Room Gallery Challenges Ideas of Art



room arrivesROOM arriving at the Sussex Coast Collegesussex college

ROOM has been in residence at Sussex Coast College during winter and has hosted a series of temporary interventions curated by the fine art course tutor Patrick Jones. To read a blog about some of the projects which happened go to;

arrives in sussex

Urban Exploration

Various Artists

Taking nothing but photographs, leaving nothing but footprints, urban explorers around the world risk injury or arrest to infiltrate unseen or off-limits city spaces. They create astonishing images of abandoned buildings, construction sites  and underground tunnels. By photographing closed and hidden spaces and sharing those photos online, explorers bring these spaces to public view and add transparency to the urban make-up.

Housed in a repurposed shipping container, this exhibition presents a split-screen projection of hundreds of images  taken in cities around the globe.

Room (West of Brighton Bandstand)

6 October – 4 November 2012

153 King’s Rd
Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove BN1

Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm
Sundays 11am – 5pm

An introduction to room

Mobile art space and artwork, ROOM comes to Brighton this October to form a venue for the Brighton Photo Biennial.

ROOM is an artwork and mobile art space first commissioned by Art at the Centre in November 2010, since then it has achieved high levels of public engagement and creative outputs including 17 separate artist research projects. The space has supported emerging artists across North Kent to showcase their work in public spaces. ROOM is now extending this journey connecting with multiple partners in the South East region including Brighton Photo Biennial. The expansion of the route will create new networks, and a wider audience chance to experience this new model of art in the public realm.

The ROOM is a bright blue multi-functional exhibition and workshop space created from an altered shipping container. The shutters on the window spell out ‘ROOM’ in circus font, announcing the arrival of this unusual object. The public reaction is mixed; the utilitarian shape makes passing people accept its authority, yet the signs of creativity subtly elicit further investigation.

“ROOM is so distinctive it attracts curiosity, people were excited to hear about it touring and that such a thing exists and can appear on their doorstep.”

Jane Pitt, artist awarded ROOM bursary 2011

Coming across unexpected art, is a key part of the project’s power. People taking a stroll in a park or down a seaside promenade, would expect to see a few traditional public artworks, the odd bronze sculpture, a graffiti tag, or a poster for a festival. To discover a complete artist studio or mini gallery space is a complete surprise to the majority of the initiated.

By opening up in places which are not yet claimed by other artworks ROOM is piloting the potential for art as an agent of change. This way of engaging the public has certain rewards as previous artist in residence Jane Pitt remarked, ROOM acts as “ the excuse (& repository) for people to talk in a way they don’t normally about how they experience where they live.” Thus the space functions both as merchant of culture, as well as listening, capturing collecting repository of creativity.

This process of exchange is exposed for viewers to observe and comment on. Galleries have long been seen as elitist spaces within which people must behave in a certain way, look but not touch. ROOM challenges this stereotype by stepping out of the glass fronted / polished concrete floor mould, and ditches the white walls for basic plywood internal surfaces. The appearances and scale of the space invite more people to cross the threshold, without consciously choosing to ‘do’ art, and it only takes a moment to appreciate what it contains.

ROOM also takes the art to the subject matter. The emphasis of the project is on finding new locations which create interesting contexts in which to make and exhibit art in. Rather than constantly animating the same static space, a change of scenery and change of owner, allow for unlimited possible creative outcomes.

“The means of engaging a site. It has been an enlightening experience, being able to spend an extended period of time in a space not normally accessible to me. It has enabled a completely new body of work to appear from a space that I never thought could elicit imagery that I would find so meaningful”            

John Dargan, Artist awarded ROOM bursary 2011

Artists are always redefining the boundaries of what constitutes art. ROOM invites artists to expand the possibilities of place where those changes can occur.

Room arrives in Brighton


It was an early start to the day to try and avoid the rush hour traffic. The Faversham stay was the longest yet, and it will be missed (so i have been told). Especially by the young people who enjoyed the roof-balcony view.

the Brighton Photo Exhibition will see the space recieve a little TLC, with a new floor colour going it. The Show opens next weekend to the public.

ROOM’s next moves..

ROOM is staying on the Recreation ground in Faversham till the Olympic Torch Route passes through the town on the 19th July. Then the space will move to the Stroud/medway area to be part of the project called ‘Urban Fringe’.

After the Summer the ROOM will travel to Brighton to be part of the Photo Bienalle in October, then it spends the winter in Hastings to be hosted by the Sussex Coast College Fine Art Department.

ROOM is currently accepting proposals for projects for January 2013 onwards. To make a suggestion or for further enquiries email


Common Ground Showcasing


 Artists Kate Matthews and Hazel Stone did a  2 week residency in ROOM on Faversham Recreation Ground. During which time they interviewed 70 local people asking them a series of questioned relating to things they like doing, and what places they liked to go to in Faversham. Highlights included sections of ladders growing from floors and ceiling, which were the creative representation of percentage of people would/would not walk under a ladder in the street.

I was particularly taken by their ballon project. They decided one day to fill the large playing field behind the space with red and white hellium balloons. This attracted passer-bys who they then invited to answer a question and be photographed holding one of the the balloons. The question was; Are you in love? The people who said yes were given a red balloon and the ones who said no were given a white balloon. The photographs where then collaged onto the image of the expanded field to show all the answers.

They also made a beautiful string map which was made by projecting the map of Faversham on the wall, then marking where each participant lived with a white flag, then linking each person’s flag to the questions they answered using coloured thread. Some people choose to not identify where they lived, which is why a few of the flags are stuck towards the top lefthand side.

The project was a beautifully bonkers way of mapping Faversham’s residents, both fun and thought provoking. Proving that is not statistics that are boring, but it is what you choose to do with them that makes the difference!

watch the film here ;