Katrina Naomi and Tim Ridley Interview | Gladstone's Library

Katrina Naomi and Tim Ridley Interview

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As part of our Fifty Days of Gladfest, we caught up with Katrina Naomi and Tim Ridley, to discuss their event 'The Argument: Art Vs Poetry'.


Katrina Naomi GladfestGLADSTONE’S LIBRARY (GL): Your event at Gladfest is called Art Vs Poetry – surely there can’t be much conflict between the two?

KATRINA NAOMI (KN): Ha, good question! We wanted to set up some conflict, or the idea of it. I think sometimes poets have a sense that they draw on visual art a lot in writing but wonder how far visual artists read poetry for inspiration? If they do, they keep quite quiet about it!

TIM RIDLEY (TR): They are both a contemporary and valid medium of expression, but I think that generally a visual artist process can be very diverse whilst a creative writer who uses poetry has a more narrowly defined path to follow; perhaps the Avant Garde is more common in visual art. Also the language of the art world can be a bone of contention between us. The hitching of philosophy to visual arts and literary arts is a potential area of conflict.

Tim Ridley KN: I wanted to have some sort of competitive element between Tim and myself for this project, something that would spur us on to do the best that we could in our collaboration within the limited time frame – a friendly (hopefully) competitive rivalry.

GL: At Gladstone’s Library we often have ‘discussions’ – but you’re going to have a full blown argument! How will your ‘argument’ differ from what we normally see at the Library?

KN: I suppose because there’s a good element of performance in what we’re going to do, we can’t be quite sure exactly what will happen – it’s not all scripted…but we’re certainly not envisaging any fisticuffs, more a bit of leg-pulling and banter.

TR: Usually we get into a bit of blame trading and point scoring, but it is all bound up in our different personalities and processes. Basically Katrina is disciplined and quite serious, whereas I adopt a more relaxed and light hearted and DIY approach to making.

GL: What sort of things do you create together and do you still argue about your projects?

KN: Well we’ve been long-term partners but this is the first time that we’ve collaborated creatively together in a project. But we’ve very much enjoyed it, I think we both goaded each other to produce work we would never have arrived at otherwise. And it’s made us think of collaborating again.

TR: We tend not to do much that isn’t along the lines of art V poetry but it is surprising that we haven’t collaborated in other ways. We are going to do a poetry and film response next, so we will keep you posted.

KN: We will probably say a bit more about that at the event. But let’s see how far we’ve got by September – and how argumentative the process has been.

GL: What one thing will someone going to your event take away from it?

TR: That there are many and incredibly varied ways of collaborating and there is scope to cross the formal barriers within the art and literary world.

KN: Can we ask them at the end? I’d love to know!

GL: Do you have to be an artist, poet, art historian or literature expert to enjoy your event?

TR: No not at all, Katrina would not let me use the long art speak words and we always try to keep things accessible to all. Good art and writing should be passionate and communicate.

KN: We’re both against any types of elitism and want poetry and art to be open to everyone.

GL: What other event (other than Katrina’s Poetry workshop!) are you hoping to catch at Gladfest?

TR: Stephen May’s ‘How to Wake Up Happy Every Day’ If I can make it before our ‘Argument’

KN: There’s a lot to choose from but top of my list is Melissa Harrison.


The Argument: Art V Poetry will be at 11.30am on Sunday 7 September and tickets cost £6. Katrina's workshop, Ways into Poetry from Art, will be at 1pm on Saturday 6 September and tickets cost £10. Tickets can be bought either by calling 01244 532350 or by visiting the reception.