Reading Room: A Commonplace

A black and white image of people sat on the floor with open books
Harriet Plewis, Blanky, Worty, Terror, & Bliss, 2019 Courtesy: Harriet Plewis
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Join artist and educator Harriet Plewis to co-read a ‘commonplace’ text that has been compiled in response to our current exhibitions in a specially devised reading room. Commonplaces are DIY books that have been kept from antiquity and are personal mixtapes of knowledges that can include notes, proverbs, scores, quotes, prayers and legal formulae.

Plewis will guide readers through her approach to expanded reading, whereby a text or texts are read whilst an environment is co-created. Readers are welcome to simply listen, or to participate by mark making, sculpting, moulding, rubbing or adding sound to the environment as it takes shape. There will be multiple entry points to the reading and participants can read as much or as little as they would like.

The process will be fully explained at the beginning of this day long workshop, and the level of participation is an individual choice. The event starts at 10am and will end at 5pm with a break for lunch.

This event is part of Emergency&Emergence, our multi-platform research programme that unearths transdisciplinary, sensorial and speculative practices of radical sensemaking and wayfinding via questions of repair, pedagogy, remediation and mutation.

Harriet Plewis is an artist and educator based in the East Midlands. Her activity is rooted in performance, critical pedagogies and the moving image. Her work looks at expanded reading, the mechanics of solidarity, and the conditions for co-creation. In collaboration with others, she makes Reading Rooms, which are homages to texts in the form of temporary venues. Her work has been shown at Edinburgh Film Festival, Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, the Barbican, NewBridge, Köse (Istanbul), dekonstrukt projekts (Brooklyn), ArtHouses (Tyne and Wear), and Baltic39, amongst others. She is currently working on a new work; Reading Room: gravity and grace, to be presented at X Church, Gainsborough. She makes collaborative film works as Bower Fleming Plewis with the artists Deborah Bower and Mat Fleming.

About the event

Free for all.

Limited Capacity.

Booking is required.

Seating is available.


Find information about getting here and our building access and facilities here.

We welcome all visitors to this workshop. We want our activities to be accessible and inclusive for everyone. If you have questions or specific access requirements, please get in touch so that we can support you. Contact us by emailing or phoning 0115 948 9750

Safety during your visit

Due to COVID precautions, please do not attend this event if you/someone in your household is currently COVID-19 positive, has suspected symptoms, or is awaiting test results.

Staff and visitors are welcome to wear a face mask in all areas.

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