There are broadly two kinds of useful feedback- the feedback that says ‘that makes me feel like’; ‘that reminds me of’; ‘that makes me think about’. The other kind is about the form of the work- the choices the artist makes about lyrics, composition, technical details, how to present work and options for going forward.
The first one is useful to the artist for giving the perspective of an audience, who might not have any experience or expertise in the artists field. The second is the perspective of peers who can open your mind and imagination to different perspectives, give you encouragement and help solve problems.
With our peer reviews, both are covered. The responses are well considered and thoughtful, responders do their best to give meaningful comments. We’ve now done several of these, and we are getting the hang of how to do them as well as appreciating the benefits from them – new motivation, encouragement, inspiration, new connections with other artists and ideas, renewed energy.
The reviews are not about making slick presentations, but an investigation into our creative and aesthetic values. We are always learning as the art of feedback is a skill in itself to be practiced and improved, so the more we do the better we will be at giving feedback that’s helpful. In this difficult time for artists who are possibly finding it hard to work or who are working in isolation with very little or no feedback you are invited to request a peer review.
Please drop a wee note to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a piece of work reviewed and we will get together a small group of artists to respond to the work. Please also get in touch if you would like to respond to another artists work, and you will be invited to join when a suitable review is scheduled.
Testimonial from an artist:
“I have found both peer reviews so helpful! In my past I have had critiques of my
work which have not been helpful and at worst have been hurtful or damaging to my creative process which made me feel a bit wary. However these peer reviews have been so refreshing and engaging.
“The format means that there is little explanation of the artwork prior to initial feedback. Normally when I am introducing the work I have made, I would spend time explaining meanings, materials and contexts to the work and then people would experience the work and I imagine think ‘ok, yeah, I see that’.
“However when someone is giving you their initial feedback with no explanations it gives me an insight to the work with fresh eyes, it tells me what others bring to it and ultimately whether it successfully visually conveys the themes and ideas I have had without language. Very interestingly in both peer reviews people have seen the intended meanings and themes, but also have observed other points which has brought about new meaning making for me within the works.
“The peer review has felt like a supported environment both encouraging whilst neutral and has introduced me to other artists working in different disciplines but with similar interests to me.
“I have also found being involved in a peer review of someone else’s work really beneficial – it’s been stimulating to be part of a group of artists and to be approaching the same subject and hearing what other people have to say – it brings on my own thinking and ways of seeing.
“Lastly, having a peer review in Gaelic has been really quite moving. It was a joy to hear the words, phrases and meaning in Gaidhlig when a lot of my work is made within a Gaelic context – a really special experience that no other arts body or organisation would be able to facilitate. Mile taing.”