Full Programme 12-15 October: Gravesend to London
Four days of walks, art, talks and exploration within London and North Kent celebrating the completion of the Inspiral trail. This newly created artist designed trail explores and exposes the unique connections crisscrossing the Metropole. Connections and dissonances that range across an extraordinary diversity of people, places and ideas. As we end our ‘on the ground mapping’ of the pathway and begin again in Gravesend, the festival focuses particularly on our Kent connections: by delving into recent radical politics, the re-integration of the city and the country; visions of the Metropole future/past; in exploring aspects of the strange, the uncanny and unexpected. InspiralKent seeks to foster a shared enthusiasm for exploration through hospitality and radical artistic research; re-imagining the built environment, as a place of extraordinary variety, contrast and potential by creating a walk through the places we no longer see or have forgotten.
To book via Eventbrite. Full Four Day Festival Passes are available here. There is an Early Bird Pass discount of 20%. This ticket covers the whole range of events of the Inspiral 2017 festival and guarantees you access to all of the festival, including: four days of curated walks, artistic workshops, talks, discussions and entertainments, plus travel from Stratford International out to Gravesend, festival meals, tote bag with publications.
Or join us for one of 8 curated events, walks, workshops or talks – Online Ticket Sale until day of event, then on the door. Discounts on tickets in advance.
Thursday 12 October: Opening Talks and a Walk – Central London
11am-1pm – Mary Wollstonecraft’s London
The festival opens with an intriguing walk back through Mary Wollstonecraft’s London with Inspiral Director Charlie Fox. Meeting at Southwark station at 11am, we head north towards the Polygon at Euston, as we pass through Emmanuel Swedenborg’s Cityscape.
6-9pm – ‘Another Place: Visionary Landscapes and City Infrastructure’
An evening of talks exploring visions of the metropole and connections between outer and inner London, set within the historic Swedenborg House. Topics of discussion include urban planning, deep roots, and literature in the city and greater metropole. Join us from 6-6:30pm for welcome drinks (free drink with a ticket), with talks beginning promptly at 6:30pm.
Speakers include writer Ken Worpole (‘Radical Essex’); Sarah Spanton (artist, urban planner); Hayley Newman (artist); and Charlie Fox (Director InspiralLondon).
Ken Worpole, ‘Memories of the Future’: as part of the Radical Essex project, Ken has been researching the rise of 19th & 20th century communitarian settlements in the Essex landscape as outposts of East London radical politics and present on the political dynamic which sought to re-integrate the city and the country. Artist-planner Sarah Spanton will discuss her recent journey from artist/performer and arts professional to planner with ‘Navigating the Line’: thinking through the artist’s role in civic society, artist’s as activators of social change and the issues in ‘navigating the line’ between the two roles of planner and artist. Hayley Newman will present ‘Facadism’, on theme of walking in relation city surfaces. Charlie Fox will talk ‘Spin, Spirals and Dickensizen: Towards a Topoanalysis of Homelessness’: this talk spins us from Swedenborg Hall to the outer spaces of the metropole into North Kent.
The evening concludes with audience discussion, chaired by Dr. Cecilia Wee.
Friday 13 October: Between Barking and Gravesend – Outer London
11am-1pm – Ghosting the Roding River
Walking tour and performance on the Barking stretch of Inspiral, finishing with a personal tour of the Gascoigne Estate with local artist/poet John Akinde. This exploration is followed by a picnic lunch and visit to Studio 3 Arts.
Meeting at the exit of Barking Station. Book tickets here.
6.30-9pm – ‘The Magical Imaginal Inspiral Cabaret’ – an evening of performances and entertainments with dinner at the Gravesham Arts Centre. The night includes rare interventions and performances from Inspiral artists and associates including:
Mollett and Morris present ‘Lost on the Thames’ – a tale of an epic 300 mile journey from the city to the sea circumnavigating pirates, monster, serpents and shipwrecks, told using the Magic Lantern, and Calum F Kerr makes an appearance as the White Whale. Miyuki Kasahara will present a participatory play called ‘The Portland Dispute’ on the history and myths surrounding Gravesend’s Portland Cement. Plus a lineup of inspiral contributions from artists including Rachel Gomme, Anne Robinson, and selected guest artists from Gravesham Arts.
Saturday 14 October: Gravesend Day of Exploration – Metropole?
11am-1:30pm – Roundtable discussion and dialogues between Inspiral artists and collaborators – on the ground mapping Kent – on the Thames Estuary at Gravesend; including Spiral Yarns and Time-travelers’ Tales. Artist Sarah Sparkes will help you to ‘draw out’ your Gravesham story or tales and experiences from elsewhere along the Inspiral London walk. Turn your tales into spinning spiral, and create a record of your story in words and pictures.
1:30-2:30pm – Lunch.
2:30-4pm – Land & People: An Artist’s Guide to the Planning System
A unique opportunity to find out about the planning system from artist Sarah Spanton, who retrained in 2014/5 becoming a planner (RTPI Licentiate). An engaging and thought-provoking workshop comprising a series of mini, visual, lecture-presentations alongside practical participatory discussion. From the English planning system’s inception to the current state of play, find out how the system works, who uses it, who works in it, what they do and how communities can engage and input into it. Facilitated by Sarah Spanton and Richard Sobey of https://wearedelve.wordpress.com.
4-6pm – ‘A Ballad for Inspiral’ – a songwriting workshop led by Anne Robinson and Mikey Georgeson to create a new song for Inspiral.
6-6:30pm – Performance of the Inspiral Ballad and a drink.
Plus an alternative walk workshop exploring Gravesend and the Thames foreshore led by members of the Walking Artist Network. Throughout the afternoon artist Calum F. Kerr will be channeling the white Cachalot or Sperm Whale returned after 300 years. On 30th August 1718, a forty foot whale was caught in Gravesend just below the town causing much local excitement. This Whale resurrected, will attempt to communicate with the denizens of Gravesend using echolocation clicking, beckoning them to pass across to Tilbury toward the Thames Mouth and freedom. With audience interactions with the exhibition of Inspiral ‘On the Ground Map’ (Gravesham Arts Centre).
Sunday 15 October: Inspiral Segment 36 – Gravesend to Farningham
11am – 4pm – Inspiral Segment 36 Meeting at Gravesend-Tilbury Ferry Pier
Finally join us to walk the final thirty-sixth segment of the Inspiral Trail. Meeting at Gravesend Ferry Pier and ending at Farningham Road rail station on the edge of North Kent Downs. The eminent yet elusive Orniphilosopher J D Swann will make an appearance, alongside drones inspiral yarns and infamous festival drink.
Complete with a picnic lunch and a closing drink. Sign up via Eventbrite.
The Inspiral 2017 festival is supported by:
John Akinde also known as OSOM, is a poet and spoken word artist, a Politics graduate hailing from the borough of Barking & Dagenham. John Akinde has been writing since the age of 13 initially through rap & grime, until given the opportunity to explore poetry as a medium of expression through a local performing arts project. Over the years, he has written and continued to create work that seeks to inspire and provoke thought, exploring topics like youth justice, gang crime, and social mobility, performing in various venues, which include the Roundhouse and BBC.
Richard Couzins produces video works for single screen and installation. His recent research examines the human voice in contemporary art. Work includes Trialogue (UCA Farnham, 2013), There Will Always Be More Things in a Closed than an Open Box (Cultural Documents, Molise, Italy 2013), Unovercryable (Archway Investigations and Responses, UAL, London, 2009), Free Speech Bubble (Highland Institute of Contemporary Art, Inverness-shire, 2009), and Otolith (2003), in collaboration with The Otolith Group.
Glen Fitzpatrick is an author, artist and veteran. Fitzy’s work often reflects the environment and current affairs, due to having participated in the first Gulf war (1990-1991). Since leaving the armed forces he has had to struggle with war injuries, both physical and mental. He is currently working on ‘Locally Sourced’, a project in scavenging for nitrous-oxide canisters which he manipulates into sculptures, often armoured heads, referencing the psychology behind the found object’s journey.
Charlie Fox is Director of the interdisciplinary art platform counterproductions, facilitating collaborative projects that generate new artistic culture through experimental performance and visual art practices, creating work that offers the potential of an art for all. He is currently directing InspiralLondon (2015-2017) and working on ideas for an Interdependent School of Art & Humanity.
Mikey Georgeson is an artist, working in various media: a painter and illustrator, who regularly exhibits his work at Sartorial Contemporary Art and other galleries. As “the Vessel”, he is songwriter and singer of the cult art-rock band, David Devant and his Spirit Wife. Side projects have included Carfax, a collaboration with Jyoti Mishra, Glam Chops, a glam rock band formed with Eddie Argos of Art Brut, This Happy Band and Mikey Georgeson and the Civilised Scene. Georgeson has also performed and recorded on his own, as Mr Solo. Peter Kimpton, writing in The Guardian praised Georgeson’s “impish genius for melody”.
Rachel Gomme is an interdisciplinary artist making work in performance and installation, with a particular focus on spaces and phenomena that are habitually overlooked, ignored or perceived as empty. She trained in dance, and while her work has encompassed a range of forms, her practice is rooted in the live presence. She has presented work, performed, and taught throughout the UK and internationally since 1998.
Birgitta Hosea is an artist, animator and curator, born in Edinburgh and living and working in London. She has worked in art direction, design for performance, web design, animation and as a Demonstration Artist for Adobe. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, has been the recipient of numerous awards and artists residencies and her work is included in the Tate Britain archive. She is Head of Animation at the Royal College of Art, and prior to this she was Course Director of MA Character Animation at Central Saint Martins.
Miyuki Kasahara is an artist based in East London. Her research examines the factors affecting the global environment, including that arising from politics and societal change. Recent exhibitions: Waving Goodbye? – a participatory installation looking at plastic waste and the decline of the seabird population, for Margate Festival, Margate (2017); Contentment of love since 600AD – a sculptural installation responding to a pre-islam Arab woman’s poem for Radical Love, a Syria relief exhibition at The Crypt Gallery, London (2017); Namanari Cameron – a noh mask inspired by Milton’s masque for David Cameron for Beyond Words at Milton’s Cottage (John Milton Museum), Buckinghamshire (2016); Lunatic Mehen – a giant interactive board game exploring Japanese politics after the U.S’s occupation from 1945 to the present, for Now Play This at Somerset House, London (2015). Later this year inspired by a Japanese writer with autism, a theatrical sound work collaboration with Ruth Duckworth and Canterbury Christ Church University will be performed at Kings Place, London.
Calum F. Kerr is an artist whose work often involves performance, sculpture and sound. His research relates to reception of place through inhabiting characters such as J. D. Swann (ornithological investigator), Brian Guest (founder of the Society for the Preservation of Admirable Rubble), and Maurice the Dodo. These elicit resonances from buildings, beaches, cemeteries, parkland, and wild countryside. He has exhibited and performed at numerous exhibitions including: The Deadends, Studio One, London (2017); S.P.A.R Centre Pimlico, Tachbrook Market, London (2016); Deep Highly Eccentric, Winchester School of Art Gallery, Winchester (2015); The Hollow, We Could Not Agree, Q-Park, Cavendish Square, London (2014); Fiona Templeton’s Bodies of Memory, Acts of Legacy, Tate Britain (2012); The Cage, aas residency, New Art Gallery Walsall (2011); Calling Out of Context, Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2010). He has also exhibited in Bulgaria, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the USA. He received an Arts Council England International Development award for research and travel to Japan for the project ‘Calum’s Road to Aonodomon’ in 2016/17.
Baptiste Lanaspeze is a writer and editor, founding the publishing house Wildproject in 2008. Wildproject specialises projects in ecological thinking, nature writing, and place- making. He is the author of Ville Sauvage – Marseille: Essays on Urban Ecology (2012) and produced the walking trail GR2013 Marseille-Provence.
Paul-Hervé Lavessière is an urban planner and geographer based in Marseille and Paris. He is the creator and author of La Révolution de Paris (2012), launched in January 2014 in the Pavillon de l’Arsenal in the form of a travel narrative (Wildproject, 2014).
Nicole Mollett is a Kent-based multi-disciplinary artist. Her recent projects include ‘More Than 100 Stories’, a Creative People and Places Commission with writer Sarah Butler (2015-2016); ‘The Art of the Magic Lantern’, an Arts Council & KCC-funded live performance project (2014); ‘Gone!!! and Goodnight’, a sculptural installation at Tunbridge Wells Museum (2013); and the ‘Kent Cultural Baton’. The ‘Kent Cultural Baton’ was a mobile artwork, which traveled the county of Kent asking people to share local stories and giving them the chance to learn about their area’s past, commissioned by Kent County Council. The Baton has engaged 10,204 direct participants and has worked with over 80 partners across Kent to deliver events with communities, and has attracted high profile international artists to make new artworks for Kent. This included the ‘Cultural Map of the Beasts, Legends and Arts of Kent’, which was the result of two years of researching Kent history, alongside a live programme of workshops and participatory events.
Blake Morris is a walking artist and researcher based in London. He is a founding member of the Walk Exchange, a crossdisciplinary walking group based in New York City. Along with Clare Qualmann (Walking Artists Network), he co-edits ‘Lines of Desire’ for Living Maps Review, a critical cartography journal. His work has been shown at Ovalhouse Theatre (London), Bogart Salon (New York City) and Superfront Gallery (Los Angeles, Detroit, NYC). He is currently works as a visiting lecturer in performing arts at the University of East London, where he completed his doctoral thesis, Walking Networks: The Development of an Artistic Medium (2017).
Georgia Muenster is an Independant Curator. She completed an MA in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art in 2015, focusing on psychogeographic practice and contemporary art. Recent projects include ‘Going Places, Doing Stuff’ (Flux Factory, 2008-11), ‘Concert Hall’ (Palais de Tokyo, 2013) ‘Black Box Formula’ (RCA Henry Moore Galleries, 2015), and ‘Koncertsal’ (Kulturdivisionen Slagteriet, 2017).
Hayley Newman is an artist with a passion for humour, subjectivity, documentary practices and fiction. She creates performances, interventions, music and texts and has made work in nightclubs, shops, on trains and marches as well as the concert hall or gallery. Her work has included Milton Keynes Vertical Horizontal (MKVH, 2006), a public event in which volunteers were driven around the Milton Keynes road grid until their coach ran out of diesel. MKVH (the screenplay), published in 2008, was based on this journey. The book built on ideas around intersubjectivity, memory and narrative, commenting on peak oil with particular relation to the car-dependent culture of the new city of Milton Keynes. In 2011 she declared herself self-appointed artist-in-residence in the City of London and wrote the novella Common, drawing together the social, economic and ecological crises. She often works in collaboration, most recently with eco-electro girl-band The Gluts who took their musical Café Carbon to the Copenhagen Climate Summit, and art/activist group Liberate Tate. Newman is a tutor on the doctorial studies programme at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL and is represented by Matt’s Gallery.
Anne Robinson’s multi-disciplinary artistic practice is concerned with the perception and politics of time passing, working experimentally with duration, frame, exposure, paint surface, sound and movement. She holds a practice-led PhD on temporality and painting. Recent work includes Thrashing in the Static, shown in Deptford X, Folkestone and Singapore. Her curatorial projects include Supernormal (2013-2016), One More Time (2011), and Over Time (2014).
Clare Qualmann is an artist/researcher with an interdisciplinary performance-oriented practice. She teaches in walking art practice, participation, and site-specificity at the University of East London and The Cass at London Met. She is a founding member of the Walking Artists Network. Recent projects include Walkwalkwalk: Stories from the Bethnal Green Archive (2010), Perambulator (Deveron Arts, 2014), East End Jam (London Legacy Development Corporation, 2015), and Walking Women (Somerset House and Forest Fringe, 2016).
Sarah Sparkes is a multi-disciplinary London-based artist. Her research-led work engages with magical or mythical narratives, the visualisation of anomalous phenomena, and liminality through the metaphor of the portal: an exploration into the intersection of science and magic. She was the 2015 winner of the MERU Art*Science award and runs the visual arts and research project GHost. Recent exhibitions include English Magic at New Art Projects, Atlante della immagini e della form at GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo, and Gothic Pleasures at Emma Hill Eagle Gallery.
Richard Sobey is a creative producer working across the cultural, heritage, urban planning, and land management sectors. He collaborates with architects, urban planners, local businesses and communities, social entrepreneurs, artists, technologists, and serious games developers initiating programmes and strategies which draw on socially engaged artistic practice, urban development and tactical place-making.
Sarah Spanton works at the intersection of community development, local economic development, community planning and socially-engaged cultural & arts practices. Her practice asks the question what are the futures of cities and how will we all live together in them? This core question is reflected upon and directly addressed in collaboration with a range of partners: through research, delivering projects that seek positive social change, and sharing and embedding ideas and approaches. Recent projects include co-produced community research in Miles Platting (Manchester), community economic development scoping in East Leeds and viability research around food, growing and social enterprise in Wigan.
Cecilia Wee is a London-based curator, writer, and broadcaster who produces art projects that challenge existing models of audience engagement, particularly in the fields of experimental sound, performance and visual art practices, in the UK and internationally. She is currently Lecturer in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art.
Ken Worpole is the author of many books on architecture, landscape and public policy. He collaborated with photographer Jason Orton on two books exploring the coastal landscape of the Thames Estuary and East Anglia: 350 Miles (2005) & The New English Landscape (2013). His most recent book, New Jerusalem: The Good City and the Good Society, was published by the Swedenborg Society (2015).