Meet The Mentors: Ellen Mara De Wachter // The Double Negative Fellowship 2018

Ellen Mara De Wachter. Photo by Samuel Levack

We’ve got some extraordinary mentors taking part in our (inaugural) The Double Negative Fellowship, including Ellen Mara De Wachter. Ellen is a writer who has been published extensively in magazines across the world, and who knows a thing or two about interviewing, creative collaborations and curating…

Based in London, Ellen Mara De Wachter is a frequent contributor to Frieze magazine, and her writing has featured in exhibition catalogues and publications such as The White Review, Art Monthly, Art Quarterly, Mousse, Garage, Elephant, The Quietus, Art Review, and Flash Art International, as well as appearing on BBC Radio 4.

Her book, Co-Art: Artists on Creative Collaboration, published by Phaidon in 2017, explores the phenomenon of collaboration in the visual arts and its potential to affect society at large.

Ellen is also an Associate Lecturer on the MA Photography at London College of Communication and a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, and has taught at the Royal Academy Schools, Goldsmiths College, Brighton University, Newcastle University among other places.

Throughout this year, Ellen will be mentoring one early career writer from the North of England, as part of The Double Negative Fellowship 2018: a professional development support package for writers that aims to boost their confidence and widen their networks, nationally and internationally.

Ellen told us about her experience of being mentored, and gave us a taste of the support she’ll be offering to our Fellows…

“You’ll never stop learning your craft, so just relax about it and keep working”

Hi Ellen! Did you ever have a mentor? If so, what were they like?

I had a mentor in 2015 as part of the Art Writing Workshop — a partnership between the Creative Capital / Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program and the International Art Critics Association/USA Section (AICA/USA). My mentor was Barry Schwabsky, and for six months he read everything I wrote and gave me honest and constructive feedback. By then, I had already been writing for 12 years but the mentorship gave me new insights into my writing and was an important boost to my confidence.

If you could, what would you like to tell your younger self?

You’ll never stop learning your craft, so just relax about it and keep working. Every time I face a blank page I feel like I have to learn how to write from scratch, but every time I finish an article I know I have learned something new about writing that will be useful next time.

What’s the best bit of practical advice anyone’s ever given you regarding your career in writing?

Cristina Ruiz, Editor At Large of The Art Newspaper and Contributing Editor of The Gentlewoman once gave me a crucial piece of advice: “Pitch a story they want and take time over your pitches”.

As told to Laura Robertson

The Double Negative Fellowship 2018 aims to discover and encourage new, daring voices from the North of England. A brand new support package for exceptional writers who are interested in art and culture, The Double Negative Fellowship includes one-to-one mentoring from Ellen, plus Stephanie Bailey (Editor-in-Chief, Ocula), Oliver Basciano (International Editor, ArtReview), and Jennifer Higgie (Editorial Director, frieze). Find out more and apply here before 8 July 2018 (12 midnight GMT)

The Double Negative would like to wholeheartedly thank our friends and supporters: Arts Council EnglandArtReviewCreArt (Network of Cities for Artistic Creation), Culture Liverpool, Contemporary Visual Arts Network North West (CVAN NW), Heart of GlassHistory of Art at Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool BiennialOcula, and the University of Salford Art Collection; with particular thanks to Sean Durney, Stephanie Bailey, Oliver Basciano, Jennifer Higgie and Ellen Mara De Wachter

Image: Ellen Mara De Wachter. Photo by Samuel Levack

Read more about the resulting book, Present Tense, and the authors’ journey through The Double Negative Fellowship.

Arts Council England


Posted on 28/06/2018 by thedoublenegative