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Introducing our new Guest Blogger – Joanna Dacombe

Jo Dacombe

Jo Dacombe
Creative Nottingham would like to give Joanna a warm welcome who will be joining us for the next four weeks. To get to know her a little better, we’ve asked her eleven questions. Over to Jo..

Who are you – Name, Business Name, Based in….

I’m Jo Dacombe, I’m an artist.  I work all over the country and occasionally abroad and I’m an  Associate Artist at Nottingham Contemporary.

What brought you to Nottingham?

I started working in Nottingham around 1995, my first “real” job, supporting BEd art specialist students at NTU.  After that I worked elsewhere but still did the odd piece of work in Nottingham, but really returned to Nottingham two years ago when Nottingham Contemporary opened and I’ve been working with them a lot since.

What keeps you in Nottingham?

The people.  I constantly meet interesting, intelligent, creative and enthusiastic people in Nottingham who make me want to work with them.  I really like working collaboratively and I see a lot of potential in Nottingham.

What makes you unique to other creative people in Nottingham? (eg:- What is your business specialism? Do you have any hidden talents?)

It doesn’t really make me unique as I know there are lots of artists who work this way, but I’m different in that I don’t concentrate on one particular art form.  My work is more about following particular lines of thinking and making work in any way that communicates that interest, helps to explore that interest and helps to bring other people into conversation about it.  My art is an event or activity as often as a product.

I describe myself as “an artist in the public realm”.  This is to make me distinct from a “public artist” who might make permanent pieces of work for public space.  Although I sometimes do that too, I am more interested in how people experience spaces and particularly public spaces or the outdoors.  I’m interested in streets, the urban and the rural, how it feels to be in the weather, social and political space, elements of control and ownership, and other such things.  So I work in public spaces, sometimes in a publicised way, and sometimes more covertly!

At Nottingham Contemporary I work as part of the Learning team.  I’ve worked in education (formal and informal) for 15 years with all ages and abilities, and this still interests me.  I think artists bring a different approach to learning than teachers and school, and it’s good to have alternative ways of learning for everybody at any stage of their lives.  I believe the secret to a fulfilled life is to keep learning and I hope that I can play a part in helping people to do that.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? (future business & creative plans)

I just hope to be able to continue to do what I’m doing.  I’ve been working full time with art since I graduated and I want to continue.  It’s a privilege to be able to follow your own interests and make a living from that.

What do you wish you had more time for?

Long walks and more drawing.

What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?

I really love travelling.  But I get terrible flight guilt.  It’s a paradox that you value and understand the world better the more you travel, but  the very act of travelling is destructive to our planet.

What, in your eyes, breeds creativity?

An open mind.  And courage.

Where in Nottingham have you found to relax and unwind?

I like to disappear in crowds.

What would you like to see more of in Nottingham?

I’d just like to see more of Nottingham!  I’m still discovering if for myself.  I think a lot about the nature of cities and their multi-layers, which is what I love about them.  I could quite happily spend many, many years unpicking the layers of Nottingham.

What big thing (project or event) are you currently working on?

I’ve started a new collaboration with LJ Klee, a young graduate I met working at Nottingham Contemporary.  It’s early days, but we discovered a mutual interest in walking as a way of discovering the urban, so we have set up Sidelong, a project to explore the idea of curated walks.  Our first event will happen as part of Nottingham Light Night.  Visit our blog and find Sidelong on Facebook.

You can find out more about Jo at :



Twitter/Facebook/etc:   @JoDacombe