Josie Cockran’s talk about her work has been a real joy. Her practice is multi-disciplinary and she has an impressive CV. She talked confidently and frankly about her past work and how this has built a social practice which at times has seemed disassociated and yet has created direction. Worked on meaningful and successful collaborations but realises that, ultimately, each iteration is only interesting where it feeds her own work. Her talk emphasised that for her the realisation is that she is not interested in art for art’s sake; that working with funded projects and other artists has to support her own interests.

Her practice brings together elements which feed into each other are key to her production.



Her practice has evolved and grown from the intense years of her foundation, BA and following three-year intense Postgraduate study at the RA.

Her practice has a strong textual element and each piece she covered in her presentation embraced a strong narrative connection. Sound, film and the use of space ensured that the written works sat in the round. With little figurative reference, her work promoted a sense of the importance of the perceptual experience of the work as an immersive and somewhat discordant dialogue.

Josie shared her progression with us starting with her Postgraduate Show with the RA. A piece whose final assembly surprised her in its stark black and white presentation. The deep mat black textural elements imposed a structure on the space which seemed both ethereal and delicate yet whose presence had an overwhelming quality. These played out alongside a sound installation and the white noise screen in a space which had the effect of enveloping its audience.

Screenshot 2019-11-06 at 07.39.30

From this, it is clear to see that elements of this work permeate her ongoing thinking, the use of architectural dissonance mirroring the irregular in her written and spoken pieces. And yet there is a spectral, peaceful element apparent in the spaces between, in the pause where silence creeps in which is lovely and brings with it that sense of appreciation of both the noise and the ma (place/space/void)

Words play an important role and are key in the building of a piece. These can be written or spoken and in her “reading” of ???  which played out alongside an experienced sound piece the rhythm and cadence that Josie brings to her own words builds a picture of happenstance, a curatorial view of the everyday and a particular and peculiar joy in the experience.




Key factors

Transcribing the transcript

The possibilities of taking up space in a different way

The hidden or disappearing narrator

Recognising gender specifics in the way that a space is described

The interruption of space

The synaesthesia of object and image

Sound as texture

The integration of analogue and digital processes as a comment



Stan Brackage?

Hilary Lloyd?

John Par levé?


Significant projects:

At the Royal Acadamy 2016; Women in Focus: Perspectives of a Female Artist With Eva Rothschild RA  Vanessa Jackson RA  and Josie Cockram

 Seminal in the successful launch of at Dartington Hall and the ongoing program of events

Last year she was a key player in Jamboree on the Dartington Estate an artist-led professional development event supporting 150 artist, curators and programmers. “Jamboree”

“Groundwork”  “The Groundwork learning programme provides opportunities for encounters with the work of internationally recognised artists, curators and producers, with particular initiatives tailored to the specific interests of the participating institutions. Groundwork is an exploration of place as the terrain of past, present and future human activity”

I took part in this fascinating project and thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with the RA literary postgraduate students in a series of explorations of the effect of language on the body.

Josies’ Web Site