15 June – 22 July, 2018
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AirSpace Gallery transforms into the BROWNFIELD RESEARCH CENTRE, to investigate the current state of and potential future for the city's open brownfield spaces.

It is our contention at AirSpace that the future for provincial city centres, is not going to be based around traditional retail, and so we need to find new sustainable purposes for our urban zones. Like many other former industrial cities, and exacerbated by a failed housing renewal scheme, Stoke-on-Trent has physically emptied out over the last two decades, as industrial buildings and former residences have been demolished. Invariably the resulting land has been cordoned off – with Heras or Pallisade fencing, allowing Nature to reclaim the land.

For many, these areas are ugly, gaining a reputation as eyesores, and dens of iniquity, used if anything by the city’s homeless or for nefarious purposes. However, there is an alternate view. They can be seen as thriving natural ecosystems, home to a series of itinerant native plants, such as Coltsfoot, Buddleia, Tansy and Rosebay. More than that, we believe this successful natural reclamation can point the way to a new future for our city. What if – at least in their interim, we managed these spaces as City Centre Parkland, offering these native species the chance to thrive and cultivate, and simultaneously offering visitors to our city the chance to do the same.

Stoke-on-Trent has a history of successfully Greening former toxic land, as Hanley Forest Park and half of the 1986 Garden Festival Site, 20 years on, are now successful rural idylls in the heart of our city, turning the toxicity of their former occupants – Steel and Coal mining, into areas of Local Beauty. This is a model which we can learn from and repeat right in the centre of our city centres.



adjectivebrownfield; adjective: brown-field
1. vacant or derelict land or property, usually industrial in nature.
2. denoting or relating to urban sites for potential building development that have had previous development on them, as opposed to greenfield land, which has never been built upon.
3. in the United Kingdom, often conflated with the technical term 'previously developed land' (PDL). PDL was originally defined in planning policy for housing development in England and Wales, and was carefully distinguished in such policy from 'brownfield', which was undefined but considered to be different. The two terms ‘brownfield” and “previous developed land” are now used interchangeably.

adjective: brownfield; adjective: brown-field
1. vacant or derelict land which, through wilful human neglect, and barricading, has been successfully reclaimed by nature, developing thriving and important natural ecosystems, and acting as a model for future urban land use.


AirSpace Gallery will split into 3 zones for this activity.

1. Exhibition Space - we will exhibit works by each of the 6 resident artists - Rodrigo Arteaga, Edward Chell, Rebecca Chesney, Anna Francis, Lucy McLauchlan and Vicky Sharples.

2. The Research Centre - From an open call, we will display both physically in the specially designed research centre, and via our online resources, the works of any artist working in this area who wishes to submit their works for inclusion.*

3. Residency Space In order to properly understand these sites and their possibilities we need to carry out some research. And so, for 6 weeks in the summer of 2018, AirSpace Gallery will transform into a Brownfield Research Centre, as we invite 6 artists, working in different disciplines, to the city to carry out consecutive 1 week residencies, tasked with exploring the current situation of and future potential for the ubiquitous Brownfield.


June 16th to 21st - Lucy McLauchlan
June 26th to 30th - Rebecca Chesney
July 2nd to 7th - Rodrigo Arteaga**
July 10th to 14th - Edward Chell
July 17th to 21st - Victoria Sharples
July 2nd to 21st - Anna Francis (5 Floating Days)
July 21st and 22nd - The Oasis Social Club (TOSC) with Rebecca Davies
July 22nd 1pm to 3pm - Brownfield Discussion (in the TOSC)

Each Resident will be tasked with exploring the Brownfield and producing a proposal for a brand new piece of work in response, for exhibition in a proposed Grand exhibition in association and partnership with the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Spring 2020.

*Additionally, at the end of the period, a panel will select and invite one artist from the Open Call to producing a proposal for a brand new piece of work in response, for exhibition in a proposed Grand exhibition in association and partnership with the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Spring 2020, alongside our 6 Residency artists.
**Rodrigo will be presenting a brand new exhibition opening at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery on Friday 6th July.

NB: in Spring Summer 2019, we intend to build on the initial findings of our artists, and extend our remit by carrying out a series of multi-disciplinary Bio Blitzes.


Rodrigo Arteaga´s work aims to redefine some notions and ideas around nature and culture. He has used material culture that comes from science and its varied systematic methods in the form of books, graphic works, sculptures and installations. His work responds to scientific culture in an attempt to embrace its limits, maybe turn it back onto itself, subjectivizing something meant to be objective.

b. Santiago, Chile, 1988. Graduated from Fine Arts at Universidad de Chile (2010) with a degree in Printmaking (2012) and currently studying and MFA in Sculpture at the Slade School of Art (2016/18). Some of his solo exhibitions are: “Placed into Abyss”, Kostka Gallery, Czech Republic; “Just as the daylight was fading”, Sobering Galerie, France; “A natural history of ideas, part II”, Galería Tajamar, Chile; “Sobre estrellas y raíces”, Galería AFA, Chile. He has exhibited his work in collective exhibitions in France, Germany, Spain, Bolivia, Perú, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia. He has been a part of International Biennials such as: IV Poli/Graphic Triennial of San Juan, Puerto Rico; SIART Biennial 2013, La Paz, Bolivia; 11th Biennial of Media Arts, Santiago, Chile. He has been supported by grants from the Direction of Foreign Cultural Affairs of Chile, CONICYT, and the Prince Claus Fund. He is currently represented by Galería AFA (Chile) and Galerie Sobering (France).

Edward Chell is an artist based in London and a Reader in Fine Art at University of the Creative Arts. His work explores ideas about taste, consumption and display and their relationship to the environment with a particular interest in the C18/19th and the interplay between discovery, natural sciences and the decorative arts.

Recent solo exhibitions with accompanying publications include Bloom (Horniman Museum and Gardens 2015), Soft Estate (Bluecoat 2013/14 touring), Eclipse (Stour Valley Arts and Beaney Museum 2013) and In the Company of Ghosts: The Poetics of the Motorway (erbacce-press 2012). Recent group exhibitions include Drive Thru (2016), Public View Bluecoat (2017), Gestures of Resistance, Athens (2017) and Synthetic Landscapes, Meadow Arts (2017). He curated the exhibition Phytopia (2017 – 2018 touring) exploring the idea of the Tree of Life with accompanying publication.

Rebecca Chesney is a visual artist whose work is concerned with the relationship between humans and nature and how we perceive, romanticise and translate the landscape. Her projects take the form of installations, interventions, drawings, maps and walks.

She has been commissioned by Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Bronte Parsonage Museum, Compton Verney, Grizedale Arts, Bluecoat Gallery and Landlife. Awards include a Gasworks International Fellowship with CONA in Mumbai India and a Lucas Artist Fellowship at Montalvo California USA. She has been invited to attended residencies at the Nirox Foundation in South Africa, Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts, the Wordsworth Trust and the Lowry.

Anna Francis is an artist and researcher whose practice aims to rethink city resources, through participatory art interventions. She creates situations for herself, the public and other artists to explore places differently: often experimenting with leading and instruction by creating manuals, kits or leading guided tours. In recent years the interventions which Anna has worked on focus on the city of Stoke-on-Trent, and use an action research process to recognise untapped resources, plan responses to site, take action to change the way the site is viewed, and potentially, make changes, which can be temporary and sometimes permanent. Through this, Anna aims to gain an understanding of the role of artists and arts organisations in the development of places.

Anna is Associate Professor of Fine Art and Social Practice at Staffordshire University.

Lucy McLauchlan is an internationally recognised artist exhibiting in galleries, museums and festivals across the globe. Her large-scale monochromatic paintings have covered multi-story buildings throughout Europe, gigantic billboards in China, huts in The Gambia, windows in Japan, walls in Moscow’s Red Square, Italian water towers, Norwegian lighthouse, Detroit car parks and abandoned NYC subway tunnels.

Implicit within her work is a deep respect for nature as she draws inspiration from her immediate environment; allowing it to inform and direct what is an intuitive and explorative process.

Victoria Sharples
is an artist and researcher working between Sheffiled and Leeds. Currently working towards her practice-based doctorate in Fine Art, Sharples meditates on issues surrounding human imposed authorship of materials and contemporary eco-politics. Often durational, her practice encompasses time-based performance, video, photography, conceptual scores and events. Informed by eastern and elemental philosophies, her work utilises: sound, slowness and motion to accentuate the effects of human activity.

Rebecca Davies is from London and lives in Stoke on Trent. Her embedded participatory practice spans illustration, performance and event, exploring community representation and people led change. She has collaborated with Eva Sajovic for 9 years and they run Peoples Bureau, a programme of community artistic actions based in Elephant and Castle. In 2013 she was made an Artsadmin Associate Artist. She has run outreach and participation projects with Create London, Turner Contemporary, South London Gallery and led Whitechapel Gallery community workshops for 4 years. Rebecca is lead artist on The Oasis Social Club. The project was instrumental in supporting the Portland St community in Stoke to gain ownership of a derelict pub building, now The Portland Inn Project, which Rebecca has co-directed with Anna Francis since 2016.

The Oasis Social Club (TOSC) is part entertainment venue, part discussion space, incorporating the long British tradition of Working Men’s Clubs, infused with warmth and humour. The club provides an important arena for debate on issues such as housing justice and diminishing social space as well as quality performance from local and national acts. Working with policy makers, council members, local organisations and a range of individuals, TOSC brings together a range of different voices who might not usually meet. The project has toured to Stoke-on-Trent, Preston and Hull and represented Great Britain at the European Capital of Culture, Mons, 2015.

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