During a conversation with her grand-daughter, then aged 13, Diane commented that as a child she always dreamed of going to Art School but when the time came could not afford to so left school to start a career in Personnel Management and Training.
At the time of this conversation, Diane was retired and her grand-daughter responded “If you really want to Grandma you can do that now!”
These wise words led Diane to embark on a B.A. Fine Arts Course from which she graduated with Honours in 2006.
While continuing to develop her own abstract style in oil paints, Diane has
-completed three successful years as Secretary of Artists303;
-spent three years programming exhibitions at Ilminster Arts Centre, followed two years as curator at the Creative Innovation Centre,Taunton;
-served four years as Taunton Deane Representative for Somerset Art Works.
Passionate about creating opportunities for emerging artists in Somerset, Diane has been Chair of the Somerset Contemporary Artists Network since it was set up in 2016. Like her, many of its members are graduates of Fine Art from Somerset College.
In 2014, Diane assisted in setting up Taunton Deane Creatives Club and served as its facilitator for the first year. Out of discussions at the Creatives Club was born GoCreateTaunton CIC of which Diane is a Director and Festival Organiser.
In this capacity, alongside its CEO Jenny Keogh she has been instrumental in organising and managing the successful annual performing and creative arts festival Taunton Live.
I was born in 1943 in South Wales and enjoyed a long and successful career in Personnel Management and Training, first with Morganite Electrical Carbon Limited who sponsored my study for a Personnel Management degree leading to Membership of the Institute of Personnel Management and to qualify as a Training Specialist. During my time with Morganite Electrical Carbon Limited, I was elected to serve as a Trustee of The Morgan Crucible Pension Fund. Later I worked as a Regional Training Officer for The Ceramics Glass and Mineral Products Industry Training Board, becoming their youth training specialist. In this capacity I piloted the first one year training schemes for school leavers in South Wales – these became known as Youth Training Schemes when they went national. When the training boards were closed down, I formed a Managing Agency – Arrow Training Associates Limited – which undertook work under contract to The Manpower Services Commission. Following my retirement, I ran a Guest House in Devon for eight years. Throughout my life I was interested in drawing and painting as a hobby, never having the time to pursue this professionally.
After moving to the Taunton area, I decided to ‘scratch the itch’ that I’d had all my life and studied for a B.A. (Hons) in Fine Art, graduating in 2006 from The University of Plymouth (two years at Taunton Campus and one year at Exeter).
Secretary of Artists303 March 2006 – October 2009
Responsible for organising three group exhibitions a year; a large open exhibition in 2009 at The Royal Bath and West Showground and workshops as required; membership; disseminating of information to members; advertising and P.R.; liaising with the Treasurer on income and expenditure; liaison with galleries, including negotiating hire and commission rates; visiting new venues to assess suitability for workshops and exhibitions. I was also responsible for liaising with members over the provision of information and images for advertising purposes, production of private view cards, catalogues, etc.
Visual Arts Co-ordinator, Ilminster Arts Centre October 2009 to 2012
Responsible for the programming of exhibitions in the gallery. This involved me in promoting the gallery space to artists; interviewing artists and making judgements on suitability of work; arranging exhibition dates; issuing contracts; booking private view functions; designing private view cards, and posters; preparing press releases, listings, brochure and website entries; using images and text provided by the artist to achieve a professional approach to all P.R. related activities; curating and supervising the hanging of exhibitions; attending private views and arranging ‘Meet the Artist’ sessions as appropriate; arranging demonstrations by artists and organising one Open Exhibition a year.
The work generally involved a lot of co-ordination and well-organised administration because there is generally a two week turn around period for exhibitions.
I advised on policy and programming issues; liaised with Somerset Art Works on jointly curated exhibitions and prepared scheduling information in order to keep the Trustees, Administration, Artists and Volunteer up to date.
I also organised a one week ‘Big Draw’ Event at Ilminster Arts Centre in October, 2010 and throughout 2011 organised a one year ‘Visual Diary’ Event with local schools, the work from which featured in an exhibition at Ilminster Arts Centre in 2012.
Somerset Art Works Representative
2010 – 2014 Somerset Art Works Representative for Taunton, Chard, Ilminster and the Blackdown Hills.
Most importantly, I continue to develop my abstract, immediate and gestural method of working with oil paints.
Since graduating, I have taken part in at least three exhibitions a year at a variety of locations and have taken part in Somerset Art Weeks Open Studio Events:
-Rook Lane Chapel, Frome;
-The Atkinson Gallery, Millfield;
-Ilminster Arts Centre;
-The Royal Bath and West Showground;
-The Menier Gallery, London;
-The Brewhouse, Taunton;
-University of Plymouth, Exeter Campus;
-The Appledore Festival;
-The Business Innovation Centre, Yeovil;
-an empty shop in Wellington;
-Somerset College of Art and Technology;
-Bow Wharf, Langport,
-MK Gallery, Somerton;
-Ilminster Arts Centre;
-The Auction House Taunton;
-Binham Grange near Minehead;
-The Gallery, Wedmore;
-Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Taunton,
-Elder and Foy Ilminster, the Lloyd Gill Gallery Weston Super Mare,
-John Leach Summer Exhibition and The Black Dog Studios
I am passionate about creating opportunities for emerging artists in Somerset and have been involved in mentoring graduates for the last ten years.
I am Chair and an active member of Somerset Contemporary Artists Network, Taunton Deane Creatives Club, Go Create and Taunton Live arts festival.
I am a Director of GoCreate Taunton CIC which is responsible for organising the performing and visual arts festival Taunton Live annually. In this role I am responsible, with Jenny Keogh, for the overall organisation, and management of the festival, administration, fundraising and book-keeping.
My main aim for the future is to develop and strengthen the organisation GoCreate Taunton CIC in order that we can continue to develop and enhance our delivery of Taunton Live annually. This will contribute to the ongoing development of opportunities for creatives working in the area with a view to making Taunton a centre for the arts in the future.