(Monday) 10:00 - 10:30
Ellie Harrison: Journey with Absent Friends Where do our memories of the dead live? Is it in sacred spaces like gravestones, or aisle 22 of
Ellie Harrison: Journey with Absent Friends
Where do our memories of the dead live? Is it in sacred spaces like gravestones, or aisle 22 of Tescos? Or even on someone’s Facebook page or Twitter feed? Ellie went on a month-long journey to find out. Travelling between sites of personal remembrance with an installation in a caravan, we stopped at arts centres, museums, beer gardens and even the occasional service station. The caravan is available for exhibition and the pilgrimage generated a number of short films as we journeyed from Dorset to the Island of Arran, retracing steps and unearthing hidden histories. There are two possible ways of presenting the project: 1. Screening a series of short films housed on a beautifully illustrated digital map. These could be screened for a remote audience with a Q&A discussion chaired by an academic collaborator from arts (Dr. Alex Kelly Leeds Beckett) or history (Dr. Laura King University of Leeds) depending on your preference. Presenting the Caravan Installation in a covid safe environment. The outdoor nature of the work as well as the fact that it’s generally for one person at a time makes it relatively easy to mount the work within covid guidelines. Journey with Absent Friends is an installation inside a vintage caravan, with artworks hidden in every cupboard, drawer, nook and cranny. It collects stories from the public on its travels, about people we have loved and lost.
Speakers for this event
Someone described me as an experiential expert in grief which was just a fancy way of saying I’ve lost a lot of people. The First funeral I ever went to was one that I organised. I was a teenager and the funeral was for my mum. I went in to planning it largely unaware of what I was ‘supposed’ to do and instead me and my sister focussed on what would express my mums life the best. It wasn’t until years later, having attended many other funerals, impersonal, off the peg and ill fitting that I realised how lucky we were. Beginners luck maybe, but I think making a ritual that was specific helped us a great deal. And so its perhaps no surprise that I started making The Grief Series. A series of arts 7 projects that create space for people to talk about death. Since 2010 the series has accumulated what I playfully call ‘Team Grief’ a community made up of artists, audiences, academics, clinicians....all different kinds of people and together we are redesigning the way we talk and think about death in a grass roots, DIY way. So far team grief have: • Dressed as elephants in Hotels • Created a nationally touring photography exhibition for empty houses in collaboration with fifty members of the public from 7 to 75 years old. • Built an angry Funfair called The Unfair for town squares, promenades and public spaces. • Prompted lads to ring their mums and turn over new leaves • Collaborated with Imams, Rabbi’s and Humanist Celebrants • Impersonated Leonardo Di Caprio • Eaten a lot of Jammy dodgers and drunk nearly 100 litres of port in the process As well as running The Grief Series I lecture on my practice, giving talks, performances and workshops at universities internationally including University of the Arts London, Sorbonne Paris and UAM Mexico City.