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The HAT Project 2006/07 is supporting 20 exchange fellowships between England, South Asia and Australia

Barney Hare Duke



BARNEY HARE DUKE

Then. On completing my Sociology degree I returned to my childhood interest, pottery, I would like to say passion but that would be putting it too strongly. I loved it and the life style that went with being self employed: running a studio, teaching part-time, grafting away with the clay and picking up a range of other making/building/mending skills along the way. And, of course, walking my dog.

15 years later I traded my potters wheel and annual tax returns for a word processor and a salary: I joined the Arts Council England, North West, as Crafts Officer. The transition seemed obvious: I had already shaved my beard and given up the allotment and moved to the city.I was given the opportunity to apply my interest and experience to the wider sector and the business of arts development. Hindsight reminds me that I loved this job too, well most of it. I learnt a lot, and (I believe) did a lot too. However after 13 years and three organisational restructures it was time to move.

Now. Back in self-employment, as a freelance arts consultant, an apple laptop is my main tool of trade and those annual tax returns the main irritant.
For the last 5 years Jeremy Theophilus and I have been operating as A Fine Line Cultural Practice. As a partnership we bring our combined experience in the business, knowledge and contacts together with ideas and opportunities to work with people in the cultural sector.
Our work both together and separately moves between consultancy and project management. Thinking, talking, writing and doing. We have an interesting portfolio of projects, clients good, bad and ugly, long and short term contracts. We have our specialisms, crafts, visual arts, curatorial collaborations and international exchange.

Training as a sociologist compels me to locate arts practice in the big picture; the social, economic, political, cultural.
Experience as an arts manager reinforces continuing interest in cultural policy and strategy and being involved in where it is all going.
The artist in me keeps me engaged with practice, what artists do, their process and product.

Next. A Fine Line Cultural Practice; it is not as secure as the ACE monthly pay cheque but the ideas and initiatives keep coming and it is constantly interesting, challenging and rewarding. It is a good few years before there will be time to get an allotment going again.

September 2006