Harriet Plewis North Sea Observatory Artist Residency

The NSO opened in 2018 and is open all year round. A purpose built and accessible marine observatory, it includes exhibitions on the local area, a multi-purpose gallery space, café, public toilets, and car park. It is located overlooking the beach at Chapel Point near Chapel St Leonards. Following on from the success of pilot exhibitions within the NSO gallery space, Lincoln Museum hosted this artist residency for the local community and any visitors enjoying the space. A brief went out seeking applications from artists who were interested in responding to the space, the human relationship to the coast, and whose practice centres on community participation. Harriet Plewis was selected to be our artist in residence at the NSO. Harriet Plewis is an artist and educator. Her activity is rooted in performance, critical pedagogies and the moving image. Her work looks at expanded reading, the mechanics of solidarity, and the conditions for co-creation. In collaboration with others, she makes Reading Rooms, which are homages to texts in the form of temporary venues.   For her NSO residency, Plewis wrote a ‘ruttier’ for the building and its coastline. Ruttiers were ancient poems (spoken or sung) containing navigational instructions that sailors learned by heart and recited from memory to guide them across the seas. Particularly explored by poet Dionne Brand in her work 'A Map to the Door of No Return', this ancient, pre-cartographic form saw Plewis and participants think through non-standard ways of learning, memorising, archiving, and commemorating.   The residency took place between 31 July – 22 October 2023. The ruttier was created in collaboration with the public during the following workshop dates at the NSO: Wednesday 6 September Saturday 9 September Wednesday 13 September Wednesday 20 September Sunday 24 September Wednesday 27 September These sessions were a chance to think through non-standard ways of learning, memorising, archiving, and commemorating. A collective performance of the ruttier took place at the NSO during sunset at the end of the residency on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 October. These free to attend events allowed visitors to enjoy the dedicated listening space during the ruttiers final performances, with the Seascape cafe remaining open to offer refreshments.

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