TALK: Wrong end of the stick? The muddied waters between craft, design and fine art – what is the difference and does it matter


Saturday 13 July, 11am  Bookings

Ever since man sat on a log or made a basket or made a bark painting, wood has been the material which man has relied on for both poetic expression and utilitarian function. In this discussion between three of its greatest proponents – Grant Gibson, former Editor of Crafts Magazine; Emma O’Kelly, Editor-at-large of Wallpaper Magazine; and Christopher Kurtz, one of America’s foremost sculptors in wood – discuss the ever muddied waters between craft, design and art – what is the difference and does it matter?.

This event marks the opening of Christopher Kurtz’s solo exhibition here at Messums Wiltshire.

EVENT: Small Step, Giant Leap – A lunar landing-inspired intervention by Bruce Munro

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Saturday 20 July, 7:30pm  Bookings

On 20 July 1969 astronaut Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon – a moment that those who witnessed it will never forget.

Drawing inspiration from this life-changing event artist Bruce Munro will present Small Step, Giant Leap – an unscheduled landing in our thirteenth century barn on Saturday 20 July 2019 to mark 50 years since the lunar landing. Projected on to the vast stonewalls of the barn will be the artist’s visualisation of the moon created from an animated projection, which takes Armstrong’s now iconic words translated into Morse code to create an abstract visual pattern. Artist Christopher Kurtz’s suspended wooden constellations – on show in the barn from 13 July – 1 September – will complement this lunar intervention.

Small Step – Giant leap is a recognition of that single feat, and incredible moment in history, and features a sound element of the original NASA recordings between Mission control, Apollo 11 and the Lunar Module.

Preview screening at 7.30pm
Post-landing supper with Bruce Munro at 8pm

TALK: By Artists-in-Residence Sonia Leber & David Chesworth

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Friday 19 July, 6:30pm  Bookings

From 26 June this year Sonia Leber and David Chesworth will be the first artists-in-residence at Messums Wiltshire. During their five week residency the artists will create work in response to the thirteenth century tithe barn and it’s surroundings to be exhibited as part of the Image show in 2020.

Sonia Leber and David Chesworth are known for their distinctive installation artworks, using video, sound, architecture, and public participation. Developed through expansive research in places undergoing social change, Leber and Chesworth’s works are speculative and archaeological, responding to architectural, social, and technological settings. Their highly detailed, conceptual videoworks emerge from the real, but exist significantly in the realm of the imaginary.

Sonia Leber and David Chesworth’s artwork has been shown extensively internationally at exhibitions and Biennales as well as in their home country of Australia.

The talk will be hosted by Fiona Gruber, a Melbourne and London-based arts journalist, essayist, broadcaster and radio documentary maker. She’s written on the arts for many of the major Australian and UK newspapers and art journals including the Australian, Art World Australia, the Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. Her work for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National includes a ten part series, Australian Portraits and Art After Death, a look at how the art world deals with the legacy of artists and their works. In 2018 she made the documentary “Creative Couple; Sonia Leber and David Chesworth.” about Messums Wiltshire’s 2019 artists in residence.

Join us for supper in the Mess Restaurant after the talk to meet the artists.

EVENT: Film Screening of Daniel Agdag’s ‘The Lost Property Office’

Friday 21 and Friday 28 June, 6:30pm  Bookings

By popular demand we will be re-showing Lost Property Office every Friday during the exhibition STATES by Daniel Agdag followed by an optional supper in the Mess Restaurant.

Lost Property Office is a meticulously hand–crafted stop-motion animated short film made by Daniel and producer Liz Kearney. The art deco, post–industrial inspired world was realised by hand entirely of cardboard over a preproduction period of 18 months. The entire film was fashioned from over 2,500 sheets of recycled cardboard, patiently hand-cut using 1,287 scalpel blades to create 1258 elaborate set pieces and delicate individual props. The natural sepia tones of the cardboard were carefully lit and photographed 24 times for every second of the 13,680 final frames (9 minutes), giving the film a warm other-worldly glow and unique aesthetic.

The film was shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2018 and won Jury Prize for Best Animated Short at Newport Beach Film Fest in California in 2019.

Born in Victoria, Australia in 1976, the son of Armenian immigrants, Agdag studied fine art before turning his hand to filmmaking and receiving his Masters in Film and Television at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2007.

EVENT: Close-Out Party – DJ Set with Mat Osman from Suede

Saturday 6 July, 7:30pm  Bookings

Come along and hear Mat Osman – musician and bassist from iconic British Rock band Suede – spin some tunes in our thirteenth century barn. Suede was one of the finest bands to come out of the UK in the first half of the 1990s and their debut album, released in 1992, won the Mercury Music Prize.

Whilst the band went their separate ways in 2003 they reformed in 2010 and last year, released a new album. When not touring with the band or writing and promoting novels, Mat likes to play loud, badly behaved records from 1960 to 2019 in the shape of funk, soul, glam, electro and rock ‘n’ roll.

PERFORMANCE: Sugar J and Bump Kin

Saturday 6 July, 5pm  Bookings

Razor sharp poetry focused on relationship struggles, diaspora, rum and love; Modern day psalms set in lo-fi soundscapes and head-nodding beats.

Sugar J and Bump Kin are a duo blurring the lines between spoken word, poetry and hip-hop. They started making work together as poet and producer after meeting as Barbican young poets in 2016, and debuted at Summer Poetry X in 2017 and will be making their Festival of the Spken Word debut this year.

WORKSHOP: Writing Poetry with Tristram Fane Saunders


Saturday 6 July, 10 – 11am Bookings

Join us for a poetry-writing workshop with Tristram Fane Saunders ahead of his panel discussion with New Poets Prize winners later in the day.

Tristram is writer and commissioning editor for the Telegraph where he casts an analytical eye over all things cultural. As a New Poets Prize winner of 2018 Tristram is skilled in the art of the poem and seasoned in the art of performing them.

His new chapbook ‘Woodsong’, a tragi-comic retelling of an old Irish myth, is published this June.

PERFORMANCE: After Hours – Music & Poetry by Jade Cuttle and Ben Norris


Friday 5 July, from 6pm  Bookings

Join us on the opening night of our Festival of the Spoken Word weekend for a poetry performance by Ben Norris and a jam session with singer-songwriter and spoken word performer Jade Cuttle as well as a chance to meet the performers and poets ahead of Saturday’s series of events. The Mess restaurant and bar will be open for the evening.

Ben Norris is a poet, playwright and actor. He is two-time national poetry slam champion – 2017 BBC Poetry Slam and 2013 UK All-Stars Poetry Slam – and has appeared everywhere from Latitude Festival to the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. His debut solo show, ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Family’, won the 2015 IdeasTap Underbelly Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival before touring the UK and Australia, and his first short film, commissioned by Channel 4, was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award.

Jade has performed her poetry on BBC Radio 3 (‘The Miracle of Mould’) and in association with BBC Proms (‘The Art of Splinters’). She has been commissioned to write for other BBC podcasts such as celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary through song (‘I can’t fall in love with the night’) and spoken word specials on BBC Introducing (‘Contains Strong Language’). Jade is a double recipient of the Foyle Young Poet Award, she also won 1st place in the 2014 BBC Proms’ Poetry Competition.

Jade is a singer-songwriter, translating metaphor into melody. Her debut album of poem-songs ‘Leaves & Lovers’ is inspired by the humble-hearted wisdom and resilience of nature, released to BBC Introducing acclaim. Her next album of poem-songs, including ‘Maggots’ and ‘Algal Bloom’, will be released through Warren Records in 2019 with funding and support from PRS Foundation and Make Noise.

TALK: Why Speak When You Can Sing? With authors Tariq Goddard, Ryann Donnelly and Nathalie Olah


Saturday 6 July, 11am  Bookings

“Why Speak When You Can Sing?, a panel discussion on the differences between the spoken and written word and song will be chaired by Tariq Goddard of Repeater Books with contributions from authors Ryann Donnelly, whose new book Justify My Love explores sex and gender in one of the most consumed art forms of our age – the music video – and Nathalie Olah whose writing focuses on the intersection between politics and contemporary culture, with an emphasis on marginalized and working class communities and includes essays, fiction and reviews which have been published widely in Dazed, AnOther, i-D, the Guardian, the Sunday Times, the Independent and the Times Literary Supplement.

Ryann is a musician and writer and Nathalie is a music journalist turned author. Alongside publisher and author Tariq Goddard they will address the differences – and similarities – between the sung, the spoken and the written word, and the power of each to effect change.

The discussion will be followed by a performance by Ryann – accompanied by an electro-pop soundtrack – and a reading by Nathalie from her forthcoming book Steal as much as you can How to win the culture wars in the age of austerity.

PERFORMANCE: Laurie Bolger ‘Talking to Strangers’

Saturday 6 July, 6:30pm  Bookings

Laurie Bolger is a stand-up poet and presenter based in London. She has performed and hosted venues such as The Royal Albert Hall, Old Vic Theatre and St Paul’s Cathedral and has been Poet in Residence in various public spaces including The Ivy House Pub and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Her ‘Talking to Strangers’ performance brings you stories and chats about comfort food, supermarket meltdowns, tea and pub love. Her warm and witty poems ask the big questions: how does that annoying passenger on the bus turn out to be the stranger that saves the day?  Sometimes, when life is lonely, strangers give us the answers we need.

Laurie was lead facilitator for BBC 1Xtra’s Words First and has received national airplay on the BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. She was shortlisted for Young Poet Laureate of London, performing at major London venues and has also performed at festivals across the UK including Glastonbury.

“The Poet in Residence of my heart” Phill Jupitus

“If I could jump into Laurie’s poems I would. I imagine it’d be lovely and warm in there.” Hollie McNish


Photo: by Caro Pak

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