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Meet Jessie McLaughlin | LCC Graduate Residency Programme


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Published date
06 April 2018

As part of our Graduate Residency Programme, supporting LCC graduates in the rapid development of innovative projects which have the potential for significant social change or economic impact, we’re catching up with the progress of the 4 projects.

Jessie McLaughlin – Artist

Jessie is from London. They graduated from LCC’s MA Photography course in 2016. Jessie’s residency project explores social art practice, sport and intersectional identity, radical potential for supporting and empowering queer (non-normative) communities, helping queer and opening up the institution to a more diverse student base and challenging assumptions and practices.See Jessie’s website.

We caught up with Jessie to find out more about their practice and what they’re working on as part of the Graduate Residency Programme…

Which course did you graduate from?

MA Photography (part-time)

Where are you from in the world?

North London, born and bred!

What have you been up to since you graduated? How has your work evolved since you left LCC?

I work part-time so I am able to pay my rent, my bills, support myself. I have a small studio close to my home in North London and have been involved in a number of exhibitions and projects since graduating including working with and/or presenting work at Tate, Live Art Development Agency, Whitechapel Gallery, University of Oxford, Goldsmiths University, Queens Museum New York, Norwich Arts Centre, RichMix, Space in Between Gallery, Five Years, SPACE.

How would you describe your practice?

I am an amateur artist and amateur footballer with no sporting ambition beyond doing excellent kick ups in the park. I work from a queer brown – sometimes sad – perspective, foregrounding emotional experiences and proposing these as valid methods of research. My work is often social in approach and crosses various mediums including performance, film, writing, websites and drawing.

What are the ideas that you’d like to develop whilst on the LCC Graduate Residency Programme?

I’d like to use my LCC Graduate Residency to think about queerness, and create opportunities for others to engage in acts of ‘queering’, without me dictating how this might look. I will use my time at LCC to stage opportunities to queer with the hope of learning from what people create and do. In other words, I hope to experience other people’s queering strategies, and create a conversation between these and my own queering strategies.

I will borrow from my favourite aesthetic, sport and sporting paraphernalia, to frame the conversation, because I see sport and art as having very similar possibilities, and I think merging the 2 creates interesting parallels and conversations around dominant narratives and queer possibility.

What do you listen to when you’re making work?

I love listening to music as I work, if I’m writing I listen to one song on repeat, or music without lyrics – usually classical although I don’t know much about classical music, I would like to know more. If I’m not writing, I might listen to any of the below, but it will tend to be songs and albums I already know, so it doesn’t pull my attention away entirely from what I’m doing. I save listening to new music for the washing up, cleaning, travelling on the bus etc.

In the studio then, I listen to lots of Sylvester, Prince, Stormzy, The Streets, Nina Simone, T Rex, Frank Ocean, k.d.lang, Labi Siffre, Kendrick Lamar, Joan Armatrading, Rihanna, Dusty Springfield, Arthur Russell, Beyonce, Elton John, Bowie, the list goes on.

Where do you find your inspiration?

In song lyrics, in poetry, in texts from friends, in the things people share on Facebook and Twitter, in my best friend who is a wonderful writer, artist, glitter butch stud.

What’s your favourite place in Elephant and Castle?

The market and the shopping centre, the pubs we used to go to – one of which has since changed hands, it doesn’t feel the same now. Since graduating I don’t come back to Elephant that often but when I do these places bring back strong fond memories, I love returning to them.

What does your workspace look like? Do you have a studio?

Yes I do, it’s very little but I believe totally perfect. I built the desk, which flips down to give a bit more room. And there’s a sink, which I’ve turned into another higher desk, because before it was a studio, it used to be a tiny toilet in somebody’s flat. It has a great window, which floods the room with light. I love it and feel very lucky to have it.

What’s the best show you saw in the last 12 months?

So hard to say, there are many. Soul of a Nation at Tate maybe?

As part of the project, Jessie is looking for students and staff to send short films on being queer and moving your body to be screened at LCC. Send in clips, shorts, or links to Luminita Molico ( with the email subject title ‘QUEERING LCC PROJECT’ – deadline 6 May 2018.

See more of Jessie’s projects on their website.