An Ekphrastic Update: Exhibition, Course, and Conference

explore collective exhibition wales millennium centreAs my final year of being a PhD student draws to a close, I’m excited to be continuing my work on ekphrasis (writing poetry in response to art) in lots of different ways! First, there is still time to visit the Wales Millennium Centre where you can see our Explore Collective project exhibition: Freedom to Create.

I’ve been working as part of Explore Collective (a ‘Connect & Flourish’ project funded by Arts Council Wales) for the past two years, and I’ve loved getting to know the participants. We have spent time chatting about art, writing in response to art, and experimenting with lots of different visual art techniques, including my favourite: gelliprinting. The project has been based in two locations: with ACE at The Dusty Forge in Cardiff, and Valleys Kids in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

explore collective exhibition at wmc

One of my meta-ekphrastic poetry-objects on display as part of the exhibition

This project was one of the inspirations for a series of poetry-objects that I created as part of my PhD, which take the form of meta-ekphrastic collages. They incorporate and respond to poems and other texts that were written by museum visitors as part of the interactive display which took place at National Museum Cardiff in 2022. And three of these poetry-objects are on display (on the Millennium Centre first floor balcony) as part of the Explore Collective exhibition. If you look closely, you should be able to see some of the gelliprinted leaves borrowed from the Dusty Forge garden! The exhibition runs (I think) until the end of April.

I’ve really enjoyed running a series of ekphrastic poetry workshops at the Cynon Valley Museum in February and March, and am excited to soon be running another ekphrastic creative writing course, for Cardiff University’s Lifelong Learning programme. This new ten-week course is called “Art and Ekphrasis: Creative Writing and the Modern Museum” and will involve some trips to National Museum Cardiff, to write in the galleries. It will take place on Wednesday mornings, beginning on the 8th of May, and you can sign up here.

In May I’ll be reading at this year’s Aberystwyth Poetry Festival, along with many other fabulous poets. The festival takes place over the first bank holiday weekend, and you can buy tickets on their website now (programme coming soon!). It’s been over twenty years since I began my BA in Aberystwyth (where I first came across the term ‘ekphrasis’) and I’m really looking forward to re-visiting the place where it all began.

And finally, I will be delivering a paper for the We need to talk about Art: Ekphrasis Now conference taking place at Leeds Trinity University on 6th July. My paper will focus on ‘Ekphrasis as a Process of Engagement with Art’, with a discussion of my PhD research, and I’m really looking forward to chatting with other academics on this fascinating topic. The conference is open for bookings now.

2 thoughts on “An Ekphrastic Update: Exhibition, Course, and Conference

  1. Hi Rachel,
    Nic sent us this information that you posted through Ace’s Facebook group. I’m so pleased that all is going well with you and that you are making good progress with your PhD. It looks like you have an exciting summer ahead of you. (Keep up the good work.)
    Also, I thought that you might like to know that as a direct result of the inspiration and love of the arts that has been encouraged by Nic, Becks and all the other people, such as yourself, who have become involved in our art group at The Dusty Forge I gained the confidence to further pursue my love of art and have been accepted on a years art foundation course at CAVC’s Art Academy.

    Cheers for now, Sian.

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