"It is a locale of cultural intervention and innovation, a place of experiment, claim, conflict, negotiation, transgression: a place where preconceptions, expectations and critical faculties maybe dislocated and confounded.... a place where things may still be at risk - beliefs, classifications, lives". Mike Pearson and Michael Shanks, Theatre/Archaeology
My practice is based on creating collaborative and participative inquiries that activate spaces of encounter around a ‘site’ - a physical location, field of knowledge, conflict or cultural debate. Often focused on a multi-sensory investigation of movement of ideas, people, experience and material within and through a site over time, I’m interested in traces sought, followed, left, lost; and the interaction with time, body, identity and belonging.
The resulting work may involve installation, film, photography, sound, text, drawing or performance, or a combination of all of these.
As well as my artistic practice, I have 25 years’ experience as a professional facilitator, trainer, advisor and designer of participatory processes, including conflict resolution. I specialise in sustainable development, and spent 10 years as a Commissioner on the UK Sustainable Development Commission. Currently I am on the Board of the Anthropocene Alliance (advising on community engagement around flooding in the US), and I am a surveyor for the British Trust for Ornithology. I use this experience within my art projects : these almost always start with research, and a core, multi-disciplinary collaboration. Often, this core collaboration will be used to build wider engagement with the project, so the project becomes an investigation that involves as many different people - and perspectives - as possible.
I am also a programme evaluator (including Oriel Davies’ Open Space programme, February 2018). I am a Creative Practitioner with the Lead Creative Schools Scheme, working with Ysgol Llandrillo-yn-Rhos (2017) and Ysgol Aberconwy (2018).
Residencies and Grants
INCONTRO 2019 International Visual Art Symposium in Harlech 19 - 24 September 2019.
National Theatre Wales 1 - 13 July 2019: Creative Development Associate for Egin, an international two-week socially engaged climate change residency in Snowdonia. Helping to make this the first ‘located, community engaged’ residency, including facilitating four evening ‘Climate Conversations’ for 50 + participants on the themes of LAND - MONEY - REBELLION - HOPE, and a workshop with Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen school for 60 young people.
Merched Chwarel: Arts Council Wales funded project (R&D 2017, full grant 2018/9) with Marged Pendrell, Julie Williams and Lisa Hudson. A community-engaged project with exhibitions in: Storiel April - September 2019; Amgueddfa Lechi Cymru Slate Museum July 2019 - January 2020; Llechwedd Caverns September - November 2019; Llyfrgell Blaenau Library September - November 2019.
O Fama i Fama: A People’s Map of Llandudno. Residency at CALL, Llandudno. Results included online events and walks, and Hanes Llanddynes, the story of Llandudno from the perspective of the women, from 18,000 years ago to the present. Work ongoing, including facilitating a meeting to explore how the arts can play a significant role in Llandudno in the future, contributing to the collation of the results of the Ideas-People-Places project, and Grrls in the Garej performance/installation as part of the Stryd Art Street, LLAWN '06. www.mapllandudno.org
Llif/Flow: Collaboration with Lisa Hudson and Dr Jonathan Malarkey, School of Ocean Sciences, Rhys Trimble, Katherine Betteridge, Sioned Eleri Roberts & David Hopewell. Synthesis project at Pontio, Bangor 2016), bi-lingual immersive laboratory, 500 participants; Llif Labordy Môn installation, film and performance, Lle Celf, yr ‘Steddfod Genedlaethol, Ynys Mon; Pontio (Sept – Dec ’17); MSParc (March 2018).
‘Digging Down II: A Curiously Creative Museum of Lost, Found & Broken’ with Marged Pendrell. Reimagining the museum as a participatory collection and curation of found objects. Part of National Theatre Wales’(NTW) residency at Pontio and Storiel, Bangor.
Retake, Reinvent Part 1. Socially engaged psychogeoraphical approach involving conversations while ‘wandering in circles around Blaenau in search of traces of women, as if part of the furniture’ in response to 'Blaenau Ffestiniog Circle' by Richard Long, 2011. Part of Marged Pendrell’s 'Retake, Reinvent' initiative with National Museum Wales.
The Big Democracy Project. Show developed with refugees on Identity, at the Oasis Centre, Cardiff. I was the documentor & facilitator for the show. NTW.
Residency at Brisons Veor, Cornwall.
University of Bangor, Hidden Worlds, Hidden Artists, a six-month residency at the School of Biological Sciences, Bangor University in which I explored historic links between the quarries, the university, geology and religion.
Exhibitions, events, performance and screenings
Wrexham Open (Sept - Dec): Installation and performance with GRRRLs in the Garej/Hanes Llanddynes (Ty Pawb)
LLAWN, Llandudno (Sept): A two-day exhibition and performance as GRRRLs in the Garej (with Wanda Zyborska and Lisa Hudson), the culmination of a year-long socially engaged residency.
Collaboration for Creatives. I ran two participative training days for Helfa Gelf (Llandudno and Corris), July and August.
Wellcome Trust: Workshop with researchers and socially engaged artists
MSPARC (March - June): Installation (Llif: Lab) and marble-run building workshop. With Lisa Hudson and Dr Jonathan Malarkey.
Merched Chwarel (March): Exhibition of results of our R&D project, with facilitated discussion and feedback.
CONNEXION 2017: Wales & International artists residency "Carried Luggage". Plas Brondanw. Installation as part of group show (curated by John Brown), with performance as Xsexcentenary with Wanda Zyborska.
Ex-Sexcentenary: Performance with Wanda Zyborska, Lisa Hudson and Antonia Dewhurst as part of ‘The Disappearing L’ at Studio Maelor, Corris.
Coed a Phren: Photographer and facilitator of two sharing events for Jony Easterby’s Creative Wales project.
5 films (made for Digging Down and Llif/Flow) shown at Pontio, Bangor
Cynnydd Sheela: Outdoor 3-D interactive sculpture from materials found within y milltir sgwar of the site, made in response to the celtic, Romano-British Settlement and industrial archaeology in Caim, Anglesey and designed to change itself into a relic over the 5-month installation period (in collaboration with Lisa Hudson).
Guest participant in The Postcard Collective postcard exchange, USA.
2 pieces in the “Send us a Postcard” open exhibition, Storiel, Bangor.
PICTURE, STATE, PLACE, exhibition showcasing 6 artists from Wales, Casaria Contemporary Art Museum, Naples. Showed an interactive piece, “I Can’t Grow Potatoes, I Can’t Have Children, But Still, Somehow, I Manage to Enjoy Myself”.
‘Digging Down I’, a 6-month immersive theatre project, working with an archaeologist, a dramaturg, technical support and two collaborators. Resulted in a Caban-style sharing evening in a barn, combining conversation, performance and dinner. Supported by National Theatre Wales’ Waleslab.
Finding, Found. Pop up restaurant (with food by Gert Vos) and interactive installation based on archaeological dig at Gwyl Ffair Peris.
'Trysor or How Much is Enough' video shown at TOGYG International Film Show.
Cwrs Carlam Mewn Cyfraith Constructal (A Crash Course in Constructal Law). Gwyl Afon Ogwen River Festival, Bethesda. Collaborative, participative piece in the woods with Lisa Hudson, involving 30m of interactive marble runs (experiments a and b) made from branches, bark, slate and found materials.
I have a piece (Bird Collisions made in collaboration with Jony Easterby and Gwilym Morus-Baird) in For the Birds, an immersive night-time journey light and sound in woodland locations: Ynys Hir, York, London, New Zealand, Brighton, Durham.
Symffoni Bethesda: Offering (Afon Ogwen Remix.Interactive piece as part of art in the woods, involving archaeological dig from the river. Gwyl Afon Ogwen River Festival, Bethesda.
'In and Out of the Citadel' film shown at Strzemiński Academy of Art Łódź, Poland, as part of ICAW (International Contemporary Art Wales). Included running a symposium at the Academy with Alma Izri from Macedonia.
Painting, photographic and print works shown at Storiel, Gwynedd Art Gallery & Museum (commendation); Oriel Pendeitsh; Royal Cambrian Academy; TOGYG.
Education and Professional Development
2012- One-day-a-week Welsh course with Prifysgol Bangor and development of artistic practice with 1:1 tuition from artists Leanda Thomas, Marged Pendrell, Jony Easterby, Anna Lucas and David White. Tutoring augmented by short courses, seminars and lectures at ICA, Tate Modern, Oriel Mostyn, Bangor University, FACT, National Theatre Wales (TEAM and Waleslab), Goldsmiths. Included Duke University’s online course in public education and experimental pedagogy: the Art of the MOOC (passed with distinction), and Experiments in Sound.
1992–2011 Career in conflict resolution and public and stakeholder participation for sustainable development. As a pioneer in the field, I resolved 200+ conflicts, and facilitated partnerships and public participation projects in Wales, UK, Europe and worldwide. I also set up and ran six charities/ social enterprises including Vision 21, InterAct Networks, Involve; Gwynedd Facilitators’ Network, numerous workshops, participation training programmes, research and publications; Commissioner on UK Sustainable Development Commission; Head of Sciencewise, the UK Government programme for public engagement with science.
1991 Degree in psychology (2i), Oxford Universityl