Symposium: Art of the Edgelands
Saturday 26 April
10am–4pm, free, booking is essential via Eventbrite, book online here
Venue: Exploration Lab 1, The Forum, University of Exeter, Stocker Rd, Exeter, Devon EX4 4SZ
This interdisciplinary symposium will consider the significance of ‘edgelands’ and other marginal spaces, neither urban nor rural, as sites for artistic inquiry, and as cultural spaces. Spacex’s current exhibition ‘Soft Estate’ (open until Saturday 3 May 2014) features artworks exploring the marginal spaces of contemporary motorway landscapes.
Defined as a type of terrain ‘apparently unplanned, certainly uncelebrated and largely incomprehensible’ by environmentalist Marion Shoard, ‘edgelands’ have frequently been a source of inspiration for artists and writers.
Symposium speakers include Edward Chell, academic and lead artist of Spacex’s current exhibition ‘Soft Estate’; Dr. Caitlan DeSilvey, geographer and senior lecturer in Environmental Social Science, University of Exeter; Laura Oldfield Ford, artist and psycho-geographer; Joanne Lee, artist, writer, publisher and senior lecturer in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University; Dr Jos Smith, associate research fellow, University of Exeter.
A light lunch can be pre-booked via Eventbrite for £4.89.
Art of the Edgelands Speaker Biographies
Edward Chell, artist and senior lecturer in Fine Art, UCA Canterbury, was awarded an AHRC Research Fellowship for the development of the ‘Soft Estate’ project. His work is rooted in painting although working across media in exploring the site specific. His work foregrounds conflicting storylines within the spatial environment, aiming to capture the collisions between values and meaning we bring to our experience of place, with a particular focus on borders and peripheral places that present a form of ‘Terrain Vague’.
Caitlin DeSilvey is a geographer and senior lecturer in Environmental Social Science, University of Exeter. Her research explores the cultural significance of material change. She uses visual imagery and story-telling to engage people in imagining changing environments and places, and looks to patterns from the past to try to understand what the future might bring. She is also interested in how things age over time, and in the value of repair and mending skills to extend the lives of worn objects and encourage more sustainable use of resources.
Laura Oldfield Ford is a London-based artist, writer and psychogeographer concerned with issues surrounding contemporary political protest, urbanism, architecture and memory. She works in ballpoint pen, acrylic, and spray paint. Between 2005-2009 she published a zine, Savage Messiah, which has been reproduced in book form by Verso Books, and was listed by Hari Kunzru of his book of the year in 2011. Laura Oldfeild Ford continues to publish Savage Messiah in the form of a blog, confronting the polite veneer of redevelopment spectacle.
Joanne Lee is a Brighton-based artist, writer and publisher and senior lecturer in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University. Her work uses words and pictures to explore a curiosity about everyday life and the ordinary places in which she lives and works. Much of her activity emerges through a series of publications under the imprint of the Pam Flett Press, where she explores the visual, verbal and temporal possibilities of the ‘essay’: the 4th issue investigates ideas of the ‘Vague terrain’.
Jos Smith is a British Academy post doctoral research fellow in the English Department, University of Exeter. His project explores the history of the literary and visual arts communities connected with the arts and environmental charity Common Ground. He works within the environmental humanities with a focused interest in landscape and place in contemporary fiction, literary non-fiction and poetry. He is co-director of Exeter’s Centre for Literatures of Identity, Place and Sustainability and an active member of the Atlantic Archipelagos Research Project.
Phil Smith (the Crab Man) is a performer, writer, teacher and researcher, specialising in making performances based on walking and in heritage sites. Author of ‘Mythogeography’ (Triarchy Press, 2010) and ‘Counter-Tourism: The Handbook’ (Triarchy Press, 2012) and co-author of ‘Walking, Writing and Performance’ – (Intellect, 2009).He is the company dramaturg and a founding member (1981) of TNT Theatre (Munich) and is a core member of site-based artists group Wrights & Sites (Exeter, UK). He is Reader in Theatre and Performance at the Plymouth University and a visiting lecturer at the University of Exeter.