Woolston is an artist who works across Installation, Film, Photography and Social Engagement.

This blog provides a repository for interviews, statements, images & news.
Install Theme
The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is why do I think it’s not beautiful? And very shortly you discover that there is no reason. If we can conquer that dislike, or begin to like what we dislike, then the world is more open. That path - of increasing one’s enjoyment of life - is the path, I think, we all best take: to use art not as self-expression, but as self-alteration; to become more open.

— John Cage

Freedom Festival Commission 2014

A ‘Secret Shed’ Commission for Walk the Plank in association with the Freedom Festival. 

5th – 7th September, 2014

‘EN-ROUTE’ (2014) - Hull Station, Ferensway, HU1 3QX

A sculptural explosion of migration from birds to people, goods to flight paths. The shed represents a physical manifestation of a 3-dimensional map rooted within Hull’s rich and diverse background as a sea port. As a sculptural palimpsest the intervention maps human transitory behaviour against ornithological migratory paths and North Sea connections to Antwerp (West), to St. Petersburg (East) Le Havre (South) and Trondheim (North). 

The exterior of the shed will be hand painted with OS-like geographical information.

The interior provides a stimulating web of information that the viewer can both read and see, touch and consider. QR codes will link to live information & web pages for flight departures and population numbers, migratory routes and train timetables.

Contemporary statistics such as ‘3300 new long-term migrants arrived in Hull in 2011’ will rest alongside historical information such as ‘from 1836 - 1914 Hull developed a pivotal role in the movement of transmigrants via the UK. During this period over 2.2 million migrants passed through Hull en route to a new life in the US, Canada, South Africa and Australia.’

‘EN-ROUTE’ is designed to take the viewer on a physical and emotional journey by exploring a ‘constellation’ of space, time and history.

“The present rearranges the past. We never tell the story whole because a life isn’t a story; it’s a whole Milky Way of events and we are forever picking out constellations from it to fit who and where we are.” 

― Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

Further Information:

Walk the Plank:

Walk the Plank are outdoor arts experts, who create powerful events with mass appeal.

From international stage to village square, our team of experts develop remarkable moments that enrich the lives of our audience through shared experience - encouraging a sense of place, a feeling of pride, and well-being. 

"At a regional, national and international level, Walk the Plank has built a reputation for quality and innovation in its outdoor work, and is recognised by Arts Council England as a lead and ambassador for the sector in the UK.

"The organisation has attracted international commissions to create high profile and exciting events of worldwide reputation. It provides opportunities for artists, participants and small arts organisations to support their skills and training which is key for the next generation of outdoor arts creatives.

- Angela Chapell, Arts Council England

http://www.walktheplank.co.uk

Freedom Festival: 

Freedom Festival grew out of commemorations in Hull in 2007 of the 200th anniversary of William Wilberforce’s Act of Parliament, which abolished the slave trade in the British Empire.

William Wilberforce was born on High Street in Hull on 24th August 1759. He began his political career in 1780, becoming the Independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire in 1784.  A few years into his career, he became involved in the movement of abolitionism, campaigning to end slavery in the UK and its colonies, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. For 26 years, Wilberforce headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.  

http://www.freedomfestival.co.uk/project/freedom_2014.php

Hull Train Station:

http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/stations_destinations/HUL.aspx

Exploring Academia’s Role in Charting Paths to a ‘Good’ Anthropocene →

Image Credit: Robyn Woolston 

Source: The New York Times - Dot Earth Blog by Andrew Revkin

Date: 16/06/2014

'House of Sound' (2014)

1500+ audio cassette tapes, metal sign with vinyl detail, cardboard, household paint.

Equal parts personal archive and musical inventory the site-responsive intervention explores the private library of an anonymous donor within the context of a public music festival:

http://thresholdfestival.co.uk

Exhibition space: 90 Squared, Elevator Studios, Parliament Street, Liverpool

City of Culture year will be a powerful catalyst for change in Hull →

Artinliverpool.com — Artist of the Week: Robyn Woolston →

Nantes 2014: Scoping Mission

I’ve just returned from a research trip to France that explored Nantes and the St Nazaire region courtesy of Polly Moseley (Consultant/Producer), the British Council (http://www.britishcouncil.org), Lieu Unique (http://www.lelieuunique.com) and Voyage à Nantes (http://www.levoyageanantes.fr/en/). 

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The concentrated nature of the trip, lasting just a few days, reminded me of how densely layered new experiences can be when one fully commits to the ‘shock of the new’.

“I love going out of my way, beyond what I know, and finding my way back a few extra miles, by another trail, with a compass that argues with the map…nights with strange paintings and floral spreads and cable television that furnish a reprieve from my own biography, when in Benjamin’s terms, I have lost myself though I know where I am. Moments when I say to myself as feet or car clear a crest or round a bend, I have never seen this place before. Times when some architectural detail on vista that has escaped me these many years says to me that I never did know where I was, even when I was home.”

A Field Guide to Getting Lost - Rebecca Solnit 

The Designed and Emergent dancing intensely with each other over the course of just a few days. Psychogeography creating as great an impact upon the experience as the round table discussion with Thomas Heatherwick (http://www.heatherwick.com), Kirsty Lang (BBC) & creatives from the region.  

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The British Council framed the strategic discussions by raising the following themes:

  • arts and culture as drivers of economic and sustainable development 
  • the importance of quality of life and cultural tourism for job creation
  • the role of academic research, especially in the field of marine renewable
  • energies, shared histories, alternative economies and green space 

"Our purpose in designing this event has been to develop and strengthen connections between the UK and the Nantes region, both bilaterally and in wider multilateral projects. We would also like to explore new ways of taking these fledgling partnerships forward, helping them to reach their maximum potential and to gain recognition for the richness that cross-sector collaboration brings to wider society."

Julia Handelman-Smith. Head of Programmes and Partnerships, British Council France.

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Whilst I realise what I’ve seen and heard, explored and learnt will take weeks and months to digest fully. There are some conclusions that come to mind…

  • Language barriers can fade when a community of ‘like minds’ convenes.
  • Funding streams can offer radically different opportunities depending upon the country you are working from, or political climate you are framed by, yet by re-focusing your discussion/collaboration it’s entirely possible to have a sustainable arts practice.  
  • Collaborative practice is innately process driven, therefore the agents involved in ‘change-making’ can work in conjunction whilst creating entirely different outcomes. 
  • Installation/intervention creates a puncture point in the fabric of everyday experience and therefore an activation ‘space’ for change, conversation, interaction, re-invention. A context for exchange.

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“All that we make and do is shaped by the communities and traditions that contain us, not to mention by money, power, politics, and luck. And even should the artist or scientist think she as extracted herself from the world to stand alone in the studio, a tremendous array of faculties and mind-states may well attend her creativity.”

Common as Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership - Lewis Hyde

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http://www.royal-de-luxe.com/en/pictures-wall/

ABOUT THE BRITISH COUNCIL:

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. Our 7,000 staff in over 100 countries work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.

 

National Museums Liverpool acquire ‘Waste. Product. Istanbul’ (2013) for their permanent collection at the Walker Gallery, Liverpool. 

Published to coincide with a solo show exhibited earlier in 2013:

http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/exhibitions/woolston/

The publication contains a foreword by Ann Bukantas, Head of Fine Art, National Museums Liverpool and copies of the limited edition Artists’ Bookwork are available here:

http://robynwoolston.com/page27.htm

Art Raffle at the Bluecoat: 17/12/2013

Incredibly pleased to be exhibiting alongside Mike Badger, Jyll Bradley, Li Wei Chen, Jagjit Chuhan, Rick Creed, Gill Curry, John Davies, Alan Dunn, Michelle Edwards, Jemma Egan, Leo Fitzmaurice, Pete Flowers, Elaine Furniss, Mark Harrison, John Hughes, David Jacques, Jason Jones, Gareth Kemp, Nicki McCubbing, Geoff Molyneux, Neil Morris, Tabitha Moses, Bernadette O’Toole, Jeannie Powell, James Quin, Pauline Reeves, Ottoman Said, Amrit & Rabindra Singh, Emily Speed, John Steele, Chris Sutherland, Nick Sykes, Chiz Turnross, Claire Weetman, Elizabeth Willow, Lila Wilson, Alex Wolkowicz, Simon Woolham & Hannah Wooll. 

http://www.thebluecoat.org.uk/events/view/events/1872

Edge Hill University: Workshops

During November 2013 I completed my final set of workshops for Edge Hill University, Lancashire. Inspired by my commission within the grounds of the institution:

http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/news/story/habitus-art-installation-unveiled/

Working with over 150 GCSE, A Level and BTEC students, the activities explored site-responsive interventions, collage, drawing and model making.

The things to do are: the things that need doing: that you see
need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done.
Then you will conceive your own way of doing that which needs to be
done - that no one else has told you to do or how to do it. This
will bring out the real you that often gets buried inside a character
that has acquired a superficial array of behaviors induced or imposed
by others on the individual.

— R. Buckminster Fuller