Anniversary – an act of memory


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Anniversary – an act of memory: solo, collective and multi-lingual recitations from memory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Monica Ross and Co-Recitors from Scarborough communities.

Saturday 29th October 2011 at 1.00pm
Scarborough Library & Information Centre
Vernon Road, Scarborough YO11 2NN

Free to participate, or just enjoy the event and meet like-minded  people.

Anniversary ― an act of memory is a performance series in 60 acts focusing on the  importance and relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

Are you passionate about Human Rights?  Crescent Arts and Scarborough Library are inviting people from across the Borough of  Scarborough and the region to take part in a collective recitation of the Universal Declaration  of Human Rights with artist Monica Ross. Take this chance to learn a small part of the  Declaration of Human Rights and recite it in public, in your own language, as part of  this unique performance.

What matters to you?  Whether your concern is local, national or global and focuses on family, discrimination,  the environment or access to education, employment, and healthcare for example,  you’ll find it’s reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The document gives pause for thought, in a period of uncertainty when access to social  services, information and support is under threat, yet most needed to sustain basic human rights.

Scarborough Library and Information Centre with Crescent Arts seek to highlight the  importance of access to (and sharing of) experience, information, knowledge, education  and creativity through support networks which take considerable time, resources and personal  commitment to build up and which can be so easily and thoughtlessly eroded.

Scarborough Library is an ideal location for the project as it represents a key  local resource that not only acts as a gateway to free information, knowledge  and opportunities for informal learning, creativity and expression but it is also  a democratic space that allows access to everyone. 

Lend your voice.  Everyone is welcome and we hope that the recitation will fully reflect the many voices  and languages of Scarborough’s communities. We wish to include many speakers and  are interested in hearing Articles from the Declaration memorised and recited in many  different languages including British Sign Language.

The emphasis is not on perfect recall, but on the attempt to remember and  the difficulty of fulfilling the Declaration’s call to keep it ‘constantly in mind’,  especially when under pressure.

Anniversary – a brief history:

Monica Ross challenged herself to learn the Declaration of Human Rights by heart,  following the shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes in July 2005.  She began the Anniversary series in 2008 to mark the 60th anniversary of the UDHR  and so far over 30 recitations have taken place in contexts as disparate as  The House of Commons, Brighton seafront, a private flat, art galleries, universities and  even an opera, and with more than 250 co-recitors of all ages from different communities  and professions memorising and publicly reciting articles of significance to them in over  30 languages. Her aim is to achieve at least 60 solo and collective recitations.

The UDHR is the world’s most translated document and can be downloaded in over 370 languages from 

You can find out more about Anniversary – an act of memory here

You can see video from previous collective recitations here:

If you, your group, or organisation would like to take part, please get in touch with 

Karen Atkinson at Scarborough Library on 0845 034 9563

Stuart Cameron at Crescent Arts on 01723 351461
by email (subject: anniversary):




Crescent Arts Director and artists visited Istanbul for the Biennial in September 2011.  It was yet another fascinating and thought provoking experience.

Susan Slann, one of our resident artists, comments:  ‘The personal and the political. The personal is political.‘ A theme which ran through the  Istanbul Biennial, referencing the works of Felix Gonzalez-Torres whilst showcasing a mix  of new and established artists from all over the world.

In one room stood a large sculpture formed from the barrels and butts of rifles.  It dominated the room and flowed down from the ceiling like a cascading waterfall.  The Dutch artist Eylem Aladogen, commented that this work had arisen from his fascination  with the idea of generating willpower; of having the courage and capacity to discover  or re-discover latent abilities in yourself and to develop them. The rifles, although referencing  violence, also represents the need to change and evolve and with change there is also fear.

A powerful piece of work, which on first glance seemed to comment purely on violent  political struggles. Another look and it also contemplates our individual and personal  struggles in the society we live in’.

There’s also an interesting review in The Economist and still time to  catch the Biennial.

Two of our artists comment on our previous visit in 2009.

Crescent Arts headed to Istanbul in September 2009 to sample the offerings of  the 11th Istanbul Biennale, entitled “What Keeps Mankind Alive?”  after the song from the Threepenny Opera by Bertholt Brecht. The experience was  highly invigorating in terms of both the art on display and  the energy of the city and its people. With a smattering of Turkish we managed  to find our way round easily, taking in the three main sites of the Biennale –  two enormous warehouse spaces and a former Greek School. The latter was put  to particularly good use by artists who were mindful of its educational, political  and historical context in relation to their work.

Susan Timmins writes:   

‘The lack of a sense of a commercial market for the individual artists struck  me straight away and was a relief. There was heavy emphasis on power politics,  war and economies, cultural and religious differences seemingly stretching back  further than the dismantling of the USSR and the subsequent fallout for the ‘new’  nations and other mainland European and Eastern countries. The main theme for  me was a massive displacement for peoples of their national identity as their nations  either tried to embrace or play capitalism their way, to survive. A struggle with  fear to adjust to a new order that they had not necessarily wanted or understood.  An exchange sometimes of one hell for another.’  

141 projects were presented by 70 artists from 40 different countries.  The sheer concentration of artists’ work, selected and curated by the  Croatian curators’ collective ‘What, How and for Whom?’ (WHW), was initially  rather daunting; especially since textual information and data played such a  strong part in the reading of work and providing political context.

Helen Donnelly writes:   

‘Many works stood out to me but one particularly was Marko Peljhan’s  ‘Territory 1995’. an installation concerning the massacre in Sebrenica Yugoslavia  where more than 8,000 people were killed. When entering the installation consisting  of a darkened room with sound padded walls and looking into the distance at hanging  illuminated glass panels with command signs written onto them, you automatically  feel uncomfortable like you shouldn’t be there. You get the feeling you are in a radio  control room, waiting for the next command. Sounds of radio control commands fill  the room. I found this installation to be very eery, the darkness of the room reflecting  the darkness of the commanding messages. What was interesting to me was how Marko  tries to reconstruct the movement of the troops and the military operations through the  use of archiving and documenting and the ways in which modern warfare techniques  are used; new and alternative communication systems.   

‘Istanbul has to be one of the most vibrant cities I have visited.  The biennial a must-visit for any artist not only for showing art in  unconventional places , but for the insight into the history of conflicts  and clashes that have taken place within our developing world,  reflecting on the political, and questioning Modernisation, Urbanisation  and the architectural conditions of a city.’ 

Photo (above): Helen Donnelly 2009

All Your Own Work

A showcase for printmaking and ceramics produced at Crescent Arts workshops 2008 – 2011


You are invited to the exhibition opening:
Saturday 15th October 2.00pm – 5.00pm

We feel it’s time to highlight YOUR talents. All Your Own Work brings together some of the most exciting work produced by participants in Crescent Arts printmaking and ceramics workshops between 2008 – 2011. The exhibition launches on Saturday 15th October at 2.00pm with a get-together and light refreshments. Demonstrations and hands-on taster sessions will whet your appetite for workshops coming up this autumn and in the spring. So why not come along and find out more about what we offer by way of facilities and expertise. Maybe enrol for a workshop or two?

Prizes to be won…

We’ll be announcing prizewinners for the most creative work in the exhibition.  There are 5 vouchers to be won, worth £15 each, which can be used towards either printmaking or ceramics workshop fees from October 2011 to March 2012

Crescent Arts’ Director, Stuart Cameron, with printmaker Dawn Brooks and ceramicist Karen Thompson will judge the work.


Films by Artists


Crescent Arts Studios
The Crescent

Friday 15th July
Admission free.

You are invited to a special screening of Ever Remote, a selection of artists’ films exploring and challenging ideas of home, loss, travel, distance and belonging.

 Curated by Hondartza Fraga

 Selected from invitation and open call, Ever Remote presents a selection of contemporary video works that engage or question the meaning of home, elsewhere and all the distances in-between. Each work explores a different aspect of the distances between ourselves and everything else: physical, temporal, cultural, emotional, imagined. Home and elsewhere come across as alien concepts that are constantly being both re- and de-constructed.

The borderlands between domestic and unfamiliar, native and exotic, homeland and foreignness are blurred, distorted or invented altogether. These works are portraits of the ambiguous space between fiction and reminiscence, between the traveller and the memory of the journey, between home and a half remembered homeland. They all seem an attempt to understand the uncertain distances that escape measurement and definition.

Ever Remote offers a further opportunity to view work by Andrew and Caitlin Webb-Ellis, resident artists at Crescent Arts over the past year. Webb-Ellis recently presented their video installation ‘Clinging’, to great acclaim, at The Coliseum in Whitby. Their short video ‘Becoming’ is part of this programme.

More info at:

Limited places. Please RSVP


The Tragedy of Richard Anthony and Cleopatra Taylor

Saturday 18th June – Sunday 10th July
Fri/Sat/Sun 12.00 – 5.00pm
admission free

Crescent Artspace
14/15 Queen Street, Scarborough

This new installation by Simon Farid at Crescent Artspace in Queen Street reveals an extensive, detailed, almost obsessive process on the part of the artist; a process which comprises never-ending excavation, investigation, fabrication, documentation and speculation. It is a creative process which relishes, observes and ponders, examines and tests the blurring of ‘truth’ and ‘fiction’, the ‘real’ and the ‘illusive’.

“(The work) involves many histories, whether real or imagined. We are in Alexandria in 50BC, and in Rome in 1962, and for this production, maybe Scarborough in 2011?” Simon Farid 2011

Simon Farid delights in the juxtaposition and superimposition of people and places. He takes a great deal of time and trouble with a multiplicity of re-constructions and re-enactments of stories, events and situations. He sifts and edits and mixes, adding to and compounding layers of the ‘factional’ to those already embedded in the material. The film itself, excerpts of the film, re-enactments of excerpts of the film (the kiss), projections of enactments and re-enactments, plans and models of places and people, contemporary press images, journalistic articles and accounts, and so on. Ambiguity is to be found at every turn.

“It’s a proposal for a play or a film about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton falling in love, whilst playing Mark Anthony and Cleopatra. A tragedy. A complex thing, no doubt, one involving six protagonists; Liz and Rich, Anthony and Cleopatra, and Liz’s Cleopatra and Richard’s Anthony.”  Simon Farid 2011

Such is the contemporary language of cliché and ‘the everyday’, frequently to be found in the contexts of press, media and cinema, that it might at first appear vulgar or inadequate. However, through the experience of this work, it is revealed as complicit in the artist’s approach and response to narratives, situations, characters and roles, which can be seen as both contemporary and archetypal. ‘Tragedy’ – the word carries a heightened sense of the dramatic, inextricably binding together ‘fact’ and ‘fiction’. Checking on the origins of the term I note a supposedly literal meaning, ‘goat song’, in Greek. Whether accurate or not, I rather like the earthy quality which this lends to the Hollywood version of ‘Cleopatra’ as personified by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Simon Farid has been resident at Crescent Arts for the past 18 months. He graduated from Central St. Martins, London, with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art in 2009. He was the recipient of an individual award from Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts in 2010 for a research visit to Cairo and to assist the production of this work.

Simon Farid would like to thank: Helen Donnelly, Stuart Cameron, Amanda Holderness, Martin Emerson, Jessica Butcher, Tom Rosenthal, Faye Merralls, Joe Rizzo-Naudi, Mark Farid, Neill Warhurst, Crescent Arts, Arts Council England Yorkshire, The Lost Theatre, Scarborough Borough Council, Comet, CEL, University of Hull.


Crescent Artstudios
The Crescent, Scarborough

10/11/12 & 17/18/19 June 2011
11.00am – 5.00pm daily
admission free


Webb-Ellis, Susan Timmins, Karen Thompson, Susan Slann, Simon Farid, Dawn Brooks

Crescent Arts’ Director, Stuart Cameron, asked our current resident artists to consider what part drawing played in their practice, if any. This exhibition provides a response which ranges across Simon Farid’s video walk through Cairo, Susan Slann’s sewn canvas, to Dawn Brooks’s automatic drawing and mark-making for intaglio print. There’s a video projection by Webb-Ellis, Susan Timmins’ three dimensional drawing and slide-viewer works by ceramicist Karen Thompson. The artists offer propositions for drawing as exploratory, investigative, analytical, or perhaps documentary activity; frequently involving humour and, more often than not, contradicting traditional notions of drawing.



10/11/12 & 18/19 June

10.30am – 5.30pm daily / admission free

Dawn Brooks: printmaker
Susan Slann: painter
Karen Thompson: ceramicist

Meet three of our artists-in-residence; visit their studios to see aspects of their work and creative processes not usually on display to the public. Some work is for sale, so pick up an original work of art for yourself or as a unique gift. Saturday 18th June is a day to see how it’s done and have a go yourself.



A new video installation by Webb-Ellis


The Coliseum, Victoria Square, Whitby

Friday 3rd June 6.00pm – 9.30pm
Saturday 4th June 11.00am – 4.00pm

Admission is free

Crescent Arts presents ‘Clinging’, a powerful new video installation produced by Webb-Ellis, at The Coliseum in Whitby for two days only. The work is presented as a three-screen projection which the spectator is free to explore at will with no predetermined viewing time.

Webb-Ellis work across film and installation, and their practice explores the tension between fiction and reality, challenging traditional notions of documentary truth. The artists approached The Coliseum in Whitby as a venue which is perhaps associated with more conventional cinema screenings of feature films. ‘Clinging’ contradicts such expectations by allowing the viewer to move within the installation and enter or leave at any time.

This installation concerns the relationship between the subject and the viewer whilst being a portrait of the artists. The work draws on the inner conflict and recurring struggle of human existence and is both personal and universal. It is also an investigation into the themes of intimacy and alienation by seeking to extend the reach of the screen, creating a new space centred around the experience of the viewer. Putting the gallery visitor at the center of the work may cause them to question their own identity and relationship with fellow humans, getting straight to the core concerns of the work.

Webb-Ellis are based in Whitby and work from a studio at Crescent Arts where they have been ‘resident’ for the past eight months. They recently showed ‘Ever Remote’ at South Square Gallery in Bradford, and will be exhibiting at Axis Arts Centre in Cheshire and Water Tower Art Festival in Sophia, Bulgaria, during this Summer.

For further information please visit

We would like to thank The Coliseum in Whitby, especially Maureen Lynch, and MITES  in Liverpool for assistance with projection equipment.

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