Mike Nelson

‘I’m fascinated by something that only exists for a moment, then collapses. And I think that can be seen very much in some of my more sculptural works. Things fall back to their very raw material. At a certain moment, they resemble or suggest something. You turn again, and they have just gone back to the matter they once were.’
—Mike Nelson interviewed by Katie Guggenheim at the Hayward Gallery, 2022

Mike Nelson’s work manifests itself in a very physical manner, encouraging us to enter and occupy a work of art. Often his structures are on such a large scale that we can inhabit them, a ploy he uses to encourage empathy or feeling in the viewer, inviting us to understand the work through all the senses. His practice is also very much underpinned by literary and filmic references; he uses the constructed worlds found in these sources to generate spatial structures that in turn suggest new narratives. Many of these narratives focus on belief systems and on the complex myriad of ideas within the structures of the societies evoked in the work.

Nelson’s practice comes from a lineage of artists from the twentieth century working predominantly in what was described as the ‘expanded field’ — including performance, installation and Land Art. His work comments on these genres whilst working ‘within’ them.

The workshop will seek to reflect on and immerse participants in these very particular interests and apply them to the history and landscape of Cornwall. As in previous workshops, the week will include walks, talks, screenings and expeditions.

‘That’s one of the magical aspects of art: the possibility that you might get some sort of sense of one person’s perception of the world in which they exist. That might sound insignificant in a world of billions of people, but actually it’s through that opportunity to step outside your own experience that you can really understand it.’
—Mike Nelson interviewed by Katie Guggenheim at the Hayward Gallery, 2022


Born in Loughborough (UK) in 1967, Mike Nelson lives and works in London. He came to prominence in the late 1990s, creating psychological environments by sifting through the debris of modern life. His work has centred on the translation of narrative structures into spatial structures, and the transformation of the objects placed within them, immersing the viewer and agitating their perception of these environments. The narratives employed by the artist are not teleological, but multi-layered, and often fractured to the extent that they could be described as a semblance of ‘atmospheres’, put together to give a sense of meaning.

Nelson’s sculptural works allow ambiguity of meaning in the way that they are experienced and understood. The viewer is invited into a state of being in which the varied structures of their own existence, both conscious and sub-conscious, are made tangible.

Nelson represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 2011 and has twice been nominated for the Turner Prize (2001 and 2007). His critically acclaimed survey show, ‘Extinction Beckons’, at the Hayward Gallery (2023) included sculptural works and new versions of key large-scale installations from the 1990s onwards, many shown for the first time since their original presentations.

Mike Nelson is represented by 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt’s Gallery, London and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.


1. Mike Nelson, I, IMPOSTOR, 2011. Installation view, British Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennale, 2011. Commissioned by the British Council. Photo: Cristiano Corte. Courtesy the artist and 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt’s Gallery, London; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

2. Mike Nelson, The Asset Strippers (solstice), 2019. Installation view, Mike Nelson: Extinction Beckons, Hayward Gallery, 2023. Photo: Matt Greenwood. Courtesy the artist and 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt’s Gallery, London; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

3. Mike Nelson, Triple Bluff Canyon (the woodshed), 2004/2023 and M25, 2023. Installation view, Mike Nelson: Extinction Beckons, Hayward Gallery, 2023. Photo: Matt Greenwood. Courtesy the artist and 303 Gallery, New York; Galleria Franco Noero, Turin; Matt’s Gallery, London; and neugerriemschneider, Berlin.


Teresa Gleadowe

Teresa Gleadowe is a curator, writer and editor with extensive experience in the contemporary visual arts in the UK and internationally. She initiated The Falmouth Convention held at University College Falmouth in 2010 and The Penzance Convention held at Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange in 2012 and has developed the ongoing series of Cornwall Workshops held at Kestle Barton on the Lizard peninsula. In 2012 she founded CAST (the Cornubian Arts & Science Trust) based in Helston. She was the Director of Groundwork, a three-year project developed in partnership with Tate St Ives, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange and Kestle Barton, which culminated in a programme of international contemporary art in Cornwall in 2018.

In 1992 Teresa developed the first UK-based MA in curating at the Royal College of Art and directed the programme until the summer of 2006, when she left the college to work freelance. She was Research Consultant and Series Editor for the Exhibition Histories series published by Afterall and has taught on curatorial programmes internationally. She was a Trustee of Nottingham Contemporary from 2006 to 2015, latterly as Chair, and is a Trustee of Kneehigh Theatre and of the Kestle Barton Trust.


Participant Biographies

Fourteen participants were selected from the open submission: Jessie Blindell, Harriet Bowman, John Wedgwood Clarke, Simon Lee Dicker, Amy Dickson, Charlie Duck, Tom Kaniok, Jo Lathwood, Donna Mitchell, Amy Morgan, Andy Parker, Maya Ronchetti, Tom Skinner and Sam Trenerry.


Jessie Blindell

Jessie Blindell is an artist and lecturer, whose work includes drawing, photography, writing and sculpture. Her work considers the ways in which we relate to our surroundings and how we use narrative to interpret, understand and form connections. She often works in response to specific sites, drawing upon diverse and seemingly disparate research to allow unexpected connections and stories to emerge. Ideas around ecology, the uncanny, memory, communication and failure are threaded throughout her work.

Recent projects have involved collaborative residencies on and in response to the islands in the Bristol Channel and a site-responsive group show in a former mortuary chapel. Using narrative and installation to explore systems of communication, navigation and interspecies relationships, this ongoing body of work focuses on more than human perspectives to explore alternative experiences of place.

Jessie grew up in Sheffield, studied Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art and is now based in Bristol.


Harriet Bowman

Harriet Bowman is a multidisciplinary artist born in North Devon and currently based at Spike Island studios in Bristol. She works between writing and sculpture, shifting between a material-led approach and written works that accompany, are performed alongside or stand in for sculpture. She has a particular interest in the boundaries of materials in relation to the human and non-human.

“The idea that something only exists for a moment is a key enquiry to my sculptural and written investigations. I am looking for evidence of collisions and transitions of particular materials, the leftovers or residues after an event has taken place.”

Harriet is an associate lecturer at University of the West of England and a Trustee at Spike Island. She is a recipient of a Henry Moore Foundation Artist Award and a WEVAA Research and Development bursary. She is currently working towards a solo show as part of the South West Showcase at Mirror, Plymouth.


John Wedgwood Clarke

John Wedgwood Clarke is a poet and prose writer. He has published three collections of poems: Ghost Pot (2013), Landfill (2017) and Boy thing (2023) and a number of pamphlets including, most recently, ‘Red River: At the Mouth’ (2024) in collaboration with Naomi Frears and Theo Inglis. John often works with practitioners across artforms and subject disciplines, as exemplified by his recently completed project ‘Red River: Listening to a Polluted River‘ (funded by the AHRC) and his work on ‘RENEW’ (funded by NERC and Natural England). Shifting perspectives and occupying different systems of knowledge are important to his work, as are his continued preoccupations with rubbish, environmental damage and difficult feelings.

He was born in West Penwith, raised in Carbis Bay/St Ives, and went to the Humphry Davy School in Penzance. As the recipient of a county scholarship to attend the three-year diploma course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he feels a strong commitment to maintain the rich tradition of formal and informal arts education in Cornwall for the next generation.

John holds a PhD from the University of York in literary Modernism and is a full-time Associate Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter, and Academic Director of Arts and Culture, University of Exeter (Devon Campuses).


Simon Lee Dicker

Born in suburban London and now living and working in Somerset, Simon Lee Dicker is a visual artist whose work explores landscape and the marks we make on the natural world. From intimate drawings and transient installations to event-based social activities, his practice explores the complex and entangled relationships between post-industrial landscapes and the more-than-human world. His recent work has taken the form of temporary sculptural installations and ceramics, underpinned by creative writing and drawing.

In 2011 Simon co-founded OSR Projects, an arts organisation that connects people through artist-led activity. From their base in rural Somerset, OSR Projects produce ambitious, playful, and socially engaged art projects that place people at the centre of artistic activity.


Amy Dickson

Amy Dickson is a curator with over 20 years of experience, including roles at Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool, and running Artist Rooms for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. She is currently Director and CEO of Harbour House Trust and is working to transform its public base in Kingsbridge, South Devon into a dynamic centre for contemporary art and wellbeing. Amy is also a qualified yoga teacher and is exploring ways to cross-pollinate the two programmes, exploring practices at the intersection between art and movement, and drawing on the heritage of interdisciplinary performance-based practice at nearby Dartington.

The new programme she has instigated at Harbour House is focused on artists with practices that actively invite members of the community in, and whose work resonates with an aspect of the local context, whilst challenging audiences to think differently. This nascent programme grapples with sometimes conflicting local identities and narratives, whilst also engaging in the broader issues of our time. She is currently working with artist Naomi Frears on an exhibition to coincide with the official relaunch of the gallery in April 2024.

Amy studied History at the University of Cambridge and went on to complete an MA in the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She guest lectures in Art History and Curatorial Practice, including most recently at Arts University Plymouth and the University of Exeter.


Charlie Duck

Charlie Duck works with printmaking, painting, sculpture and ceramics to explore drawing and its expanded field. His work combines references from art history and personal narratives, responding to multi-layered histories and temporalities to draw connections between disparate sources. He is interested in the webs of meaning that can be brought into being through exploratory and speculative thinking and making.

In 2017 he was invited by Amy Sillman and Monika Baer to spend a year as a guest in the Painting Department at the Städelschule, Germany and in 2020 he was awarded ACME’s prestigious Fire Station five-year live/work residency in London.

His work has been included in group shows across the UK and Europe, and he has presented a number of solo exhibitions in the UK, including at Pump House Gallery, London (2018), Zona Mista, London (2021) and Mouse House, Helston (2023). He currently lives and works in Cornwall and is a studio holder at CAST.


Tom Kaniok

Born in Cornwall and currently based on the Lizard Peninsula, Tom Kaniok constructs intricate visual narratives in drawings and paintings that demonstrate a sustained emphasis on the multiple ways that memory, dreams and personal experiences make up a sense of the imaginary.

Tom is interested in the ways in which traversing one’s own emotional and psychological landscape, and encounters with elements of folklore, ecology and local history, can contribute to notions of place-making. He builds worlds around the overlooked, offering a concentrated record of experiences, interests, areas of wandering into the unknown, and subtle commentary on the social fabric of being in a rural place.

He received his BA in Fine Art Painting from the Wimbledon College of Art, London, in 2013 and his MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London, in 2018.


Jo Lathwood

Jo Lathwood is an artist whose practice includes drawing, sculptural works and large installations, made for both gallery settings and the public realm. The starting point for many of her works is a response to a particular site, event, material or process. This is underpinned by an interdisciplinary approach to research, which incorporates science, technology, craft and art.

Jo has developed an open manifesto to create sustainable artworks, making biodegradable sculptures and researching new ways to approach the production of public artworks. This includes the recent construction of a meandering recycled timber staircase that travelled across three storeys to allow an audience to touch the roof of a church.

Jo Lathwood studied Fine Art Sculpture at the University of Brighton, graduating in 2006. Between 2012 and 2018, she co-directed Ore and Ingot, an artist-led travelling bronze foundry. She has a studio at Spike Island in Bristol and has been on the studio selection panel (2017-2022). Lathwood is currently on the Board of Trustees for BRICKS Bristol and is part of the EARTHart council at the University of Bristol. She has shown work in galleries around the UK and internationally and has taken part in various residency programmes and biennials in the USA, Canada, France, Belgium, Lithuania and Austria.


Donna Mitchell

Donna Mitchell is a sculptor who grew up in a house built on an old quarry site in St Day. She has recently been working on a number of self-directed stealth residencies using found and scavenged material. Her works are built as a series of shifting parts, temporarily recomposed on location.

Donna studied at Plymouth University, Winchester School of Art and Falmouth School of Art, and recently completed a year-long mentoring correspondence programme with artist Ian Dawson and sculptor Alice Wilson. Her recent exhibitions include ‘The Waste Makers of Cornucopia Street’ at the Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins, Newhaven Art Space and the Winchester Gallery. In 2022 she completed the CAMP/KARST/PCA Studio Residency at KARST in Plymouth, which culminated in a solo show ‘A Sculptural Palimpsest’.


Amy Morgan

Working between sculpture, installation and drawing, Amy Morgan’s practice explores the relationship between body, movement and architectural space. Her works are created through process-driven methods of repetition and layering – creating forms that play with shifting perspective.

Amy studied Fine Art at Falmouth University, graduating in 2020. She has since been awarded a Graduate Studio Grant with Mentorship by Cultivator and has taken part in the Venice Research-Stewarding Fellowship. She is a studio-holder at CAST.


Andy Parker

Andy Parker grew up in Portsmouth, a city surrounded by the sounds, smells and tales of the sea. Unpicking and re-tangling histories, his practice often turns towards the coast, where he seeks traces of individual agency amid the isolation and global connection of the physical world.

Parker recently co-founded shopwork, to present contemporary art in unused spaces. Their inaugural exhibition, held in a derelict shop in Frome, brought together the work of eighteen artists with a connection to the South West.

Parker has exhibited at galleries including Arnolfini in Bristol, Outpost in Norwich and Studio Voltaire in London. His work is held in public and private collections including the V&A, the British Museum, Deutsche Bank and the Frangenberg Collection. He lives and works in Somerset.


Maya Ronchetti

Maya Ronchetti is an artist whose work is often sparked by anthropological and psychological observations of human exchange with the natural world and the development of culture. She works predominantly with sculpture and textiles and is heavily attracted to materials and places that carry stories, such as found objects, artefacts, churches and ancient monuments.

Maya’s day job, working with children who have special educational needs, has recently led her to explore aspects of psychology and non-verbal forms of communication. Her current work focuses on transforming non-verbal communication into colours, symbols and diagrams, and questioning how emotions might look or feel if they were represented in physical forms, textures or drawings.

Maya graduated from BA Fine Art at Falmouth University in 2019. She lives and works in Cornwall.


Tom Skinner

Tom Skinner is a photographer, filmmaker, curator and producer based in Cornwall. He is a lecturer within the Institute of Photography, Falmouth University.

Tom’s personal work explores relationships between identity and place, interweaving ideas around tradition, belonging and change. His broader research is centred on visual-anthropological methodology, utilising multimodal media as a means for ethnographic research, while also understanding the visual document as a site for anthropological enquiry.

He is the founder of Unveil’d, a platform that champions contemporary photography. He has led the organisation since 2014 and has worked with internationally recognised and emerging photographers through an ongoing programme of exhibitions, talks and workshops. He also launched the Unveil’d Photobook Award in 2015.


Sam Trenerry

Possessing almost two decades worth of experience in cultural communications, Sam Trenerry has worked on creative campaigns for a wide range of international and national organisations, projects, and individuals. With a focus on the visual arts, culture, architecture, and design, she has worked with organisations including The Photographers’ Gallery, The School of Life, Photoworks, Carmignac Photojournalism Award, Clerkenwell Design Week, Artek, Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards, and Labour and Wait. She has also worked with individual artists including Sarah Lucas, Douglas Gordon, Damien Hirst, Philippe Parreno; and Tobias Rehberger.

Born and raised in Cornwall, Sam left the county for London to study for a degree and Masters in the History of Art, staying to work in cultural press. In 2015 she returned to Cornwall, where she lives and works. Passionate and committed to promoting varied creative projects, Sam’s aim is to enable the arts to be as far reaching and accessible as possible.