Artists’ Research Centre (ARC)

Material Environments

Tetley Gallery, Leeds

”Removes contemporary art from an inaccessible pedestal – not only can we see art in creation but we can ask the artists about their approach.”
– The Guardian

The Tetley will become a site not just for the display of artwork but of live production, experiment, making and participation. Five artists have been invited to work across the gallery’s spaces, to experiment with ideas of physical and psychological transformation. The resulting works, which engage with subjects ranging from social media, botany and chemical science to architecture and music, will grow and evolve over the course of the exhibition, operating as installations, workshops or laboratories. Taking as its starting point an interest in the process of artistic research and production, Material Environments makes this process visible for the audience to see, experience and be involved in.

The exhibition departs from an experience of art based on the environments in which we usually find it – paintings in a gallery and performance in a theatre – towards an understanding of art as something which actively defines our environment.

On 3 May, join us to celebrate the launch of Material Environments with speeches, complimentary drinks and the first official viewing of the exhibition. 6–8pm, FREE, all welcome.


  • Material Environments
    by Louis D’Arcy-Reed
    Corridor8 – Read
  • Material Environments
    by Hannah Clugston
    The Guardian – Read
  • The art of change comes to Leeds
    by Yvette Huddlestone
    Yorkshire Post – Read
  • Material Environments
    by Jack Welsh
    This is Tomorrow – Read


Phoebe Cummings
makes baroque ceramic sculptures, combining impossible assemblages of plants, fauna and with lush, imagined landscapes. A huge new immersive environment in the Leeds Beckett Atrium will house her delicate sculptures made from unfired clay.

Phoebe Cummings was named the winner of the inaugural £10,000 Woman’s Hour Craft Prize on Wednesday 8 November 2017. Find out more about the Prize here

Keith Harrison employs complex scientific and engineering processes, testing the material properties of clay, sound and electricity. Recent projects have seen him firing clay with electrical currents and flying a car through a forest. At The Tetley, Harrison will develop a new work spanning two interior spaces, which responds to the industrial heritage of the building, once the headquarters of Tetley’s brewery.

Serena Korda continues her research into the relationship between acoustics, emotional states, the paranormal and the extraterrestrial through a new series of soundworks recorded in Todmorden, a town with a rich history of unexplained events. She will also create a ‘glass harp’, an instrument once associated with causing madness and hysteria for its players and listeners, which will form the centerpiece of a new performance work.

Harold Offeh will create a live archive entitled The Real Thing: Towards an Authentic Live Archive. Concerned with ideas of reality, realness and authenticity, concepts which have taken on new meanings in our increasingly mediated lives, Offeh’s evolving installation will bring together artefacts, images, actions, performances and workshops.

Joanna Piotrowska’s photographic series Shelter sees her visiting people’s homes and inviting them to create constructions, dens and habitations from the furniture within their living spaces. The resulting constructions reflect their creator’s inner life, history and state of mind, transforming space and material into something deeply personal.

Related Events

Related Research & Text