On route to the Espacio Gallery for Elspeth’s walk later in the day, I stopped at the church as there was an exhibition of photographic alternative processes being held. It was an interesting building although in great need of repair.
Whilst I was there a memorial service was being conducted for those who had lost their lives in 1943. Further investigation has found that on 3 March, 178 people were suffocated in the tube during an enemy raid. The following images were found online.
I took the following images of some local residents at the end of the ceremony.
During the day in the crypt of the church, various activities were taking place including a stone carving group. They were very enthusiastic about what they were doing and happy for me to take pictures of them at work.
Elspeth invited me to join this walk which was not part of the ‘TSE Walking Group’. It began at the Espacio Gallery, Bethnal Green and finished at Leadenhall Market. Everyone was given a rope to record their journey.
Readings from Cecilia Vicuna’s poem ‘Thread & Word’ were made by members of the group in various locations.
As Elspeth pointed out, we were collaborating to celebrate the threads that bring us together.
The emphasis of this walk led by Elspeth, was to look at the important contribution made by Vivienne Eliot to the work of T.S. Eliot and her influence on ‘The Wasteland’
Elspeth gave the group ropes which she had made, so that they could ‘knot’ things that had made an impact on them during the walk.
Contributions were made on different aspects of her life by Richard and members of the group during the day.
A very welcome break for a cream tea was taken at The Walpole Bay Hotel & Museum.
The final stop was at The Old Market where Judy read a piece she had written from the top of the converted bus inside the venue. The event had been advertised to the public and Sally Waterman’s video ‘In the Cage’ (2007) was projected onto the ceiling.
All these events have also been an opportunity for me to take images of interesting things I have also witnessed. In this case I took a picture of the baker inside the market who was busy in his work area. Although it was possible to see inside, there was a red film on the inside of the glass hence to colour of the image.
Sally was invited to speak to the group as being a possible contributor to the 2018 exhibition. Her work on ‘The Wasteland’ is the culmination of a five-year PhD project and has resulted in 12 photographic and video installations which have resulted from TS Eliot’s 1922 poem.
This was the first time that the group had met at the studio in Northdown Road, Cliftonville, Margate. It was chance for us to discuss the progress so far together with some members of the curating team from Turner Contemporary.
The lighting was extremely challenging and ideally the venue was not equipped to deal with so many people. So I was not able to move around freely to take images. However it was good to have a change of scene and to see some members of the group who are only able to come occasionally.
We met our visitors from Coventry for lunch at GB Pizza and then back to Turner Contemporary where they read a passage from the poem.
The TSE Research Group then discussed which works of art and artefacts have been agreed to be loaned to the gallery, and which are still to be agreed. Everyone then split into groups to decide which of the items best fitted to the thematic groups.
After an overnight stay in Margate the visitors met with Elspeth and the Walking Group, for a walk around the key sites in Margate that relate to the poem. It was another cold and blustery day but the intrepid walkers were not put off.
Various stops were made en route including The Pie Factory Gallery and Margate Museum. The museum provided valuable insights for the visitors into the Margate of the past and the interesting exhibit is which are held in the museum.
Following the walk to the Garden Gate Project, to coincide with the opening of the new exhibition at the gallery; a session was held with John Akomfrah in conversation with BBC historian David Olusoga. The film by John is being shown as part of the exhibition.
John had made the film installation (initially commissioned for the Venice Biennale 2014) entitled ‘Vertigo Sea’ which I had previously seen at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol. It is an extremely powerful and emotive film which addresses issues that are still relevant to issues today. I was anxious to meet him in person and engage in a brief conversation which I was able to do!
The group met for an introduction at Turner Contemporary, and aim of the session was of walking together and stopping for readings at stages along the route.
It was not a day conducive for walking but we carried on regardless and the weather did improve as the time went on.
Alongside reading from the poem, Elspeth had also arranged for some of the visitors to set up ‘Walking Books’ sessions and various people signed up for a session beforehand.
The group walked from the gallery along the seafront and ended up at the Garden Gate Project.
Keith, a member of the group read one of his poems at the end of the walk.
It is now nearly a year (17 November) since the group formed and we went on the first walk. It has gone from strength to strength with Elspeth ensuring that each walk has a main focus. Alongside the main aims, friendships have emerged and the parameters have been extended as to how the group has developed offering a positive prospect for the future.