Rachel Goodyear, Artist and Custodian

What’s your relationship with Islington Mill and can you describe what the Mill means to you?

I am a visual artist based in the studios at Islington Mill and more recently have become a Board member and a Temporary Custodian. I have memories stretching right back to the early days of the Mill. I have met so many incredible people who have passed through its doors and have witnessed physical changes to the building itself, and the development of communities here.

The Mill is at the heart of my art practice. It’s the place where I make work in my studio before exhibiting in the UK and internationally, but the Mill provides much more for me than just a pleasant production space. The Mill is not limited to one particular artistic field, resulting in an environment where ideas can be shared and can grow with many perspectives. This has been a big contributing factor to the way I work, how I communicate with others and how I think creatively. Here I have both a studio where I can work privately and uninterrupted, and then step out of my room into a community where I can be actively involved and collaborate in many different ways.

What’s a memorable experience that the Mill has made possible for you?

There are so many. My involvement with the ‘Mill on Tour’ events in particular opened new doors for me. Over the years a number of individuals associated with the Mill have come together to create group residencies which aim to take an essence of Islington Mill on tour to other UK cities and abroad. Each of these experiences helped me to have extended stays in places like Berlin, New York and London where I could find valuable inspiration for my own artworks, whilst collaborating with others and establishing new creative networks.

Each residency has contributed to new developments in my practice and has seen me collaborate in new ways that I hadn’t even considered before, reminding me that the Islington Mill community extends far further than just its brick walls.

What does the ideal future of Islington Mill look like to you?

My dreams for the Mill’s future build upon its values of community, creative confidence and a sense of ownership and involvement for all who practice and visit here. The culture of generosity, and of welcoming new people and new ideas is already strong and has evolved through a sense of trust and shared experiences.

I am excited by the plans for the refurbishment of the Mill building, presenting a whole new set of spaces that can bring in even more creative perspectives and open up opportunities for all kinds of vibrant and diverse programming. My ideal future for the Mill would see its values of openness and encouragement expand and realise the potential of this ethos, developing a new creative model that can be shared further afield.

What/who is currently influencing your work or your thinking?

This past year has seen events both tragic and optimistic, whilst the political climate has brought in dramatic shifts and repercussions, all of which has inevitably been influencing my thoughts.

I am also thinking a lot about change, and how personally and collectively this can be responded to with fresh approaches. This is partially influenced by the transforming landscape outside my window and also recently shifting my own practice into new realms.