Rural Art Space

May 28, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — ruralartspace @ 7:59 am

Short CVs speakers and presenters
(in alphabetical order)

Martin Barlow

Martin Barlow is Director of Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno. After studying at the London School of Economics and then the School of Oriental and African Studies he spent periods in France and Japan before returning to the UK and working in manufacturing industry for nearly a decade. A temporary secondment to Tate Gallery Liverpool at the time of its opening in 1988 resulted in a move into the visual arts. Several temporary positions in smaller galleries in north Wales led eventually to the post of Exhibitions Officer at Wrexham Arts Centre and, from 1997, Director of Oriel Mostyn Gallery, with eighteen months in between spent managing a photolibrary. He has contributed to numerous books, journals and exhibition catalogues, and is particularly interested in issues of cultural identity within an international artistic context. From Lagos to Llandudno in the current issue of the engage journal discusses Oriel Mostyn’s record of showing artists from Africa and Latin American in an exhibitions programme based on a strong awareness of the Gallery’s cultural and geographical location. He has travelled extensively and his photographs are widely published in books, magazines and elsewhere. He was born in St Asaph, Denbighshire, and now lives in nearby Cefn Meiriadog.

Kathrin Böhm

Kathrin is founding member of the art/architecture collective public works (see also Torange Khonsari) and of the artist initiative
Trained as a painter at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg, and an MA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, she is now mainly working in collaborative practice in the public realm and in public settings. Kathrin is currently an AHRC Research Fellow at the School of Art and Design, University of Wolverhampton.
Recent and current projects include Höfer Waren a 10 year local product design project in her home village Höfen, Germany (as part of ourvillage,, British Art Show 06 Hayward Gallery Touring Exhibition and Park Products for Serpentine Gallery and (together with public works).

Tim Collins

Associate Dean for Research, Graduate Studies and Enterprise
School of Art and Design, University of Wolverhampton, UK
Distinguished Research Fellow, STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, Carnegie Mellon University
BFA., University of Rhode Island
MFA San Francisco Art Institute
PhD Candidate University of Plymouth

Tim was employed in the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University from 1997-2005, working with his partner Reiko Goto, Tim directed 3Rivers – 2nd Nature, a five year project with primary funding from the Heinz Endowments and the Warhol Foundation. They managed a team of artists, scientists, designers and students working together on issues of public space and ecology along the post-industrial waterfronts of Allegheny County, PA. In fall 2005 they organized an initiated a series of public programs, a conference and an exhibition Groundworks (curated by Grant Kester) that examined international approaches to art, ecology and planning. Tim co-directed the Nine Mile Run project (with Reiko, Bob Bingham and John Stephen) from 1997-2000. Projects currently under development with Reiko Goto include; The Secret Life of Trees a biogenic interface for British cities and conurbations and focal point design projects in Israel and Germany. Previous work with Reiko include; Watermark at the Ludwig-Forum Museum in Aachen Germany and, A Liquid Evaluation of the Brooklyn Waterfront for Creative Time, N.Y.

2006 Collins, T., (2006) “Art Nature and Aesthetics in the Post Industrial Public Realm” in “Healing Nature, Repairing Relationships: Restoring Ecological Spaces and Consciousness”, Editor Robert France, MIT Press, Boston MA.
2005 Collins, T., Goto, R., (2005) “An Ecological Context” in “New Practices/New Pedagogies: Emerging Contexts, Practices and Pedagogies in Europe and North America” Editor, Malcolm Miles. Swets and Zeitlinger, Lisse, Netherlands
2004 Collins, T., (2004) “aesthetic diversity” in “Herman Prigann’s Ecological Aesthetics: Theoretical Practice of Artistic Environmental Design,” ed., Strelow, Heike, Berkhäuser Verlag, AG, Berlin, Germany.

Matthew Cornford

Since graduating in 1991, he has collaborated with David Cross on a critical fine art practice. Cornford & Cross have been included in exhibitions at the ICA, Photographers Gallery and South London Gallery and have exhibited extensively in England also Italy, Norway, Serbia, Sweden and on the East and West coasts of the United States. They carried out an Arts Council residency at the London School of Economics, in 2000; and a British Council residency at Vitamin Creative Space in Guangzhou, China, in 2004. Their most recent solo exhibition opened at the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland in December 2005 and is touring to Aspex’s Gallery Portsmouth in February and The Exchange Gallery, Penzance in November 2007.

Clare Cumberlidge

Clare Cumberlidge is director of creative consultancy General Public Agency, founded on May Day 2003 with co-director Lucy Musgrave. GPA has an interdisciplinary team and works across sectors bringing innovative solutions to issues within the public realm. Before co-founding GPA Clare Cumberlidge was one of the UK’s leading independent curators specializing in developing new spaces for artistic practice and supporting socially engaged practice. Over the past 15 years she has developed pioneering approaches to collaborative and cross disciplinary work. Her clients included The British Council, The Science Museum, The Poetry Society, The Architecture Foundation, Arts Council England, Institute of International Visual Arts, NESTA, Wellcome Trust and North Kensington Amenity Trust. Artists she has commissioned include Gillian Wearing, Tim Head, Nils Norman, Jordan Baseman, Cornelia Parker, Yinka Shonibare, Tacita Dean, Brian Catling, Peter Fend, Bridget Smith, Kathrin Böhm, and Adam Chodzko. She serves as an advisory member of the RSA Arts Panel and lectures widely nationally and internationally.

Amanda Farr

I have been working as a gallery professional since 1990. I originally trained in fine art at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford during the 1970s. After raising a family I undertook a PGCE in Art & Design and an MA in Museum Studies, University of Leicester in the late 1980s. I then worked at New Walk Museum & Art Gallery Leicester for nearly two years before moving to the City Art Centre, Edinburgh, where I worked in exhibition organisation for over four years. From 1996-98 I was Gallery Curator at the Beverley Art Gallery, East Yorkshire and in 1998 I became Director of Oriel Davies in Newtown, Powys, where I am still based.

Oriel Davies is a key visual arts venue in Wales. We are the main contemporary art gallery for the Welsh Border region, and have a strong reputation throughout the UK and beyond. The Gallery originated in 1982 under the name of Oriel 31 and since this time has provided a programme of innovative visual art exhibitions and extensive art education programmes. We are an independent organisation and a registered charity with a Board of Trustees. Oriel Davies is supported by the Arts Council of Wales and Powys County Council. Last financial year our visitor figures exceeded 66,000.

Wapke Feenstra

Wapke Feenstra (1959 Wjelsryp, Hennaarderadeel) ; studied art at the Jan van Eyckacademie in Maastricht (postgraduate 1991) and works since 1992 as an artist in Rotterdam. Recent outdoor projects are Bathers in Amsterdam (2003) and Bathers in Munich (2005). Recent white cube shows i.e.: Klein Art Works Chicago IL (USA) 2004, Museum of Contemporary Art Heerlen (NL) 2003 & Rotterdam (NL). Cityscapes can be seen i.e. on the internet , ongoing story collection in Dordrecht (NL) 1999-2009, ,
Arnhem (NL) see the city by following the dog routes 2001, , the cyclic time in a neighbourhood in Tilburg (NL) will be shown in pictures and trees 2005-2010. The works are intended to provoke the viewers’ associations, and are rarely clear-cut. Many of her works comprise part of a presumed larger whole, but you will never see it all at once. The works are making you aware that the perception is a local and subjective moment, cut out by time and space, but never isolated from culture.

Sue Gainsborough

Sue Gainsborough is the Director of Media Arts at Thomas Adams School and Media Arts College, managing a specialist programme that delivers across North Shropshire and beyond. Sue has over 20 years experience of arts development and of working on transdisciplinary projects, initially as a practitioner and more recently, as a manager and project champion. Over the past 14 years, Sue has chosen to live and work in rural environments and has a long standing interest in contemporary visual arts practice with particular emphasis on digital media and moving image work.

Trudi Graham

Trudi Graham is Chief Executive of Qube.
Qube is a fully-accessible creative centre which acts as a forum for ideas, a place to involve everyone, an exhibition space for new work, a gallery for emerging and established artists and a link to other centres of arts learning and practice.

Qube is the first Arts and Health focused centre in the West Midlands, challenging attitudes and involving new audiences. Qube Arts is a model for research into health and social issues.

The building was formerly the Queens Hotel and opened as Qube in August 2002 following extensive refurbishment. It is a light, contemporary space embodying inclusion and access. People see, and interact with, new experiences.

David Haley FRSA

Ecological artist, David Haley is a Research Fellow in MIRIAD (Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design) at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is a founding member of SEA: Social and Environmental Arts Research Centre, A&E: Art & Ecology Research Group and he leads the MA Art As Environment programme. Haley is an active member of the Public Art & Urban Design Observatory, the eco-arts network,, ACN (Art, Culture, Nature) and a Trustee of Helix Arts, the Mersey Basin Trust and Director of Harrison Studio & Associates (Britain) Ltd. He is, also, a Fellow of the RSA and member of the AHRC Peer Review College. He sits on the Arts Council England/RSA Arts & Ecology Think Tank and the Advisory Board of the Chartered Institute for Water and Environmental Management’s Arts and Environment Programme. In addition to ecological arts commissions, Haley contributes regularly to international journals, publications and conferences. His long-term ecological arts programme for Shrewsbury Museum and Gallery considers creative opportunities for the future of people living with climate change and the River Severn. Current projects include Rivers from the Future that critiques the aesthetic and ethical values of the ‘new suburbia’ over freshwater, A Walk On The Wild Side, commissioned by Urbis to perform a series of community Wild Walks for the Wild Futures exhibition and website in Summer 2007 and Greenhouse Britain: Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom with Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison to determine how we might ‘withdraw gracefully’ as the sea levels rise.

Torange Khonsari

Torange is Director and founding member of public works, an art/architecture collective consisting of Architects Torange Khonsari, Andreas Lang and artist Kathrin Böhm and partners who have been collaborating in different constellations since 1998.
The team is specialised in participation and design projects for public spaces and institutions. Recent and current projects include Clients in the UK include Camden Council, Siemens Corporate Communications, Peabody Trust, Serpentine Gallery, Sleaford City Council, Gasworks Gallery and Thurrock Council.
public works’ conceptual interest lies in the relationship between institutions who offer and govern public space, and the users of those spaces. Our contribution as artists/architects is to propose and implement communication structures and physical structures that support and make use of the existing local networks and resources, and at the same time offer, propose and stimulate new activities and ways of exchange.

Recent and current project include British Art Show 06;Platforms, a community design project for Braithwaite House London, Park Products for the Serpentine Gallery London, Picture Highhouse, Access and Audience development Study, Purfleet, Thurrock Council, lay-out II, Consultation and Design Project, Gasworks Gallery, London.
Torange is currently artist in residence at Wysing Arts in Cambridgeshire.

Mike Pearson

Mike Pearson is Professor of Performance Studies in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He was a member of Cardiff Laboratory Theatre (1973-80) and Brith Gof (1981-97). Since 1997 he has created solo performances, and larger works in collaboration with Mike Brookes. He is co-author with Michael Shanks of ’Theatre/Archaeology’ (2001, Routledge); his monograph ‘In Comes I: Performance, Memory and Landscape’ is published in Janary 2007 by the University of Exeter Press. In late 2006 he received a twelve month research grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to create three soundworks for an agricultual landscape in North Lincolnshire.

Amy Plant

London based artist, Amy Plant initiates projects in which sensitivity to context and collaboration with communities are key, investigating the nature of ‘public’ spaces and how art can function within them. Her works are invented through dialogue and research and aim to create new democratic spaces in which grass roots cultural productions, diversities, common ground and desires for the future are revealed with equal value, giving rise to new as well as existing ideas and actions. The concept of public space is expanded to include various media including magazines and television programs, as well as new physical structures, such as mobile shops and sound systems – open containers that are given meaning and magic by those who get involved. Past projects have included Contact for the North London Link project – Camden Arts Centre, Valley Vibes, London (in collaboration with Jeanne van Heeswijk) and Laburnum Pilot – a street magazine, at The Drawing Room (in collaboration with Ella Gibbs).

Amy was the 2004 Artist in Residence at the Manukau School of Visual Arts, Auckland, New Zealand. She spent eight weeks working with community activists and students, producing a television program to be broadcast on Triangle TV. At the village convention Amy will talk about her Multi Stop Shop project which traveled and traded throughout the rural areas of County Fingal, Ireland during the summer of 2003.

Adrian Plant

Adrian studied Art, Photography and Film at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art (1978-81). After working for museums and galleries across the UK, he joined Tate Liverpool (1989-99) as Outreach Curator to develop projects supporting the gallery’s exhibitions and commissions, such as working with Antony Gormley and a local community to create Field for the British Isles. During this time he completed an MA in Contemporary Art at the University of Liverpool (1995-1998).

In mid-2000 Adrian was appointed the first Exhibitions Officer for Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, developing a curatorial policy to engage new audiences in ‘… exploring history and locality through the work of contemporary artists.

Since mid-2005 Adrian has also become responsible for curating the work of new media artists at the new Old Market Hall Film and Digital Media Centre, and for developing mediamaker, a new contemporary art network of venues across Shrewsbury.

Adrian is a Trustee of Oriel Davis Gallery, Newtown, Powys (2002-present), and Co-Director of “Spotlight”, a showcase, training and support project for young and emerging musicians in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire (2004-present).

Antje Schiffers

“I was born in Heiligendorf, a village in northern Germany. I studied linguistics, literature and art and live in Berlin.
Much of my work deals with travelling: drawing a register of flowers in a remote mexican village, like an old-fashioned expedition botanist would have done. Doing paintings for food and accomodation in Italy and in Russia, Kazakhstan, Kirgistan and Uzbekistan. Travelling through eastern europe as correspondent and ambassador of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Leipzig. I also worked as a company artist in the tyre industry and did barter trade with farmers in northern Germany. To tell about my experiences I do lectures, exhibitions, newspapers and books. One of my favourite sentences: They rode along, at once carefree and alert, like recently released thieves in the darkness, like young thieves in a luminous fruit orchard, wearing light jackets and having ten thousand worlds to choose from. (Cormick Mc Carthy, All the pretty horses).”

A solo exhibition will take place in Secession, Vienna, in July 2007.

Mark Segal

1999 – Present Director ArtSway Trust Limited
Hampshire, SO41 6BA
1995 – 3.1999 Exhibition Officer (p/t) South Hill Park Arts Centre
Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 7PA
1994 – 1997 Director The Cut Gallery, London SE1 8LW
1991 – 1992 Art Assistant Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, E. Sussex

Qualifications and training
1990 – 1991 Essex University, MA Museum & Gallery Studies
1986 – 1989 West Surrey College of Art & Design, BA (Hons) Fine Art

Adam Sutherland

Currently director of Grizedale Arts, Cumbria.

Previous employment
Director gallery and commissioning agency – Scottish Highlands
Freelance artist and educator, multiple residencies, teaching and projects
Director NLM – environmental improvement/arts project in London

Major projects and exhibitions
‘Roadshow’ an on the road programme of contemporary art and artists
‘Romantic Detachment’ PS1 New York, large scale residency and commissioned work programme
’7 Samurai’ residency programme in rural Japan and Tokyo

Selected writing 2006
It’s a Wonderful Life’ – essay on Bedwyr Williams, Oriel Mostyn
Rock a Bye Baby on a Dixie Melody – essay Juneau/projects, Showroom
‘The Captain is Dead, But That’s Ok’ – essay on Olaf Breuning – Chapter Arts

Gallery redevelopment, Lottery project –
Buildings and farm development – Grizedale Arts

Gavind Wade

Gavin Wade is an artist-curator, serial collaborator and Research Fellow in Curating at the University of Central England based in Birmingham. His practice combines a number of strategies from developing structures within exhibitions supporting the work of others to a broader enquiry into utopian sites of/for art, resulting in projects merging
fiction, public space and whatever else feels urgent at the time. Recent projects include: Public Structures, Guang Zhou Triennial, China (2005); Support Structure Phase 1-6, with architect Celine Condorelli, various locations (2003-2006); Strategic Questions (2002-200?) an ongoing series of 40 questions/projects in 40 publications; ArtSheffield05:
Spectator T, a cross city project with Sheffield Contemporary Art Forum (2005); Kiosk3: Merz Kiosk (mit Simon & Tom Bloor) Merz, Magazin4, Bregenz, Austria (2006) and Thin Cities, Piccadilly Line Centenary Exhibition, Platform for Art, London Underground (Dec 2006-7).

Richard T. Walker

Shropshire, UK, 1977, lives and works in London
MA Fine Art – Goldsmiths College (2003 – 2005)
Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art – Goldsmiths College (2002 – 2003)
MA Fine Art at Staffordshire University (2001- 2002) – completed one of two years
BA Fine Art – Bath Spa University C ollege (1996 – 1999)

Solo Shows
every note that I play gets me two chords closer to you (performance) Galeria dels Angels, Barcelona
I’ll be lost when I find you, Galeria Dels Angels, Barcelona

Selected Group shows
Spool 2, Consortium, Amsterdam
Cold Cold Heart, Summerset House, in association with The White Space 37 Where They Shall Dance, FACT, Liverpool;
Don Quijote, Witte de With, Rotterdam, Holland;
Collapse,  An Impakt Event, Utrecht, Holland;
Disconnect, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London;
All personal, VTO Gallery, London;
Transart 05 festival, Bolzano, Italy;
Video Mix, La Casa Encendida, Madrid;
First Sight  inconcepibile e reale Villa Serena, Bologna;
Places I’ve Been, curated by Hans Op De Beeck, Consortium, Amsterdam;

La Vangardia (Spain) – October 2006
Flash Art – Summer 2006
Tema Celeste – Italy (November 2005)
Flash Art (Italian edition – august/September 2005)
Art Review 25 (July 2005)
Guestroom (2004)


Filed under: Uncategorized — ruralartspace @ 6:31 am

Date: April 2007


The Rural Art Space symposium was part of a two months programme called Why We Left the Village and came Back that took place as a series of displays, events and discussions across various sites in Shrewsbury and Shropshire during November 2006 and January 2007.

The invitation for the project came from Adrian Plant who is the exhibitions organiser for Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, and coordinator of the recently established mediamaker programme, that spans across four Shrewsbury venues (including Shrewsbury Museum, the Music Hall Gallery, the Old Market Hall and Belmont Arts Centre). As one of his curatorial strands, Adrian is developing a series of Rurality art commissions in relation to certain rural aspects and particularities of Shrewsbury and its surrounding county Shropshire (the largest inland county and England which still predominantly rural and agricultural).

Kathrin Böhm, who is currently an AHRC Research fellow at the School of Art and Design at the nearby University of Wolverhampton, and a member of the artist initiative and a partner in the art and architecture collective public works, responded to the invitation by suggesting an on-site programme, co-curated by Adrian Plant and, that would conclude in a public symposium as a joint venture between the School of Art and Design, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery and

The intention of the overall Why We Left the Village and came Back programme was

- to present and discuss existing art and curatorial projects that take place in rural environments
- to open up and further inform a local and regional discourse on contextual art practice in a rural context
- to regard the curated programme in itself as a precedence for creating and extending the existing art spaces in Shrewsbury and Shropshire.

The Why We Left the Village and came Back programme took place in different formats:

Displays and exhibitions
The selection of case studies for the exhibitions drew from the Bibliobox, a project conceived by Wapke Feenstra, which brings together documentation of more than 50 art projects that took place in rural environments across 11 European countries. The selection for the exhibition spaces showed projects by the three members. At the Music Hall Gallery Antje Schiffers’ project I like being a farmer and want to stay one was represented through video documentation, photographic reproduction and quotes by farmer’s who have been involved in her project.
Kathrin Böhm’s Höfer Goods project at the Museum was presented amongst a selection of items from the Museum’s porcelain collection, accompanied by a document, which explained the development of the Höfer Goods.
Wapke Feenstra’s Bibliobox was housed at Belmont Art Centre, where it was set up for display and further travel, but also became the backdrop for a workshop asking the question “What does Shropshire sound like?”

Film Programme
The film programme for the Old Market Hall Cinema was also selected from the Bibliobox, and showcased the film Harvest by Anne Lise Stenseth, Amy Plant’s One Stop Shop video, The expansion of the Mastenbroek Polder documentary by Sjaak Langenberg, A Village does Nothing by Elisabeth Schimana and Markus Seidl, the full length feature film Bata-ville. We are not afraid of the Future by the artist collective Somewhere, and a selection of videos by Richard T. Walker. The programme was shown daily, free of charge and open to the general public.

Bibliobox Tour across Shropshire
The Bibliobox itself toured to a number of private and public spaces in Shropshire and Wales, including the front room of one of the SAD MA students who used the occasion to invite her local artist network, a local pub, a writer’s retreat, a discovery centre, a gallery and a local new media college.

Rural Art Space as a local topic
It was important from the start of the project, not to present a retrospective of existing work, but to use the BBBox documentation to explore new spaces for art and art debate in Shrewsbury and Shropshire. This aspect gains further importance in regards to the current undergoing development of the Museum Services in Shrewsbury, the design of new facilities for Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, and the aim to establish a Rurality Commission series in the future.
The development of Shrewsbury Museum and Gallery is further strengthening Shrewsbury’s position as a cultural resource hub in the area, and the new facility and extended programme will have to consider its spatial and programmatic relationships with the surrounding county and its various cultural groups. Currently Shropshire doesn’t have a networked infrastructure of cultural spaces, and new Rurality commissions will be confronted by the question of where and how to site commissions in order to establish a relational and context specific curatorial programme.

Rural Art Space as the title and content for the symposium
The curatorial idea behind the conference was to focus the morning presentations on art and cultural practices in regards to their involvement with social, political and physical spaces. The afternoon sessions were structured around issues that were of local/regional interest and allowed for presenters and delegates to enter a more participative discursive space, and the workshops allowed for cross-regional networking.

The morning presentations started with Adrian Plant and Mary White from Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery with a brief introduction into the main curatorial principle for the contemporary art programme at the Museum, and an explanation of Shrewsbury’s current situation in regards to cultural regeneration of the town and the development of the Museum Services.

Clare Cumberlidge from General Public Agency focused on the large scale and multidisciplinary project Thurrock: A Visionary Brief for the Thames Gateway to describe the underlying spatial and curatorial strategies of a project that aimed to involve and embed cultural production directly into an ongoing regeneration scheme. She added the subtitle A Study of Failure and gave a self-critical and useful analysis of why the ambitions of the projects were never implemented.
In spatial terms the failure could be described as the result of a non-addressed gap between an inter/national network of practitioners that were involved in generating the visionary brief, and the local council and council officers who would have been in charge of implementing it. As a strategy the project bridged a vast area of physical and cultural territories, but missed to secure its immediate compatibility by not actively involving the local spaces of power and implementation.

Kathrin Böhm focused her paper Art as Space versus Spaces for Art on exploring the question of what the existing or a new rural art space might look like, and how contextual art practice could contribute to the development of a new spatial typology that is particular to the rural environment, rather than importing urban architectural typologies such as museum and public square commissions. She was looking at socially engaged practices and process based and collaborative forms of production as methodologies that seem suitable to represent and extract existing rural modes and models.

Adam Sutherland from Grizedale Arts in the Lake District gave a good insight into an arts organisation that acts across spaces, both locally, nationally and internationally, and is not represented or contained by a single dominant building. His presentation was based on the idea of Curating Networks and demonstrated Grizedale’s wide spanning social and professional network that manifests itself in very different situations and spaces, from hillsides in Wales to dinners at PS 1 in New York. Grizedale’s curatorial premise follows the question Why people are doing what they do, which allows for a much more open and cross-networking cultural programme than one based on the idea of themes and groups. The programme highly inclusive, makes no difference of different forms of cultural productions and generates an interesting cross-programming and sampling of different cultural practices. The Grizedale programme in itself could be seen as a description and a brief for a new rural art space.

Wapke Feenstra and Antje Schiffers from finished the morning session with a recount of the Bibliobox tour through Shropshire. Their presentations were meant as a mapping of existing and potential art spaces, rather than a documentation of the tour.

Rural Art Space as part of Kathrin Böhm’s research
Kathrin Böhm’s research at Wolverhampton is focusing on the potential of socially engaged art practice in regards to the making and shaping of public space. Her research shifted from initially looking at the direct application of art practice to a design process, and is now concentrating on analysing the space making capacity of art practice itself. What has become clear during her research so far is that art projects that engage with a site and its users over an extended period of time, do create complex socio-spatial constructs which are often being neglected when it comes to planning and design decisions.
She is currently looking at the articulation of those socio-spatial constructs, and modes of representation that allow the mapping and visualisation of sociala nd cultural networks. The two case studies she has chosen to analyse and represent as part of her research outcome are the Folkestone Sculpture Triennale and Grizedale Arts. Both projects take place within areas of culture led regeneration. Both are curatorial programmes that invite a number of artists to respond to the particularities of a place and they both spread over a wider geographical area and longer periods of time. The research will result in a spatial mapping of both projects, including and reflecting the spaces and networks they use the nature and duration of those relationships, and the relationships they create. The aim is to visualise complex and relational cultural practices in spatial terms with the intention

- to claim them as architectural spaces in their own right
- to analyse them in regards to the development of new typologies of cultural spaces
- to relate them to more conventional forms of architectural development and design in order to question the authority and hierarchy of the built structure.

Art practices are involved in urban and rural regeneration, with the urban fields of practice more explored and discussed than rural models. It’s therefore of interest to look at rural regeneration and to reconsider urban models or practice, with the ambition to generate a curatorial and artist approach that responds to the particularities of a rural context, and ideally can lead to new forms and typologies of rural practice and art spaces.

The day was part of an extended programme and multiple collaborations, and can be reviewed from different angles.

The symposium as an enactment of a rural art space
The symposium created a meeting and networking point across the region and nationally. The event was fully booked and 84 participants in total contributed to the day, including individual artists, art students, representatives of rural cultural organisations and initiatives and researchers. The different formats of presentations and exchange throughout the day allowed for both, information gathering and reflection, and more active discussions and networking amongst practitioners. There was significant interest in the issue, and a strong enough public to make use of the space on offer and to carry the issue forward.

The propositional nature of the symposium
The symposium as a format is an informative and discursive event that relies on a network and audience but can take place in existing spaces and venues. The symposium can be seen as one possible format and space to establish and extend the rural art space in Shropshire and the region, and could become part of a national and international network of conferences and symposia on rural cultural issues.
As a well attended event the day also represented an existing critical mass and audience, which within rural environments are often widespread and become rarely visible as a group or networks.
The day proofed that the Rural Art Space is an important issue, both in order to develop a clearer identity of what rural art and rural culture is and could be, but also in terms of thinking spatial and strategic models for the future.

Enabling new partnerships
The symposium was a joint venture between, Shrewsbury Museum and Art gallery and the School of Art and Design at the University of Wolverhampton. Links between the three partners existed previously but haven’t been utilised so far. The School of Art and Design represents the regional Higher Education and Research Institution with a teaching and research strand in socially engaged art practice, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery represent a local and regional arts organisation with a curatorial interest in rural cultural practise, and represents a trans-local artist and practitioners network.
The day was attended by guest from all three partners which generated a well balanced mix between students and University staff, rural arts organisations and practitioners. The mix of partners also represents the necessary cultural diversity when it comes to addressing and enabling a new Rural Art Space, where practice meets curation meets education meets research.

Creating a pool of information, case studies and reflections to inform the further development of Shrewsbury Museum Services and Rurality commissions.
The two months programme together with the symposium, offered and activated multiple resources, which can be assessed in regards to their relevance for the Development of the Museum Services. Adrian Plant is planning to use the report and online presence of the material in further meeting and discussions. Some of the case studies can be assessed as, and act as prototypes for new initiatives in Shropshire.

Articulation of a new term and subject: The Rural Art Space
The term Rural Art Space sounded very Euro-english to begin with, and rather dry than engaging. However, at the end of the symposium day it seemed to have become a common term amongst delegates.
To date there is little cohesive documentation of interesting art and curatorial projects in the rural realm (in comparison to engaged practices in urban areas) which keeps both, art practice in the rural and the existing rural art space, rather invisible. This lack of representation and publication of activities
Needs to be addressed in order to find and understand the particularities of contemporary rual culture in order to develop new curatorial and spatial programmes.
The main thesis of Kathrin Böhm’s paper was to consider and develop a new typology of space for the rural context, which might be spread across sites and time, with the ambition to engage art practice into the development and understanding of contemporary rural culture is and could be and its spatial manifestation.

Text by Kathrin Böhm
April 2007

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