EVENT: Body Talks


Saturday 22 October

Book tickets


To accompany the exhibition Body Language, co-curated by Katy Barron, Dr Claudia Milburn and Johnny Messum, the symposium Body Talks invites you to join guest speakers and artists whose practice across a range of genres considers how the female form, and the representation of women, occupies a place in their work.

The morning session focuses on creativity and making with each of the artists exhibiting in Body Language giving a 20 minute talk about their work followed by a group panel discussion chaired by Katy Barron.

The afternoon session entitled ‘Thinking and Action’ draws together speakers from a range of disciplines including dance/choreography, art directorship/curating and politics to continue to explore the symposium theme from different perspectives. Each of their presentations will be 40 mins with audience Q&A.

Reflecting on the artists in the exhibition, co-curator Katy Barron comments:

“They ask the viewer to think about the female form and the politics of the gaze. Bodies are presented as objects or even deconstructed, far removed from the idealised nudes of previous generations. The body becomes a vessel or a tool – something to be used and viewed rather than admired or sexualised. These works question women’s roles – as makers, mothers, subjects, objects, lovers, to name but a few.”  

Symposium Schedule:


10:00 Arrival and coffee

Morning Session: Creativity and Making


10:30 Welcome/Intro: Katy Barron, Guest Curator, Body Language
10:40 Polly Penrose
11:00 Camilla Hanney
11:20 Paloma Tendero
11:40 Charlotte Colbert
12:00 Break
12:20 Panel discussion (Chaired by Katy Barron, guest curator – Body Language)
12:40 Audience Q&A


13:00 – 14:00 Lunch – Book lunch in The Mess Restaurant here or join one of our communal tables in The Coffee Pod with other guests and the speakers.


Afternoon session: Thinking and Action


14:00 Olivia Grassot and Adélie Lavail of AOmaon Collectif
15:00 Break
15:30 Tracy Marshall-Grant, Director of Development, The Royal Photographic Society
16:15 Baroness Denise Kingsmill, Labour peer, director of Inditex (Zara) with a particular interest in sustainability and advocate for gender equality.


The Mess Restaurant will be open for supper. Booking is essential. If you wish to stay for dinner  BOOK HERE

Messums Creative is running a Body Talks pottery class on Sunday 23 October  READ MORE



Polly Penrose – Photographer


Polly Penrose has been taking self-portraits on a ten-second timer and more recently a remote for nearly 20 years. Her work is unpremeditated and spontaneous and records her responding to her environment. She explores identity and the opposed notions of vulnerability and empowerment, comedy and tragedy.

Charlotte Colbert – Sculptor, Film Maker, Photographer


Language, psychoanalysis, socio-political constructions of gender and identity are at the heart of Charlotte Colbert’s practice. Spanning film, photography, ceramics, and sculpture, she questions narrative structures and storytelling, weaving the surreal and fantastical in a documentarian approach to characters, figures, and people.

Paloma Tendero – Photographer and sculptor


Paloma Tendero is a visual artist that works across photography and sculpture, exploring themes around genetic inheritance, hereditary and cycles of life. In her work, she explores periods of changes, pain, and metamorphosis that the body suffers. She reflects on the vulnerability of the physical shell, and the desire to celebrate life despite illness, representing the beauty in the flaws and errors that can occur in the body.

Camilla Hanney – Sculptor


Working through ceramics, sculpture and installation Camilla’s practice explores themes of time,
sexuality, cultural identity and the corporeal, often referencing the body in both humorous and
challenging ways. By subverting traditional, genteel crafts she attempts to transgress and contemplate conventional modes of femininity, deconstructing archaic identities and rebuilding new figures from detritus of the past.

Tracy Marshall-Grant – Arts Director, Curator and Producer


Tracy Marshall-Grant specialises in the production of photography exhibitions, festivals, education, and archive projects. She is currently Director of Development for the Royal Photographic Society and previously directed Bristol Photo Festival and LOOK Photo Biennial in Liverpool. Tracy has also been Director of Development at Open Eye Gallery Liverpool and Executive Director at Belfast Exposed Gallery. Tracy is also co-founder and Director of Northern Narratives, the non-venue-based photography production company specialising in archive exhibitions and long-term archive development projects.

AOmaon Collectif  – Dancers and Choreographers


AOmaon Collectif is a creative collective dedicated to choreographic and visual art. The aspiration is to generate new collaborations between movement and other artistic branches. AOmaon is created by two young French artists : Olivia Grassot and Adélie Lavail. AOmaon Collectif is constantly looking to exchange new ideas to generate creativity and to open dialogues with the participants, the audience, the collaborators and the curious minds.

Baroness Denise Kingsmill CBE – Labour Peer and advocate for gender equality


Baroness Denise Kingsmill, CBE, is a peer of the House of Lords, an active board director and advisor to high growth companies, and a leading speaker on fintech, business regulation, and issues of diversity and sustainability. Baroness Kingsmill undertook a number of cases relating to rights of women, while specialising in employment law. She undertook two inquiries for the government in gender equality and human capital management.


Image (top): Polly Penrose ‘Self Portrait, Painfully Relaxed, St Philips Road’, February 2017, © Polly Penrose