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Lynn Weddle

Lynn Weddle is currently on our Sync Intensives 2 programme. She has designed and delivered education programmes for: The British Museum, National Maritime Museum, Aspex Gallery, De La Warr Pavilion and Towner Gallery as well as being commissioned by the Royal College of Physicians and Pallant House Gallery to develop bodies of photographic portraits. Lynn has exhibited her photographic work nationally and internationally. She is also CEO for a small arts charity called the Charlotte Miller Art Project, cmap, providing arts activity for disaffected young people in the Latin American countries of Ecuador, Mexico and Brazil.

cmap's website
Lynn in Ecuador playing with a group of children

Uncharterered waters

Artists are capable of working across hierarchies and social groupings, enabling individuals to transcend barriers of discipline, belief and specialism. (John Latham and Barbara Steveni, APG)

My name is Lynn Weddle and I'm a photographic artist, educator and project manager. I am motivated to open up the creative process for others to have a voice, an experience to explore a new sense of self, and to develop a new kind of well being that comes through the act of making and showing images of themselves.

Working in photography has allowed me to navigate, explore, share and show the way I see the world. Through harnessing my dyslexia and using it to drive my work, my leadership of others has developed through showing people ways in which they can do the same. It hasn't always been this way.

Being Dyslexic Self Portrait

Looking In

As a home counties child I was extremely shy and introverted and sometimes bullied because I couldn’t quite cope with the word-dominated environment of school.

Being good at art gave me meaning and an outlet. So when my peers all started going off to universities up and down the country, I went for Falmouth College of Art. This came to be a very significant part of my expedition: living in Cornwall by the sea.

The lull of the ocean allowed me to find my own rhythm and slowly my perception of being less than changed.

I spent years surfing the Cornish coast and felt at one with the ocean.

At Sea

Due to the lateness of the season, along with Weddell's possible doubts of there being any land at the pole, Weddell took advantage of the favorable winds and headed north. The crew was naturally disappointed in his decision but Weddell gave a speech to the crew praising their efforts and congratulating them on penetrating further south than anyone before them. (Wikipedia, 2011)

At the time I was told by a relation that I was in some way related to the great explorer James Weddell (1787-1834), who in the spring of 1832 sailed to a latitude of 74°15' S into a region of the Southern Ocean that later became known as the Weddell Sea. From all accounts, he was an amazing leader, pushing the men forward, encouraging them to go beyond themselves.

The idea that I came from a family where salt water is in our blood excited me and felt relevant. I felt at one with a man who was purposeful and driven, yet brought his crew along with him. The need for the ultimate challenge rang true for me and so my journey continued.

a photograph of Lynn in school uniform, part of Being Dyslexic exhibition

Looking at Myself

Carry in your memory, for the rest of your life, the good things that came out of your difficulties. They will serve as proof of your abilities and will give you confidence, when you are faced by other obstacles. (Paulo Coelho, 2007)

In 2003, I developed a large body of self-portraits entitled ‘Being Dyslexic’. I wanted to visually represent my experience of being at school with dyslexia.

I revisited my old primary and secondary schools, dressed in school uniform and re-enacted moments I recalled from my education.

The photos show an isolated figure, often unrecognisable as me. The process of making this work and exhibiting it was a powerful experience that ultimately changed how I felt about myself.

I could see a hidden strength within the struggle and the power of using my ability to visually and emotionally describe my thoughts. I knew had to share this same experience with others.

Lynn working in Ecuador

Beyond

You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. (Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh, 1982)

This current took me into new waters. In 2004, I started going into schools, colleges and universities up and down the UK, armed with cameras for others to create-capture-explore with.

We made posters, campaigns and exhibitions visually describing our experience of being dyslexic, the negative and positive. We decorated school corridors, shop windows and local art galleries.

The energy and excitement caught me and the wind in the sails really got going. These experiences translated into new ways of working, I started running community arts projects with groups of people termed as vulnerable in some way. Working on a project-by-project basis was exciting to me.

I was asked to go to Ecuador to run a project with street children. This led to working for Photovoice, in partnership with the HIV/AIDS Alliance who worked with activists in Ecuador. They visually document the work of their NGOs for an international publication and this led me into unexpected territories and gave me new insights into what my practice could mean to myself and others.

Fred a portrait

Back again

It feels like they are considering themselves in a new way, covering new ground, a voyage of discovery, trying to develop a new self-image through the portraits. (Matt Townsend, SENCO Teacher, Rye College June 2011)

Working overseas and with groups in the UK took me on quite a journey. At times it was challenging, rewarding, exciting, trying and tiring.

In recent years I felt the need to focus on my own practice. By then my work had become, and still is now, facilitating others through a process, enabling my subject matter to become collaborators. I work with young people in particular.

I feel there is a small part of me that can so intimately connect and understand the struggle for a sense of self with vulnerable young people. I pull on this and use it to inform my practice of photographic portraiture.

Last year I completed a Masters in Photography at the University of Brighton and delivered ‘Hidden’, an exhibition working with young people with hidden disabilities. I feel I have a strong foundation to continue my practice as an artist and an educator, clearly able to see how the two interlink and ebb and flow together.

Lynn photograph of the West Pier

Seaside

These days I walk by the water every day in Brighton: in the summertime swimming out past West pier is a favourite past time.

My work with cmap is growing. We plan to set up a UK arm of the charity in 2012. I have my sights set on new photographic projects working with young surfers.

You can see Lynn's work at her website through the link below and at APEC studios from 3rd December 2011. APEC Studios, Conway Street, Hove, BN3 3LW http://www.apecstudios.co.uk/

for more information go to my website

Comments

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30/11/2011

Ben Ellis

Hello Lynn,

It's great to see your practice mapped out like this, how it has blossomed into a very meaningful and valuable resource for the wider world to tap into. I can't wait to see the fruits of your future endeavors and what paths you will take as you continue to build upon your rich tapestry of projects. Keep up the great work.

30/11/2011

Susan Keeble.

Lynn, you are a truly inspirational person; I'm so glad I know you.

29/11/2011

Nicky Crabb

What a great and wonderful journey of discovery you have travelled and continue to travel, this is a fascinating celebration of all your achievements. Hope to see you soon. Nx

29/11/2011

christina heinl

lynn querida what a wonderful conquest is your life and i am so previledged to know you. well done - i love your stories and how you found your way to best bring yourself out into the world. congratulations. love cx

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