Forest of Dean blogs, words and fungi – join us for free workshops at Mitcheldean & Newnham Libraries

It is really sad that next week is our last session in the Forest of Dean Community Libraries of Newnham on Severn & Mitcheldean, so let’s make the most of it. Most people are already making progress with their blogs – some have yet to begin so it’s not too late to join us. Those who would rather just observe that’s fine too – do what works for you.

As it’s our last session (until we get funding to come back – fingers crossed) we want to make sure you get a chance to ask Simon about his plans for the art he is going to make to stay in the forest. Do check out his blog and catch up on the research he is doing – you may want to add suggestions or point him in a certain direction, what you’ve shared to date has been really informative.

So, please bring along your:

  • laptops if you have one
  • your information about your email account, including your passwords
  • your ideas
  • your listening hat, to hear about Simons plans

And PLEASE encourage others to join us too, just bring them along, you know now we are not scary……

To help you spread the words I’ve attached a poster to share by email, or pin up in your village (sorry, this is only for people living in the Forest of Dean)

Mitcheldean 10am – 12 am – tho we can stay a bit later if needed…

Newnham 2-4pm ditto

Arts matter, let’s prove it!!!


Essence of library

it would be great to hear about how other people relate to libraries – the smells, the whispering, the watchful eyes of the librarians….have things changed much in your lifetime?

Simon Ryder

Cabinet Wings of Desire smWhenever I visit one of the libraries in the Forest I bring a bit of Berlin with me, well an image from Berlin, at least: that from Wim Wenders’ film Wings of Desire where the camera glides through the great central library in West Berlin, revealing the ‘angels’ (all dressed in long overcoats and invisible to the mortals) listening in on the thoughts of the readers. As the camera glides we hear a crescendo of overlapping thoughts: for the angels libraries are noisy places. This comes to mind because however local, however modest a library might be for me it always contains a fragment of the grand idea of the Library, and an essence from the great libraries of the past. I love libraries. They are special places of exploration and repose, each with its own locus and something unbounded about it. Every community should have such an ambitious place…

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get into infographics & stats – I love learning new things like Grafio

This is my first attempt with an infographics app:

Infographic flow stats

I know, I’ll never make a graphic designer, but I needed to brighten up my business plan and this seemed like a good idea. Easy to use and quite a surprise to me when I did a quick calculation of my economic value over the years. I’d love to say I got all the money, but I estimate I actually got paid a tiny fraction – but the funding enabled some good art to be made!

Arts Professional flags up arts funding cuts – we need to lobby for the arts

It’s going to get worse,  so we need to get creative and raise awareness about the potental impact of the cuts. Call on our audiences to speak on our behalf – they will miss us when we are gone – if it gets that bad, which it could.

Read the article  on Arts Professionals website

Join your local What’s Next? group – and start one if there isn’t one.

Encourage audiences to campaign on your behalf

Get the ACE toolkit, every little helps


Cabinet of Local Change, interim update – what we’ve done, are doing and plan to do

Download the interim update  in full and checkout Simon Ryders blog too, it’s all getting VERY interesting!


 What we have done so far:

  • We have hosted 2 sessions at 2 libraries
  • The first focused on introducing the project
  • The second provided training in WordPress
  • 20 people have attended from a wide range of backgrounds – artists, a nurse, architects, librarians, editors, school students, local business people, retired policeman & an engineer to name a few
  • We hope to work with young people to act as gateways for each library
  • We are referring to a library blog as being ‘an online library newsletter’ which helps to bridge the book and the virtual, and can make provision for printing some out too, as table pieces
  • People are enthusiastic and learning fast, there’s a real buzz in the workshops
  • We attended the Armoury Hall launch and encouraged people to engage
  • Begun a survey of attendees

What Simon has done in terms of research:

  • Written 9 blogs & Carolyn made a dedicated webpage too
  • Inspired by local conversations, Simon has visited – research woods with FC; meadow groups; Bullo Pill in response to local stories; Woodford Engineering about laser cutting; researched fungi; researched history of tree diseases +
  • Had curatorial conversations with Carolyn about production and construction of a cabinet in some form that can remain in the Forest and have the potential to grow too

What we want to do in the future:

  • We’re talking to schools and youth groups about future projects, with more time to plan and perfect the programme
  • We hope to apply for funding to do this with these orgs as named partners
  • We believe this is a strong pilot and is evidencing a real need for innovative approaches to learning through art and technology

Newnham Library session 2

FREE blogging workshops forest of dean with artist Simon Ryder

We have started the project – and we NEED you!

SR cabinet-laser

“Back in the Forest today, and looking at ways of working with wood to make the cabinet for the libraries. I have been researching how the final design might become freely available (under a Creative Commons license) for anyone to use. So this has led me to designing it in the computer, the components then to be cut out of sheet ply – a sort of cabinet-of-change Airfix kit.” sample page of Simons blog

Artist in Residence Simon Ryder has got talking with some local people and would love to meet more – for two good reasons:

  1. To discuss his art with you and hear from you about living in the Forest of Dean
  2. To help you learn to blog, if you think you or your group may find it helpful. Carolyn will help with that too.

Mitcheldean Community Library


Monday 3rd June and Monday 17th June

Newnham Community Library


Monday 3rd June and Monday 17th June

Flow Contemporary Arts is delighted to have been awarded funding from Forest of Dean Local Action, part of the RDPE programme for England, to initiate the ‘Cabinet of Local Change’ project at two community libraries, during May and June this summer.

Why not come and find out more? It’s relaxed and friendly and FREE


FFI Contact:

@DMU Pleasure Centre Symposium (free) Wednesday 19th June symposium & some fab exhibitions

Pleasure Centre


Hugh Aston Lecture Theatre 3.03

Wednesday 19th June 2013

Registration 10.30 a.m

11a.m until 5 30 pm

Booking for symposium essential:

Research/Fine Art Practices

De Montfort University



Hugo Worthy

Curator of Contemporary Art at New Walk Museum and Art Galleries


Dr Caterina Albano

Senior Research Fellow /Curator Artakt

Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design

Seduced? Pleasure and the exhibition


Professor Eric Bainbridge

Fine Art, University of Sunderland

Artist Lecture

‘always different always the same’


Dr Jennie Hawksley

Senior Lecturer in Art History and Critical Theory in Fine Art, De Montfort University


Dr Simon O’Sullivan

Senior Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture, Goldsmiths, University of London

Joy as a Technology in the Production of Subjectivity

(a Diagrammatic reading of Spinoza’s Ethics)


Sion Parkinson

Artist Lecture/Performance

Pleasure Centre


Central Leicester

All Private Views 6 until 9

Wednesday 19th June 2013


New Walk Museum and Art Gallery:

12th until 30 June

Monday – Saturday: 10.00am – 5.00pm Sunday: 11.00am – 5.00pm


Pleasure Centre


Peter Blake

Henri Chopin

Eugen Gromringer

Ian Hamilton Finlay

Erich Heckel

Dick Higgins

Robert Lax

Edwin Morgan

Paul Neagu

Brigit Riley

Joe Tilson

Emmett Williams

Phoenix  (digital arts)

14June until 21June

10am-11pm daily

Pleasure Centre


Stuart Croft

Ursula Mayer

Michael Robinson

Edward Thomasson


The Great Central

12th-30th June 2013

Wednesday-Sunday 12-6pm


part of Pleasure Centre


Phillip Allen

Elisabeth S. Clark

Ben Cain

Sarah Jones

Max Mosscrop

Angus Saunders-Dunnachie

Two Queens

19th June until 6th July

Thursday to Saturday 12 until 6pm and by appointment

Hannah Perry, Daniel Swan

part of Pleasure Centre


Hannah Perry

Danial Swan




Thur 30th May Shrewsbury Art Gallery I’m talking about art, nature, science & technology

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery have been hosting a series of fascinating talks and I am delighted to be delivering one tomorrow.

It will a journey of a selection of my work as an artist following my MA in Fine Art at Cardiff UWIC to the now, indeed to the future. I will reflect upon the influences to both my art practice and the curatorial programming I do now – the keys holding it together being art, nature, science & technology. And landscape, though I don’t mention it much, it’s in there.

It’s a privilege to be asked to do this and I hope the outcome is useful and interesting for those that attend. I believe they always have a full house for these talks, such is their reputation, so you are advised to call first and book  –  details below

xplore still

still from Me@ – my MA main piece, video installation, mirror tunnel
Supported by FBC Manby Bowdler
The Old Market Hall, Town Square, last Thursday of the month
10.00 – 11.30am
Venue/cafe open from 9.30am
£4 per talk or £3*
 (*concession for full-time students, unemployed, Museum Friends)
 £28 or £20* for Season Ticket for the whole series
Places are limited. To book tickets visit the
  Box Office at the Old Market Hall or Theatre Severn or call 01743 281281
A transaction fee of £1.50 will be charged on bookings, except those made in person in cash

book now, limited places, #art #technology Technobiophilia this Saturday in Stroud, Glos

20 hertz invite refresh NN invite

The New Natural Symposium
Semiconductor, Prof. Sue Thomas and Squidsoup
Saturday 25th May 10.30am-5pm
SVA, 4 John St, Stroud GL5 2HA
Installation Friday 24th-Sunday 26th May

11am-4pm Goods Shed, Stroud GL5 3AP

Book now:

The New Natural is presented by Heart of Wonder in collaboration with SVA, and supported by Alias.

Tickets £12 including lunch and refreshments £20 for weekend inclusive of evening events. See SVA website for more details, or give them a call.

Booking is essential as places are limited 01453 751440 or email

Sue Thomas is the author of Technobiophilia, coming out this autumn

technobiophilia book cover

I’m giving a talk on Thursday 30th May at Shrewsbury Art Gallery, of globes and cabinets

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery talk programe

‘Artists’ Illustrated Talks’ programme
at the Old Market Hall

Whilst working as Producer for ExLab last year I was invited to deliver this talk as part of a programme in the art gallery. The copy refers to arts and science and specifically to ExLab, but I will be talking about how my work has evolved, through art and science, and the journey of that evolution.

An important artwork (to me) that I made following my MA at Cardiff UWIC was a globe of video about virtual bodies, presented in mirrored cabinets. I had a residency in the radiology department of the New Childrens Hospital in Bristol, where I used scanners and digital video to create an installation.

15 years later I am again inspired by a video of a globe and am commissioning cabinets. Some things don’t change! The way we consider them does

.xplore still

Supported by FBC Manby Bowdler

The Old Market Hall, Town Square, last Thursday of the month
10.00 – 11.30am
Venue/cafe open from 9.30am
£4 per talk or £3*
(*concession for full-time students, unemployed, Museum Friends)
£28 or £20* for Season Ticket for the whole series

Places are limited. To book tickets visit the
Box Office at the Old Market Hall or Theatre Severn or call 01743 281281
A transaction fee of £1.50 will be charged on bookings, except those made in person in cash

Thurs 30 May
Artists & Scientists working together in a post-modern world

(From the programme) Carolyn Black, ExLab Producer 2011-2012
A major theme for the new Shrewsbury Musuem and Art Gallery is the relationship between artists and scientists. Ex Lab is a ground-breaking arts programme on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset where earth scientists and artists have collaborated to reveal hidden landscapes. Ex Lab is a ‘living laboratory’ of science-inspired art experiences which aims to offer visitors vivid moments of insight and wonder.