Allison Mickelson (MFA 2022, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland)

SHIFT affirmed my work as an artist and confirmed the need for a holistic look at this profession/ vocation. The weeklong event inspired questions as to my mission, sparked dreams about how to implement this mission and generated plans to enliven my work and make it a reality. SHIFT created an uplifting, honest community with authentic conversations. This is the future of art I want to see and be a part of.  

I wanted to take part in SHIFT because I believe that we can do nothing alone, that we are all connected. And, I want to be part of a community of artists who are encouraging one another, dreaming together, and collaborating across disciplines and mediums. It was the place to dive deeply into this type of community. Perhaps the most useful part of SHIFT for me was being in a time and space where I was getting concrete ideas, suggestions, and questions to take my creation dreams into a reality with value, substance and mission. The programme forced me to see that I needed to know what my actual work is, what I am creating and selling and why others need/want what I have/ am doing.  

The day after SHIFT ended, I sat with a friend and fellow participant and we took all that we had heard and experienced and plugged our own ideas and dreams into it. I began to speak out loud what I am good at, what I am passionate about, what I want to do, how I want to be of service, what I want to create and from there, began crafting a business model that I am pursuing and executing today. 

SHIFT also helped me to know that I am on the right track. As an older student/ human, I want authentic relationships and not networking for jobs. The week reinforced this knowing. SHIFT also reminded me that I must believe in myself and my work. The speakers reminded me that it wouldn’t be easy, that it is hard work. And, they only made me feel as if I could do it, we could do “it!” – SHIFT gave me concrete tools to move forward as an artist on a mission with other artists. 

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