‘They didn’t know where it was anymore. Basically.’ 

Obscure Secure – Review bursary blog/second post

a-n Re:View bursary meeting Valerie Sinason

Last month we met with psychoanalyst, poet and writer Valerie Sinason to reflect on our project Obscure Secure as part of our a-n Re:view bursary.

It was exactly two years ago (2013) that we met Valerie for the first time, at the beginning of our project. The second time we met her she was in conversation with Frances Spalding as part of our Obscure Secure programme of talks at Christchurch Mansion in November 2014.This means we have met her at key stages of our collaborative project’s development and our individual development as artists (three meetings in total).

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Image: From Helen Kiddall’s archive box, research Ipswich Borough Stores, June 2014

I have felt extremely privileged to involve Valerie in our project. I first discovered her whilst studying art therapy and was deeply moved by her writing in a book of clinical case studies. She has been so generous with us – giving us time and valuable insights through her amazing ability to consider and reflect – her clarity and openness are rich ground for challenging our ideas. Hayley Field, August 2015

In the mid 90’s I used to live in Golders Green and was a student at the Royal Academy Schools. I am German and if I had known that Valerie lived just round the corner, I might have been her client and what we would have talked about I can only imagine. Visiting her 20 years later as part of our Obscure Secure enquiry in July this year was an amazing experience for me. Valerie was very welcoming to the three of us, sharing and developing themes and questions centring on the human condition. Claudia Boese, August 2015

I wasn’t familiar with Valeries work until Claudia and Hayley introduced it to me – and if I am honest I couldn’t quite see how meeting with Valerie at the beginning stages of our project back in 2013 would be of benefit. I was wrong – after our first meeting I understood fully why. Valerie’s lovely warm, welcoming and holistic way of connecting to our very tentative beginnings of ideas / thoughts around our project interwoven with her questions and generous observations were invaluable. It felt fitting to be visiting her two years after that first meeting. Jacqueline Utley, 2015

A brief summary of our a-n Review bursary meeting with Valerie Sinason in July 2015

Our meeting  with Valerie Sinason took place last month, we used it to reflect on what we had achieved with Obscure Secure. We explored the complexities we had experienced  working with a collection and archives. Valerie reflected on our thoughts from a psychoanalytical viewpoint alongside contributing her own creative thinking as a writer and poet.

We were particularly interested as artists in ideas around collections, archives and research and how they are able to resurrect women artists lives and works momentarily rather than demonstrating a kind of ancestral worship. Our conversation regularly touched on concepts such as ‘permission, responsibility, gender, power structures and collaborations’. We reflected with Valerie on how artists from collections may also  play a role as catalysts for our own projections and new paintings/work.

The meeting investigated thinking processes; how our project had developed organically and the learning that had taken place as we proceeded. Valerie highlighted that we have gained knowledge as well as authority and ownership from our project Obscure Secure. There was no formal methodology while researching for Obscure Secure – while we are keen to continue to be open to uncertainty and chance to develop our new project we have gained experience and expect a new methodology and structure to evolve whilst further clarifying our focus during the course of our Re:view bursary meetings and critiques.

Our meeting with Valerie lasted two hours and we recorded this discussion. We are so pleased to have a record of this conversation as it has proved to be a vital resource for now and later.

Our next Re:view critique and meeting is in September with Martha Flemming , artist and Director of University of Reading’s Collections Based Research Programme.

This blog post is written collaboratively by Claudia Boese, Hayley Field and Jacqueline Utley and posted by Claudia Boese on a-n blogs.

Obscure Secure – Review bursary 

Our first Review bursary post and a brief Introduction

We Claudia Böse , Hayley Field and Jacqueline Utley initiated and collaborated on the project Obscure Secure. We looked at work by 20th century women artists in Ipswich Borough council collection and made new work in response. The project culminated in an exhibition and series of talks from September 2014 to February 2015.

Obscure Secure at CCM

Image: Obscure Secure, Wolsey Gallery, Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich, September 2014-January 2015

a-n Review bursary

We are delighted to have been awarded one of a-n’s Review bursaries. The bursary will enable us to undertake four professional critique meetings. We will be reflecting on our previous project  Obscure Secure and taking our learning forward into a future collaboration we are planning.The new project involves us looking at archives relating to the painter Mary Potter. The four meetings are planned over an eight month period.

The blog

We will be using this space/blog to share this process.

Our first meeting is in July with Valerie Sinason, who practices as a psychoanalyst, poet and writer. We first met with Valerie at the beginning of our project in July 2013 to discuss artist’s processes. It feels fitting that our first meeting is with Valerie to review our last project and discuss/critique some of the themes we are taking forward into our new project.

Here is a link to a transcription : Valerie Sinason and Frances Spalding in conversation which was part of the Obscure Secure programme of talks (November 2014).

Obscure Secure at Studio1.1

Exhibition: 26 February – 1 March 2015, 12-6pm

Discussion and Publication Launch: Sunday 1 March, 3-5pm

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Kathleen Walne, girl sitting by fire, 1930’s,watercolour, 35x26cm

Claudia Böse, Hayley Field and Jacqueline Utley researched twentieth century women artists in Ipswich Borough Council’s collection and made new work in response. This resulted in a exhibition and a series of talks at The Wolsey Gallery, Christchurch Mansion Ipswich ( September 2014- January 2015). A move to Studio1.1 sees the works made in response by the artists shown alongside photographic documentation of the work selected from the museum collection.

Publication includes contributions from Frances Spalding and Stephanie Moran.

Discussion and Publication Launch: Sunday 1 March, 3-5pm

Discussion led by artist and writer Stephanie Moran. All Welcome

Join Böse, Field and Utley in conversation, examining questions raised by the exhibition – in particular around painting, process, intuition and abstraction – that are addressed in Moran’s exhibition text.

For more information: Discussion Event information


Talk Discussion Conversation

Two fantastic afternoons of talk and discussions.

In conversation on 15 November – Frances Spalding with Valerie Sinason.

Panel discussion 29 November -facilitated by artist and art therapist Emma Cameron with artists: Molly Thomson, Jane Frederick, Claudia Böse, Hayley Field and Jacqueline Utley.

Both took place at Christchurch mansion transcripts and soundcloud coming soon




Talks to date.


6 September 2014. Obscure Secure introductory talk and reception.Claudia Böse, Hayley Field, Jacqueline Utley discuss the project with Martha Fleming, artist and Director of University of Reading’s Collections Based Research Programme.


‘out of the box’ viewing of Blanche Vulliamy’s First World War pastel drawings of London searchlights.


2 November 2014. Art in Focus: Women as Artists.

Art Curator Emma Roodhouse presented an interesting introduction to the female artists represented in the Ipswich museum collections.