Opportunity to Join in!

This is the map of extra events at Margate in response to the call from Turner Contemporary, to be involved in the community event that is Journeys with The Waste Land. The immense range of events, exhibitions, workshops, walks, poetry readings, art, dance, music, discussion and drama is amazing! Please consider adding an event for Coventry and the surrounding area. If you have an idea that would fit with this please contact one of the team through this blog on the Contact page, or The Mead Gallery, or via twitter on @wastelandcov 

Margate event map

We are keen to include a wide diversity of opportunity for the Coventry community to engage with, not only the project as a whole, but also with T S Eliot and his poetry, in fact all poetry and Art in general. It goes without saying that the reciprocal advertising of events and collaboration will be mutually beneficial.

The artwork exhibited in the planned Herbert exhibition is varied, from Graham Sutherland to R B Kitai, George Shaw to Paul Nash, suggesting connections from the poem to encourage discussion, and to learn from the perspective of past artistic expression, with regard to the present and future. This is especially relevant in Coventry as we work towards City of Culture 2021. Let’s begin to make the connections necessary for its success now with current projects. Journeys with The Waste Land is considering the poem in relation to Coventry, and our themes of Regeneration, Reconciliation, Fragmentation and Journeys are resonant in the City.

Some examples of the extra events in Margate available are suggested here to get you thinking of the possibilities. Here are Nigel and Eve, from the curating group in Coventry, in the Proper Coffee House in Margate where there is an exhibition The Deep Sea Swell showing paintings in response to The Waste Land by T S Eliot and including works by the award-winning Margate artist Anthony Giles.

Proper Coffee House 2The Lombard Gallery also have an event On Margate Sands an exhibition of local artists until May 7th. Earlier in the programme they staged an exhibition From Wasteland to Wasteland with five artists, Dawn Cole, Lorna Dallas Conte, Helder Clara, Dan Thompson and Graham Ward who are developing a prolonged project in response to the Lochnagar Crater, France and T S Eliot’s The Waste Land. This includes homage to soldiers with 100 Poppies, creating a quilt, poetry and walking events all connecting their personal research and interests with the general premise of Turner Contemporary’s Journeys with The Waste Land.

Red Rock Nightclub

The Night Club venue with dancing all night at the Nayland Rock Hotel where the words and sentiment of the poem were literally applied to the fabric of the building! This was such fun!

There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

The Waste Land
I. The Burial of the Dead

So please consider adding an event to run alongside the Journeys with The Waste Land exhibition at The Herbert 15th August-18th October 2018. The team are keen to chat through your ideas with you and offer help and advice. You will be expected to organise and run the event yourselves, but to then tap into the wider audience generated by a National project, a precursor to City of Culture, and to widen your participation in the community, and advertise your projects, whilst supporting a major influential exhibition in the City.

Your updates could be featured on this blog, connections can be made!

“Come in under the shadow of this red rock!”


International Women’s Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day yesterday 8th March at the Journeys with The Waste Land Dry Run, we enjoyed a recital of the poem Wasteland – for Vivienne Eliot by Victoria Field read beautifully by Wendy Freeman.

Wendy reciting
Wendy Freeman

Studying T.  S. Eliot and the poem The Waste Land has revealed many facets of the life T. S. Eliot led with his first wife Vivienne.  She was instrumental, along with Ezra Pound, for editing The Waste Land.  It is claimed that Eliot was not sympathetic to Vivienne’s physical and mental health problems which put immense strain on the couple’s relationship.  It was because of his own anguish that he went to Margate suffering from a mental breakdown himself, hoping for a recovery aided by the sea air.  It was here he famously wrote parts of The Waste Land in the shelter overlooking Margate beach.  The hasty and troubled marriage to Vivienne led eventually to a formal separation in 1933 and her brother, Maurice, had her committed to a lunatic asylum in 1938 where she died in 1947.

Eliot said of his marriage to Vivienne:

“I came to persuade myself that I was in love with Vivienne simply because I wanted to burn my boats and commit myself to staying in England. And she persuaded herself (also under the influence of [Ezra] Pound) that she would save the poet by keeping him in England. To her, the marriage brought no happiness. To me, it brought the state of mind out of which came The Waste Land.”

Eliot, T. S. The Letters of T. S. Eliot, Volume 1, 1898–1922.London: Faber and Faber. 1988. p. xvii.

shelter Margate
The View of Margate Sands from the Shelter.

International Women’s Day.com

The “Dry Run”

Yesterday we had our “Dry Run” of the planned exhibition at The Herbert Art Gallery and were pleased with just how many people came and gave their time, comments, thoughts and ideas so freely to help us better define the show Journeys with The Waste Land.

Reading possible labels

One of the exercises we wanted to test was whether to have labels and if so what form they should take?  How much information?  Just “Oil on canvas 70 x 50”?  Personal responses to the work or factual detail?  Some visitors wanted to view the images before reading anything to colour their judgement, and others wanted to read first to be given an interpretation to start them off.  There was no obvious decision arrived at, but lots of animated discussion in the room about what people thought.  Join the discussion by adding your comments in the reply section below.

Chat over tea?
Chat over a cup of tea always helps!

Ideas for events around and in support of the main exhibition were also considered, and many people went away tasked with finding groups to join us whether they be artists, photographers, writers, or knew someone who might be interested.  There is a deadline to be confirmed if the publicity is to go out in one flyer, but probably the end of April/May time.  If you have any thoughts and were unable to come yesterday, please respond on the contact page and someone will get back to you to discuss your ideas. Events so far are an Open Competition with Leamington Studio Artists, a poetry event is in the early stages of planning, also lectures and discussion using the exhibition and the poem as a starting point.  We would love for all ages to be involved, so if you think your school or children’s group, a Retirement Home or any other community group would be interested in supporting the exhibition with an event please contact us!

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Postcard From Nayland Rock

Nigel Margate 2018
Nigel Hutchinson at Turner Contemporary “Journeys with The Waste Land”


Wind’s whistling through this seafront shelter,

imagine Eliot swaddled in blankets playing

the mandoline, thermos of tea beside him,


or turning those English vowels around

his practiced tongue, reading lines aloud,

slipping sounds from French to German,


Greek to Sanskrit, anticipating

duels with Ezra, glancing up,

looking out to sea, neither comforted


nor unsettled by the blank certainty of waves,

rhythm of their rosary pulsing in every line,

broken by scraps of passing conversations


 she’s been a martyr you know and no mistake

 lost him in the war and no pension

it’s all in his head the doctor said

I tell you, there are ghosts here . .


Nigel Hutchinson February 2018



The Herbert Art Gallery

10-4pm 8th March 2018

The Coventry Waste Land group are staging a “Dry Run” of the planned exhibition and would like to invite anyone interested to come and see the progress so far, and maybe comment on the direction it is taking. This is being held at The Herbert Art Gallery on Thursday 8th March from 10-4pm, refreshments will be served. Anyone interested in the poem, T S Eliot, Art, Coventry, galleries, curation or any aspect of the project will be welcome. Students and school groups would be great.

In the spirit of a community designed exhibition and we would appreciate your input at this early stage, so that we can catch the mood of the City and its neighbours.

It is also an opportunity to come and chat to the team about possible events to be staged alongside the Journeys with The Waste Land exhibition from your own organisation or group. Leamington Studio Artists are planning an Open Exhibition of their own in response to T S Eliot’s poem The Waste Land. Details on the submission of work will be available soon, so start thinking about your response to the poem if you fancy creating a piece for the LSA exhibition.

LSA Vols mtg 20.02.18
Planning for “Journeys with The Waste Land” in East Lodge Gallery home of Leamington Studio Artists.

Other ideas floated are:

  • Poetry Reading
  • Poetry Slam
  • Dance event
  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • and anything else you can think of!

Pass on the invitation to anyone you think may be interested and it would be great to see you there!

Turner Contemporary

The Waste Land Research Group Margate

A short film from the community curatorial team in Margate which gives an idea of the process the Coventry group is currently undertaking in preparation for the exhibition in September.

We are looking for collaborations with local artists and poets, so any ideas from your interpretation of the poem would be interesting to hear about.  We would like a programme of community events to support the exhibition and have some ideas already, but are open to suggestions.  We have an Open Art Exhibition at East Lodge, Jephson Gardens in Leamington, planned with Leamington Studio Artists to run alongside the Herbert and are hoping to encourage poetry readings around Coventry, in the city and the surrounding areas.

Go to the Contact page to suggest your ideas.

We went to Margate!

We went to Margate this weekend for the opening of our sister exhibition at Turner Contemporary it was amazing!  “We” are a group of volunteers brought together by the project, headed by Prof. Mike Tooby, from an invitation by The Mead Gallery at the University of Warwick Arts Centre.  We went to Margate to support the programme of course, but we also wanted to steal some ideas and gain inspiration for the Coventry show.


There are core works coming up to Coventry from the Margate exhibition for our version of Journeys with “The Waste Land”, but we will be adding artwork that we think reflect themes appropriate to Coventry.  Our chosen themes are Journeys and Fragmentation and have been inspired by the T S Eliot poem The Waste Land.