We Are Open

22 Sep 2017 – 1 Oct 2017

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WE ARE OPEN – a new art exhibition in one of Southampton's historic treasures, God’s House Tower.


This exhibition is the final show of work by artists from the group 'ght – a reincarnation', presenting works created across a year of residency. The show also hosts a varied programme of events including panel discussion, tours and activities, poetry readings, community knitting, and launch of the book, 700 Women.

For the past year the group of eight artists – Jilly Evans, Sarah Filmer (lead artist), Deborah Gearing, Greg Gilbert, Celeste Ingrams, Libby Russell, Kirsty Smith and Jo Willoughby - have spent time in God’s House Tower, working and playing alone and together, exploring the history and physicality of the building and responding to the uniqueness of the place and the repurposing of it as an arts, heritage and community space. They have shown work in progress and held events in venues around the city.  This exhibition draws all the threads together and everyone is invited to attend - WE ARE OPEN!

The show also hosts a varied programme of events including panel discussion, tours and activities, Stone Soup rehearsed readings, Knit the Walls community knitting, finger knitting and launch of the book, 700 Women. Details of which are detailed below!

Funded by Arts Council England (part of the National Lottery ‘grants for the arts’ scheme), Southampton Solent University and a-space arts, ght – a reincarnation is a project to kick start the artistic activity in God’s House Tower as well as a research and artist development initiative lead by artist Sarah Filmer, associate lecturer in Fine Art at Solent University.

The previous exhibition in GHT, I am looking, was part of the BAS 8 Fringe events in 2016 and presented work in progress, opening up the building and work to the public before the cold set in for the winter.  This summer there have been more events, new discoveries made by archaeologists working in GHT, and a making day on August 25th invited the public to join in activities with the group.  Visitors enjoyed a range of activities including cross-stitch, death drawing, book-making, collage, pot-making, a clothes swap and clothes storytelling.  

God’s House Tower is regarded with great affection by many people in Southampton and across the area.  Part of the magnificent medieval town, visitors often notice it as they walk from the cruise ships into the city centre, or as they drive past the from Red Funnel to Ocean Village or St Mary’s.  Many of us recall the archaeology museum:  it was a staple school outing and the magic of the dressing up rail is not forgotten!  There was much sadness when the museum was forced to close, but now GHT is to find a new purpose as an arts and heritage centre and its unique beauty and history will once more be open for everyone to enjoy.  In 2018, for the first time, the two main floors will be fully accessible. Prior to this refurbishment, archaeologists led by Dr Andy Russell have been exploring in and around the building and making new discoveries. Visit to find out about the archaeologists’ latest discoveries!

This exhibition is an opportunity to see inside one of Southampton’s historic treasures, God's House Tower; the last chance to visit before the site undergoes a 2.3 million pound regeneration project. See the building animated with a diverse range of artworks from Southampton based artists working with video, knitting, embroidery, drawing, painting, printing, clay and written and spoken word. Find out about God’s House Tower’s residency programme, ght – a reincarnation, and how the artists have worked.  

Dan Crow of 'a space arts', who will be developing GHT into a new arts and heritage venue says:

‘- The re-incarnation project has been fantastic: it’s a joy to see how each of the artists has grown and progressed over the last 18 months.  I’m now really excited to see the final works theartists will produce and exhibit for the re-incarnation culmination.  

- Seeing how each artist has responded to GHT, both its history and context, is inspiring and has pushed our thinking about how to work with and support artists when we launch GHT in 2018.

- Each re-incarnation artist has engaged with the project in their own way and seeing such a diverse range of work and responses is really impressive and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the public engage with the work.’

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God’s House Tower is located along Winkle Street, Old Town, Southampton SO14 2NY.

Exhibiting artists

Greg Gilbert

Libby Russell

Celeste Ingrams

Deborah Gearing

Jilly Evans

Jo Willoughby

Kirsty Smith

Sarah Filmer

Taking part


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