Phil Baird tells us about his experiences so far as a member of the Studio Collective.
My name is Phil Baird and I am this artist and a member of the exciting and innovative Horniman Studio Collective.
A decade ago, while recovering from the most serious mental health condition, I considered taking a volunteering post at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, possibly doing some conservation dusting. Little did I know that I was destined to be a part of the multidisciplinary Studio Collective, whose current aim is to curate an exhibition and related events with artist Serena Korda.
It is great to be a small part of what is a large group of about 19 artists, anthropologists, research specialists, publicists, service users and, like me, workshop facilitators for the many and various community groups that are the heart of the process. The project has an egalitarian, forum-style organisation that is new and innovative. It allows Studio Collective members to take part in various levels, and we can leave the areas that we are not specialists in to the other team members.
It is great for me to see behind the scenes of the Horniman and to work with professionals with an incredible vastness of collective knowledge. The whole process for me is a weaving together of ideas, of people in the form of a community, of sounds and their means of production, of places – the whole museum, environment and Gardens, and of objects – Serena's art objects and those from the Horniman Collection both currently displayed and in the ‘secret’ reserve collection.
I feel privileged to have access to hundreds of thousands of objects that we are all custodians of. Had I known anything about anthropology when I was younger I would have certainly considered a career in the profession.