AIR LAB: Stories from Above practitioners announced!

Criw Celf S PowysOur Air Lab – Stories from Above professional development programme commences next Monday 6th November with a special workshop led by our guest presenter, renowned international artist Mariele Neudecker.


Over the day-long session with Mariele they will develop ideas for creative projects specifically aimed at young people, exploring the potential of drone technology as a tool to discover new perspectives.

The second session on Saturday 11th November will allow them to test their ideas with a group of young people, with guidance from Air Lab’s Associate Producer Emma Posey, and Arts Alive Wales Participation Manager Rachel Dunlop.
This will be a unique opportunity to work with a practitioner of Mariele Neudecker’s calibre. Over the course of her career she has exhibited all over the world, including Tate St Ives, Tate Britain and Ikon Gallery among others. She is one of the foremost artists working with the concepts of ‘Above’ and ‘Air’.

In my work I use a broad range of media including sculpture, installation, film and photography. My practice investigates the formation and historical dissemination of cultural constructs around the natural world, focusing particularly on landscape representations within the Northern European Romantic tradition and today’s notions of the Sublime. Central to the work is the human interest and relationship to landscape and its images used metaphorically for human psychology.


We are delighted to announce that the following people were selected to participate in Stories from Above:


Fran Higginson

Fran is a dancer and massage therapist. She trained at Laban, graduating in 2007.

I’m a confirmed technophobe and drones terrify me for many reasons. In fact I really DON’T want to do this project – and I suppose that is why I had to apply! Because I moved here specifically to allow the land to work upon and make changes in me, and because I am concerned with the falling into disuse (potential loss) of subtle human skills through overuse of technology, I hope through collaboration to discover ways to create playful/skillful encounters between people, drones and place. I want to bring to the table how it feels to be in place, with drones. 


David Massey

David is the Digital Producer for Welsh National Opera and responsible for the production of high profile immersive digital experiences which aim to engage new audiences and raise the profile of the company through creative collaborations. Highlights to date include; Field – a motion sensitive light memorial for the Royal Welch Fusiliers who died during the Battle of the Somme, and Magic Butterfly a touring VR experience that re-imagines two classic scenes from two iconic operas. David has experience in working with Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and Digital Installation. He also has considerable expertise in delivering products for broadcast and curating video and audio content for online audiences.

David has previously worked with teams at the BBC, BBC R&D, Film Cymru Wales, BFI, Watershed, The Space and the University of South Wales.

I’m hugely enthused about working with a new tool to create stories that are visually compelling and technically innovative. I have no doubt the Air Lab workshops will provide me with the tools I need to develop a working practice using drone technology and techniques. I also hope to use the lab as an opportunity to collaborate with artists and form networks that will develop, pushing me to make a real impact through my creative practice.


Clare Parry-Jones

Clare is a multi-disciplinary artist, working in performance and land art, clown and shamanic practice.  Her interests in paper and ritual theatre have recently taken her to Japan and Siberia for research, performances and teaching.  She trained in the UK, France and Canada in Art History (BA Hons, Warwick), Theatre (Acting at RADA), Dramatherapy (PgDip, Roehampton) and Clown (Circus Space, École Philippe Gaulier, Sue Morrison).  She is in her final year of Core Shamanic Practice training and works in Arts and Health internationally.  

My journey with land art began as a physical manifestation of my internal state.  The impact of the natural forces and elements inspired my creative process with paper and performance.  My practice reflects the transformational qualities and relationships between the tangible and intangible.  Stories from Above will give me the opportunity to explore the element of Air, both metaphysically and technically, both for myself as a practitioner and as a facilitator with young participants who want to imagine, explore and create.


Sarah Rhys

Sarah Rhys is an interdisciplinary artist living between Bristol and South Wales, who makes site specific installations using geological material, archaeological and found items. She use drawing, photography, moving image and print including artist books. She is interested in reinterpretation of landscape, alchemical process, deep time, museum curation and aesthetics.  Originally Sarah studied at City and Guilds of London Art School and then Swansea Art School (WGIHE). Later she was awarded an MFA at Bath Spa University in 2004, and in 2013 gained a Post graduate Diploma in  Multi- Disciplinary Printmaking at The University of the West of England, Bristol. Sarah is also a qualified teacher (BA QTS) who has taught, lectured and facilitated since 1994 in schools, colleges, museums and galleries.

Air Lab interests me as I am being given an opportunity to work with Drone captured footage and VR. I often walk in the Black Mountains and love the climatic immersion one gets from being up high in all types of weather. It would be fascinating to get a bird’s eye view/experience of the scapes/surfaces, and to work with film of normally inaccessible places and immersive cloudscapes.


Participation Manager Rachel Dunlop is confident that Stories from Above will benefit not only the burgeoning careers of these practitioners, but also inspire young people to pursue creative subjects in further education.

We want Stories from Above to educate and stimulate the creativity of participating artists, facilitators and young people, but also help them use drones safely and responsibly. There is huge potential for ideas – this intergenerational approach will be really exciting.


For those interested in other events in the Air Lab series, you can sign up to our Monday 27th November creative practitioner session Above the Radar.

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