August – Statements in Semaphore 2018 -Works in Progress in Pictures

Images from our workshops, Artist days, inspiration from around Aldershot and Wandsworth stations and Work In Progress pictures from across the project in 2018!

June 2018 – Control

Susan Merrick 2018

This month I have been reflecting on the conversations that have happened both during and in response to the project so far this year.

Sometimes the dialogue is heavy, with myself and another Artist perhaps agonising over details or the social politics of an issue. At other times,  it is simply one comment, from one woman.

‘We’re not allowed BBQs’.

Control. Rules. Policies. We know that at times these are necessary, can keep people safe. But what other affects does control have on us. Does it make us rebel, feel like we are going against the grain? Or conform, frightened of the consequences?

This will be the focus of my thoughts and work over the next few weeks.

I am also starting to prepare for the two project events that will happen in September and October. More info to follow in July!

May 2018

Blog photo may 2018

May 2018 has been a busy month for the project (as well as for my performance interpreting and home life.)

We completed 4 workshops with The You Trust – and these have kicked off some fantastic discussions and some collaborative performance ideas between myself and Barbara Touati-Evans. There will hopefully be more I can announce about these very soon!

Alongside the workshops I also continued dialogue with the artists I am working with and have had another studio session at Platform 1. I love these. Freedom to talk, share, critique as well as make work with other artists is just so valuable.

I also had some amazing news in May. After meeting with some of the Rushmoor council bods the Prince’s Hall in Aldershot have offered to support the project!

They have given me a space in their venue to use in October! This means that as well as having an end of project series of events at Platform 1 in September, I will also be able to run a short series of events in Aldershot. This is so valuable as it means that the work I am doing/will do will remain accessible to this who have been involved in my local town. When working with survivors having such accessibility is key!

Show Announcement April 2018

Division of Labour

 Echo Control image

Hilary Champion | Cate Field | Laura Greenway

Yeonhwa Kim | Susan Merrick | Dora Schluttenhofer Lees


Recent graduates from MA Fine Art, University for the Creative Arts, Farnham


PV Friday 20 April 18.00-20.00

Exhibition runs Fri 20 – Sat 28 April 12.00-17.00

(Closed Monday + Tuesday) 

Echo Control is a group show featuring six recent graduates from the MA Fine Art course at UCA Farnham using film, photography, socially engaged practice, performance, digital print, sculpture, painting and installation. The work examines control through the lens of the personal, the social, the institutional, the media and the state. The title refers to the reverberations of control found in all aspects of our lives; multiple iterations and manifestations of the forces that surrounds us.

Hilary Champion’s practice focuses on the ideological state apparatus and its control of alternative facts, mis-truths and post-truths. Champion uses this as the basis for a body of text-based work, all under the guise of the fictitious Office for Global Improvement (OGI). Announcements and messages purporting to emanate from the OGI form installations adapted to the sites they inhabit.

Cate Field’s work explores how urban locations control their inhabitants. Using sound and film, she creates artworks from the physical environment. The film of the escalator at Westminster tube station captures fleeting moments of commuters; a multiple layered narrative of people moving through the space.

Laura Greenway’s multidisciplinary work uses repetition to explore personal control, fear of intimacy, vulnerability and visibility from her own experience living with mental illness. The work uses performance, film, drawing and painting as a means to document and explore these ideas.

Yeon Hwa Kim collects traces of marks made by users of waste IT products reanimated as a series of films. Fingerprints extracted from analogue TV’s rendered into charcoal, form complex animations. Images of waste mobile phones examine corporate control and the over proliferation of IT gadgets we consume and discard.

Susan Merrick utilises her professional interpreting training to consider ideas around translation. Her research into Holloway women’s prison culminates into an installation investigating the boundaries between artist, audience and the state. The work is distributed through social media, video and live streaming, ensuring access to her work is democratised.

Dora Schluttenhofer Lees’s digital prints are informed by the investigation of girl culture and female solidarity. The work examines feminist culture and social control, to excogitate the notion of female identity and constructed gender. Her practice works across digital media, drawing and film.

March 2018

This month has been about kickstarting the project, getting organised, getting partners confirmed and scheduling workshops!

The month kicked off by speaking with You Trust Hampshire and organising a venue for the workshops with them.

The Artist working with them will be Barbara Touti-Evans so we met up and had some wonderful conversations about holding space and what kinds of materials we may want to work with in her workshops.  Barbara and I collaborated on a playful day during Februrary where we considered the idea of space and attempted to change and soften a very traditional office space by creating a giant crochet web that collected found items along the way! The workshops with Barbara will happen across the month of May.

I had a skype call with Deafhope to talk about logistics and expectations and we are excited to have our first workshop booked for April.

The Artist working with Deafhope will be Melissa Mostyn who I had the pleasure of meeting up with just last week. Melissa is an experienced film maker, writer and visual artist and our artist brains started firing immediately during our meeting.

This month was also the first opportunity to get together properly with Ema at Platform 1 Gallery, plan my studio days and talk about the project. I am excited this year to explore further collaborations with the artists involved in response to working togther on the project – funding and time permitting- and this may be something that continues on into next year too. Lots to do and think about!!

Ooooh I am also excited to announce that some of the work I produced during the project last year will be shown in a group show at Division of Labour Gallery during April. Check out the next post for more information!

New Funding!!!! (and an update!)



Well, sorry for the silence!

November and December I spent a great deal of time reflecting on the project, gathering feedback from the artists and organisations that I worked with across 2017 – which I am now going to place on the site! Feedback Statements in Semaphore 2017

This time allowed me to really consider what I wanted to do with the project going forward. It wasn’t about a one-off ‘thing’. A one off action that ticked a box in some way. But likewise, I didn’t want to just rehash what I did last year.

So what worked?

Well for me, the workshops worked. Having artists come in and use their own ideas and practice to create safe but exploratory environments that allowed for so much creativity and dialogue.

This formed an incredible research base from which to create my own work, visual, live action, film, performance, installation and more. By speaking with the women using the organisations as well as those who worked for and with the organisations I had a wealth of opinions and perspectives on the lives of women that are often hidden from view.

What I can improve?

Public engagement is a big part of this project and this was usually limited to when i did public facing exhibitions or events. To widen the scope of the engagement I have artnered with Platform 1 gallery at Wandsworth Common Station. With a footfall of around 5000 people a day I felt it was a very exciting place to site myself for the next few months!

Artistic development. Last year I found a huge array of opportunities to develop my practice and respond to the project research, but again this was limited with regards to what became available. To counter this I feel that again Platform 1 can offer me an artistic space as well as physically present network of artists with who to work with, collaborate with and share ideas with during the project. Along with this site i will also be inviting artists to work with me an collaborate on some live action in Aldershot which remains my other base for Statements in Semaphore as well as being my home.

So keep your eyes peeled and I will keep you updated with what happens each month during 2018!!

November 2017


The next few weeks are all about report writing….. I will be evaluating the project, collecting feedback from the partners I worked with and writing up the feedback we already have from participants. I will be publishing the report/feedback over the next few weeks.

This will be a really useful way to reflect on the work over the year and what I want to do going forward.

I have updated the website to provide an overview of the project so far but also in order to show exactly what work has come out of the project over the past two years.

Going forward I will be putting in a funding application to continue the project alongside gallery and studio Platform 1 Gallery, Wandsworth Common Station. This space offers not only artistic space and collaboration, but with around 5000 travellers a day going through the station, an amazing level of public engagement, right on it’s doorstep…..!

Watch this space!

FiLiA 2017 An Immense Weekend!

Banners 4I want to write while it’s fresh in my mind, but I’m still exhausted and I don’t feel very prepared. So maybe I will write a second post about the exhibition once my brain has come back to life.

I want to recap a little and over the next week or so I will be adding images and films to this site, showing all the work that has come out of the project, From the workshops, from me, and the collaborations of the two.

Friday 13th

We arrived around 5:30 at the IOE to begin setting up and transform the spaces into FiLiArt 2017. This type of exhibition is tricky. It is covering lots of different spaces, lots of different themes and ‘forms’ of work and the venues are often quite concerned…. which was definitely the case here! There were also issues of access, rooms not available to set up etc, but my two areas were clear and ready to go!

I had two large but limited spaces – one being a large lecture theatre that could not have anything large on the walls, and the large foyer to this space which could have very little in it, as the venue did not want people ‘hovering’ in this area and creating a bottleneck. I knew this before-hand so I decided to sit a while and consider how to best present the work, with regard to the project, what I wanted to show and the relevance of how it was shown.

In the large theatre space I decided to simply have two of my large banners – one on either side of the stage. Framing the projected space )of the whole conference) but also framing the three films that I would be screening at both lunch breaks. My amazing friend Dora Schluttenhoffer-Lees helped me on the Friday evening and captured me with jelly legs up the scaffolding tower!

In the foyer I wanted to showcase the workshops, what we had done and the work that had come from them. I decided to place a few photographs of the work that the participants had created, but instead of photos of the work on it’s own i wanted to link it t my own practice. With this in mind I took the work into Aldershot and had ‘Three Impromptu Exhibitions in Aldershot’. (See previous blog post). I then exhibited images of these ‘exhibitions’ on one wall of the foyer. Alongside this I had Vinyl text describing the project and three large portfolios of the work that was produced in the workshops, I placed these on the floor and a table for conference attendees to peruse.

I also wanted to have some projection and a performative element to the work. So I combined the two. I already had some items of clothing that Leah Thorn and I had chosen during the project. The intention had been to combine the work and the clothing, as a reference to Leah’s ‘Older Women Rock’ project. I chose to bring two outfits with me and attach poetry and fragments of collage to the clothing, ad become a ‘walking archive’ of the project. The clothing became a talking point that allowed me to discuss the project with a huge array of people. It was also a simple way of reminding me of each of the conversations we had during the workshops and project. Each of the women I met and their involvement in my work. The final element to my walking archive was to use a portable projector. From this which I carried in my hands and projected into various spaces, ceilings and floors, I projected a fourth film. This film ‘These Hands’ was instigated by a group poem we did during the workshops called This Hand, a wonderful writing tool shown to us by Leah.

Saturday 14th

I had three main elements to my work for the exhibition. These were the film works…. the ‘walking archive’ …. and a series of banners titles ‘Twelve Days of Conversations’. (See previous blog post). Much of my work focuses on hidden voices, and finding ways to subvert this and get the voices to be shown publicly, but silently. I wanted to continue this for FiLiA 2017. I decided from previous visits that the banners would be most effective on the outside of the IOE building. Very visible, tied to railings that look like bars, speaking to passers by, not only people who choose to attend the exhibition or conference.

I had a feeling that the banners may not be well received. Simply because of the nature of public permissions etc plus the difficulties I had already had with regard to the Venue approving elements of my work to be shown. With this in mind I chose not to seek permission to place the banners. It also felt appropriate for my work to not be seeking permission to speak 🙂

With the help of a wonderful volunteer artist ‘Sinead’, we began the arduous process of hanging the banners at 8:00am. By 9:00 we had finished and by 9:30 we had been forced to start the process of taking them down again! (But not before we got some photographs and we got to speak to a number of passers by who were very interested in the work)!

Sat and Sunday

Over the weekend I was able to talk about my work and the project many times over. I was also able to immerse myself in the art work of many other artists and also attend several of the FiLiA workshops. More conversations. More discussion. More debate. And this is what it is about for me. Keeping conversations going, starting new ones, joining in old or ongoing ones.

At the very end of the conference I also decided to ask for a group of volunteers to help me hold up the banners one last time outside the building. A fitting end t a weekend of people speaking out and challenging bullshit.


FiLiA Outside banners 1

That is what I want to do WITH my Art, that is what I want to do IN my Art. I want to think a little about what this project means to me, what it has done for my practice, and what it can do/this type of project can do (be useful for?) going forward.

……………. next blog I think xxxxx