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Grizedale Arts.Newsletter

New Dawn Newsletter - Son of Brexit

Out of the depths of despair we wrest another year and it looks like a complicated one (it’s just the weather talking, ‘living the Lake District wet dream’. Ed. (surely a T Shirt. Sub Ed.)). ‘Kicking off’ - as they like to say in publicly-funded artspeak - with most of the arts organisations in the UK shutting down for most of December and January while they do their funding applications to the Arts Council.

GA, still in recovery from the Irish question, sets sights on a distant horizon, squinting into the miasmal mists of the edge of the world. We will be in a bamboo forest, on a tiny island, by a volcano, in a tax haven, and in Penge. From the periphery comes perspective: (who you calling periphery? Ed.)

A Dream For Shimonoseki

In April 2017 Grizedale arts and The Fairland Collective will be in a bamboo forest in Japan working on the development of products and infrastructure to re-energise the village hall and local activities. I think we might learn more than we teach, but maybe that's always the case with teaching. Here's hoping.

We’re expecting new products and a return visit in some form to Coniston and beyond

Including Francesca Ulivi, Tom Philipson, Motoko Fujita, Brenda Kearney.

Image: Bamboo forest

Small Island Programme

We are currently knocking the kinks out our Small Island Programme with plans to take the residency programme to Iceland, Jersey, Greece and Jeju (plus a few of the more remote arts organisations in the UK). Mostly focused on making things and interested in the impact of small periphery places on the centre, we will be working with various artists and arts organisations on the idea of export and what goes around comes around as they say (good year to be a volunteer or intern if you like islands).

Including Dominic From Luton, Niamh Riordan, Mark Essen, Fairland Collective, Hyun Kim and many more.

Image: Tracy Island

Against Landscape

Coniston Institute, June 2nd to 25th - open Wednesday to Sunday inc. 11am - 5pm

An exhibition curated by Dan Sturgis and Olivia Leahy - exploring the reaction against landscape at that point of modernism and abstraction, the exhibition draws on rarely seen historic works. A key work - a Mondrian that hung in Ben and Winifred Nicholson’s miserable Cumbrian hovel - is sadly unavailable as it’s already on tour (I’ve got the t shirt. Ed.) However, we do have great new works from Paul Morrison, Pam Fraser, Daniel Sturgis and Lisa Milroy The Exhibition opens in a fuller version at the Glasgow School of Art galleries in Glasgow in July.

Image: A Mondrian in a Cumbrian cottage (possibly the most recent example of actual contemporary art in the Lake District)

In Seminary

St Peter’s Seminary - Septemberish

GA will soon be in residence at this monstrous ruin, Working with NVA on a long-term programme to develop the site for visitors through a series of local enterprise businesses. The walled garden is being brought back into use alongside new builds for workshops, cafe and a shop - with associated trainning programme working towards community ownership of the interpretation and exploitation of the attraction/venue.

Image: Graffiti at St Peter's Seminary (too precious?)

Just For Fun

The Peter Hodgson Retrospective - opens in October at Coniston Institute. It's a ways off but we know so we thought you should. Peter's first comprehensive exhibition from a lifetime of making things.

Ambleside art colossus Peter Hodgson on tour - readers will be familiar with Peter’s work which has featured consistently in the Grizedale programme alongside and in collaboration with many of the artists that have worked here over the years. The exhibition intends to profile Peter’s wide oeuvre with artists working with him to present each element of his practice to its best advantage. Maria Benjamin is tackling his cake making, Laure Provoust ceramics, Endless Supply will work on the graphic works and so on. The exhibition raises lots of interesting questions for artists of all kinds - what is funded, why, what constitutes creativity, why function? why proffesionalise? (first question is why the Arts Council turned down Peter’s application, Ed.).

Image: Maria by Peter Hodgson (Postcard)

The Road

And even further ahead but already underway:

In Coniston we are starting work on a madly overcomplicated, multi-layered programme to build a road running up the side of the Institute to the Museum. The ambition is to create a route, a public space, an outdoor making zone, an outdoor kitchen, a school. The project makes reference to John Ruskin’s seminal (in this case it was actually was, (hopefully not actually. Ed.)) Hinksey Road - much referenced by GA. This was road building as further education, and coming out of it were a muddle of luminaries of the period from Oscar Wilde to Arnold Toynbee. The design part of the project is being led by Takeshi Hayatsu and the MA architecture course at Central St Martin’s (Schoool of Art) (the London one - we have another St Martin’s up here which used to be run by Tim 'still standing' Farron and regularly had rather bemused Asian students wondering where the ‘front door’ London got to).

Back to road building - it’s all in there including the kitchen sink - no really including the kitchen sink, a double one at that. The performance contemp art bit being developed by Nicole Vinokur, alongside the local history group, Coppermines heritage project, the Coniston Sourdough Society, Crake Valley Fermentation Association, Federation of Crake Koji, The Village Table and more. So come and help build a road you know you need to.

And another thing - 2019 is the bicentenary of Ruskin’s birth (8/2/1819) and the 10th anniversary of Lawson Park opening – so it needs to be finished by then.

Image: The last Navvy - one of the Ruskin's road builders

More News

We welcome Matthew MacDonald who takes up the Hamlyn-funded post of Valley Project Director, he will be developing the coordinated working between the Museum, Library, Institute and our contemporary art programme, and I can’t think of one funny thing to say about that.


GA's long running secret induction programme is as always open.

Not really very secret, it’s here. Apply now as we are about to make it selected, much against our better instincts but pressure of demand versus resources – the age old equation X = Y2 +:-)

The process is 5 days as a volunteer - Monday to Friday - travel and all living costs

Then Associate (whatever you want to be called) - 1 month all expenses + £1,000

After that point you get paid £100 per day to work on projects, commissions whatever suits

Image: Winstanley's Diggers (from Wigan)

And Finally

Bikini bathroom suite - just a bit of light sexist fun with Laure Prouvost celebrating the rise of the unthinking, end of pier, Benny Hill art movement – this should give all members of the family the perfect excuse not to wash (are people looking for that? Ed. (they were in my family sub. Ed.)

Image: Shelf and sink in progress

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