Tall Tales at Tavistock and Portman


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 Both myself and Helen Wewiora were delighted to go on the first site visit of the Tavistock and Portman Centre in London last weekend. The Tavistock and Portman Centre will be the main site for Glasgow based artist Ruth Barker to take up a Summer residency exploring the centre’s services, own art collection and library archive.

The Tavistock and Portman Centre is an innovate research centre into mental health, education and social care. Much of its work reflects its focus on the use of systemic/family therapy and psychodynamic/ analytical therapy. We were lucky enough to have a tour from the Centre’s collections Curator Karma Percy who works on both the Library and Art Collections archives and programming.

As part of the research and development of our proposed forthcoming Tall Tales project, we hope for the Tavistock and Portman Centre to become our main London base venue for a group exhibition of female narrative practice in 2015/2016.

Artist Ruth Barker will be spending time at the centre this Summer to create initial ideas in response to Tall Tales and the centre itself, connecting with the locally relevant venues such as the Freud Museum and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. 

Ruth’s practice Ruth Barker is predominately performance based. In Barker’s work the re-telling of ancient myths through original poetic composition becomes a gesture towards the ritual understanding of self, gender, and mortality. Re-composing ancient stories through the lens of her own unconscious associations, personal autobiography, and mythological research, Barker’s performance poems are hypnotic, ritualised, events. Her words are recited from memory with a concentrated focus that becomes by turns magical, claustrophobic, and cathartic.

With this in mind Ruth will also look into potential ways that through her own recent vocal training for developing her performances can transform into a participant workshops with service users of the centre as part of her residency programme.

It is also with great pleasure to announce that the residency is kindly supported by Grants for the Arts, Arts Council England



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