Search for volunteers to create living artwork

A North East artist has launched a search for volunteers to take part in a new contemporary art exhibition at The Workhouse Museum, Ripon, in August.

Newcastle-based artist Catherine Bertola, whose installation All in a Day’s Work is currently on display at The Workhouse Museum, is searching for up to 30 volunteers to take part in a week-long series of performances that will bring the installation to life.

Catherine said: “All in a Day’s Work comprises of three sculptural installations located inside some of the vagrant sleeping cells at The Workhouse Museum.

“They reflect the various types of labour carried out in the workhouse during the 1800s and I’m looking for a team of volunteers to bring the installations to life by performing the work inmates would have been expected to do, including stone cutting, wood chopping and laundry folding.

“Life at The Workhouse was hard and I’d like to give visitors to the Workhouse Museum a unique perspective by turning my installation into a living artwork, with the help of a team of enthusiastic volunteers.”

Part of the Meeting Point project by Arts&Heritage, which sees nine new contemporary art installations at four museums in the North East and five museums in Yorkshire during 2016, All in a Day’s Work at The Workhouse Museum shows what life was like for people forced to live in the Workhouse.

The performance week takes place from Monday 8 to Saturday 13 August. It’s hoped volunteers from the local community will help create a poignant tribute to the Workhouse’s inhabitants by undertaking stone breaking, wood chopping and laundry folding within the cells allowing visitors to experience the sights and sounds of life at the Workhouse like never before.

Anyone interested in taking part in the exhibition can email catherine.bertola@virgin.net or visit the Facebook event page: facebook.com/events/1715429005394830/

James Etherington, Director of Ripon Museum Trust said: “Catherine’s installation puts the ‘work’ back into the workhouse in a way we couldn’t do with traditional museum interpretation. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in history, museums or contemporary art to play a starring role in a living, breathing exhibition. It will be a fascinating experience for visitors too.”

All in a Day’s Work is on show at The Workhouse Museum, Ripon, until Sunday 27 November 2016. The week of performances inside the vagrant cells takes place from Monday 8 to Saturday 13 August. For more information, please visit http://riponmuseums.co.uk/museums/workhouse_museum_gardens/

Meeting Point takes place across the North East and Yorkshire from March – November 2016. The project is funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund. For more information about Meeting Point visit artsandheritage.org.uk