This event forms part of our series dedicated to The Rural exploring how artists engage with the contemporary rural sphere.
The decline of traditional industries has shaped and changed social landscapes in many parts of the world, most starkly affecting small towns and the countryside. This event considers the complexities of post-industrial conditions in rural areas, as distinct from the urban.
Artist Katrina Palmer and designer Hefin Jones introduce their practices of working in post-industrial regions, reflecting on the role art can play in contexts where communities have been affected by these changes. They are joined by Dr. Menelaos Gkartzios, Senior Lecturer in Rural Studies at the Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University.
Palmer’s Artangel commission End Matter (2015) subtly addresses the multi-layered relationships between industry and landscape, identity and history in the quarries of the Isle of Portland in Dorset. In contrast, Jones’s Cosmic Colliery (2015) invited members of a community in South Wales to turn an abandoned colliery into an underwater astronaut training centre, using speculation and narrative as a tool for collective thinking.
Katrina Palmer works with storytelling and audio environments as a form of sculpture. Foregrounding words, as opposed to objects, she refers to absences, often inviting the audience to imagine items that are indicated, but not fully present. Recent exhibitions include The Time-Travelling Circus: The Recent Return of Pablo Fanque and the Electrolier (Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, 2018); The Necropolitan Line (Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, 2015); and End Matter/The Loss Adjusters (Artangel, 2015). Publications include The Dark Object (Book Works: London, 2010). She received the Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists, 2014. Forthcoming in 2018: The Coffin Jump (Yorkshire Sculpture Park, co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW).
Hefin Jones is a designer with a participatory design practice. Alongside his work with different people and communities, he’s collaborated with many institutions such as the National Museum of Wales, the Design Museum, Crafts Council, and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Hefin is currently a visiting tutor in the Department for Design at Goldsmiths University of London, and curator of the Young Creatives programme at the Design Museum.
Dr Menelaos Gkartzios is senior lecturer in rural studies, based at Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy. He was recently visiting associate professor at the University of Tokyo, where he conducted research on rural art festivals in Japan. He has published on the relationship between art and local community development drawing on an AHRC project in rural Northumberland, and co-led for three years a collaborative artist-in-residency with Berwick Visual Arts. He currently serves on the boards of the Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival, the Newcastle Institute for Creative Arts Practice, and on the editorial board of the international journal Sociologia Ruralis.