Studio Morison: Clock & Clay

Clock and Clay is a collaborative research project with Studio Morison to begin mapping out the arts ecology of Northampton and to understand how Northamptonshire creatives and artists can create a civic reading room at the 24 Guildhall road 

NN Contemporary is pleased to announce their upcoming project with STUDIO MORISON entitled ‘Clock and Clay: Strategies for Survival’; A research and engagement programme across Northamptonshire’s creative communities.

Throughout 2021, STUDIO MORISON will collaboratively design an alternative engagement programme to inform a tool kit for developing a future Civic Reading Room for NN’s new premises at 24 Guildhall Road. In response to recent testing times and as publics adjust to new COVID realities, STUDIO MORISON will recast art gallery participation through a speculative framework, aiming to collaboratively re-imagine, re-design and re-enter a new centre for Contemporary Art in Northampton. STUDIO MORISON will gather, collate and present a body of knowledge, experience, relations and connections that sits at the heart of, shapes and defines what a contemporary art space in Northampton is. This body of knowledge is led by the question, asked from one artist to another, of “What are your strategies for survival?” 

Studio Morison, Black Pleasure, Timber, glass, 8x11x20m. Permanent installation, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, installed 2013. Photos: Ashley Carr
Studio Morison, Black Pleasure, Timber, glass, 8x11x20m. Permanent installation, Eastside Projects, Birmingham, installed 2013. Photos: Ashley Carr

This question is more relevant than ever at this incredibly difficult time for artists and creative spaces. Through this simple question, Northampton’s artists’ journey’s through this challenging period of great potential change will be charted, whilst also taking a longer view back across careers to learn from past experiences and knowledge. This project will explore the micro and macro spectrums of community engagement as institution-building practice.

Artist Heather Morison was born in Desborough, attended Montsaye School in Rothwell and Northampton University, worked in Veever’s chip shop, sold eggs with her grandparents on Kettering market and now is artist director of STUDIO MORISON. She’s often thought about the impact of her personal history in shaping her practice around building communities; how traditions of making can double up as narrative and materiality, tactic and technique. In this project, the role of nostalgia leads to a strategy that simultaneously liberates and binds. Through dialogue, debate, old photos, directions, friends, links, strangers, meetups, zoom rooms and algorithms, an evolving proposal for community engagement, loosely based around Northamptonshire and networks, will weave a cultural patch throughout the private, public and personal spheres. A new creative community will be activated through the new home of NN. 

STUDIO MORISON is an artist-led creative practice, founded by Heather Peak and Ivan Morison. Lead by Ivan Morison and Heather Peak Morison, they support and realises the ideas of its founders and the people they work with, exploring what it means to be an artist in the 21st century.

NN Contemporary has built a distinct role in Northampton as a place for bringing international contemporary visual art to the town and as a meeting place for people and ideas. NN relocated in Dec 2019 into the 24 Guildhall Road Offices, a larger site with many spaces to be developed. 

Throughout 2020 & 2021 Studio Morison will be creating a new Library space & community reading room, developed through a programme of community engagement. 

The project takes inspiration from Studio Morison’s signature practice in creating new hybrid art & architectural spaces for making & contemplation. Spaces as places to meet & learn, for making friends, where ideas become manifest & where confidence builds. Places that are built through the process of the community they imagine.

Studio Morison, Kind, Wise and Loving, Mylar and carbon fibre, 230 x 200 x 335cm. Installation: Mythologies, Haunch of Venison, London, 2009. Photos: Peter Mallet Studio Morison, The Opposite of All Those Things, Ripstop fabric and carbon fibre, 263 x 330 x 440cm. Installation: Mythologies, Haunch of Venison, London, 2009. Photos: Peter Mallet
Studio Morison, Kind, Wise and Loving, Mylar and carbon fibre, 230 x 200 x 335cm & The Opposite of All Those Things, Ripstop fabric and carbon fibre, 263 x 330 x 440cm. Installation: Mythologies, Haunch of Venison, London, 2009. Photos: Peter Mallet