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12 Oct 20232:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Common Salt: The Workshop

Kelvin Hall

Common Salt is presented by the College of Arts & Humanities, The Hunterian, and Theatre Studies as part of Black History Month, considering several invisible entangled histories.

Artists and collaborators Sheila and Sue will lead a session inspired by their show and tell Common Salt, as well as other works that show in museums, libraries around the UK. The starting point will be how objects can tell stories that connect places, time and history – they can tell us more about ourselves and our connections to others past and present than we often anticipate. We will focus on some of the topics raised by Common Salt – nature, empire, history – and share how we research and make our live work and in particular using the table top as a surface for performance and choreography. Join us in an exploratory workshop – practical and conversational. We look forward to spending time with you!

Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer both work individually as artists whose work spans performance, audio and moving image. Each artist’s practice centres on using research to make artistic work with detail and resonance, for public places, made for the passerby or the guest; making new work with and for the public is the meeting point between artist and context. Sheila and Sue first collaborated as part of Sheila’s Rambles with Nature project, developing an experimental collaboration evidencing the history of forgetting, bringing their strengths and interests together through language and object, music and lyric, political and social geography. Both artists work collaboratively with institutions, places and people.

Sheila Ghelani is an artist of Indian/English mixed heritage, whose solo and collaborative performances, social art works, installations, texts and videos seek to illuminate and make visible the connections between identity, ecology, science, history and the present day. Originally trained in contemporary dance, Sheila is interested in the relationship between art and science with particular focus on care and hybridity. She is an artist who champions making work for the passer-by. Recent work includes A Restorative commissioned by The Spire for Brighton Festival, sharing Common Salt in museums, libraries and arts spaces around the UK with artist Sue Palmer as part of her ongoing Rambles with Nature series, and developing Atmospheric Forces (also with Sue) as part of her latest project Elemental. Sheila is also part of Land Body Ecologies the fourth collaborative residency group in Wellcome Collection’s Hub since 2014.


Sue Palmer is an artist working across media and form, making things with people, places and nature, in the UK and internationally. Sue was an Associate Lecturer in Performance at Dartington College of Arts. Commissions include the collaborative work The 100 Year Old Band in Germany and Finland alongside work for Battersea Arts Centre, b-side festival and many non-arts organisations, as well as making her own touring performance work. In 2016 Sue was awarded an international travel fellowship to research social arts practice in public green space, going on to work on a major park restoration project. Sue collaborated with Sheila to make Common Salt a work focusing on empire, nature and forgotten history, a project that has continued to tour the UK, including Museum of London Docklands, RMG Greenwich, as well as Somerset Libraries. The book Common Salt was published in 2021 in partnership with LADA. Sue currently works as the Future Shed Lead on a unique health-climate partnership programme in her home town of Frome, focused on community-led climate action. She convenes Art Club Frome, an experimental making space with artist Joff Winterhart.

Common Salt

  • Four performances of Common Salt at 12pm and 3pm on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 October – Tickets here
  • A free public workshop at Kelvin Hall, 2-4pm on Thursday 12 October – Tickets here
  • A Public Symposium on Friday 13 October, 2.00-4.30pm on Friday 13 October, including responses from colleagues across the College and beyond: Peggy Brunache, Andrew MacKillop,  Zandra Yeaman, Gonca Yalcin, Deborah Dixon, Suchitra Choudhury and Stephen Mullen – Tickets here