Artist Open Day – ALL 2016

On the heels of being selected, ALL 2016 artists congregated at Anglia Ruskin to explore and scout potential installation locations. The ALL-curatorial committee welcomed fifteen artists and led them through the corners and cavernous spaces available at the University. The group eventually ventured beyond the borders of ARU to tour alternative locations in the 800-year old market town. With his heart set on installing an alternative location, Artist, Nicholas Houghton, imparts his impressions from the day.

“April in Cambridge

A familiar, bitter, Fenland wind competes with a warming sun. The former is winning and I’m glad to go inside, into the main Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) building. I’m there because it’s Artists’ Day for Art Language Location and around twenty of us are mingling at the entrance. Some have clearly done this before, while others, like me, are participating for the first time.

I’m feeling excited about the exhibition, tinged with a touch of trepidation, because I don’t yet know whether I’ll be able to put my work in the space I’m after. Art and artists had a fruitful and complex relationship with text until High Modernism. For modern artists use of language was anathema and in their eyes artistic expression began precisely when words ran out. Likewise, the relationship between art and location is often underestimated. Once commissions stopped being the main way artists earned a living, their default position was to produce works that could be exhibited in any number of spaces. A simple white space became the favourite.

We’re now some fifty years on from when the orthodoxies of Modernism were being comprehensively challenged. All the same, ideas from Modernism linger like chewing gum stuck to a shoe and an exhibition bringing together art language and location presents a rare opportunity. I’m hoping my contribution will turn out as I want.

The Artists’ Day gave us a great chance to meet other participants, as well as committee members. But most of all, it allowed us to investigate potential locations for our work. We were shown possible sites within ARU, but some of us are planning to put our work elsewhere. In my case, this is to be not far from the main ARU building, in a pub called The Tram Depot. I’ve seen pictures of it online, but what will it look like in real life? And will they turn down my proposal to exhibit there?

As soon as I’m able, I am anxious to cross the road and go in the Tram Depot to inspect it. Then, concerned it would not be as I hoped I delay the encounter. Like somebody receiving a letter with the result of an interview, as long as I delay there will be hope. So instead I go with some other artists who are having lunch and drink a welcome cup of coffee.

I know I shouldn’t wait any longer and wander along to the pub. Inside, I look long and hard at all the walls, even those in the gents’ toilets. I half expect somebody to challenge me and ask what I’m doing. The more I look, the less likely it seems that I’ll ever get permission to put up my work here. The walls are covered with an abundance of typical pub decoration, all of which is securely screwed to the wall. It would be a big ask to put my work up, as it would mean taking down what’s already up on the walls. Somehow, I’d always imagined there would be a spare bit of wall I could use. Now that I’m there, I can’t see any. I leave the pub. Perhaps when I return, I’ll see it with a different eye and have some sort of idea.

On the programme, the day is supposed to end at the Tram Depot. I don’t flatter myself this has anything to do with me: it would be because it’s the nearest hostelry to ARU. When I arrive, I’m able to reacquaint myself with some of the other participants and committee members, including Robert Good.  He asks me how I’ve got on and I tell him that I haven’t asked yet, but I’m not at all optimistic. He replies that in his experience of leading this exhibition for five years, sometimes you find you obtain permission when you least expect to and vice versa. There’s nothing to lose.

I know there’s nothing to lose, but nor do I want to blow my chance and be turned down almost before I’ve finished asking. The approach has to be made very carefully. I wander around the pub again and two walls near the entrance are looking at least possible. I approach ALL’s Kieran Priest, since he’s the person with the technical knowledge who could advise me about hanging on either of these walls. He’s very helpful and explains why one would be feasible and the other not.

However, he now proves even more helpful than I could possibly have imagined. ‘Why not go and put it to the publican?’ he suggests.

‘Is he here?’ I ask.

‘Yes, come on.’ We wander over to the bar. I introduce myself and when I put the idea to him, the publican immediately says yes, without the slightest hesitation. He’ll be delighted. We shake hands. It has been so easy, I’m almost shocked. Robert was right. You never know. And now I’m looking forward to putting Tramlines in the Tram Depot in October.

As I cycled to the station, the wind was still cold. But bitter? Not one bit of it.”

"Tramlines" by Nicholas Houghton

“Tramlines” by Nicholas Houghton

Callout for ALL Designer

After the excitement of our artists callout (artist lineup to be announced in due course) our thoughts turn to the practicalities of the project, and after four years of wonderful work our previous designers Linda and Peter Sutton are moving on – which means that we are looking for a new designer to join us and provide us with this year’s ALL look and feel.

This is an important and exciting role and provides the chance to take a fresh look at our ALL guide, posters and other materials. Our Design and Publicity Co-ordinator Ines Nunes has put together a brief for this opportunity which you can download here. The brief includes full details of how to apply plus contact details for Ines if you would like any further info.

Deadline for applications is Saturday 30 April. We look forward to hearing from you!


No News Flash

We have had a fantastic set of proposals this year, many thanks again to everyone who submitted. The standard has been extremely high and you have given us a lot of food for thought and some very difficult decisions!

So after much debate and deliberation we are now at the sharp end of the process and after dotting a few i’s and crossing a couple of t’s in over the weekend we will be letting everyone know the outcome on Monday.

Particular thanks to Sandra Martins, our artist liaison officer who has been doing such sterling work behind the scenes. Have a lovely weekend everyone and fingers crossed for Monday…

The clock is ticking – today is the last day to submit applications for ALL2016!

caspar below all2015

ALL 2015 – Caspar Below (video screenshot)

Following the success of ALL2015 there are some high expectations for ALL2016 and we hope not only to reach but to exceed them too! As always, our primary goal is to bring high quality, experimental, text-related work to Cambridge. The Festival was designed to enrich our lives with prime examples of innovative contemporary art while expanding on  the art scene, enabling new collaborations, providing artists with new opportunities and wider horizons.

Preparations for ALL2016 are well on their way, with lots of planning and activities going on behind the scenes and we can´t wait to share with you what we have prepared! In the meantime, do take the opportunity to read our callout and apply to become a part of our initiative and to exhibit at Anglia Ruskin University or at other locations around Cambridge (UK).

Tom Hackett, Kenji Lim, Anna Brownsted, Kimvi Nguyen, Eric Marland, Eden Mitshenmacher, Joseph Young and Susie Johnson are only a few of participating artists from the previous year. The show was listed, by‘s Jack Hutchinson, among the Top 5 UK exhibitions in 2015 along with Jackson Pollock´s retrospective at Tate Liverpool.

There are no application/participation fees, and, with kind support from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge School of Art, Cambridge Festival of Ideas and Cambridge Assessment, our Awards fund goes up to £3000. Proposals are being invited for creating new work to be exhibited at the Ruskin Gallery, producing new artwork on the theme „Language and Light“ (part of Cambridge Assessment’s new redevelopment project) or to work with a researcher at the University of Cambridge and exhibit at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.1455918418753


Deadline for application is March 20th 2016, we look forward to seeing your artworks and building a brand new ALL2016 together with you!

For any further inquiries, please feel free to contact us at or via any of our social media channels!

Thank you,

Sara Lerota

Social Media Manager

ALL2016 Committee

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Proposals Now Invited for ALL2016


Tom Hackett – Shaggy Dog Story

Proposals are now invited for this year’s Art Language Location. Please see our Callout page for full details and application form.

Last year’s event was a fantastic experience and a lot of fun, and this year we have three new Awards totalling £3000 so we’re looking forward to more great art coming to Cambridge this October.

If you have any queries or would like further information, you can get in touch via our Contact page.

We look forward to hearing from you!

The ALL Committee

Over and Out

Kenji Lim Happily Ever After

Today the artwork started to disappear as we say goodbye to ALL2015 and look forward to the future. There is a strange sense of absence in the places where the art has been; the environment reverts to the status quo. The last words have been written in Kenji Lim‘s epic fairy tale, but ALL Committee member Sara Lerota managed to catch up with him for a chat before he left ARU for the final time on Saturday. Click here to read Sara’s fascinating interview with Kenji, and find out more about the artist and his work.

All Good Things…

And so Art Language Location 2015 draws to a close this weekend, after two weeks of fun and fulfilling artfulness.

Many thanks to our sponsors, hosts, supporters and committee, and above all, thank you to our lovely artists who have enlivened and energized Cambridge with their interventions, installations and performances.

Visit us around Cambridge and call in to ARU this Saturday for a final look round. There is still a chance to catch a guided walk as part of Cambridge Festival Ideas Open Day of exciting events on the campus.

We’ll be posting some more content over the next few days, but as we start to bid our farewell, we leave you with some brand new highlights of our ShowTime! performance day, courtesy of another great video by Jonnie Howard.

Until next time… ?

The Write Stuff

Alison Carlier, photograph by Bill Mudge

Alison Carlier, Audio Drawing IV, photograph by Bill Mudge

Always nice to see how people respond to ALL and the artwork on view, so do take a look at an entertaining write-up and some fantastic photos taken by Bill Mudge during our ShowTime! day of performances.

Each year we have some artists who deliberately want their work to be unannounced interventions, playful engagements with their surroundings that are not tagged and packaged up as ‘art’, so it is great when such interruptions are noticed and commented upon. This year Alberto Duman created a work in Cambridge which was well spotted, and wonderfully documented, by Gillian Rose. Thanks Gillian!

Collective Investigations at Sidgwick Site

Collective Investigations at Sidgwick Site

Hot off the press we also have a new write-up by George Cullen of Collective Investigations in which George discusses their installation MIRROR ECHO. Check out our Gallery page for further artist photos and documentation; particular mention  for blog posts by Raju Rage and SHINDIG.

Finally, ALL comes to a close this weekend, so do take a look if you have not yet done so. This Saturday, 31st October, ALL organiser Robert Good will be leading two guided walks of artworks around ARU as part of Cambridge Festival of Ideas at 1pm and 3pm. The walk is free but places are limited, so book here if you’d like to join us.

Rebecca’s Road Trip – Parts 2 and 3

Sarah Wood at Central Library 3

Sarah Woods’ multimedia display at Central Library

After a great reception on Wednesday with the Mayor of St Ives for the opening of Sally Stenton‘s work in the Bridge Chapel, a further fascinating foray today around Cambridge as we caught up with the final tranche of ALL2015 Satellites. We started with Ben Bird‘s bus stop poster, neatly juxtaposing the language of urban renewal against a suitably gritty backdrop, before heading into town to find Sarah Woods‘ Dictionary of Lost Languages at the Central Library. This is a fascinating read! Onwards to the Sedgwick Museum, where the scale and detail of the drawings by Gillian Ellis is extremely impressive. Across the courtyard to the MacDonald Institute, where Alex Hirtzel has installed a very nice piece of work in the window, and finally in the car to the Centre for Computing History (an absolute must visit to unleash your inner geek) to see Caspar Below‘s video in its rightful home.

As we went round we were very struck by how successfully these artworks are engaging with their locations, and in turn how the locations themselves become energised by hosting new work; which of course is exactly the dynamic that ALL hopes to achieve. So many thanks to all our Satellite artists for making such great work and to our location owners for agreeing to host.