Index of Convalescence

Current  Research

Taking the form of an online index, the project presents a collection of research fragments exploring the history and contemporary resonance of the term convalescence. In the long wake of a global pandemic the index offers itself as resource, touchstone and impetus for an array of interdisciplinary endeavors of thinking, dreaming and (re-)inventing innovative modes and structures of caring for ourselves, each other and the environments of our shared habitats.

Developed in collaboration with Swen Steinhauser the index forms the foundation for a future programme of artists commissions and public events including the forthcoming exhibition The Craft of Convalescence at New Brewery Arts, Cirencester (April - June 2022)

Making with Mothers 

Current  Curating

A project on the Andersen Ward, a specialist mother and baby unit at Wythenshawe hospital in Greater Manchester. Having received Arts Council England Funding, Laura is working with artists Aliyah Hussain and Niamh Riordan, and mental health researcher and florist Leanne Cook to develop a regular programme of workshops centred around making crockery, cutlery and table decorations, embracing the day to day rituals of life on the ward.

FEAST Journal

Current  Curating

FEAST Journal brings together artists, researchers, academics and cooks to facilitate projects that explore our relationship with food. From food as a social event, a marker of identity and a product of history to a commodity for trade. Initiated as a series of publications FEAST has expanded to included curated events, exhibitions and artists commissions, facilitating a sharing of knowledge between diverse disciplines and supporting creative practices.

Having recently developed a trilogy of editions exploring the commodities of Sugar, Salt and Spice, commissioning new works by Ellie Doney, Jasleen Kaur and Fairland Collective in partnership with The Lion Salt Works Cheshire, Touchstones Rochdale, MMU Special Collections and Museumand, FEAST is currently working with a community garden in South Manchester building a library of medicinal plants

What We Talk About When We Talk About Work

November 2017 - August 2018  Research

What We Talk About When We Talk About Work is an ongoing research programme of public talks bringing together curators and artists working across the north of the UK with creative practitioners from different European cities. The discussions are focused upon exploring ways of working outside, across, between and within existing institutional structures. Each event takes a particular thematic inviting practitioners to share their current projects and their approach to working. The first phase of the programme launched on the 2nd of November 2017 at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art with talks occurring regularly until August 2018. Each discussion was live broadcast by this is tomorrow.

The project was developed by Laura in collaboration with this is tomorrow, Contemporary Visual Arts Network North West, Yorkshire & Humberside Visual Arts Network, North East Contemporary Visual Arts Network and the participating venues of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, NGCA Sunderland, Bluecoat, Grundy Art Gallery, The Tetley and The Whitworth.  Supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

Ambiguous Implements

July 2017 - April 2018  Curating

Bringing together 17 practitioners from the fields of design, jewellery, metalwork, and contemporary sculpture Ambiguous Implements was a touring exhibition presenting a playful collection of works that evocatively subverted, reframed and reconsidered familiar items of day to day domestic life. The first exhibition opened at Roco Cooperative Sheffield on 6th July 2017 and toured to the different venues of B&B Project Space Folkestone (28th October-19th November), Vittoria Street Gallery, Birmingham City University (29th November - 18th December) and Touchstones Rochdale (May 2018). Two symposia accompanied the exhibition - Crafting the Contemporary at Folkestone Museum (28th of October 2017) and Rethinking Domestic Design at The School of Jewellery, Birmingham City University on (29th November 2017).

The project was developed in collaboration with the contemporary jeweller Rachael Colley and interdisciplinary artist Nuala Clooney. Funded by Arts Council England and supported by Studio Dust.

Hot Pot

14th September 2017 

Taking Burgess’s recipe for Lancashire hot pot as a framework from which to discuss and interpret the varied activities of preparing, producing and consuming food, Hot Pot brings together new works by Will Carr, Melanie Jackson, Kit Poulson, Niamh Riordan and Marie Toseland as well as a collection of recipes from Manchester chef Mary Ellen McTague, Fairland Collective and Studio Morison. Each contribution to the book presents a unique take on Burgess’s recipe for hot pot and the role of food more generally throughout his extensive oeuvre.

The book launched at The Whitworth Manchester

Eating History

June 2016  Research

An AHRC funded cultural engagement project centred upon the Home Studies Collection, an archive of cookery books from the 1680s to the 1980s held at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Special Collections library. The project ran between April and June 2016 and entailed taking material from the collection to different community groups in Manchester, using the historical material as a trigger for conversation around contemporary questions of food and identity.

Laura recently delivered a paper on the project at the Portsmouth University symposium Cookbooks: Past Present and Future and is working towards an article for an edition of the journal Food and Foodways edited by symposium organiser Laurel Forster.