Katie Watson

Newcastle & Gateshead

Katie Watson is an artist and arts facilitator based in Newcastle. She is currently working on an ongoing series of paintings and re-purposed objects which toy with the universal language of visual information and the abstract qualities of everyday banal forms. The works investigate a process of working through and consolidating archives of diagrammatic language into playful compositions.

The paintings and objects examine a dwindling ‘fix-it’ culture and celebrate traditional methods of construction and maintenance. Visual ‘gap-filling’ exercises are generated through the reappropriation of disorientating fragments of found diagrammatic material. This includes instructional flat-pack furniture booklets, vehicular maintenance manuals, model construction kits and antiquated home improvement guides.

Within her freelance workshops, Katie specialises in working with adults with learning disabilities and those on the autistic spectrum, as well as having experience of working with families and school groups. Key focuses include pattern and repetition, colour theory and the everyday object.

CV

Education
2014 – 2018 Bachelor of Fine Art, Newcastle University (with First Class Honours)
2013 – 2014 Foundation Diploma Art and Design, University of Sunderland (with Distinction)

Recent Employment

Freelance Artist, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, 2022 – present

I am part of Baltic’s Freelance Artist team, regularly delivering drop-in sessions to families through the Meet and Make programme, as well as working with large school groups. The workshops respond to current exhibitions within the gallery and are designed to be accessible to all audiences, while encouraging engagement and participation with exhibited works.

Artist, Arcadea Disability Arts (The HUB Studio), 2018 – present

I am employed as a lead artist at The HUB Studio in Newcastle City Centre, where I deliver visual art and sensory workshops to adults with Learning Disabilities and those on the Autistic Spectrum. The aims of the HUB Studio are to promote a sense of inclusion, equality, pride and achievement as well as giving individuals the tools to explore and to express themselves creatively.

Between 2018 and 2020, I was the lead artist at ICEBox, the HUB’s youth club for Learning Disabled and neurodiverse young people aged 13 to 25. The user-led club operates to encourage and maintain the growth of friendship and support groups, while creating art which educates others on disability rights and works towards achieving equality in the arts. These politically engaged pieces take the form of filmmaking, music, painting, furniture making, sculpture and poetry. I was also responsible for organising educational and leisure trips – from art galleries to arcades – exploring the local art scene and the architecture of the city.

Freelance 2020 – 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, I designed and produced comprehensive educational packages to help the LD community to understand complex topics, such as illness and bereavement. Alongside this, I was commissioned by various organisations to create and distribute specially designed arts-based activity packs for isolated members of the community.

Skills & Experience

  • DBS Checked
  • Project management
  • Working with schools (primary)
  • Workshsops (adult)
  • Workshops (family / general)
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