Tullie House Response Partnerships

Artist Commission: response to the work of Richard Slee

‘Umbrella’ 2013, ceramic and umbrella parts. © Richard Slee


In May 2014, Prism Arts and Tullie House put out a joint call for applications for artists to create a commissioned piece of work in response to the work of Richard Slee.

As one of Britain’s most important contemporary ceramic artists, Carlisle born Richard Slee challenges conventional notions of ceramic art. The playful objects he produces are inspired by familiar objects in our daily lives. You can find out more about the exhibition, ‘Richard Slee: Work and Play’, here.

The commission was open to Outside In registered artists or artists experiencing barriers to accessing mainstream arts opportunities because of disability, health or social circumstance.

Sean Burn’s Bang!

The successful applicant was Sean Burn, with his short film, Bang!

Sean Burn, artist

Sean Burn is an outsider artist usually working across film, performance, sound mapping and spoken word.

He said:

‘I came to see the Richard Slee exhibition when it opened. It’s really fun, playful, bright, joyous and bold, so when I heard I’d been selected I was very pleased.’

‘The first thing to say about the work is that it’s the first time I’ve ever done anything without words. Words always come into it for me, whether it’s poetry on gallery walls or as part of a soundscape. This is entirely wordless, but it’s got the sense of play that Richard Slee’s got. I felt quite at home, because I felt an affinity with what he’s done. It’s just about playing, about being a bit silly with wooden ducks and umbrellas and clown noses. It felt right working without words, although it was unusual for me. So that’s moved my practice on into a new territory and into new areas.’

Bang! was on display in Tullie House as part of the Richard Slee: Work and Play exhibition 11th August – 14th September. It then moved to Prism Arts’ gallery space on Paternoster Row as part of our C-Art exhibition.

‘This partnership represents a wonderful new opportunity for artists to engage in mainstream opportunities. We are delighted with Sean’s work, and look forward to collaborating with Sean and Tullie House on future projects.’ – Catherine Coulthard, Director of Prism Arts.