Thursday, 29 May 2008

Call for seaside postcards

Would you like to contribute a ‘seaside postcard’ to be displayed in folders within the exhibition?

We will welcome creative responses on the theme of The Sea, in any medium as long as it is postcard size (15 x 10cm), fairly flat so that it can be slipped into a folder (so collage, painting, photography, stitching, drawing, printing, writing etc. actual works rather than photographs of works please).

We will welcome ‘postcards’ from individuals or sets of ‘postcards’ from groups of artists so please tell you colleagues.

‘Postcards’ can arrive at the museum at any time during the summer.

We will do our best to return work if you include your name and address on the back of the ‘postcard’ but, as the folders will be for public browsing, we cannot guarantee it.

The Sea, the Sea
10 May - 5 October
The sea in all its moods has inspired generations of artists. Paintings and drawings from the museum collection evoke the cry of gulls, the smell of salt spray and the feel of sand beneath your feet. Complementing the artworks are seldom-seen objects collected and created by people who lived, worked and dreamed by the sea - from shells, fossils and birds to tools, models and ceramics. The exhibition includes works by important artists as varied as Johannes Lingelbach, Julian Trevelyan and Maggi Hambling with plenty of things for all the family to see and do.

See Reading Museum for details

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Hang-On Friday

This coming Friday is hang-on Friday, artists network group. All are welcome to join us from 4.30pm this Friday and the last Friday of every month to network, talk and just share a cup of tea together or chat. We meet at Picnic, Butter Market Reading so maybe see you there.


LEGEND until September 28th, France

Traditionally, all legends are conveyed through fables and stories based on secrets, lies, manipulations, and exaggerations of historical and popular truths. Legend is archaic speech that circulates in close connection with images. As such, it comes close to the imaginary. Lodged in a distant past, legend seems initially to have nothing in common with this era’s perpetual present. And yet, the present produces its narratives too. Today’s stories are digital carriers of information, strung out on “dot-com hysteria” and fifteen seconds of fame. But because this present only exists through the hypothetical future we grant it, and because we can barely process the records it incessantly extrudes, its history is becoming increasingly impossible to write: we walk on the edge of legend.

See an English blog post about it here

On the occasion of the exhibition, a bilingual illustrated catalogue french-English is published. It includes texts by Jean-Philippe Antoine, JG Ballard, Craig Buckley, Yoann Gourmel, Raimundas Malasauskas, Will Holder, Karl Holmqvist, Shimabuku, Alexis Vaillant, Tris Vonna-Michell. This book accompanies the eponymous exhibition at the castle of Chamarande in France (25 May – 28 September 2008) which assembles the recent work of thirty international artists who interrogate the artificiality of the current world and render up intensified visions of it. Artists include David Altmejd, Philip Newcombe, Peter Coffin, Anne Collier, Michaela Eichwald, Jason Fox, Karl Holmqvist, Uwe Henneken, Jason Meadows, Pae White, Lisa Yuskavage, a.o.

June 2008, English/French
12 x 18 cm, 184 pages, 40 color ill., softcover
ISBN 978-1-933128-44-3

Exhibition at the castle and in factories, 25/05/08 at 28/09/08
Open daily from 12am to 19h
Groups daily by appointment
Free admission

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A good read

Some of you may know A F Harrold, some of you may even own a book or two or have seen him perform but if you want something to really make you smile when you open your email, sign up for his regular newsletter. Here is a brief description of various forthcoming delights in his own words:

Upcoming Gigs

Monday June 2nd – Poet In The City, at the Guardian Newsroom, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA. 6.30pm Free.
This is one of those odd little gigs that are free but which you must book in advance, by e-mailing the Poet In The City folks ( – if your name’s not on the list you’re not coming in.
The blurb on the Poet In The City website ( says A New Audiences event featuring some of the UK's most exciting poets and spoken word artists, including AF Harrold, Jenny Lindsay, Abraham Gibson and Stacey Makishi. Now I know Jenny quite well and she’s always very brilliant and lovelyly Scottish, but I’ve not seen the other two, but you’d imagine they’d book some good poets for this thing. Should be fun.

Tuesday June 17th – Write Angle, somewhere in Petersfield. In the evening. Probably costs a little bit to get in.
I’m sometimes not entirely forthcoming with details about these things, but I’m guesting at the this regular monthly event in June, in amongst some open mic and stuff. I do know that Petersfield is somewhere to the north of Portsmouth, but that’s about all I do know. If I find anything else out, I’ll let you know.

Friday June 20th – Poets’ CafĂ©, South Street Arts Centre, South Street, Reading. 8pm doors, 8.30pm start. £6/£4.
See, I know about this one. This is the monthly poetry night that I run and in amongst our open mic we’re pleased to slot in our special international guest, Mr Todd Swift, who is, of course, Oxfam’s poet in residence as well as being an editor of such anthologies as Poets Against The War and author of his own books of work. Busy chap. (

Thursday 26th – Sunday 29th – Glstonbury Festival, a field in Somerset.
Just in case anyone’s going – it’s too late to get tickets now, I think – I shall be there, both in my capacity as The Official Glastonbury Festival’s Official Website’s Official Poet In Residence, and as a performer on Helen Gregory’s poetry & words stage on the Sunday afternoon. She’s organised a fine line up of poets for her stage, so if you’re there and bored of bloody awful young people’s music come and listen to some people talking at you instead. Or go home – don’t forget, that’s always an option. For the lucky people who failed to get tickets to this thing, I shall be writing poems across the weekend which will be posted on the Glastonbury website, somewhere, in real time. Hmm, that’ll be fun.

That’s enough gig type things for now.

Forthcoming Book Available Now

Lovely poetic colleague, Mr Peter Wyton has a new book out, raising good money for a good cause. Here’s the blurb he sent: NOT ALL MEN ARE FROM MARS ‘Not all men are from Mars’ is a collection of poems by Peter Wyton, produced in support of ‘Women’s Aid’, the charity which provides sheltered accommodation throughout the U.K. for women and children made homeless by domestic violence. The book retails at £7:99 per copy, £5 of which goes to Women’s Aid. Some of the 55 poems in the book touch on the problems which Women’s Aid seeks to address, but the majority are simply about women from a wide variety of backgrounds. I am currently working with officials from the society on a presentation featuring the work of Women’s Aid, illustrated by poems from the book. Whether you are a literary festival organiser, or a member of some group or society which invites speakers to its meetings or events, please contact my manager, Linda Fisher 01452 532081 Women’s Aid is a vital but under-funded organisation. It is one of three national charities whose work concentrates on the consequences of domestic violence. A recent report highlighted the fact that the combined income of these three charities is £3 million pounds less than that of a single donkey sanctuary in Devon! More about the book at together with a PayPal link for those who wish to order a copy. The book will also be available from Peter at events. This book comes with encouraging jacket cover endorsements from Jo Brand, U.A. Fanthorpe, Rosie Bailey, Jackie Llewelyn-Bowen, Sue Limb and Sandy Toksvig.

A Competition

Okay, let’s see. The first thing a competition needs is a prize – so I quickly browse my shelves and lay my hand on a proof copy of Dan Rhodes 2001 collection of short stories Don’t Tell Me The Truth About Love. This was the follow up to Anthropology, his collection of 101 stories each 101 words long which led him to be described as ‘the bastard love-child of macabre cartoonist Edward Gorey and surreal Scottish poet Ivor Cutler’. The only problem with that quote is how the reviewer had to detail who Gorey and Cutler were – a sad indictment of the cultural heritage the majority of the world pick up…

Anyway, the second thing a competition needs is a question or two. So here goes… (as ever, an easy question, followed by a tricky tie-breaker)

Easy Question: The title of the Dan Rhodes book Don’t Tell Me Truth About Love has one word more, but is in all other ways quite similar, to a poem of almost the same name by W.H. Auden. The question is, what is the extra word that Dan Rhodes added to Auden’s poem Tell Me The Truth About Love to make his own title?

Tie-breaker: In as many words as you like don’t tell me the truth about love. Or to put it another way, as Buffy Summers did in episode seven of the second season of BTVS, lie to me.

Okay, send your answers back to me to be in with a chance of winning this very funny book. Answers need to be received by 11 am GMT on Friday 6th of June. Correct answers to the easy question will then have all their subsequent bits read and judged to be best or not quite best by me, with my favourites appearing in a subsequent newsletter – so a moment of tiny fame for all involved. The winner will get the book sent to him or her, unless they live just round the corner in which case I’ll pop it through by hand. Any questions of your own, don’t hesitate to forget to ask me.


I’ve still got books for sale at that you might enjoy. More to come.


Cheerio, toodle-pip, ta-ra, and the rest.

Be good.

A.F. Harrold.

FREE Training for Artists

Training for Artists

A season of practical courses to develop and market the skills and creative practice of artists
Part of Slough Arts Development’s professional development programme for artists

All places are free but on booking a refundable £5 deposit is payable.

Preparing to succeed Tuesday 1st July 2008, 9.30am-4.30pm
Are you an artist looking for effective ways to sell, pitch, and present your work in every situation? Martyn
Duffy from Bridge Builders can help. This workshop will give you an understanding of how to communicate effectively; enable you to become confident at interview techniques and teach you how to ask open questions.
You will have opportunities to review and consolidate your learning whilst putting the theory into practice and giving you the confidence and ability to think on your feet. You will be given the opportunity to pitch in a safe environment and get feedback from the group

Facilitating practical workshops Thursday 3rd July 2008, 9.30am-4.30pm
Are you an artist looking to make an extra income from your work? Have you thought about running practical workshops but don’t know where to start? Running workshops can be a great way to support your practice.
Expert trainer and workshop facilitator Christine Wilkinson will give you the tips, techniques and guidance to help you set up and run practical workshops for any age range.

Visual arts portfolio day Thursday 10th July 2008, 9.30am - 4.30pm
Are you looking for inspiration on how to present your work? Trying to submit your portfolio to galleries but not sure which direction to take? Look no further; Rebecca Cairns, Arts Development Manager and former gallery curator, will work with Suzanne Stallard, Director of the jelly leg’d chicken gallery in Reading, to look at what to and what not to include in your portfolio. You will need to bring along your current work and portfolio. Each participant will be given a slot for a one-to-one session with the trainers and the group to look at selecting work for their portfolio.

N.B. This course is specifically aimed at visual artists. Places are limited; please submit a copy of your CV with the booking form.

For further information or a booking form please contact Gurjeet Kaur 01753 477176

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Creativity for Wildlife - Initial Artist's Brief May 2008

Outdoor Culture, working with BBOWT (the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust) seeks to commission an artist to collaborate with primary and secondary-age children in the production of a public art work during September 2008, to be sited on the Haymill Valley nature reserve, Slough. A total budget of £5,300 is available, with the expectation that at least 7 days will be spent working directly with young people. This initial brief is intended as a starting point: the final brief and contract will be developed in dialogue with the appointed artist.

BBOWT already runs a successful education programme, and is interested in exploring new approaches to engaging learners and the public with its conservation messages. Outdoor Culture has been appointed as a consultant to help BBOWT undertake a creative outdoor learning project in the Haymill Valley Community Nature Reserve as an action research pilot, and to make some wider recommendations as to how the Trust might make more use of the arts to further its mission.

The Haymill Valley reserve sits between residential developments close to the Slough Trading Estate at the Burnham end of the town. It is one of the most extensive areas of wildlife habitat in urban Slough and so provides a valuable local resource for both local wildlife and the local community. Historically, part of the valley once formed the mill pond for the medieval ‘Ay Mill’. Presently, a stream runs along the length of the reserve supporting a central reed bed surrounded by wet and dry woodland. These habitats are home for bluebells, yellow Iris, warblers, kingfishers, dragonflies and small mammals. Conservation work on the reserve is primarily carried out by a local ‘friends of’ group and includes scrub clearance, path creation, litter picks and pond creation.
The broad aims of the Creativity for Wildlife commission are as follows:
• Local children and young people positively engaged on site through creative outdoor learning
• Local children and young people develop their appreciation and respect for nature on the site
• Art work co-created by artist and young people, which deepens public engagement with the Haymill reserve
Vision for art work

A map and an aerial photograph of the reserve are available on request.

Our initial thinking is to create two new pieces: a new sign at the northern entrance to the reserve, and an art work near the stream at the extreme southern end of the site, which will attract visitors through the reserve to this focal point. The art work should encourage visitors to pause and reflect at this spot, and should be conceptually accessible to a broad family audience. The piece should complement the natural beauty of the site and be sensitive to its designation as a nature reserve. Inspiration might be drawn from the bio-diversity of the site, its history as woodland and mill stream or a wider environmental agenda.

A major factor for consideration is the history and ongoing likelihood of vandalism onsite: materials, location and design must all address this very real risk. The art work must endure in some medium, with minimum maintenance requirements. Please note that there is no electricity or lighting anywhere in the reserve. The sign will be very close to road access; the art work is likely to be at least 200m from the nearest road access point, along a fairly flat but at times muddy path.

We are open to a wide range of concepts for this commission – although we envisage a physical sculpture, we are open to the possibilities of less traditional work, perhaps in digital imagery or sonic art, or the recording of a more ephemeral or performance-based piece. We are interested in how different audiences might interact with the piece – perhaps climbing or sitting on it, perhaps exchanging digital information. The creation process is of equal importance, in that children and young people must have a substantial degree of creative ownership, and should be acknowledged as co-creators in terms of intellectual property.

We expect the artist to take part in a launch event for the final piece.


Although we can flexible as to how the budget is divided up, we expect a minimum of 7 days to be spend working directly with children and young people. Here is our current thinking:

Outdoor Culture is a recently formed company, led by Alistair Will, that specialises in using the arts, learning and play to connect people with the landscape. Alistair’s background is in music and creative learning, with previous employment in the Asian Music Circuit, Youth Music, Arts Council England and Creative Partnerships. For further information, visit Outdoor Culture has been appointed by BBOWT as the project manager of this commission, and will contract the appointed artist on its behalf.

BBOWT, the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, is one of a network of 47 county-based Wildlife Trusts working across the UK. BBOWT cares for 88 nature reserves, works in partnership to conserve the wider countryside and inspires people to take action for wildlife. The Trust has 60 professional staff, 1,250 volunteers and 23,500 memberships. It has grown to be the largest and most influential conservation organisation in the region. For more information, visit

Creative Junction is a new community interest company based in Slough and working across the same three counties as BBOWT, promoting innovation in creative learning and managing the Creative Partnerships programme in this sub-region. For more information, visit or call Jo Whitham on 01753 470324. Creative Junction is the major funder of this commission.

Caught in the Act – Reading reading

Caught in the Act – Reading reading

Photographer’s Brief


Blank Productions is delivering a community-focused project in Reading for the National Year of Reading in partnership with Reading Borough Council’s arts team and library service. The project has been primarily funded through Awards for All with supporting funds from Reading Borough Council, and is being led by writer and collaborative artist, Mark Hewitt.

The project aims to celebrate the creativity of the everyday reader, involving local Reading people both on the street and in specific settings such as care homes, schools and penal institutions. It will involve two parallel commissions: a word-based commission gathering and transcribing interviews with readers about the books they are reading, and a photographic commission capturing images of readers in a variety of locations. The overall intention is to contrast the busy workaday complexity of life in a town with the stillness and self-contained privacy of the act of reading.

The interview material and images will be used as part of an exhibition of photographs and text, and as visual content alongside the texts in a series of town centre public art interventions, timed to coincide with Reading’s first crime writing festival in September 2008.

Role of Photographer

We are seeking an experienced photographer who will be able to generate quickly and efficiently the images required for the project. The images will depict people in the act of reading on the streets, on public transport, in parks and in other locations to be agreed. It is important that the images are of high quality, both technically and aesthetically, and that they complement the word-based commission. Because of the link the project has to a Festival of Crime Writing, we anticipate the photographic approach might subtly respond to this, in the sense of evoking film noir or surveillance imagery rather than conventional portraiture. To that end, it may be that the image-making we require is not simply documentary but involves a highly creative response to the depiction of a figure within a townscape.

The photographer will be required to deliver no less than 30 images on location in Reading over five full days or ten half days, although not all of these images will necessarily be used in the final outcomes. We anticipate an element of collaboration between the writer, the photographer and the public art agents to agree the details of a shared creative approach.


The photographer will be required to work on location in Reading over five full days or ten half days. Whilst the photographic commission will be undertaken independently there may be occasions where a progress meeting or joint visit to a given location needs to be scheduled within the working period.

The process of generating the photographs will have to take place during June 2008. To allow sufficient time for production of public art installations and exhibition prints we will need a completed set of images to be delivered by early July. Details of the required formats for photographs will be supplied by the public art installers early in the process. We are aiming for the exhibition and public art interventions to be launched on 1st September 2008.


A total of £2000 is available to the photographer, to include professional fees, expenses and materials, with an additional sum of £1000 to cover the costs of printing a selection of photographs for the exhibition at Reading Central Library.

Skills required

We are looking for a photographer with the following skills and abilities:

• High level of technical skill
• Creative approach
• Willingness to collaborate with other creative practitioners
• Ability to communicate well with members of the public

It is desirable for the appointed photographer to have their own public liability insurance and CRB clearance.

How to apply

If you are interested in being considered for this commission please submit your CV, a disc with examples of your work, and a short statement outlining how your practice relates to this project. Submissions should be sent by Friday May 30th to:

Tammy Bedford
Arts Manager
South Street arts centre
21 South Street
Reading RG1 4QU

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview to take place in Reading on Friday 6th June.

For a further discussion about the project please contact Mark Hewitt direct by e-mailing

Friday, 16 May 2008

Talk on War Artists by Ingrid Jensen - Tonight!

On Friday 16 May Ingrid Jensen will give a talk on War Artists at Maiden Erlegh School, Silverdale Road, Earley, Room M2, 7pm. The group will consider work by a range of different artists, mostly between WWI and recent campaigns such as Iraq, including Nash, Ravilious, Sutherland, Howson, McQueen and others, and also see some original work done by POWs, including paintings and drawings by the artist Malcoml Fry, Sheila Watt's father. £3 to RGA Members, £6 to visitors.

Ingrid is a member of hang-on Fridays and Reading Guild of Artists


Gallery 435, Slough's Contemporary art gallery, have set aside two small spaces in their warehouse venue for artists to use for experimentation. They're looking for emerging artists and adventurous types who want to try out a new medium or have a crazy and irresistible idea for an artwork.

Zoe Hatch, gallery founder, writes:

"We're always keen to support new and local artists but we're painfully aware that 4,000 sq ft of warehouse space is a lot for one person to fill, especially when you're just starting out. We want to give artists the opportunity to transform a space at Gallery 435 and make it their own."

You'll have to get in touch quick if you want to exhibit alongside their main show in June, call Zoe on 07974 457925 for more information.

UNCENSORED - an exhibitIon of work by Angela Edwards
415 Montrose Avenue, Slough Trading Estate, Slough, Berks SL1 4TJ
Further details -

This summer Gallery 435 exhibits a bold and uncompromising collection of paintings by Angela Edwards. 'Uncensored' is one woman's exploration of what she calls "The damaged life of British lower class society". Mixing wry playfulness with the grotesque and the surreal, Edwards asks us to re-examine the neglected and taboo issues of 21st century Britain.

Angela Edwards is tipped for greatness and exhibits in Slough with her most comprehensive show to date. If you care about social injustice, the state of the nation or groundbreaking fabulous art, make sure you see this show.

WARNING: Some of the imagery in this exhibition is disturbing and sexually explicit, due to the subject matter being explored. Children are NOT permitted to view this exhibition.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Artist's studio available to rent in Newbury

I've received an email from Kerry Lemon at the Arts Team in Bracknell, which says that an artist studio space has become available from the 1 May 2008, at New Greenham Arts, Newbury, Berkshire. Very reasonable rates and 24/7 access. For more info, contact