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Curating Contemporary Art (MA)

Marjian Tsatsaros Tyagi

To Be Here With You embraced practices of ritualistic and material processes to create a space of shared knowledge, gentle hospitality and open collectivity. Consisting of five free public workshops each led by an artist, the project sought to embrace connection and gathering for the individual participant and the collective to the natural world around us.

Saturday 22nd April - Gathering with Gail Dickerson

Sunday 23rd April -  Activating with Rie Nakajima

Saturday 29th April -  Infinitely with Alice May

Sunday 30th April - Tenderly with Rudzani Moleya and Yewande 103

Friday 5th May - Greening with Hannah Lees and May Hands

In partnership with Southwark Park Galleries the project was designed to complement Florence Peakes Factual Actual: Ensamble, reflected in our interests in presence, materiality, and non-hierarchical collaboration. The workshops responded to the site specificity of Southwark Park Galleries by all including a responsive walk through Southwark Park. Followed by a unique guided activity in Southwark Park Galleries’ Salter Space, the workshops ranged from mapmaking, sound-crafting, muraling, dance and sigil making. Each artist was invited to cultivate or respond to an interpretation of ritual, from the sacred of our everyday routines, ancient mythologies, earthly knowledges or pagan beliefs. Ritual as a connecting thread opened a space for individual and communal participatory practices, it implies a sense of intimacy and meaningfulness as well as material activation. The project explored dynamic spaces of learning, crafting and shared thinking referencing discourses around polyphony.

Each workshop aimed to open a pathway for audiences to appreciate the spaces we all inhabit, to rediscover the spiritual aspects of nature and to draw attention to the intimate. For me, the heart of this project has been to create an inclusive, diverse, and accessible learning space for participants. Relating to our groups interest in ideas of living-archives we sought to create ephemeral memory traces by forefronting the participant experience in the workshop format.

Additionally we hoped to create an invitational space for Southwark Park Galleries existing audience which is especially diverse, potentially including park goer’s as well as arts world. All the workshops were open to the public, aiming to be inclusive to casual participants as well as those who had a specific interest in each session’s topic. Attendees also had the choice to re-visit multiple workshops as an additional act of ritual and gathering.

To Be Here With You curated by students from the Royal College of Art MA Curating contemporary Art as a part of 2023 Graduate Projects in Partnership with Southwark Galleries.  To Be Here With You was created in collaboration with Alice May, Gail Dickerson, Hannah Lee, May Hands, Rie Nakajima, Rudzani Moleya and Yewande 103.

Woman with brown hair in a bright red jumpsuit stands against a rich blue background.

I am interested in interdisciplinary and embodied practices of advocacy and inclusion by exploring ways of bridging the audiences individual experiences to the constructed design of the exhibition. Through performative, expressive, and sensorial activities to create engagement and connection within arts spaces. My practice plays with ideas of participation, materiality, hospitality and intimacy for audiences, as well as practitioners, to embrace neurodiversity, embodied experience and identity. 

This year I have also been exploring myth, fantasy and fiction as tools to examine or re-imagine our understanding of the world and ourselves within it. Thinking through phenomenological perception and design my work has aimed to adopt empathetic and accessible modes of curating. Weaving together the metaphor of Myth for curatorial practice which engages storytelling, immersion and gathering.

A myth can live in a moment and across time as they are both individually interpretable and societally relatable. The stories we tell through exhibitions create a cyclical impression onto culture, reshaping public and internal knowledge. The fantastical as the ability to incite imagination and the poetic as a tool of communing, understanding and discourse. To imagine alternative worlds, times, beings and systems transports audiences into works and discourses via transcendent, mystical and immersive play with the potential to undermine orthodox, hegemonic and colonial exclusionary systems. 

I am currently exploring breadmaking and writing as a metaphor and activating practice into the intimate while foregrounding ecological, cultural and political discourses. Crafting the invisible and quiet stories, the emotional and intuitive knowledges created by the interaction of space, materials, ingredients and person.

Born and based in London but of mixed heritage of Canadian, Indian, Greek and Scottish, my practice often draws from my own experiences of identity, heritage, neurodiversity and art practice.

A woman in a silver jacket sits on the floor painting.
Infinitely WorkshopMuralist and painter Alice May invited us to explore what inspires us by looking at the influence of dreams, the natural world and the people, objects and places we love. Inspired by finding joy and how the universe communicates with us as cosmic beings, May guided participants through various artistic processes from poetry, sketching, tree hugging and talking to paint a collective mural, as a means of exploring creative collaboration.
Close up image of two woman hands weaving plants to willow stick sigils.
Greening WorkshopCollaborative artists Hannah Lee and May Hands infuse their practices with ideas of Sigil magic, effigy building and responded to the pagan springtime celebration of Beltane. Focusing on young children and families, their workshop encouraged collective making through participatory weaving, stitching and sculpting using locally foraged materials to develop ideas of connection, lightheartedness and support within the green spaces of the city.
A collection of books, maps, foraged materials and craft objects collected on tables.
Gathering WorkshopMulti-media artist Gail Dickerson focuses on the geology of London through the interaction with everyday experiences as a ritualistic and recurring process. Dickerson engages with Southwark Park by collecting natural material and earthly sediments, which are then merged on paper or canvas to create layered maps. Dickerson inviteed participants to create their own maps from foraged materials to take home, prompting new ways of ‘seeing’ the park.
Close up hands of two people drawing on clipboards by a park pond.
Tenderly WorkshopDancer Rudzani Molaya presented Yewande 103’s Phoenix Score from their film and performance FOUNTAIN (2022). This workshop led participants to question how individuals as well as communities can embrace bodily intimacy. Drawing on Black histories, mental health and the symbolism of water, Molaya encouraged participants to turn inward, to connect to felt senses of their environment and the psycho-geography of the park. Through movement, dance, body scanning and sketching these experiences were embodied.
A group of people, half sitting on the floor, play with objects like jars, tinfoil and motors to create sounds.
Activating WorkshopSculptor Rie Nakajima gives attention to static, discarded objects through dynamic processes of construction. She invited participants to examine the mundane and to appreciate the overlooked by creating sound sculptures in the Salter Space with collected objects. Nakajima guided participants to examine the boundaries and chance encounters of public spaces during a playful sound performance through the park.
Two women with brown hair smile at the camera while organising forms on a desk.
Workshop Set-up
Three images accompanied by a page of text on grey background.
Graduate DissertationDissertation extract page 20 - 21.
A loaf of bread and limes on white fabric


An upcoming work-in-progress project.