AboutUrban Retreat is a series of artists commissions, activities and events exploring the edges of urbanism.
Sophie Mellor will spend two weeks as an urban wanderer relying on the kindness of strangers and the bounty of the land to house and feed her. Clothed in an especially designed survival jacket by Clare Thornton, she will place herself directly in Barrow's marginalised landscapes, investing in its use and beauty through her interactions with people and place.
Around this central, durational performance, there will be a series of free public events and activities.
Lottie Child will run a Street Training session, investigating how to traverse both industrial and rural Barrow. Lottie has developed Street Training as a method to directly engage people with their surroundings through creative and playful behaviour combining parkour, movement, singing, conversation, games.
Martin Norris of South Walney Nature Reserve will lead a 'Nature Walk' of Barrow's wastelands, looking at how nature colonises land left fallow by industry.
Laura Oldfield Ford will take participants on a drawing 'drift' (walk) around Barrow's sites of regeneration, using drawing to reassess and document how industry, politics and economics have impacted the land and its use.
Clare Thornton will run a 'Survival Bag' workshop where participants will be invited to make and customise a bag to carry the items they need to negotiate their environment.
Barrow-in-Furness Library will be hosting the Urban Retreat Lending Library, where library users can borrow books donated by Urban Retreat artists and invited patrons, for the duration of the project. Each of the books will include an especially designed book plate by Karen Di Franco.àÂ
Writer Emma Cocker will be corresponding via post with Sophie Mellor during her urban wander, and the resultant new writing will form the basis of 'Manual for Marginal Places' to be published in Spring 2011.
All events are free, but booking is essential. For further information and booking details visit www.closeandremote.net
Urban Retreat is a Close and Remote production