Artist of the Week – Fay Hield


It’s all a bit vague this project, and a bit magical – a bit like fairies themselves I suppose. Everyone who gathered that first time in Oxford was palpably anxious about what was to come, but conversation flowed and a wealth of different experiences and perspectives emerged from the chrysalis. The openness was startling, and I had to quickly expand my perception of belief on hearing what the others had to say.

I am a true believer in the power of fairy stories and the impact their magical and mysterious ideas have on people, but I wasn’t expecting so much belief in Fairies themselves, with people having seen them, talking with them and in one case riding with Hearn and the hunt. In the Fair Isle, it was reported, belief is still the norm and people find you a little crazy if you are a denier.

Others were more sceptical and the odd eyebrow was raised during some of these discussions. Some preferred to look more at how fairy belief has been acted out over the years, or looking at how ideas of fairy can be translated into urban setting to help us make sense of the world around us. Whatever their stance, everyone had a position to take and was intrigued in each other’s ideas.

And what ideas, there was no shortage of those. From creating custom built theatres to interactive digital maps, we were questioning ways to genuinely collaborate between visual, linguistic and sonic art forms rather than illustrating or responding to each other’s work, rather than generating a set of separate items to present alongside each other. It’s still not clear how this will work, but I’m excited to see how it unfolds now we have all met and sown the seeds.

The foundations are set, we are all now gone our separate ways to the four corners of the island to reflect, respond, keep in touch and create. New work is starting to appear in ‘the space between’* where we build on our ideas and other plans are bubbling away under the surface. Where we meet at festivals, in the sea under the stars and through the ether, it is building. I can’t wait for our next get together in Sheffield in September, where we will talk about the process and show some early ideas – come along if you want to see what we are up to and meet the fairy folk.

*aka the googledrive


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Kevan Manwaring

Hi Fay, this sounds like a fantastic project, and it aligns closely with my own research and creative-critical approach. I'm just finishing my Creative Writing PhD at the University of Leicester - the main iteration of which is what I think of as my 'big fairy novel', a fictionalisation of the diasporic translocation of song- and tale-cultures from the Scottish Lowlands to the Southern Appalachians, and a dramatisation of the creative process (for which I think the Fairy Tradition offers a resonant metaphor). I've brought to life the historical 'Fairy Minister' Rev. Robert Kirk, and I've gathered my multi-modal research on my website on: Would be great to join the conversation. Hope it goes well tomorrow in the festival.
all good things,

Fay Hield

Thanks Kevan - what an interesting site and idea - thanks for sharing. I'l spread it around the team and I'm sure it will inspire lots of things. Our next public sharing is in Gateshead in January, do come along if you can, or we will be putting some clips online over the next couple of months, and we'd love to hear your thoughts on those.
Thanks again,