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It Happened Somewhere in 2014

2014 kicked off rather splendidly for us at top speed with our Indiegogo crowd funding campaign for our film 'The Closer We Get', which raised over 15k from 333 of you. It's still hard for us to believe how generously the project has been supported (some of you even coughed up way after the campaign ended, gently into our Paypal account :-)) - everyone says it, but there's nothing like crowdfunding to remind you how important and rewarding it is to connect with your audience - it was great to hear from so many of you i in person. And it's wonderful to reach the end of the year with the film at long, long last 'in the can' with the additional support of Splice in London on post-production. We look forward to an as-yet-to-be-confirmed festival premiere in 2015 and then to lots of screenings to share with you.

Taking part in May's 'Science, Stroke, Art' season in Manchester with the Stroke Association (thanks, Chris Larkin) was also a highlight this year - a panel of stroke medical professionals, survivors and carers watched our rough cut of 'The Closer We Get' and then Wellcome Engagement Fellow Dr Erinma Ochu lead a fantastic workshop discussing issues raised in the film and how to develop these into outreach ideas that will ensure the widest possible audience for the film.

It was an outdoorsy year for Somewhere too - Abbey Gardens (which we designed nearly 6 years ago now!) continues to flourish and The Friends Group is about to grow into a CIO (that's a charitable incorporated organisation for those not in the know!) through the hard work of the members, trustees and patient new administrator Vicki Lewis. Do pay a visit if you find yourself in east London in 2015 - it's so much more than a garden.

In 2014 we also made what is probably our most ambitious public art commission to date - Tomorrow, Today (working with InSite Arts and the Contemporary Art Society on the NW Cambridge development of Cambridge University). It's a large-scale outdoor cob (earth) megapolis which after a year or so will be buried under the new development, a gift for future archaeologists to uncover. The project attracted over 50 volunteer cobbers who learned to cob under guru Kate Edwards and worked in all weathers to help build this spectacular and unworldly piece with us. Unofficially you can still visit on foot, but keep it under your hat :-)

Not content with Tomorrow, Today as an 'output' from our residency with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (led by the inspiring and charmingly hirsute Chris Evans) we kicked off what aims to be a 25 year project in Cambridge too - Prospection (yep, in it for the long game - see you in 2040 for the retrospective). This is another archaeology-related project, this time surveying the inhabitation of NWC as it progresses from 'Year 0' (that was 2014 and 2 Portakabins) to 'Year 25' (apparently some 13,000 homes). We made a 'Year 0' prototype with a wonderful group of archaeologists, a sociologist and various others which we exhibited at Kettles Yard.

Summer also saw the return of the Floating Cinema to London's canals, which we work on with the brilliant Up Projects. This year our 'International' theme had us working closely with partners Jihlava and Ambulante Film Festivals and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art. We watched a helluva lot of screeners to select our programme of powerful feature films, and also enjoyed planning some left-field events with the likes of Robert Elms, the Esperanto Society and Kieron Tyler. We even squeezed a dumpling-making workshop in.

In 2015 we take the FC project outside of London for the first time, along the Kennet & Avon canal to Bristol so do watch this space for updates on that and get in touch if you have an idea for what we should think about doing along that route next summer. Recommendations for ice cream venues welcome obvs.

We had some awesome people working with us this year, and we'd especially like to flag up the talented Kirsten Lavers (cob coordinator on Tomorrow, Today), our Cambridge cooks Al and Cindy (keeping cobbers well fed), Kettles Yard show designer Koby Barhad, and Maria Duvidzon (intern) - the latter remained unphased by swathes of odd tasks from 'find us a native Amharic speaker' to 'check that this Scottish folk song is not in copyright'. On 'The Closer We Get' we've continued to reel in the face of the wonder that is editor Alice Powell (she cuts, she bakes - is there nothing she can't do?) and a delight to work with a sound designer for the first time - Doug Haywood - and to hear Malcolm Middleton's consistently inspired film score emerging. We know you'll love the result.

Our mini-retrospective at Cambridge's Kettles Yard 'Past, Present, Somewhere' attracted over 8300 visitors over 3 months, and we welcomed many old and new friends and collaborators to the latest in our once-every-six-years gallery career. Marie France Kittler of Kettles Yard deserves a special mention for her unwavering patience in the face of our films, pickles, old clothes and faux Tudor pottery.

The past few months of 2014 have seen a few very interesting speculative invites from Nice People We Might Work With in the Future. We always enjoy these escapades into the unknown. Visits have included the awe-inspiring World of Glass in St Helens (vast range of exhibits, very good ham sandwich in cafe), the high-Victorian wonder that is the Harris Museum (Preston) and a patch of land in the former Olympic Park.

Many of you are keeping in touch with us via social media too which we love to see - we've somehow gathered over 100 new Likers on Facebook this year and have just launched an occasional Instagram feed buoyed on by the encouragement of Andrew "I just do beauty on Instagram!" Nairne from Kettles Yard, who says it's mainly him and Bedwyr Willliams in there. So say hello if you are there too.

Lastly we were very sad to hear this year of the death of Joan James, a great friend to Somewhere and an amazingly vibrant and positive woman. Joan was one of the East Tilbury passengers very much at the heart of our first film 'Bata-ville: We are not afraid of the future'.

Thank you all for your interest in us and what we do. It means more than we let on, really it does, so all the best to you and yours over the festive season, and see you in 2015 for more of this sort of thing,

Karen & Nina xx

Karen speaking at Kettle's Yard, her Mum Ann on screen.

The Closer Karen Gets….

As of course many of you regular Somewhere visitors will know the almost complete 'The Closer We Get' is our fourth feature length film - and the latest work to come from a collaboration that has now spanned almost 20 years since Karen and I were at art school together in Edinburgh. As mentioned below until Sunday this week there's still a chance to see the other 3 feature docs. as well as some of our art works new and old in Past, Present, Somewhere at Kettle's Yard gallery in Cambridge.

The pieces on show include one of our first projects HOMESPUN made back in 1997 when we spent a week making video/performance pieces 'live' from our parents homes. Karen has used some of this footage to great effect in The Closer We Get - and this was just one of the things she spoke about last Wednesday night during a special talk at the gallery about the development of the film.

It's sometimes a difficult but often amazing experience to watch your own films with an audience but in the case of a film like this - which is SO personal to the director - this is certainly always going to be a challenge. It's one that last week I realised Karen is ready to rise too! She spoke with fantastic clarity about working with her family on the film and the, perhaps, unexpected strength and solace the process had offered to her during extremely emotional and challenging times for them all.

For me it was only the second time to have seen clips from the film with a group of people (aside from Alice, our wonderful editor, and Karen!) and it was reassuring to see both how touching and funny the audience found the material. Of course I think it's a wonderful piece of work and at moments profoundly moving, but having been in the living room for some of the filming, knowing Karen for so long and of course supporting her through the long editing process one can loose clarity on how a fresh audience will see the film. We are so close to finishing the project and it's taken a long time so I think it was a great boost for Karen and indeed me to feel the atmosphere in the room with this intimate audience at Kettle's Yard.

I'm really glad Karen recorded her talk … I was thinking forward to when she will still be talking about the film in years to come and wondering if we will recall the clarity she spoke with on this occasion. I think many people leaving felt like me - lucky to have been there at the 'start' of the journey the film will soon be making from a private family story to a film with a public.

'Reading' as it originally appeared in HOMESPUN in 1997.

Honesty Table in situ at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Nov. 2014

Honesty Table - Northern Twin!

On in the brilliant Grizedale Arts retrospective show 'The Nuisance of Landscape' is the Northern twin of our Kettles Yard Honesty Table! It's presently stocked with cool Korean preserves mainly.

We also have our film 'Little Deluxe Living' in the show, our multiple 'Titchy / Kitschy', and some faux-Tudor pottery from our film 'Living with the Tudors'.
Quite a mash-up :-)


The Nuisance of Landscape: Grizedale - The Sequel
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 5AL Telephone 01539 722464

Monday - Saturday
10.30am - 5pm

(Ends 20 December 2014)

Past, Present, Somewhere - Kettles Yard, Cambridge 2014

One Week To Go….

There is a week left of our mini restrospective at Kettles Yard in Cambridge, do go and enjoy if you can.

It's a rarer than hens teeth chance to see collected old work of ours with some of the newest stuff we;ve produced in Cambridge in the last few years.

The show is open every day except Monday till Sunday 23rd Nov 11.30am - 5pm & it's free to get in.
All our films screen in a mini cinema each day:

Jaywick Escapes (48 mins, Cert. 15): 12pm,
Bata-ville: We Are Not Afraid of the Future (93 mins): 1pm,
Living with the Tudors (83 mins): 3pm

Shooting, 2012

Wed. Nov 12th @ Kettles Yard : Beware Daughter With Camera

I hope some of you can make it to what will be a nerve-wracking but exciting chance for me to introduce my new doc The Closer We Get (co-produced - and much of it filmed by - Ms Nina Pope!) and to show you some of my favourite clips. I'll also be highlighting the relationship between the 'Past, Present, Somewhere' exhibition in the gallery and this new film, which has been 6 years in the making.

Wed. Nov 12th 7pm, special viewing of the exhibition 6-7pm £8 (£6)

Booking recommended as cinema seating limited.
Info here -

Credit: Cambridge Archaeological Unit

A tale of 38 teapots: an intimate portrait of C18th sociability

Sadly I can't be in Cambridge today, but I wish I could - this talk by one of the Prospectors Craig Cessford looks fantastic!

"At a seminar today (22 October 2014) archaeologist Craig Cessford will talk about the challenges of working on ‘clearance deposits’. He will use, as one of his examples, the recent excavation of a site in historic Cambridge that yielded a cache of teapots, and other items, that had lain undisturbed for more than 200 years. - See more here."

"While coffeehouses have attracted significant attention from historians, relatively little attention has been paid to the material culture associated with them – and very few have been investigated archaeologically."

Craig Cessford

Photo: Nina Pope

Green roof for Tomorrow, Today

One of the nice things about going to Cambridge so much for the Kettle's Yard show is also being able to visit the 'original' Tomorrow, Today model and see how it's changing over time. I've just added a gallery of pictures from right across the project here. You can see the whole process from the empty muddy field to the finished model and changing nature of the site as nature takes over.

I'll be back this weekend for a walk & talk around our Kettle's Yard show as part of the Castle Hill open day ...

1.30 Sat. Oct 18th - Tour of Past, Present, Somewhere with Nina Pope

Events, dear boy. Events.



Kettle's Yard, Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AQ, 01223 748100,

Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope Panel Discussion
Thursday 2nd October, 7.00pm £8(£6)

Come and hear us discuss our two new projects Tomorrow, Today and Prospection made through the NW Cambridge commission with Kettle's Yard Director, Andrew Nairne, contemporary archeologist Sefryn Penrose and Director of the Cambridge Archaeological Unit Chris Evans. Special viewing of the exhibition 6-7pm.

Digital Media and Computing History Event
Saturday 11th October 2-4.30pm With tea and cake break, £8(£6)
Talks and discussion with: Sarah Cook, curator, writer and co-founder of CRUMB, the online resource for curators of new media art; Andrew Chitty who devised the BBC’s first website and was former editor of The Net; and Jason Fitzpatrick a computer historian and curator at the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge.

The Closer We Get Special Event
Wednesday 12 November 7pm, special viewing of the exhibition 6-7pm £8 (£6)
A special preview of Somewhere’s latest feature documentary; a bittersweet, first-hand account of director Karen Guthrie’s family coming to terms with the aftermath of her mother’s stroke. Karen will be showing clips from the up-coming film and relating these to themes in the current show.
Find out more on The Closer We Get website:

Introduction to Cobbing
Thursday 13th November, 12.30pm (free)
By Kate Edwards, our cob-building tutor from Tomorrow, Today

For more information:
Programme of events:

Art Moves

Come and visit us this weekend in the Olympic Park for Art Moves with the Abbey Gardens honesty stall. Top quality Gherkins and much much more!

Past, Present, Somewhere

We'd love you to come to Cambridge and see this at Kettle's Yard in person of course, but for those who can't there are now some pictures here ...

Past, Present, Somewhere

Kettle’s Yard is delighted to present projects and films by artists Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope, who have worked under the name ‘Somewhere’ for almost twenty years. This is their first solo exhibition since they were awarded the Northern Art Prize in 2007.

Past, Present, Somewhere is a rare opportunity to see early video and web-based projects and watch the artists’ remarkable documentary films (screened daily). For the past year Somewhere have been part of the North West Cambridge Art Programme; working with Cambridge Archaeological Unit, the exhibition includes new work inspired by this collaboration.

Andrew Nairne, Director

“Let us take you to the Essex seaside in the 1940s, travel forward to a present-day Japanese farming village, walk around a local manor house in Tudor England. Come on a bus with us from a factory on the edge of the Thames to the Czech Republic and the start of a shoe empire. Make your way across Scotland to the Western Isles and, of course, come home with us. Finally, step into the future on your doorstep and try and see Cambridge in 2040.

You will find separate pieces and places here, but many themes that bind them together. The space between each project is elastic for us, like the time travelled in between and within each piece.

There are no expert opinions here, there are many anecdotes and much is made by amateurs. There is all of domestic, messy, mixed up life. Together we strive, alongside people we meet, to piece together the past and make a stab at the future. Most importantly we spend time now, in the moment, struggling with the stuff of ‘Somewhere’ and trying to record what this can look like.”

Karen Guthrie and Nina Pope, 2014

You can pick up the lovely free Somewhere map designed by Koby Barhad at the show, which includes a new essay by writer David Crowley: the full text is available here too.

Massive thanks to Kettle’s Yard staff and volunteers for all their help with the work, especially Marie-France and Pete. We would also like to thank Koby Barhad, David Crowley, Kirsten Lavers, Chris Evans, The Prospectors, and all those who helped with the cob build & install - a hard 2 weeks!

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