Wig Sayell - Artist Photographer

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  • A big thanks to everyone who helped to make the Workhouse Community Project happen. The facebook page has had many visitors and followers. The exhibition is currently on at The Churchill Hospital in Oxford at the South Side Gallery until the 1st of September 2017. See the Facebook page. 





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    Twenty years ago, I received a travel award from Nottingham Trent University to visit the west coast of Ireland to photograph landscapes that still had traces of the history of the 'Great Hunger'. Derelict workhouses were consistent reminders on the land and in local memory. 

    Last year, I was curious to see which workhouses were still evident in Ireland and also the UK, and discovered that a workhouse near to me in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire had been renovated and more unusually, made into private housing. I applied to the Arts Council 'Grants for the Arts' scheme to create and run a community project with the local European community around Banbury. We visited and used this site to explore notions of Britishness, Charity and Welfare alongside a local historian Alan Watkins from the Chipping Norton Museum.


    The workhouse is a relatively unknown aspect of British History, and is not raised in the UK citizenship test, yet stems from the beginnings of official combat of social decline and welfare. Immigrants to this country too have long had to negotiate proving a right to belong and prove to be 'useful', usually accompanied with media panic. 

    The purpose of this project was to bring together members of the local community that might not otherwise have the chance to explore this social history, with conversation, and a grown understanding of each other's stories and viewpoints on 'being here now', and the opportunity to express this using text and experimental methods of photography at college. I am very grateful to everyone that took part, it was an amazing experience for myself too.

    The exhibition of participant's work will be shown at the Creative Arts Festival in June 2017 at Banbury and Bicester College.



    With thanks and acknowledgement to the Arts Council and Banbury and Bicester College

    See also the Workhouse Community Facebook page. 

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    “They do say there be a witch in that bottle, and if you let 'un out and there’ll be a peck o’trouble!” Explore the Museum’s rich folkloric collections and find the famous witch in a bottle; join a storytelling workshop with The Story Museum; listen to a talk about Victorian anthropologist Edward Burnett Tylor and how his ideas came to influence folk belief objects in the collections, with Dr Ollie Douglas; view footage from the intriguing archives of Doc Rowe; seek out Poet Obby Robinson reading live; and find a new piece by artist Wig Sayell, imagining the residue of folk medicines in the modern age...


    ... New photographic installation by myself (on the first floor), and the book 'The Witch House of Canewdon' will be signed and on sale... Obby Robinson will be reading poetry live, as well as talks and video pieces by other artists and curators. Please use this link to find out more: http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/afterhours.html  FREE EVENT and no tickets required!




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    Quick sketch on the beach in South Devon ... I became ill here - and returned here again, after a long recovery from a collapsed lung during the Summer. 

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New Blood July 2013

This was my first visit to New Blood in Spitalfields for the Design Graduate Show. I normally visit the Truman Brewery Shows, but have to say I was impressed. Would like to add some of my favourite student cards and work here - and I have never met such keen and enthusiastic graduates.


I hope that you all find work in the future. 

Illustrations by www.lizziebass.co.uk


'Untitled' Photograph by www.williamlakin.com

'Gathering of Seafaring Characters'

Illustration by www.lucy.wooler@live.com


The blog begins..!

Weds 29 May.

Thought that I would start off with a clip from the beginning of 'Ways of Seeing'.