Writing Workshop: Gardens in Fiction, Fiction in Gardens

The starting point for this workshop is a database the artist Harun Morrison has been developing that gathers descriptions of gardens in fiction (novels, stories, songs etc) from multiple eras and geographies. To date this includes excerpts from Mena Kasmiri Abdullah, Isabella Allende and Italo Calvino.

This workshop invites participants to collectively read from some of the texts from the database as a starting point to generate their own writing. The workshop will happen in Mind Garden, a space adjacent to Sheffield Mind, that Harun and others have been been repairing, re-designing and replanting.
Mind Garden by Harun Morrison is part of Arts Catalyst’s Emergent Ecologies programme happening across South Yorkshire that explore how our experiences of place — from wetlands and waterways to city centre streets — and of ourselves within them, are shaped with and by other beings.
Tickets for this workshop are free, but need to be reserved in advance as capacity is strictly limited. If you can no longer attend, cancel your ticket so your place can be reallocated.
Aftter this event you are welcome to stay for the Kitchen Club: Mind Garden Open Day which is a drop in day of free activities. 
ACCESS: The workshop takes place at Sheffield Mind, which is accessible for wheelchair users with a disabled toilet. Some of the workshop will take place outdoors where surfaces are smooth but there is a gentle slope of 3 foot to access the garden. Unless there is extreme weather, this workshop will take place mostly outdoors, so please come prepared for the weather. We will provide seating.
Regular bus services are in place along London / Abbeydale Road.
If you are attending in a wheelchair or for more access information please email: admin@artscatalyst.org
We are taking extra precautions to manage the risk of COVID-19.
We ask everyone attending this event to take a Lateral Flow Test on the day of the event if you can.
Please note: If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 such as sore throat, continuous headache, dry cough, runny nose, loss of taste of smell, or high temperature, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please do not attend. We want to keep everyone as safe as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
If you develop symptoms of COVID19 after the event please email us at admin@artscatalyst.org and mark it 'URGENT'. This way we will be able to contact those who attended the event.
Harun Morrison is an artist and writer based on the inland waterways. He is the 20/21 recipient of the Wheatley Fine Art Fellowship, hosted by Birmingham School of Art, Birmingham City University and Eastside Projects; where his recent solo exhibition 'Experiments With Everyday Objects' ran this summer. His forthcoming novel, The Escape Artist will be published by Book Works in 2022. Since 2006, Harun has collaborated with Helen Walker in the collective practice They Are Here.
Harun is currently resident at Delfina Foundation & Horniman Museum and forthcoming Designer and Researcher in Residence at V&A Dundee. He is also a trustee of the Black Cultural Archives (est. 1981).
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Tales from the Wetlands: Story Telling Workshop

A story-telling workshop as part of community arts and science project WET / LAND / DWELLERS

WET / LAND / DWELLERS project is asking people in Woodhouse and nearby areas about their relationship to the wetlands of the Woodhouse Washlands, Shire Brook Valley and Beighton Marsh - in the past, present and future. 
The workshop, led by Sheffield writer and performer Stacey Sampson, will involve a walk around the ponds at Shire Brook Valley, exploring the ecology of the area, and an outdoor workshop in which you will create and share stories, knowledges, memories, and imaginaries associated with the valley or washlands. 
Refreshments provided and travel reimbursed. No previous experience needed. There is the opportunity to have your stories included in the project newsletter, podcast or website. 
This event is aimed at adults but parents / carers are welcome to bring young people and children who don't mind being outdoors. 
ACCESS: The workshop takes place outdoors, but the meet point will be the Shire Brook Valley Visitor centre, off Stone Lane, which has level access and a disabled toilet. The toilet is available for use throughout the session. Please email to request more information on routes for wheelchair users. 
EXTRAS: We advise wearing suitable warm, waterproof clothing that will keep you warm for the duration of the workshop.
We are taking extra precautions to manage the risk of COVID-19.
We ask everyone attending this event to wear a mask indoors unless exempt. We are limiting capacity to enable social distancing and hand sanitiser is provided.
We ask everyone attending this event to take a Lateral Flow Test on the day of the event. 
Please note: If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 such as sore throat, continuous headache, dry cough, runny nose, loss of taste of smell, or high temperature, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please do not attend. We want to keep everyone as safe as possible. Thank you for your understanding. 
Wetlands are complex, environmentally important, ecosystems, and their loss inextricably connects legacies of colonial expansion with current environmental challenges. Up to 75% of the world’s wetlands are now lost, and so is the rich biodiversity that inhabits them as well as the histories that they carry.
Situated across Shire Brook Valley and Woodhouse Washlands in South Yorkshire, Wet / Land / Dwellers brings together communities, scientists, environmentalists and artists to interrogate the specificities of these sites through a critical spatial art practice.  By navigating local stories, with their social, ecological, political and geological histories, and expanding to a planetary dimension, the project explores how communities understand their relation to wetlands and how they could be the site of new social/ecological relations.
The Wet / Land / Dwellers project seeks partly to raise awareness of the global destruction of wetlands. World Wetlands Day 2022 is on the 2nd February. Please see more info here.
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Gallery tour of the Story of E.A.T Barbro Schultz Lundestam

Joins us for a gallery tour with Swedish journalist and independent documentary director Barbro Schultz Lundestam who was responsible for the re-emergence of documentation of the seminal performances by E.A.T. in 1966.

Please RSVP admin@artscatalyst.org

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A Public Hearing – Technologies of Belonging

Calling all residents, workers and communities of Cromer Street and Kings Cross, come and share your stories at the first event in the A Public Hearing series

Saturday 28 May is the first in a series of events to explore the technologies of hearing and the point of mediation between the hearing and listening. It will be used as a foundation to lead into the events on the Saturday 11 June and Saturday 25 June that will continue to develop and explore these concepts and materials in more depth and alternative ones.

Technologies of Belonging investigates how hearing and vocalising are rehearsed. Presenting hearing as narration and storytelling rather than confession. Non-oral bodily sensing and an exploration of the non-human on variety of scales presented in an evolving exhibition as multi-speaker installation, with a collaged sequence of the recent interviews collected by the group with live elements fluctuating between different temporalities, histories and sounds.

Personal hearings

Through a series of informal conversations and discussions the group are inviting you between 1pm–3pm to come and contribute to a developing archive of material.

This event forms part of the first phase of Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process, where postgraduate students from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London will be in residence at Arts Catalyst’s Cromer Street Centre throughout May and June. During this time, they will use the form and function of the public hearing as an aid for investigating a number of contemporary conditions.

Public hearings originated from the process of the enclosure of public lands in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were held in order to create a petition to parliament to enclose the land, and then later to hear objections to the act created by Parliament. Today, public hearings are still used when dealing with both public lands and private properties. Adopting the device of the public hearing, the Goldsmiths group will consider how diverse experiences and events are communicated through speech, vocalising, hearing and listening. Whose stories are heard and whose not? What other forms of nonhuman expression - animals, plants, industrial, atmospheric - are heard, and what new modes of sensing are needed? In short, who speaks and who listens, and with what technologies?

Arts Catalyst's Centre will be open to the public for A Public Hearing as part of Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process
Thursday 2 June – Friday 24 June 2016
Thursdays & Fridays, 12noon – 6pm
With events on Saturday 11 June and Saturday 25 June 2016
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Graveyard of Lost Species

An ambitious collaborative project and public monument by artists YoHa and Critical Art Ensemble in partnership with Arts Catalyst

The Graveyard of Lost Species is a temporary public monument, created from a local wreck, the Souvenir - a 40ft 12 ton Thames Bawley fishing boat, which was reclaimed from the estuary mud. With the names of varied "lost species" (flora, fauna, occupations, words) from the estuary laser carved onto the boat’s surface and interior, she was sailed back and installed on the Leigh marshes as a part of the local landscape.

During 2015 and 2016, the artists led a set of enquiries with people in Leigh-on-Sea and Southend to gather local knowledge of and expertise about "lost species" - wildlife, marine creatures, livelihoods, fishing methods, landmarks and local dialects that once flourished in the Estuary and are now disappearing. Working with local craftsmen, the artists then laser cut the lost species into the vessel’s surface.

The project is intended to act as a monument to Leigh’s past and future, as well as uncovering and highlighting local knowledge about the changing ecology, society and industry of the Thames estuary.

The artwork is dedicated to the people of Leigh and Southend.

Graveyard of Lost Species is part of 'Wrecked on The Intertidal Zone', an art and citizen science project that uncovers and highlights local knowledge about the changing ecology, society and industry of the Thames estuary. Artists YoHa, Critical Art Ensemble, Andy Freeman and Fran Gallardo, with The Arts Catalyst, are collaborating with local people in Southend and Leigh-on-Sea.

See the Wrecked website for videos and artists updates:

Graveyard of Lost Species Launch Event Programme
Sat 23 July 2016
2.30pm – 3.30pm Artist talk, Focal Point Gallery, Southend
With artists Yoha (Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji) and Critical Art Ensemble (Steve Kurtz, Steve Barnes and Lucia Sommer), chaired by Claudia Lastra, Programme Manager, Arts Catalyst.
The artists will discuss their long-term project Graveyard of Lost Species, an anti-monument inscribed with lost and disappearing species of the estuary based in Leigh-on-Sea. The anti-monument is a 30ft boat wreck that will slowly corrode. It is now installed publically on the salt marshes near to the gateway to the Thames. The artist duos will discuss their unique collaboration, as well as processes and production of the project.
Emerging in the late 1980s, Critical Art Ensemble and YoHa are pioneers in a radical art practice that deployed new media as a tactical tool to re-claim, rethink and re-envisage the politics, popular media and artistic practice of the time.
3.30pm – 4.30pm Travel to site of Graveyard of Lost Species installation at Leigh on Sea.
4.30pm – 6.00pm Reception and installation viewing on site
Please bring waterproof footwear as the marsh area is very muddy. The location is less than 10 minutes walk from Leigh-on-Sea train station, there are parking bays at Leigh-on-Sea station and Leigh Marshes car park.
Arrive at Leigh-on-Sea train station, when exiting turn right towards the Estuary, walk past the car park (on your right) and walk towards the estuary path. Walk along the estuary path (west) towards Benfleet, you will come to a cross path and a hard standing where the boat is situated.
Travelling to Leigh-on-Sea for drinks reception
This project is sponsored by Cory Environmental Trust and Arts Council England
Focal Point Gallery and Southern Borough Council


Graveyard of Lost Species is led by artist group YoHa, Graham Harwood and Matsuko Yokokoji, who have worked together since 1994 and are local Leigh-on-Sea residents. YoHa's polemical vision and technical tinkering has powered several celebrated collaborations, establishing an international reputation for pioneering critical art and socially engaged projects. Harwood and Yokokoji co-founded the pioneering artists’ group Mongrel (1996-2007) and established the MediaShed, a free-media lab (2005-2008), which reached international fame through its film ‘Duallists’ shown at over 30 film festivals around the world.

Critical Art Ensemble undertook a residency in Leigh-on-Sea, building on research from two previous visits, working alongside Yoha on Lost Species. Since 1987, Critical Art Ensemble has explored the intersections between art, critical theory and political activism. Projects have included recreating historical bio-warfare experiments off the coast of Scotland; setting up a lab in a gallery to reverse engineer genetically modified seeds; and planting endangered flowers on public lands and urban social space threatened by property developers.


Funders and Supporters

This project is supported by The Arts Council England and Arts Catalyst. Many thanks to Leigh Town Council, Southend Borough Council, Metal (Southend) and Belton Way Small Craft Club with advice from Natural England and Essex Wildlife Trust.
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A Brief History of Arts Catalyst, 2014

2014 marked the 20th anniversary year of Arts Catalyst and here we celebrate some of the 120 artists’ projects that we have commissioned over those two decades.

Based in London, Arts Catalyst is one of the UK’s most distinctive arts organisations, distinguished by ambitious artists’ projects that engage with the ideas and impact of science. We are acknowledged internationally as a pioneer in this field and a leader in experimental art, known for our curatorial flair, scale of ambition and critical acuity.

Our primary focus is new artists’ commissions, presented as exhibitions, events and participatory projects, that are accessible, stimulating and artistically relevant. We aim to produce provocative and risk-taking projects that spark dynamic conversations about our changing world. This is underpinned by research and dialogue between artists and world-class scientists and researchers.

We have a deep commitment to artists and artistic process. We work with artists at pivotal stages in their careers, providing opportunities for them to develop bold projects in unusual contexts. This small booklet draws together some examples of projects that have involved:

  • flying teams of artists and scientists in zero gravity in Russia
  • recreating historical bio-warfare experiments off the coast of Scotland
  • setting up live scientific experiments as art installations
  • siting futuristic art-science labs in remote landscapes
  • enabling artists’ access to restricted scientific establishments

We continue to produce projects that develop enduring themes around deep time, autonomous research, bioethics, and the global commons (oceans, poles, atmosphere and outer space), working with both established and emerging artists to create inspiring and thought-provoking new art experiences.



A Brief History of Arts Catalyst
Edited by Nicola Triscott
Published by Arts Catalyst, 2014 
Designed by Abake & Margherita Huntley
Colour, 34 pages, softback and electronic

Download a copy of a new publication, showcasing some landmark projects from the first 20 years from the column on the left.

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Moon Stories and Make it to the Moon family workshops

Family workshops at Bargehouse as part of the programme for younger visitors to Republic of the Moon exhibition

Make it to the Moon
Sunday 12 January, 2pm – 5pm
Make it to the Moon, drop in family workshops led by artist and ESERO-UK Space Ambassador Helen Schell. 
Imagine a mission to the moon and using various art and craft techniques design and make space diaries, logbooks, rocket manuals, moon flags and mission badges. (5–11 years.  Must be accompanied by an adult.)

Moon Stories
Sunday 19 January, 2.30pm – 4.30pm
Moon Stories, family workshop with Moon Vehicle project leader Joanna Griffin.
Join a space adventure re-enacting the history of moon landings, making space vehicles and a light-based lunar installation for a new mission. (Suitable for ages 8+)



Republic of the Moon is a touring exhibition, commissioned by Arts Catalyst with FACT. The first version of the exhibition was presented at FACT Liverpool in winter 2012. The exhibition and residency has been made possible with Grants for the Arts support from Arts Council England and Science & Technology Facilities Council.
Bargehouse is owned and managed by social enterprise, Coin Street Community Builders: www.coinstreet.org

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Satellite Stories

A commissioned participatory activity led by artist Joanna Griffin in collaboration with scientists at Mullard Space Science Laboratory.

Joanna Griffin collaborated with the scientists at Mullard Space Science Laboratory, the UK's largest university-based space science research group, as part of her ongoing investigation into our connection to the orbiting built environment of satellites.

The event - held as part of a day of activities for the public - aimed to draw out stories of space science and create strong memories for participants so that science knowledge filters into local culture and the oral tradition of storytelling.

Participants joined in the exchange of stories while moving through the spaces of the house and gardens, where satellites are woven into the fabric of this extraordinary place. They experienced the voyages of spacecraft through the rooms, minds, garden, lanes, conversations, meetings, oceans, atmospheres, magnetospheres.... Each family was asked to bring along at least one 'satellite anecdote' or stargazing memory (or object) to share.
3:30: Welcome talk – tea + snacks in library
4:00:  Talks / guided tours, children's activities including lantern building workshop
5:00 – 6:00 (twilight): Satellite Stories
6:00: Satellite watching workshop, lights, music, conversation, 'Mullard' wine
An artist and educator based in the South West of England, Joanna Griffin's practice examines structures with political and scientific significance. Her work with Satellite Stories considers the complications around the control of the space of orbiting satellites, and what the technology is used for. What happens when individuals outside of this culture also want access to the view from above? This line of enquiry is detailed beautifully in her blog www.aconnectiontoaremoteplace.net .
Admission to Satellite Stories was free.
Satellite Stories was produced in collaboration with the scientists of Mullard Space Science Laboratory, a department of University College London (UCL). The project was the first part of The Arts Catalyst's programme with UCL as a partner in their 'Beacons of Public Engagement' programme.
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Bird Lake Museum

The Bird-Lake Museum is a museum of natural history, whose collections have all been created by young people with special educational needs.

The Bird-Lake Museum is a travelling museum of natural history, founded by explorer-anthropologist Kitty Lake and ornithologist William Bird. Its collections have all been created by young people with special educational needs (aged from 10 to 15 years) at Oakley School, Tunbridge Wells, Rosendale School, Dulwich, Turney School, Dulwich, and Waveney School, Tonbridge.

The students worked with artist Sally Hampson studying the natural world to make birds' eggs, nests and wings, insects and nature drawings. Visits to the tranquil and enchanting Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve by the students during the project included nature walks, talks and 'pond-dipping' activities.

The Museum was shown at the Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve in May and June 2001. The Bird Lake Museum is a touring project.


We would like to thank the following organisations and individuals:

Natural History Museum
Rowena Taylor
John Tyler and members, Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve
Mike Harris and members, The Angling Society
The Arts Council of England
The Paul Hamlyn Foundation

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Interspecies London - Symposia, Workshops, Family Day

Interspecies uses artistic and participatory strategies to stimulate dialogue and debate, showing artists in contact with real animals and negotiating a new power relationship, questioning the way we view our interactions with animals during Darwin's anniversary year

Interspecies asks: Can artists work with animals as equals? If not, what is the current state of the human-animal relationship?

The exhibition and programme of related events centres around a durational work by Kira O'Reilly and draws together projects by Nicolas Primat and other artists who explore playful speculations on relations between species. Antony Hall Enki Experiment 4 encourages visitors to communicate with an electric fish on the same level.  Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson's Radio Animal* invites visitors to consider ‘unwelcome’ visitors but have for whatever reason found their way into what we may consider our own territories. Work includes: Nicolas Primat Portrait de Famille, The Making of Les Petits Hommes VersKira O'Reilly Falling Asleep With A Pig. Ruth Maclennan Harry and Three short films on Hawks and Men. Rachel Mayeri Primate Cinema: Baboons as Friends. Beatriz da Costa PigeonBlog.

Talks & Symposia

Exhibition tour with curator Rob La Frenais, 6pm Friday 2 October 2009

Non-Human Primates symposium with Sarah-Jane Vick - primatologist and psychologist; Patrick Munck - artist, videographer and collaborator with Nicolas Primat; Rachel Mayeri - artist, chaired by Rob La Frenais, 7-9pm Friday 2 October 2009

Tour of ENKI Experiment 4 with artist Antony Hall, 2pm Saturday 3 october 2009

Animals, Humans and Power symposium with Giovanni Aloi - editor Antennae; Ruth Maclennan - artist; Helen Macdonald, author of Falcon; Bryndis Snæbjörnsdóttir; Karen Knorr - artist and photographer, chaired by Rob La Frenais, 3-6pm Saturday 3 October 2009


Primate Cinema workshops on How to Act like an Animal with artist Rachel Mayeri, 1-3 and 3.30-5.30pm Saturday 3 October 2009

Family day

Becoming Bowerbirds workshop with artist Sally Hampson (based on an Arts Catalyst project at Zoological Society London), 2-5pm Sunday 4 October 2009

Interspecies Tales with poet and storyteller Shamin Azad, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm Sunday 4 October 2009

Links to artists' websites

Kira O'Reilly, Antony Hall, Ruth Maclennan, Rachel Mayeri, Beatriz da Costa, Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson

Exhibition supported by

Arts Council England, Darwin 200, A Foundation

*Animal Radio is a Story Gallery, Lancaster commission funded by the Henry Moore Foundation.

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