As a blood relative of Duncan Edwards (one of the most revered footballers of all time), I was born connected to his commemorative network. I am not a football player or a fan and my only tangible connection with the world of football is that I am the third cousin of Edwards. My connection to Edwards is reinforced by my mother's recollections of growing up with Duncan prior to his move to Manchester as a teenager and his death at 21 as a result of injuries sustained in the Munich Air Disaster.
I had always felt that I had two opposing distinct areas of interest in my life. One fascination was with football, genealogy, commemoration and memory and then beyond that there was my art practice usually created on a drizzly mountainside as an intensely physical activity. I actually embraced the isolated activities. Study became a relief from the intensity of creating art and making art was an escape from the study when it all got a 'bit much'.
However I began to understand that my family connection to Edwards had not only initiated my interest in commemoration as a child it had gone on influenced my work as an artist and designer. I undertook death-related projects and research for instance as a furniture design student I considered the impact of AIDS on funerary design.
Edwards has been part of my life for as long as I can remember so I had to remind myself that he was actually dead and dead before I was even born. He had never really seemed dead to me because he was always 'there' in my family.
In February Edwards will have been dead for 60 years (almost 3 times longer than he actually was alive). My study has been completed but I can't simply 'let go'. I am consciously and formally investigating how I can reconcile my academic study and my art practice - or indeed whether they are already so intrinsically intertwined it is difficult to see.
Time for kick off...