In the lead up to Od Arts festival 2023, OSR Projects are excited to announce a one-day seminar, Into another intensity, taking place on Saturday 22 April 2023, 10.30am – 5pm. This event will bring artists, curators and cultural producers together in rural Somerset to consider how art can open up new encounters with, and ways of thinking about rural places in the context of an ever more interconnected world.

As part of the Od Arts Festival 2023 – Still and Still Moving this seminar is relevant to all creative practitioners with an interest in the opportunities as well as the challenges of making, participating and experiencing art in rural contexts. The event will provide presentations by inspiring speakers, as well as a chance to meet future collaborators, share food and explore new perspectives through creative provocations and conversations.

Into another intensity features a programme of invited speakers and provocateurs from around the UK including:

Dr Rosemary Shirley Associate Professor in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. Her research centres on cultural representations of rural places and she has published widely on this subject including her monograph Rural Modernity, Everyday Life and Visual Culture. She co-curated the critical landscape exhibition Creating the Countryside at Compton Verney and her writing was included in Documents in Contemporary Art: The Rural (Whitechapel/MIT Press 2019).

Dan Guthrie artist-filmmaker, film programmer and writer whose practice often explores representations and mis-representations of Black Britishness with an interest in examining how they manifest themselves in rural areas. Recent presentations of his work include Whitstable Biennale, Berlinale Forum Expanded and the Independent Cinema Office and LUX’s Right of Way screening tour. He was an awardee of the 2022 Michael O’Pray Prize for new writing on the moving image and part of the programming team for the 18th edition of Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival.

Kate Genever artist and farmer. Her traditional mixed family farm is in a small village in South Lincolnshire. As an artist she tries to make sense of the world through drawing. She takes drawing to be more than a technique – rather a disposition that reveals our connections with the world of materials and each other. A drawing from, with and together. In places, over extended periods, she considers how we improvise and imagine in response to our immediate problems. Be it in villages, refuges, caravan parks, lockdown…she builds deep connections with people in the celebration and support of site-specific responses, DIY architectures and community actions.

Still Moving artist collective. Through collaboration and embedded research, they seek new knowledge and reminders of what they may have forgotten. They are intrigued by how interactions with other epistemologies infect and influence one another and offer up new possibilities and ways of being that nurture forms of living. Founded by three artists, Laura Hopes, Martin Hampton and Léonie Hampton, who met when they were 13, and all live in Devon, UK. Inspired by the artist Louise Bourgeois who said ‘It is not about the medium, it is about what you are trying to say’, their work emerges in diverse forms.

Laura Eldret artist researcher and organiser. Laura makes installations, posters, drawings, textiles, videos, and events. She is interested in the commonalities that bring diverse groups of people together and the productive tensions of social encounters. Her art offers a gentle nudge to communal consciousness and action, bringing alternative voices to the fore. Her projects have involved working locally and transnationally, in both metropolitan and rural areas around the world. Drawing on methodologies of anthropology, ethnography, and sociology, she is exploring ways to contest art’s autonomy and affirm the value of conversation and social encounters. Recently, she has become interested in combining commoning, social ecological and growing practices. She is also founder/director of More Than Ponies, an ambitious though occasional artist-led programme of contemporary art for/about the New Forest and surrounding areas.

Into another intensity is part of Od Arts Festival 2023- Still and Still Moving (26-28 May 2023) organised by OSR Projects and supported by Arts Council England.

OSR Projects, CHurch St, West Coker, Yeovil BA229BD

10.30AM – 5PM

The day will begin with two talks:

Professor Dr Rosemary Shirley will share her fascination with the huge distribution warehouses that are increasingly commonplace in rural landscapes. Exploring re-imaginings of the landscapes of rural labour, camouflage and invisibility, aesthetics of the sublime, and ghost stories, she will ask: ‘What can these spaces tell us about contemporary rurality and how can they become sites of imaginative connection with past and future countrysides?’

Artist, researcher and organiser Laura Eldret will explore ideas of social practice, social ecology, commoning, ruralities, and the interconnectedness of humans and nature. Focusing upon open-ended social situations she will draw upon diverse projects including The Juicers, a multi-screen moving image work based on her time spent in a Zapotec community in Mexico; collaborative  activities as an artist working in schools for Nottingham Contemporary and her work in the New Forest.

After lunch, you’ll have the opportunity to choose two artist led group sessions that are intended to provoke thought and discussion around different aspects of rural practice:

Artist collective Still Moving have been considering what ‘into another intensity’ might mean for them as individuals and as collaborators. They invite you to join them for a session of communal mending – an attempt to create space for the physical and mental concentration of an artistic flow state, whilst considering philosopher Isabelle Stengers’ assertion that ‘we need to know magic, to recognise capitalist sorcery when it is used against us’, and how attention and stillness might affect our consumerist relationships with materials.

Artist Dan Guthrie’s provocation comes from the simple fact that whenever he hears of an exhibition or a film screening that he might like to visit, the first thought that pops into his head is ‘can I justify travelling all that way to go and see it?’ Dan invites you to join him for a conversation about the realities of travelling for artistic reasons, and ways in which we may be able to work together to make things more feasible, both for us as artists and for the wider communities we belong to.

Artist and farmer Kate Genever invites you to leave the OSR Project space for a walk and conversation, where subjects catalysed by the local landscape will fuel discussion. Agriculture and its related concerns are central to Kate’s work, as is encouraging people to connect and share ideas. This hour-long exploration will offer fresh air, great views and a facilitated debate on issues such as roaming, land ownership and leisure…all in an artful way.

We will then have a short group session to share thoughts and reflections about the day.

Photography by Katy Docking