Urban Room : Arts Programme 14 May – 7 June

Be curious, be adventurous, be welcomed!

image by Piers Taylor

Second-year students from the University of Reading’s School of Architecture have collaborated in the design and build of an Urban Room, a temporary timber structure which carries the potential for enabling conversation and encounters between people and communities across Reading as a town and the University.

The Urban Room is situated on the University’s London Road campus, on the grass quad behind the School of Architecture, and is open access to everyone. As part of the University’s arts strategy, it will host a programme of arts-based activities, stimulating thinking and conversation about the significance of place to the feeling of community and belonging.

The arts programme will run from 14 May – 7 June. We welcome all members of the University and the general public to engage with the programme. Most events and activities are open to the general public on a drop-in basis.


Urban Room: Artist ‘micro-residencies’ (Arts Strategy with jelly)

Wednesday and Friday lunchtime ‘encounters’ 12-2pm, 15 May – 4 June

Scroll down for further information on artists and residencies…

We have collaborated with Reading arts organisation jelly to invite seven Reading artists to take over the space for a two-day residency, exploring an aspect of their own practice in response to the Urban Room. Each artist will host an ‘encounter’ to which all members of the University, and general public, are invited. You may drop in briefly or stay as long as you want. Please see below for further information about each residency and the encounter dates.

Urban Room: School of Art 

Monday 20 May, open all day, Lunchtime Conversation 1pm-2pm

What does it mean to take part? How do we value participation? How do we evaluate group work? What is the role of feedback in your research/ practice? Looking back at the School of Arts and Communication Design’s presence at the Tate Exchange, Tate Modern, March 2019, please join us in an open conversation on some of the themes and ideas we worked with at the Tate, back here in the context of Reading, including a re-working of the ‘Archive Wall’ and live re-runs of ‘Listen and Draw’.


Urban Room: Hybrid Practices (Arts Strategy, School of Architecture, School of Art)

Friday 7 June, 12-6.30

To culminate the Urban Room arts programme, we celebrate by exploring ‘hybrid practices’ through an arts-architecture lens. Co-conceived by staff from the Arts Strategy, School of Architecture and School of Art, this event will offer opportunities to move, discuss, think, experience and explore modes of interdisciplinarity with guest artist and architects.

Click here to find out more. You can register by contacting m.c.laurence@reading.ac.uk

**In very bad weather, some events may be cancelled as the structure is not entirely water and wind-proof**


Urban Room Artist Micro-residencies: further details


Linda Newcombe



Wednesday 15 May 12-2pm

‘Silent Book’

I have produced a limited edition of a hand-made and precious illustrated silent book. It contains no words except a sub-title. It has symbols, special papers and page turns.

I am interested in the complexities of emotional responses that a book can produce. I want to know if my book can transport readers into another world.

Philip Newcombe



Friday 17 May 12-2pm

‘The Sound of this Space’

a table, a typewriter, a sound recorder, headphones and a ream of paper.


Philip Newcombe is an artist based in Reading who exhibits nationally and internationally and is represented by Å+, Berlin.


Oren Shoesmith







Wednesday 22 May 12-2pm

‘I once was and now am’ – A sketch in radical vulnerability


In this temporary space there is no door, apart from the ones we create. Radical vulnerability is the practice of keeping ourselves open, for a shot at communion, honesty and care, for real connection with others. In intimate one on one discussions that mix what it is to be emotionally radical (or radical at all) with personal memoir, we will create a brief sketch in the political potential of vulnerability. Together, we will map out the doors that we need.

Lisa-Marie Gibbs





Friday 24 May 12-2pm

“We will all visit the same space and have that human connection within the Urban Room but each one of us will take away a different sense of place. You just couldn’t remember, I just couldn’t forget.”


Lisa-Marie Gibbs reaches outwards to the viewer for stories to be uncovered. The stories are suggestive of danger & innocence, fear & longing, secrecy & emotion, a place somewhere between dusk & darkness. Always in search of the immeasurable beauty in what it is to be human.



Reside Dance






Wednesday 29 May 12-2pm

‘Communitas’ and Place: A Celebration of the Transient


Reside Dance C.I.C. questions if a transient place can be celebrated. Often places that are considered transient are perceived as unhomely, unsettling and lacking identity and a sense of community. During this residency, Reside Dance C.I.C. will design and facilitate the Urban Room so that visitors can find their own togetherness and celebration of a transient place.


Reside Dance C.I.C. are a Reading-based, professional dance company that aim to bring individuals and communities together by developing connections to places and others through dance.




Mark Webber




Friday 31 May 12-2pm

‘Drawing from simplicity to complexity’


Mark will invite you to give him input into his drawing process, whether that is an idea, a conversation or even starting a drawing for him to continue later.


Mark has shown his work internationally and has had pop up shows in Reading, taking over a shop in the oracle for two months back in 2015. Mainly known for his typographic maps, he also works on other drawing ideas, mainly though the thought of complexity from simplicity.



Emily Gillmor






Tuesday 4 June 12-2pm

‘Past Present Presence’


The Urban Room inhabits a space that has known the presence of Emily’s family through five generations. Emily will use her residency of the Urban Room to explore the connection and affinity she feels towards the place – an unconscious link extending back through the generations, her own experienced memories, and a curiosity about the way the Urban Room allows her to reach out beyond the personal into the community.

During her encounter, Emily will welcome visitors to add a mark to a collaborative screenprint.


Emily was born and brought up in Reading. She is currently Printmaker in Residence in the IoE Art Department – a building next to the Urban Room where her Great Grandfather A.W. Seaby was Professor of Fine Art and her father Robert Gillmor studied for his undergraduate Fine Art degree.








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