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YAYYYYY!! Jaywick DVD hot of the press!

Preview copies going out now to a few VIPs then very soon (December 16th) available to the planet :-)
You can pre-order your copies from today on the lovely Somewhere shop - enjoy!

Tomorrow night Thursday the 12th of December a free screening to celebrate the launch of the DVD. 7.00pm sharp in Lecture Theatre 1 at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2EU - come to the entrance on Jays Mews and ask for the screening at reception.

Structure on Current NWC site, Photo: Nina Pope

What HAVE we been doing in Cambridge?

Well quite a lot (!) and recently we gave a talk about this residency and the projects we are proposing from it. The event was in the fantastic Sackler Lecture Theatre in the Institute of Astronomy right by the site where we're working - quite a daunting venue!

You can watch the 20 min talk here and see more about Hannah Rickards and Tanya Kovat's projects too.

10 Years of LAG

Seems I was busy ten years ago (see below for Bata-ville!) as with artists Anna Best and Rona Lee I set up what later became fondly known to us as Ladies Art Group or LAG (!) It was a forum for (then) mainly socially engaged artists to talk about our practice. We have met regularly ever since with a changing membership and I have found it an invaluable resource as well as a great way to keep up with friends.

This week we're breaking with tradition and making our first 'public outing' with a discussion session at Parasol Unit. Chaired by Rona Lee (Professor of Fine Art Northumbria University), it will involve a conversation between past and current members of the group around questions of authorship in participatory practice and the impact of commissioning upon the wider direction of an artist's work.

More details here.

Winter warmer …

Thank you to all of you who helped make this season another milestone year for Abbey Gardens.
The Friends group registered as a Charity in January, ran over 100 free gardening sessions, attracted over 200 people to the Summer event and Harvest Festival, secured additional funding to build a composting toilet and a cooking area...
Gardening sessions ended last Saturday to a bumper crop of sweet potatoes, which sealed a year of amazing harvest...
But the season would not be complete without our Frost Fair on December 7th from 4 - 6pm.
The event is free, so come out, enjoy warm Winter drinks and home made soups and sing along with members of All Saints Chorus. There will be a wreath making workshop, chutney tasting and of course, our ever-popular cake stall.
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday 7th !

It was 10 years ago today!

Happy Anniversary Bata-ville - ten years have flown by since a little art commission in East Tilbury hatched the wonderful Bata-ville: We Are Not Afraid of the Future !

For us it's so much more than a film - we made such great friends along the way, worked with brilliantly talented people and have countless cherished memories to this day.
Who would have thought back then that one day you'd be able to watch the film online too - thanks to Distrify we all now can :-)

Photo: Dave Webb

Cambridge Festival of Ideas - Prehistoric-stylee

Unsurprisingly perhaps, mud (or 'cob') architecture as it's usually known as in England, appears very little in the archaeological record hereabouts. Ashes to ashes, mud to mud etc. Especially wet, cold, British mud. I have read of advances in Africa and the USA in identifying excavations of mud wall architecture, but there is something profound to me about the absence of these most primitive shelters from the tangible past celebrated in this country - I guess it leaves more work for the imagination to do.

Fortunately visitors to our cob building zone at Cambridge Archaeology Unit's Prehistory Day were in general under 8 years of age and hence spared us clueless artists a grilling on the evidence of earth-building in prehistoric building techniques. Their parents were just glad to have them occupied I think and therefore neither did they ask any tricky history questions - though if they had, there were plenty of real-life archaeologists around to point them to - all doing exciting things like butchering a deer, archery and -er-face painting. I even heard two chatting each other up,
'What's your specialism?"
"Oh, the Mesolithic transition in South East England"
"Cool. That's mine too"
One very keen small boy had done a thorough excavation of his back garden, that had - he proudly said - yielded 'Half of a wig curler'. I think his Dad was an archaeologist, or maybe this is normal stuff for kids in Cambridge to be into? If it is, we are definately not in Kansas anymore.

Anyhow, the local kids seemed happier just to get stuck in and muddy, assisting us in building a small cob 'tower block' that we were trialling for a sculpture proposal for the NW Cambridge site. I brought to the workshop some wooden beehive 'supers' (boxes in which the combs hang) to try as time-saving moulds, as Nina shows in the picture, these seemed to work well packed with mud, and the resulting one-metre high cob tower stacked up rather well, though I'm not sure it would win any RIBA awards.

You can see more pictures of the workshop on Flickr here

Thanks to Sara Harrop, CAU and to Maeve Polkinhorn of CAS for their help on the day