Listen and Watch

9 March 2017

Visual artist Kirstin Cunningham spent five weeks with the Lochgelly Expecting Something group. Drawing on her expertise in photography, Kirstin transformed the space into a UV light installation. 

For five weeks I was lucky enough to be welcomed into the ‘Expecting something’ group at Lochgelly. What a fantastic experience it’s been for me! I’ve loved working with both mums and babies and really gained an understanding of how important it is to get to know a group first, before any plans for sessions are set in stone. Getting to know them, their babies, both their likes and dislikes as individuals have been so important for the planning and developing of my sessions.

Photos 2

One of the most important things I have learned throughout my time working with the group is to LISTEN. Listen to what the group are telling you directly, indirectly and anything in-between! This helps shape the planning for future successful sessions. That sounds pretty obvious, and it is. But I guess, (and I’m hoping I’m not alone on this?) as a creative, sometimes something so simple and important as listening to others, throughout a creative process, can be quite a difficult task to do when you are fogged with excitement about a particular idea you can’t wait to get started on! This I feel is the most valuable gem of knowledge unearthed to me by working with the group.


What I have loved the most is watching the babies play. Free unstructured play with different materials. Simple materials such as wool or crepe paper for example. Just observing them, and how they interact was truly interesting. As a mum of 3, all under 6 years old, looking back, I have to confess the typical ‘mummy role’ has taken over plenty of times. With me taking such things off my children if they have happened to discover them. Them probably being quite unhappy about this, and me putting it on the side to be used later for its ‘intended’ purpose. But why have I done that? Of course they want to explore these materials! They are fascinating to fresh new eyes! I’m ashamed and quite embarrassed, (as I’m an Arts graduate!!) that I’d forgotten or possibly even overlooked the simplicity of playing with much more interesting straightforward materials with NO plan or structured outcome. I’m guilty of being sucked into buying the latest hard plastic Fisher Price toy, or the faddiest popular Peppa Pig figure. Not really giving ‘play’ a second thought and being all together flippant about play materials, ‘toys’. This reflection of play and play materials within the group has been a massive eye opener, and is something I intend to explore and am excited to develop further in my own practice.

UV Play 9