Monday, 16 July 2018

Report submitted

The final day of my exhibition THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER at The Word marked the end of my project, Voices: Within and Without. This year long project has been supported by Arts Council England. 

I have been working on the end of project evaluation report and have been reflecting on the various aspects of the project. It has been a really productive and rewarding year, and I look forward to following up all the interesting and exciting things that have emerged as a result.

Here is a reminder of some of the outcomes from my Voices: Within and Without project.

Spoken Word Residency at Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, Canada

Everything Will Be Alright sound installation at Cheeseburn

Portion Control publication exhibited as part of REALITY CHECK at The NewBridge Project: Gateshead

A lot can happen in a  performance workshop at TURF, London

THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER performance at The Word, South Shields

THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER audio-visual installation at The Word, South Shields

I would like to thank all the project partners and people involved in my project.

Plus huge thanks to Arts Council England for supporting me

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Motsonian // Becky Peach – Life in a Northern Town at The NewBridge Project:Gateshead

Motsonian // Conical Earth
Becky Peach // Moving in (un)familiar places

Today I am invigilating at The NewBridge Project: Gateshead. It is the final chance to see the first of three Life in a Northern Town exhibitions all of which feature work by emerging and early-career artists living and working in the North of England. It has been programmed in partnership with Assembly House (Leeds), Islington Mill (Manchester), Caustic Coastal (Manchester), Bloc Projects (Sheffield) and The Royal Standard (Liverpool).

For the first exhibition of Life in a Northern Town, Motsonian and Becky Peach use sculptural installation to subvert and challenge peoples perceptions of, and interactions with space. Motsonian’s work explores the post industrial landscape of the North East, and the boundary between the physical and virtual worlds, and Peach invites audiences to reinterpret the space around them through wearable sculptures.

Motsonian’s Conical Earth explores the culture surrounding the Kiviõli hillclimb as a compelling metaphor for the transformation of the North East of England, where she now lives and works. The Kiviõli hillclimb is a motocross spectacle that takes place in the artist’s home country of Estonia on top of man-made hills created with the ash from oil shale mining which took place from the 1920s until the ‘90s. In the annual event, competitors ride modified motorcycles in an attempt to be the fastest to reach the summit of a steep incline.

In this new work Motsonian suggests the Kiviõli hillclimb as a way of articulating a comparable identification with the North East of England: from historical traces of landscape and industry to the transformation of Newcastle into a leisure city and Gateshead into a cultural hub. As a symbol of the leftovers of industry reborn as spectacle and leisure, the work encourages questions at the heart of post-industrial northern identity and utility.

In Moving in (un)familiar places, Becky Peach draws from aspects of child’s play to create intimate sensory experiences, that re-evaluate the familiar, and provoke dissonance between space and action. Taking inspiration from recent visits to sensory rooms, Peach invites audiences to explore their spatial awareness through tactile interactions with shapes and textures that relate to the local surroundings.

As an advocate of arts for health, she is interested in how engaging in creative practice can enhance cognitive ability and further personal and collective consciousness. Curious to what point this is revealed and how much experience is shared.

Motsonian is the username for Monica Maria Rohtmaa (b. 1995. Viljandi, Estonia), an artist based in Gateshead, UK. Motsonian’s practice combines contemporary technology with sculptural installation by using virtual reality, drone footage and concepts from video games to create installations about the intersection of the physical and virtual worlds. Recent work uses projected video onto physical structures, in reference to what’s known in 3D digital environments as texture mapping, along with the visual symbol of knitting, a tradition drawn from her Estonian heritage, as a metaphor for a video game aim system or player’s view.

Motsonian has recently exhibited with Goldtapped (Newcastle), Baltic 39 (Newcastle), Northern Charter (Newcastle) and Exchange Rates (New York). In 2017 she was shortlisted for the The Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Prize. Her writing on video game space in contemporary art recently appeared in IsThisIt?Magazine.

Becky Peach is an artist, facilitator and current director of The Royal Standard.She is the print assistant and engagement assistant at The Bluecoat. Concerned with hierarchies, codes and values that govern behavior, Becky explores community alongside autonomy through engaging in processes that are harmonious among the fine arts, design and craft disciplines.

Recent exhibitions include; Space and Sensibility, Surtsey Projects, Liverpool (2017), Paper #32: Tracing Paper, Paper Gallery, Manchester (2016), and The Royal Standard, Temple Du Gout, Nantes, France (2016). Recent residencies include theInternational Visiting Artist Residencyat Cork Printmakers (2017), At the Library, Crosby Library (2017), and a 5-day Bookmaking Residencyat Open Eye Gallery (2015).

Friday, 13 July 2018

The voices in my head - BBC Documentary

This moving documentary uses audio reconstruction to "take viewers in to the world of three people who hear voices as a result of mental illness. Around 1 in 10 adults hear voices in their heads as a result of a number of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia.

Kyle started hearing a voice after he lost his job, house and girlfriend in quick succession, he then attacked himself. As Kyle tries to control the voice, he has to come to terms with the possibility that he may have to get used to life with it.

Emmalina has been hearing a collection of voices since she was a child and has found that by welcoming them in, they can all live relatively peacefully - except when the voice of 'the devil' appears. After traumatic experiences earlier in her life, the voices have become a source of comfort and companionship, but they have also made her more isolated. We follow Emmalina as she strives to become more independent.

After four years Chaz is still fighting her voice, which keeps up a steady stream of abuse in Chaz's ear. She has jumped off a bridge twice, leaving her reliant on a wheelchair - but still she feels drawn back to a nearby bridge. The film follows her attempts to resist, as she looks to poetry as a way to cope."

Thursday, 12 July 2018

SAVE THE DATE - Saturday 18th August 2018 - Drone Ensemble gig at Boiler House, Newcastle University

Drone Ensemble have been invited to perform in the newly refurbished Boiler House at Newcastle University on Saturday 18th August.

We are planning an ambitious durational performance between 12-7pm during which a number of selected artists / musicians will contribute to the score. Details of the special guests will be released in due course.

Back in the workshop, Joe has been experimenting with creating instruments that produce sounds through mechanical means (motors, gravitational pull and self destructing / re-creating organic elements).

On Monday night we had a play with these latest creations, and discussed our plans for Summer. We've got some exciting stuff in the pipeline so stay tuned (excuse the puns!)           


Monday, 9 July 2018

Glasgow Women's Library nominated for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018

Glasgow Women's Library

I was delighted to hear (on BBC Radio 4's Front Row) that Glasgow Women's Library was one of the 5 finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018.

The others on the shortlist were Brooklands Museum, Ferens Art Gallery, The Postal Museum, and Tate St Ives.

Glasgow Women's Library is the only accredited museum in the UK dedicated to women's lives, histories and achievements, Glasgow Women's Library offers archives, exhibitions and events in the heart of the city's East End.

The library began as a grassroots project in 1991 and has since grown to become a multi-award-winning resource attracting leading academics and artists.

As well as offering a free lending library, GWL holds a treasure trove of historical and contemporary artefacts and archive materials, from Suffragette memorabilia and 1930s dress-making patterns to rare 1970s Scottish Women’s Liberation newsletters, making it a Recognised Collection of National Significance.

Aiming to empower women whatever their background, the library offers a range of events and learning opportunities from one-to-one literacy tutoring and creative workshops to film screenings and guided walks exploring the hidden histories of women in Glasgow.

Tate St Ives was declared the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 last week.

For more information please visit

Friday, 6 July 2018

Body, you are not me - Oliver Doe at Abject 2 Gallery, Breeze Creatives as part of Curious 2018

Body, you are not me
Oliver Doe
Abject 2 Gallery
2nd Floor, Breeze Creatives

Exhibition open 3rd - 7th July, 11am - 5pm

'Newcastle based transmedia artist Oliver Doe presents an exhibition of new and recent works, accompanied by a limited mini-publication, as part of Curious Festival 2018's visual art programme.

Since 2014, Oliver's research and practice has been centred around queer visibility and representations of queer bodies, and he has previously partnered with organisations such as Northern Pride and The Albert Kennedy Trust. His work has been developed from personal experience of queer identity and the intersections between body and identity that lie in between binaries. Oliver's work takes transmedia forms, using painting, text, sculpture, and the found object (as well as the less well-defined spaces in between those) to explore ideas around the queer potential of abstraction. Reduced and abstracted bodily forms explore the changing boundaries of queer bodies and the possibility to recognise the body as a site of queer sexuality.

The accompanying mini-publication includes a selection of Oliver's new poems, which provide context for the paintings and objects.'

More info can be found online:

Sunday, 1 July 2018

The hunt for a new Director for NewBridge has begun

Job Opportunity: Director

Deadline: Wednesday 25th July 2018, 12pm

The NewBridge Project is looking to appoint a dynamic Director to lead the organisation going forward.

The Director will oversee all elements of NewBridge’s operations and activities including: strategic development, building development, fundraising, artistic programme, facilities management, company & finance and audience development & engagement.

NewBridge was established as an artist-led initiative in 2010 and at its core remains a strong artist community. As such, a key element of the Director’s role will be to strategically steer the organisation while ensuring it remains responsive to artists, contemporary visual arts practice and its locality (Newcastle & Gateshead).

The NewBridge Project is at an exciting and pivotal point in its development as we look to secure long-term building solutions for all our activities. We are looking for an exceptional and ambitious individual who can navigate this process, articulating and achieving a collective vision while moving towards a secure and sustainable future for the organisation.

The role will be ideally suited to an individual who is looking for a new challenge; will bring energy, enthusiasm and determination to the role; has a unique understanding of working with and supporting artists; who thrives working in collaboration as well as under pressure; is highly motivated and organised, a strategic thinker and problem solver; and someone willing to get stuck in with all that comes with running an artist-led initiative.

PHOTO: Kuba Ryniewicz

Director of The NewBridge Project, Charlie Gregory will be leaving the organisation to take up a new role with Create as The White House Curator. Charlie will be stepping down after 5 years as Director at the beginning of August 2018 and will take up her new role in late August 2018.

Julia Bell, Chair of NewBridge said:
“We are incredibly thrilled for Charlie and the fantastic opportunity she has ahead of her, the Board of Trustees wish to thank her for all her hard work and commitment to The NewBridge Project. Her work has been outstanding and her impact on the organisation has been substantial, she should rightly feel proud of what she has accomplished. It has been a pleasure as a Board to watch her grow into not only an accomplished Director but also a strong and generous cultural leader for the North East visual arts sector who is deeply respected by her peers. She will be sorely missed, we can’t deny that, but we wish her every success and as a Board commit to appointing a successor who can build on the strong foundations she has built for us as an organisation.”

Charlie Gregory said:
“NewBridge has been my home for 5years and has given me so many wonderful experiences, memories and friendships – it has been a difficult decision to leave such a remarkable community of artists, staff, partners & collaborators; an ambitious programme of exhibitions, commissions, community projects and artist development; as well as my home turf, the North East.

During the time I’ve been part of NewBridge, I’ve seen it grow into an amazing and incredibly strong artist community and organisation: It’s move from Norham House (its base for over 7 years) into two news sites Carliol House &  Gateshead High Street; achieving Arts Council National portfolio status; securing revenue funding through Newcastle Culture Investment Fund; developing a partnership with Newcastle University to deliver bespoke graduate support through The Collective Studio; gaining charitable status with a strong and supportive board of trustees; establishing many initiatives and opportunities to support artists to develop their practice and careers such as Practice makes Practice; and moving towards securing a long-term premises to house all these activities.

I am excited to be moving onto a new role with Create, an organisation I greatly admire and respect. The role will allow me to pursue my passion for supporting artists to explore different models of collaborative arts practice embedded within a community context. The White House is unique in providing a space where artists and communities can experiment, think, play and ultimately create new ways art can form part of our everyday lives. I look forward to helping develop a collaborative vision and an artistic and community resource that has real impact.

NewBridge will always mean a lot to me, I truly believe it in, its ethos, its value and everything it does for artists in the North East and beyond. It is now ready for someone else to take the reins – if you are up for the challenge, watch this space!”

Friday, 29 June 2018

Simulation of THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER now available on YouTube

A simulation of THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER, an audiovisual installation in which a series of animations and audio are projected on 4 walls of the StoryWorld gallery space at The Word, South Shields

Etudes and Fugues by Siu Ling Carter at The Long Gallery, Newcastle University

Etudes and Fugues is an exhibition of paintings by the late Siu Ling Carter, who died suddenly in August 2017. She is known for her ceramic sculptures and vessels, but for over a decade she had been working steadily on a coherent body of more than thirty paintings. This exhibition showcases a selection of these, none of which have been exhibited before.

A perfectionist, Siu Ling Carter thought that these paintings were not quite ready to be exhibited, and she even regarded some as being unfinished. Rarely are an audience party to an artist's work mid-process. I enjoy this insight into the artists working process, but do feel a little uneasy about whether the artist would have been upset that they are exhibited in this state.

The paintings have a great sense of rhythm and harmony, and the link to music is referenced in the exhibition's title, Etudes and Fugues. Siu Ling Carter spoke about the parallels between the construction of her paintings and the composition of a musical  score. 

When she was a Masters student at Newcastle University Siu Ling Carter collaborated with musicians Mick Wright and Bennett Hogg. For the current exhibition Bennett has composed a new piece of piano music which visitors can listen to as they view the exhibition.  

The paintings remind me of woven textiles or the patterns made when strips of paper are weaved in and out of each other to form a grid. The subtle variations in colour schemes between the works elicited different emotional responses. Some are fairly tranquil and soft, but others have a faster pace and have more of a relationship with the hustle and bustle of Newcastle city life.

The exhibition is open to the public between 26 June and 8 July and is worth a visit.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Portion Control for sale in NewBridge Books at BALTIC 39

I am pleased to be selling my latest publication, Portion Control, at NewBridge Books, located on the ground floor of BALTIC 39.

Get your copy now for only £5

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Documentation of THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER audiovisual installation at The Word, South Shields

Documentation of THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER, an audiovisual installation by Helen Shaddock exhibited at The Word, South Shields is now available to watch on YouTube.

THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER is the culmination of a project funded by the Arts Council England Grants for the Arts. Helen Shaddock worked with artists, researchers, academics, Mental Health organisations and a range of individuals to investigate visual and auditory hallucinations.

Following an intense period of research and reflection, Shaddock gathered a collection of words from which a soundtrack was created through a collaboration with artist/musician Sarah Grundy. Using a loop pedal, Grundy formed a range of rhythmic patterns from the words. Shaddock edited these further to create the soundtrack for the audio-visual installation, integrating field recordings and sounds produced by Drone Ensemble. Drone Ensemble is an experimental sound group in which Shaddock is a member, that uses handmade acoustic instruments to emit vast, deep, sonorous drones.        
For the preview of the exhibition, Sarah Grundy performed a re-working of the installation soundtrack (see separate video documentation available on YouTube).

Sunday, 24 June 2018

The North in 100 Songs

As part of The Great Exhibition of the North, Northerners were asked to nominate their favourite Northern anthem.
Manchester-based illustrator Stanley Chow is creating a new series of portraits based on the favourites which will be exhibited at Sage Gateshead throughout the Great Exhibition of the North.
Mark Knopfler as illustrated by Manchester based artist Stanley Chow

Stanley Chow is an illustrator from Manchester. He started his career as fashion illustrator for various teen magazines in 1996. Since then his work has featured on book covers, in numerous magazines and newspapers and many ad campaigns globally.
The North in 100 Songs, chosen by Northerners, are:
10CC – I’m not in Love
808 State – Pacific State
AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
Alan Price – Jarrow Song
Arctic Monkeys – I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Atomic Kitten – Whole Again
Buzzcocks – Ever Fallen in Love
Cheryl Cole – Fight for this Love
Chris Rea – Steel River
Cilla Black – You’re My World
Corrine Bailey Rae – Like a Star
Def Leppard – Animal
Dire Straits – Tunnel of Love
Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet
Dream Academy – Life in a Northern Town
Echo and the Bunnymen – Bring On The Dancing Horses
Elbow – One Day Like This
Elvis Costello – Shipbuilding
Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams
Everything but the Girl – Missing
Everything Everything – Distant Past
Field Music – Count it Up
Field Music – The Noisy Days are Over
Frankie and the Heartstrings – Don’t Look Surprised
Geordie Ridley – Blaydon Races
Jake Thackray – Lah-di-Dah
Jimmy Nail – Big River
Joe Fagin – Breakin’ Away
Joy Division – Disorder
Kaiser Chiefs – Ruby
Kate Rusby – Underneath the Stars
Kathryn Tickell – Music for a New Crossing
Kathryn WIlliams – Tell Me The Truth As If It Were Lies
Kenickie – Come out 2nite
Lanterns on the Lake – Another Tale From Another English Town
Lighthouse Family – High
Lindisfarne – Fog on the Tyne
Little Mix – Shout Out to My Ex
Little Mix – Black Magic
M People – Search for the Hero
M People – How Can I Love You More
Mark Knopfler – Local Hero
Maximo Park – By the Monument
Mel B – I Want You Back
Nadine Shah – Out the Way
Nick Drake – Northern Sky
Nightmares on Wax – You Wish
Oasis – Live Forever
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Electricity
Penetration – Don’t Dictate
Pet Shop Boys – Love Comes Quickly
Pet Shop Boys – It’s a Sin
PINS – Too Little Too Late
PJ & Duncan – Lets Get Ready to Rumble
Prefab Sprout – When Love Breaks Down
Pulp – Common People
Rafiki Jazz – Jhooli Laal Qalander
Richard Dawson – Ghost of a Tree
Richard Hawley – The Ocean
Roxy Music – Love is the Drug
Roxy Music – Virginia Plain
She Drew The Gun – Since You Were Not Mine
Shed Seven – Chasing Rainbows
Skinny Pelembe – Spit/Swallow
Soft Cell – Say Hello, Wave Goodbye
Sting – Fields of Gold
Tasmin Archer – Sleeping Satellite
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun
The Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
The Beatles – Something
The Beatles – Penny Lane
The Charlatans – North Country Boy
The Cornshed Sisters – The Message
The Cribs – Cheat on Me
The Fall – Hit the North
The Futureheads – Carnival Kids
The Housemartins – Happy Hour
The Human League – Don’t You Want Me
The Human League – Together in Electric Dreams
The Kane Gang – Closest Thing to Heaven
The La’s – There She Goes
The Lake Poets – City by the Sea
The Liverbirds – Why Do You Hang Around Me
The Long Blondes – Once and Never Again
The Marmozets – Play
The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
The Smiths – How Soon is Now
The Stone Roses – Mersey Paradise
The Unthanks – A Great Northern River
The Young’Uns – A Place Called England
The Zutons – Valerie
Various – The Water of Tyne
Venom – Black Metal
Venom – Welcome to Hell
Vessels – Eliptic
Vic Reeves and the Wonderstuff – Dizzy
Warm Digits – The Connected Coast
Wedding Present – I’m From Further North Than You
Whitesnake – Here I Go Again
Wild Beasts – Big Cat

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Opening of Great Exhibition of the North

Friday was the official opening of Great Exhibition of the North and Newcastle and Gateshead were bustling with people enjoying the sunshine and curious about what the festival has in store.

I was at the media call in the morning, and got a sneak preview of the UK's largest water sculpture in action.

Later that night the water sculptures came alive again accompanied by music, poetry, drones, lighting and fireworks.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Opening of Which Way North at the Great North Museum: Hancock

Thursday night was the VIP preview of the exhibition 'Which Way North' at the Great North Museum: Hancock. 

I felt rather out of place, but ever so honoured to have been commissioned to make a work for such an important museum and for it to be amongst such an amazing selection of objects and artworks by artists such as Ryan Gander, Andy Lomas and Barbara Hepworth.

After all, how often is my work going to be sandwiched between Helen Sharman’s Zvezda Sokol space suit and Damien Hirst's shark (Heaven)!

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Q & A with Helen Shaddock in relation to THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER at The Word

To coincide with my exhibition, THEMSELVES HERE TOGETHER, I was interviewed by Emma Ormiston at The Word about the audiovisual installation.

Read the Q and A here: