricted? Will I be able to find people to work

with that are good enough?

The way in which outside of London is perceived.

London, Birmingham and the North.

It is seen as all the same, but there are huge differences, not least between urban and

rural locations, and regional differences. That there isn't the same quality of work

possible outside of work. Conversely many people in London stated categorically that

some of the best work was being created outside of London.

I have realized that I have become metropolitan and I can’t/don’t want to live


There is a certain freedom offered by London, by being able to get lost.

In London one is often sustained by a belief in opportunity rather than real work/life


Maybe this is the same with London as with Los Angeles – a perception of opportunity

I often flirt with the idea of leaving, but I’m scared of the transition.

I’m worried I won’t be able to make my living – the financial fear.

Change is scary.

I would be leaving my audience.

And the audiences outside of London.

Audiences deserve as much outside of London as within.

Audiences can be far more open minded.

Audiences appreciative, diversity of people attending, not the same ‘faces’ (usual


It can be less easy to find, an ‘arts’ audience in the sense that you need to not assume

that you are talking to people who are immersed in the arts and arts language.

If you leave London you are not taking your bounty to them, think about what you can


And the arts communities outside London

If you leave London you are not taking your bounty to them, think about what you can


New people are welcome

More exposure to different people is exciting

When I want to come to London or work in London I do

Is this something about age?

Are these time of life considerations?

things become tiring that you could once put up with

people want to start families and have their own houses and don’t feel they can afford

this in London or want a different lifestyle

There is the possibility to leave London whilst living there, locally – South East London

focus that makes going into the rest of London something separate. Create this same

kind of focus perhaps.

Do you need to leave London or do you just need a holiday?!

On the one hand, on the other

It is good to know in London what you want to do

London is good if you don’t know what to do

London is good to help you develop your voice.

London can make it hard to become your own artist, too much distraction, too many


London - Anonymity is good, Anonymity is bad

Outside – Visibility is good, Visibility is bad

Outside London you can be at the service of your community

What if I don’t want to be at the service of my community

In London I can just make what I want

Outside of London you can focus on what you want to make

Leave my ‘tribe’

Create/Find a new ‘tribe’

Have a focus on local creativity

Bring in whoever you need

Other things people said

Rural touring is the most important work happening in Britain

London can be a very dry place artistically to live for some kinds of work

It seems to young people that you have to come to London.

Its great that people still come together physically, like today. That still happens.

With London isn’t it often quantity rather than quality?

I guess I have been unhappy that people (media, London folk) haven’t valued what I

have been doing outside of London as much as if it had happened in Shoreditch. But

does that matter? Do I need London & its media to validate me and what I do?

Britain is a tiny island, we can move about it very easily

Can London be more outward looking?

There is a need for connection, both ways……

This conversation was part of that connection and exchange.


regions, tribe, misconceptions, metropolitan, connection, opportunity, Regions,

London, rural, Misconceptions, discovery, london, fear, Opportunity