All posts by Tracy Satchwill

Freelance multi-media artist working on heritage & community projects, offering animation, film, sound, exhibitions & workshops. Interests include women's history and contemporary issues around gender, identity and culture.

Researching for a new beauty project

Plastic Roses project

Reflective Journal

12 December 2018

The project is currently developing into a film and immersive exhibition that makes commentary on society’s attitudes and behaviours towards feminine beauty ideals.  I am particularly interested in female identity and women’s history. I also wanted to move from historical narratives and explore contemporary themes. Previously I looked at beauty during my MA creating a short video Ain’t She Sweet using archival footage and contemporary magazines and referring to female objectivity in my film, Hysterical Females. I also proposed a smaller version of the project in a residency application last September.

I notice more people especially women are objectifying themselves, being very self conscious and focusing solely on their appearances such as posing and taking selfies. I wanted to understand the line between looking good  and becoming an object. Firstly I questioned what is beauty and what is attraction. In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy beauty has been connected to goodness, truth and justice. I also looked at female beauty and came across the definition of feminine beauty ideals – ‘the socially constructed notion that physical attractiveness is one of women’s most important assets and something all women should strive to achieve and maintain’. This belief is still heavily rooted in our society in which women are pressured to conform to a certain definition of beauty.

I also wanted to question why do I want to make myself beautiful and what is going through my mind when I am doing this.

Who cares what I look like?
Who am I doing this for?
Is it for myself?
Is it for my peers, culture, attract a mate, sexual partner?
Is it going to make me feel better?
Am I trying to please someone?
Am I trying to be a better person?
Am I trying to be a different person?
Or just having fun, being creative, using my body as a canvas to experiment and explore?
Do I want to express myself?
Am I a living doll?
Do I want to be an individual?
Do I want to fit in with society?
Will I be laughed at or made fun of if I don’t do this?

I also looked at Making the Body Beautiful by Saunder L. Gilmam (1999). He says ‘the belief that we can change out appearance is liberating. We are what we seem to be and we seem to be what we are. As we see the world, the world is also seeing us, judging us by our appearance. To become someone else or to become a better version of ourselves in the eyes of the world is something we all want. Whether to do it with ornaments such as jewellery or through the wide range of physical alterations from hairdressing to tattoos to body piercing, we respond to the demands of seeing and being seen’. This is an interesting perspective that I would like to use in the film and show an eye representing the seeing and being seen.

Sign of vanity is associated with the feminine. Aesthetic surgery the social construction of female beauty. Invidious effect of the patriarchal institutions of medicine on women who have been made insecure about their bodies and who seek to ‘cure’ their ‘unhappiness’ through surgery. Society makes women ‘unhappy’ about their bodies and then supplies the ‘cure’ through the hand of the surgeon. The cure could be a variety of things such as face cream, lipstick, hair extensions.

‘The belief that we can change out appearance is liberating. We are what we seem to be and we seem to be what we are. As we see the world, the world is also seeing us, judging us by our appearance. To become someone else or to become a better version of ourselves in the eyes of the world is something we all want’.

Making the Body Beautiful by Saunder L. Gilmam (1999)

Exhibiting at Museum + Heritage Show

Magna Carta Women
Tracy Satchwill on right discussing Magna Carta Women exhibition

Exhibiting at Museum + Heritage Show, stand R6 on 15 & 16 May 2019 at Olympia, London.

It’s great meeting up with like minded people who have a passion for museums and heritage. The Museum + Heritage Show is an annual event for all museum personnel to discover new ideas and opportunities and explore new ways of working. It’s a chance to meet up with over 150 suppliers and consultants ranging from designers of scenic dioramas to producers of themed aromas; from fit-out contractors to retail suppliers, and everything in between! Plus there’s over 50 talks covering subjects such as engaging with a young audience, creating immersive experiences and dealing with challenging conversations.

This will be my first visit as an exhibitor to this event and am looking forward to meeting up with cultural organisations to discuss their projects. This could include creating fresh perspectives on collections, stories or sites, creating an education programme or developing a community engagement project. I hope I can help them develop exciting audiovisual projects.


The aim of my work is to create engaging, fun and educational projects that communicate stories. I work in moving image and illustration and create exhibition artwork and deliver workshops. My aims are to transform museums from a place of information and authority to one of fun and curiosity, to create fresh perspectives on collections, stories and places and to make evocative, captivating and playful artwork that challenges viewpoints and encourages discourse.

Workshop at a Residential Care Home to create dialogue & artwork for The War is Over film

I work with cultural organisations to develop affordable creative projects that unlock new perspectives on collections, stories and places, include outreach & community engagement programmes that enhance the learning offer, combine historical information with contemporary themes, target new audiences and develop proposals for funding opportunities.

DVD Cover for The War is Over commissioned by Ipswich Museum

”The film is – quite frankly – stunning. You’ve not only captured the spirit of the brief, but have also created something that is hugely accessible, evocative, charming and beautiful. I can see our visitors being captivated and entertained hugely”.

Simon Daykin, Director of Wells Maltings Trust
Still from Water Marks commissioned by Wells Maltings Trust

My recent commissions include Water Marks , a heritage film for Wells Maltings Trust and The War is Over a heritage film and community project for Colchester + Ipswich Museums.

Still from Water Marks commissioned by Wells Maltings Trust

I am looking forward to talking to people who are passionate about museums and heritage. In the meanwhile I have put together some tips in the video below for ways to create a fresh perspective on stories, collections and sites.

Tips on creating digital content for cultural organisations

The equipment and marketing materials for attending the Museum + Heritage Show is supported by the StartEast Grant Programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Arts Council England Creative Local Growth Programme.

Supported by the StartEast programme.

Sound Credits for The War is Over film

The War is Over, a film about Ipswich and the Armistice during The Great War


Ipswich and the Armistice is a community project that explores how local people responded to the ending of the war in Ipswich at the time and how, today, local people feel about the First World War one hundred years later. The artist-led community project worked with local schools, community groups and care homes to retell this story in a unique creative way contrasting historical facts with contemporary viewpoints to produce a short collage animation.

Continue reading Sound Credits for The War is Over film

Connecting Heritage

Reflective Journal

2 March 2018

I have been given the task to create a heritage film for a coastal town in East Anglia using archival materials.  This includes archival footage, imagery and audio. I will also be including other footage, imagery, music, sound effects and dialogue that I either create myself or are taken from archival sites. I also plan to combine collage animation with green screen footage (subject to the narrative and if models/actors are available).

Continue reading Connecting Heritage