Working on behalf of English Heritage as freelance Creative Producer on their national Creative Programme, Suzanne developed the creative brief for a 3-year temporary site specific artist commission at Witley Court and gardens in Worcestershire. Witley Court is a spectacular Italianate former country house: a Scheduled Monument and a Grade I listed building, now in the care of English Heritage. This project is the first to be realised in English Heritage’s Creative Programme. Artist Keith Harrison was appointed in March 2022 through an open call process to develop a creative response to the brief. Design proposals will be developed throughout 2022, with installation of the work anticipated at Witley Court in 2023.
About the artist
Keith Harrison was born in West Bromwich in the Black Country and grew up in Birmingham from the age of 8. He now lives and works in Plymouth. Keith is a Research Professor at Bath School of Art, Film & Media – where he also teaches on the Fine Art degree. His background is rooted in ceramics (Keith has an MA in Ceramics and Glass from the Royal College of Art in London) but he has evolved a collaborative, process-led practice involved with the physical transformation of materials, to unpredictable effect, in a series of live public experiments. His large-scale works have attempted to permanently change the properties of materials, or our perception of them. Harrison’s work is permeated with an awareness of social issues; the relation with audience; the value of artefacts; and references to social housing. He has often collaborated with musicians including West Midlands Grindcore band Napalm Death (Bustleholme), Will Gregory of Goldfrapp (Heavy Rock), Preston Field Audio (Conductor), and producer and artist Beatrice Dillon (Ecstatic Material).
Keith has realised large-scale works for public galleries and museums including the V&A (where he was Ceramics resident in 2012-13), Jerwood Space, Camden Arts Centre and mima in Middlesbrough. He was awarded the Jerwood Open Forest commission in 2017, resulting in the work Joyride which was realised in Cannock Chase Forest. Joyride culminated in the launch of a full size clay replica Rover 75 car from a monumental wooden ramp; the 75 was the last car to leave the production line of Longbridge car factory in Birmingham. In 2019 Harrison was commissioned to create Conductor | 8 Movements, a work which formed part of Beautiful and Brutal: 50 years in the life of Preston Bus Station. Conductor was a live choreographed interruption in the life of the bus station consisting of 32 buses performing a series of sequenced movements to a soundtrack. Harrison’s work was included in the Material Environments exhibition at the Tetley in Leeds in 2018, and for the 2017 British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent, Harrison produced the work Knowledge is Power: Six Towns. His 2015 work Heavy Rock involved the ceremonial release of a specially adapted 100 tonne concrete block off Plymouth Breakwater, accompanied by the HM Royal Marine Band playing a commissioned score by Will Gregory.