Laurence Gardner Speaks With NOISE Founder Denise Proctor

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page
Laurence Gardner Speaks With NOISE Founder Denise Proctor

Laurence Gardner Speaks With NOISE Founder Denise Proctor

Offering a platform for young creative individuals to gain recognition and work with leading industry figures, Noise Arts Festival has hosted an array of impressive curators, including Giles Deacon, Brian Eno and Elaine Constantine since it began in 2004.

Youth Arts Online spoke with festival founder Denise Proctor about this year’s event.

How did NOISE come about?

NOISE began in Australia as a government initiative to promote new talent through the media, without them having to travel long distances. The Arts Council in England saw it and thought it would help young creatives in remote rural or disconnected urban settings across England. I was invited to research whether the idea would work here, as there would not be the same investment as in Australia. My solution was to engage leading names as curators for the different categories. I wanted mavericks who had made it to the top and changed their industries. We’ve had fantastic help from our curators, who have included Zaha Hadid, Richard Billingham, Peter Saville, Wayne Hemingway and Attik. They inspire young people, and also to get the press attention for their selection of NOISE talent.

What has been the most rewarding/memorable moment? 

Too many to go into!
 Getting the first Grime act to perform at Downing Street for NOISE 2008, we had to cut the set short as they were worried that we might wake Gordon Brown’s kids. Selling a piece of sculpture by a NOISE artist to Banksy’s Gallerist for thousands in 2006. We took no commission, it was just great to see her work exhibited next to his. This year, we got NOISE artists to interview the curators. It was thrilling to see the reaction of some of the curators recognising that these were truly talented young people. Witnessing the effect of the work that the charity does in changing young creative people’s lives for the better, that’s what motivates. Seeing them grow in confidence as they realise that leading, successful, professionals value their skills and talent.
As far as format goes, I’m finding our new monthly webinars very rewarding. Each month, eight NOISE artists who have submitted work to a category of the festival get to talk directly to the curator of that category. The participants get a lot of insights out of it. With Giles Deacon’s webinar, he answered a question revealing that he had taken a job driving a van for John Galliano’s design studio, and what he learned about the industry from doing it.

What does the future hold? 

This autumn’s outcome events will be announced soon, so we’re encouraging everyone to sign up to our newsletter to be among the first to find out. The 2016 curators are lined up and are very exciting. We’re also preparing a new NOISE “Re-Masters” project for 2015, so check for the project brief this autumn.

What advice would you give to those trying to break into the industry? 

Compare your work with others in your region and nationally and in your age range. NOISE portfolios are good for this. See what those who are doing well have in their experience/expertise section. Are they actively doing internships, entering exhibitions, getting press? Get to know people who are already working in the job you would like, find out the reality–it may not actually be what you want to do. Above all don’t give up, these are the most competitive industries you could ever try to work in, it can be deeply dispiriting, especially if you don’t have support.

For further information on NOISE Arts check out

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *