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Expanded Studio Project

Primary Studios, Nottingham

PS2, Belfast

August 2019

The Expanded Studio Project was a 6 month collaborative initiative between Belfast based artists and artists based at Primary Studios, Nottingham. The aim of the project was to develop external relationships, exchange ideas and explore different modes of collaboration.The project was based on a pilot programme which ran between Primary Studios in Nottingham and Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge in 2014-15 where artists engaged in a period of dialogue and exchange over a four-month period.The challenge this time was to initiate and sustain collaboration across further geographical distance between England and Northern Ireland. In addition the Belfast participants were based across several different artists’ studios. (These include QSS- Queen Street Studios-, FLAX Studios, Array Studios, Creative Exchange Artists’ Studios, Pollen Studios and Vault Studios. Through planned visits to each other’s cities and continued conversations and emails, artists began either ‘partnering up’ or discussing ways that they could come together in groups to find a way to work together through continued communication and find a means to respond to each other’s ideas.What was presented in PS² was not an exhibition of finished work rather a showcase of peer outcomes created through collective ideas, conversations and self-directed activities. The Expanded Studio Project was initiated by Jane Morrow and was jointly co-ordinated by Deirdre Morrissey (Belfast) and Nastassja Simensky (Nottingham). The Expanded Studio Project is funded by Belfast City Council and the Arts Council of England. PS² is supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.



This gallery of images shows collaborations with two Primary Studio artists.

Zara Lyness & Sarah Tutt

This work was produced only through postal correspondence, initially by postcard, then using single ply veneer and developing into sculpted objects. Steered by misunderstanding and chance, the outcome of the collaboration created an opportunity for public participation by inviting visitors to add to the display in response to the  artists work.

Zara Lyness and Christine Stevens

This collaboration included the facilitation of two ESP artist events. The first event 'Clay Conversation' took place in Pollen Studios where 7 artists came together to discuss the question 'What is your experience of being an artist in Belfast?'. Before the discussion each artist was given a lump of clay that they worked with for the duration of the event. The conversation was documented and the clay objects fired. 

The second event was a Raku Workshop held in Vault Studios. Led by Christine Stevens, participants collaborated at every stage of the Raku process , sharing glaze techniques, applying sawdust for the firing, and cleaning the fired pieces. 

During the visit to Primary in Nottingham Zara and Christine found unexpected similarities in product and process, bricks and textiles. The Expanded Studio Project has developed into a research project combining local and traditional crafts, brick making, Irish Linen and Nottingham Lace. Exhibited in PS2 was the primary studio research work. 

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