Hi Matt, tell us a little bit about yourself….
I am currently studying on the part-time MA Fine Art & Education at Northumbria University. I worked as a secondary art teacher last year and this year I am working with special needs students.
How long have you been volunteering at Globe?
I started in August 2010.
What kind of work do you do?
Before I started the MA I was a painter but over the last year I have started working with video and new media. I have found this new practice to be much more rewarding as my paintings weren’t really very good. I have also been able to explore some of the old political and social issues I used to be involved with when I was at University near London.
What do you get up to in your spare time?
I am an avid rock climber, I try to get out with my rope and harness on weekends if its dry and climb indoors during the week and when its wet outside. I also do a lot of cycling (including cycling to the gallery) and am interested in yoga and meditation. I read whenever I find the time and love movies and music.
Ah! Any interesting bike routes to recommend? …and which in your opinion, UK mountain is the most difficult to climb?
Sure, loads around the North East. Cycling up and down the river Tyne is always good, either from Newcastle to Tynemouth or up to Wylam are good routes, flat and both sides of the river can be cycled. Also, heading to Consett is good, down the Derwent Walk is lovely and then down some old train routes. For a longer ride the Coast to Coast is amazing, I did it last month over three days, and the Coast and Castles, down from Edinburgh to Newcastle, looks good too (my next adventure).
As for mountains, hmmm, its usually certain routes up the cliffs that are hard. There’s loads of hard routes everywhere to be honest. Northumberland has loads of quality hard routes. I recently tried a route ‘Northumbria Wall’. Its graded E2 (which is hard for most people). I didn’t get up it but was a really good climb.
What was the last book you read?
I am nearly finished reading a book about Sri Aurobindo, an Indian philosopher. I brought it when I visited his ashram in India last year, it is a very dense book but a rewarding read.
Could you share with us the most interesting thought of this philosopher?
Sure. Aurobindo is interesting because he was educated here in the UK before returning to India to fight for independence. After the fight for independence Aurobindo decided to explore a more spiritual life and became a well know person within India. I think his main contribution was to bring together many Indian texts and philosophies and weave them together with modern western understandings of psychology and evolution. He was a big influence of the American writer Ken Wilber, who has had a big impact upon me.
Finally, what are your plans for the future?
I plan to finish the second year of my MA and continue to volunteer at Globe over the next year whilst working in special needs. Beyond that I was hoping to do some volunteer work abroad next year and then I’m not sure.
I want to continue to develop my art practice too.
I post some of my video work here: http://vimeo.com/user3329379
Thank you for your answers!