Cannach MacBride (they/them) is a white Scottish artist, writer, and editor currently living in London and Rotterdam. Cannach lives with several chronic illnesses. In some contexts, they identify as chronically ill, but, due to their current relative degree of capacity that is maintained by medication, they sometimes don’t feel it appropriate to embrace this identity because of the urgency of resource scarcity. Their current process of gender transition is further complexifying some of their understanding around their long term mental health in ways they can’t concisely articulate yet.
They are currently undertaking doctoral research, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, at University of the Arts London with a research project titled “Listening as creative practice, listening and decolonial practices: plural methods, plural experiences.” This addresses listening as a research methodology, and as a creative practice through which to foster prefigurative forms of political action.
They have worked on editorial projects in arts publishing with a range of European arts organizations, publishers, and artists. Recently, they were part of a working group developing a Climate Justice Code for northern-European arts practitioners and arts organizations to use to address climate injustice in their working practices. The code will be published by Casco Art Institute (Utrecht, NL) in fall 2022.
They are a core writing tutor on the MFA at Piet Zwart Institute (Rotterdam, NL), where they lead a seminar on research methodologies and writing practice. They have also taught at other art schools in Europe, on listening, creative approaches to access for artists, and access in the classroom for teaching staff.
As an artist, they address accessibility in how they produce their exhibitions and events. For example, the exhibition having been breathed out/patriarchy over and out, and its partner performance tongue breaks inhaling, CCA Glasgow, 2019, and the series of workshops and performances undoing listening, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, 2017.
From 2018–2020, they were part of a collective that ran a queer community center called Tender Center in Rotterdam. Tender Center hosted free events, study sessions, meetings, parties, workshops, talks, and support groups, and also provided a rent-free bookable space in a city undergoing rapid gentrification that queer people could book to use for group activities.
Cannach is also trained as an art therapist in the UK system, where art therapy is a form of integrative psychotherapy. They practiced as an art therapist with a range of non-profit organizations providing services within the health care, education, and social work systems, and community settings. Their work usually was centered on intergenerational trauma and abuse and neglect stemming from it. They also worked with young people with chronic illnesses. From 2012–2014 they worked as a volunteer with Freedom From Torture Scotland, offering a therapeutic art group for people in the asylum system who had experienced torture. They have also worked in many other forms of community care, support work, and art in community projects.
Cannach is figuring out what more embodied life looks like for them. This involves hanging out with the roots and leaves growing in the plot they are tending for now, spending time near to water, and singing as often as possible. They are currently training as a Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises provider.