Plant: Embedded Research Network

I am excited to launch Plant, a network for embedded research, with others who have completed PhDs hosted within arts, architectural and civic organisations. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved in the network—by adding your project, publishing a resource, and/or contributing to discussions about embedded research positions which inform the structure of the network.

To plant: to bring theoretical, live and creative reflexive practices to studies of groups, organisations and institutions.

To be planted: research that grows within living organisations, through people, ideas and their meetings.

To be a plant: researching in the liminal space between inside and outside, covert or overt; navigating and storytelling against/towards academic/practice positions.

Writing Alone Together: Making Sense of Lockdown Through Hundreds

The lockdown forced a reckoning. Lives in which the boundary between work and home-life had been blurring were breached. Domestic space was encroached upon like never before as work came home. […] While we can question how, for many, this was anything new – the domestic space obviously never was a place free from the structures of work – something did shift.

Sluice Magazine: The Common Good (in a time of pandemic)

Fledgling thoughts about artist-led housing and high streets in a pandemic. Part of a remote conversation organised by Sluice Magazine.

With: Theresa Easton, Giuseppe Marasco, Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau, Mollie Balshaw and Rebekah Beasley, Will Gresson, Indigo Richards, Pamela Grombacher, Kerry Harker, Keran James, Manick Govinda, Tash Kahn, Ben Street, and Karl England.

What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About The Artist-Led

I contributed to a symposium exploring the often unspoken issues relating to artist-led practices and organisation. Held at Exhibition Research Lab, a public venue and a research centre dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of exhibitions and curatorial knowledge.

Review of the event:

Moving in and out, or staying in bed

Exhibition Installation View. Photograph: Jonathan Orlek (2019).

Exhibition Installation View. Photograph: Jonathan Orlek (2019).

An exhibition of my research at East Street Arts, Convention House, Leeds.

Launch 5th August 5-8pm
Open 6-10th August 1-4pm

Moving in and out, or staying in bed investigates artist-led housing through written work and collaborative mapping. The structure of the exhibition reflects the multiple ethnographic positions Jonathan Orlek has adopted in relation to Artist House 45. It explores how embedded and collaborative research has been used to critically consider the project both as a socially engaged artwork and functioning domestic space. Moving in and out, or staying in bed also treats ‘the exhibition’ as a productive site for this ongoing research.

Roundtable Discussions with Marsha Bradfield, Andrea Francke and Sonia Boyce

table francke
Roundtable Dinner Discussion with Andrea Francke, artists, architects and Beeston Residents. Photograph: Sophie + Kerri (2019).


OPEN CALL — Guests to a roundtable dinner discussion on art, housing and critical spatial practices.

Disorder, or its potential, lies at the heart of every social encounter.

Michelle Letowska, ‘Against Masterplanning’, (talk at The DIY Show, Glasgow, 2008).


Sophie Chapman, Kerri Jefferis and Jon Orlek are hosting three roundtable dinners, with leading artists, researchers and local experts, to investigate the critical role that artist-led housing can play within urban spaces. Each evening will explore how live, collaborative and improvised moments with others can be used as interferences and disruptions to the abstractions of master planning.  Using a variety of props and prompts we will ask: can the legacies of radical community arts be used to unfix contemporary planning and housing logics, to create new critical spatial practices?

Students, practitioners and enthusiasts in art, architecture, urban design, community activism, non-normative domesticities and planning are invited to a dinner at Artist House 45, bringing their lived, researched and practiced experiences to the table and taking part in discussions with an invited speaker and others.

Artist House 45 is a live/work project based in a two-bedroom back-to-back terrace in Beeston, South Leeds. The project was set up in 2015 by East Street Arts to provide long term residencies for artists and to develop socially-engaged artistic practices embedded within communities. Sophie Chapman and Kerri Jefferis are the current artists-in-residence in the house.


Information about the three invited speakers:

Marsha Bradfield

Date: 12th July 2019, 6-9pm

Marsha Bradfield is an artist, curator, educator, researcher and director of Artfield Projects. For more than a decade, she has been affiliated with University of Arts, London, researching dialogic art and economies and ecologies of collaborative cultural production and teaching on BA through PhD (social to spatial practices). Marsha has worked with groups and organisations, including Contemporary Marxist Collective, Critical Practice, Pangaea Sculptors’ Centre and Precarious Workers Brigade. Since 2016 Marsha has been working with Barbara Steveni, co-founder of the Artist Placement Group, and others to nurture its most recent iteration, Incidental Unit/Incidental Futures.

Andrea Franke (on behalf of Future of the Left)

Date: 23rd July 2019, 6-9pm

FOTL (Future of the Left) is the collaborative artistic and research practice of Andrea Francke and Ross Jardine, which developed from a shared interest in administrative and policy-making structures, specifically their often overlooked but vital role within institutions. From 2018 to 2020 FOTL will develop a framework to evaluate participatory projects for Gasworks’ Participatory Residency Programme: Connecting Communities which is being led by London-based artist Jacob V Joyce, a programme that provides opportunities for artists and migrant communities in the local area to work together.

Sonia Boyce

Date: 31st July 2019, 6-9pm

Sonia Boyce (OBE, RA) came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning Black-British art scene of that time, with images that spoke about race and gender in Britain. Since the 1990s, Boyce has developed a social practice inviting other people into the work. At the heart of these improvised situations are questions about the production and reception of unexpected gestures where the personal, aesthetic and political meet. Recent exhibitions include: Sonia Boyce – a retrospective, Manchester Art Gallery (solo, 2018); Á Cris Ouverts, Rennes Biennale of Contemporary Art (group, 2018); We move in her way, ICA-London (solo, 2017); The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, Prospect 4, New Orleans (group, 2017); and, All the World’s Futures, 56th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art (group, 2015). A recent monograph, Sonia Boyce – A Thoughtful Disobedience, edited by Sophie Orlando has been published by les presses du réel (2017).


How to apply:

To apply, please send 150 words outlining your initial response or interest in the above to Space is limited in the house so please state which of the three discussions you would like to attend. Feel free to discuss this in advance via email or get in touch for further information/clarifications. Open to all to apply, some places have been reserved for students at the University of Huddersfield. DEADLINE 4th JULY 2019 (Midnight)

Information about the venue and event:

The roundtable discussions will take place at Artist House 45, a back-to-back terraced house in Beeston, Leeds. Unfortunately, the house is not wheelchair accessible with steep stairs. We are able to cover other access needs including childcare and BSL or language interpretation. Please feel welcome to contact us directly ( to discuss any other access requirements.

We are able to cover guest travel expenses (between Huddersfield and Leeds or similar).

We plan on proving a vegetarian meal. Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements.

We intend on audio recording the event for podcast publication as well as taking photographs. Please let us know if you would prefer not to be recorded in this way or kept anonymous.