Tree Conversations: Artist Micro-Residency

Artist Rachel Barbaresi invites you to take part in her micro-residency at the University, as part of the ‘What is Public Art?’ series of activities this March.

Rachel will lead a series of creative research walks in the campus grounds, exploring their potential as spaces that invite university members to be outside their normal frame of reference and encounter new connections. She will then create a pop-up ‘studio exhibition’ in the Cole Museum, inviting further interaction from visitors, through creative responses to found items and considering different ways of categorisation and display.

Rachel writes:

“Using trees on the site as a focal point, we will work with a range of tools to record and collect data through experimental drawing processes (drawing ability is not necessary). Reading University campuses are renowned for the diversity and quality of its tree specimens and these will provide rich source material for our visual investigations.”

Each participant will be given a set of tools and materials for drawing and recording data. Guidance will be offered, but participants are invited to invent their own approaches to working with the tools and selecting data to record. Activities may include drawing, taking impressions using plasticine, photography, collecting (sound recordings, found objects), measurements and estimates.

On Wednesday 6 March you can join the research walks on campus. Walks take place at 10am or 11.30am in the MERL gardens (meet at MERL), and 2pm or 3.30pm on the Whiteknights Campus (meet at the Library Foyer). Please sign up in advance by emailing Miranda on m.c.laurence@reading.ac.uk stating your preferred time. Everyone is invited to take part – no experience is needed, just curiosity! (Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear for walking outdoors. In the event of bad weather the walks will be rescheduled.)

Rachel then invites further visitors to join her in curating the archive of drawings, which will take place during a ‘studio exhibition’ at the Cole Museum. Visitors will have the opportunity to respond to the archive through creative activities including monoprinting, casting in plaster, drawing, written reflections and creative writing. Guided by Rachel, visitors may also consider different approaches to categorising, displaying and interpreting the found and created items in this museum setting.

The studio exhibition will take place at the Cole Museum, during the day on 21 and 22 March and visitors are welcome to drop by for a short or longer period of time.

If you are interested in attending the studio exhibition at the Cole Museum, please email Miranda on m.c.laurence@reading.ac.uk to register your interest and you will then be sent further information about how to take part. Or you can drop in on the day.

Rachel will also invite responses to the research at the MERL Late event on 14 March ‘More Than Human’; to book for this event please visit the MERL website

Rachel Barbaresi’s previous projects have involved a range of approaches to participatory practice including reminiscence, working with archives and making. Taking urban spaces and architecture as starting points, her approaches to collective research incorporate the diverse voices of participants and a socially situated reading of place. 

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