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OCA North - Study event review

Up here, in the North, our group meets on a monthly basis; we meet via Zoom the one month and then meet face to face the next.

Our group co-ordinator, Helen Jones, has been able to help us get settled in an amazing complex of old mills right in the heart of Halifax called Dean Clough Mills. The setting is beautiful, there are galleries, small businesses, shops and cafes and restaurants. She always books a meeting room for us, and we each pay a small contribution of £2 for the afternoon.

For our meeting on this day, we all met in the restaurant for lunch. Currently, in our group, we have people studying painting, drawing, photography, creative writing, music and sculpture. I find the group to be very welcoming, and as we meet each anew, we immediately fall into “Hello! How are you?” and “Hey, how did you find your new project?” and “Well, I received my first assessment results, and I am quite pleased”

The atmosphere is one of enjoyment and friendliness. We often find that even though we are studying different subjects we find places where we connect and understand each other.

We moved on to the day’s activities. Helen had arranged for a speaker, Alice Bradshaw, to come and talk with us about her art, her vision and ideas and actual practice. Alice facilitates a local group of artists under the banner ‘Art Lab’. Her own work centres on the ideas and concepts of ‘rubbish’; she recently spent time at a local recycling centre and was asking the question “Why do people leave things here?” She is interested in rubbish, waste, debris and detritus – the taxonomy of rubbish, in fact, in all our lives.

She presented photographs of her work, and these sparked a lively conversation in the group. After this she showed us round the exhibition of work from Art Lab that she had co-curated with the Art Lab group. This was a great experience, to be able to talk with other students about what we saw in the art. Helen had some her own work exhibited here; this was so good to see, and inspiring to see what is possible whilst still in training. Well done!

Next, one of our members asked if they group could assist her in her wish to take photographs of a piece of brown packing paper floating to the floor after being dropped from a height. This was for part of an exercise in her current module.

Another member showed some of his photographs and shared more about his viewpoint and the ideas he was working with. The group gave feedback which everyone always values in our group. After all, we are also each other’s audience too. By giving each other feedback we are helping to create a group that is open, supportive and honest and useful.

Soon the day was over; we all thanked each other and said that we would take away a lot from the day.

So, if you’re in the North, do come and join us. We’re friendly, welcoming and supportive and, of course, brilliant at learning and sharing, even if we do say so ourselves!

Below are the new dates for our meeting up – we alternate between Zoom and face to face.

  • September 11th zoom at 4pm

  • October 9th In-person in Halifax 1-4pm

  • November 13th zoom at 4pm

  • December 11th In person, Halifax 1-4pm

  • January 8th zoom at 4pm

  • February 5th In person Halifax 1-4pm

  • March 12th zoom at 4pm

  • April 2nd In person Halifax 1-4pm

  • May 14th zoom at 4pm

  • June 11th In person at Halifax 1-4pm

  • July 9th zoom at 4pm

  • August 13th In person Halifax 1-4pm.

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Norma Burke
Norma Burke
Sep 03, 2022

I would be interested in taking part in the zoom meetings however getting to Halifax in person might not be possible , it’s still quite a distance from Whitley Bay

Helen Jones
Helen Jones
Sep 30, 2022
Replying to

Hi Norma, Sorry I have only just seen your message. Can I add you to my email list ? I also post information about meetings in the bulletin and OCASA website in the regional groups section and usually on the discussion forum too. Helen


Michelle Gibson
Michelle Gibson
Sep 01, 2022

Hi there. I would love to start attending. I came to one of your meet ups in Halifax pre covid and found it very beneficial. How do I attend the next zoom meeting? Is there any preparation I need to make or can I come along as an observer?

Michelle Gibson
Michelle Gibson
Oct 04, 2022
Replying to

Hi Helen

Apologies as I’m only just seeing your response.

I’ll try and find the regional group and give it a follow. Please do add me to the mailing list, that would be great. What time is the meeting on Sunday? I’ve booked in at the print workshop but I may be able to see if I can resign a few things.


Fionagh Bennet
Fionagh Bennet
Aug 30, 2022

Lovely to hear about the meeting, which I was so sorry to miss. It was obviously mutually beneficial, which has been my experience with North meetings.

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