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I’m surprised by how many people have asked about the speech I did at last week’s The Critical Fish Launch at Humber Street Gallery. Some people arrived too laye, some want reminding and some simply couldn’t make it that evening.

Below are my words. From the heart, as always.


“Thank you everyone for coming along today – it’s great to see you all here.

As you probably know, the aim of Fish is to be a bridge between artists, art-writers academics and the wider community by being creative in the way we talk about art with one another. The Critical Fish looks to serve as a catalyst for conversation and critical discussion, inviting connections and guiding debate between the people who live for art and the people who might not think art is for them. By presenting written essays and experimental imagery, it allows artists and researchers to explain their ideas to different types of people – which can be understood at leisure – going a long way to demystifying the arts and making the arts more inclusive.

Fish is not only about making art accessible, but about how critically THINKING about art can be made more accessible too. And then, providing a platform for people to share those opinions as part of the bigger conversation. People have an intrinsic need to be heard, and Fish looks to give a voice and a platform for those who might be excluded from the traditional art world rhetoric.

And it goes both ways – by engaging with new audiences, artists are pushed to make better, higher quality and more inclusive work. It’s a win-win all around.

Over a hundred people have contributed and/or collaborated on The Critical Fish both before and since we received funding in November last year. It really has been a great team effort so I want to personally say thanks to everyone who has contributed to Fish to make it what it is and in getting it off the ground.

Inside Anchovy, which represents six months of really hard work from myself and Jill, our designer Joe Cox, our volunteers, writers, editors and artists… and everyone else who helped shaped the project thus far. This spirit of collaboration has been at the core of Fish, and the plan is to see that collaborative spirit guide the development of Fish in the future.

We hope that you use Fish as a conversation starter. Not only with one another here tonight, but with your partner, your mates, your colleagues, your nan. And then be the one that encourages them to find the confidence to participate in future issues or projects.

We intend that people from all backgrounds and perspectives get involved in the shaping of Fish throughout the next steps, whatever it is that may look like. In the first instance, however, we’d like to invite you to add your ideas and suggestions to the interactive table at the back of the room and come along toto o evaluation event at Artlink next month – the details of which will be made available soon.

Anyway, for now, I’ll let you get back to enjoying yourselves. Thanks again for coming, you’re all amazing and I hope you enjoy reading Anchovy!!”

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