‘York Curiouser will turn our city into an art wonderland’

Hazel Colquhoun (left) and Lara Goodband. Photographs: Tony Bartholomew
25 Feb 2014 @ 9.14 am
| News
Hazel Colquhoun (left) and Lara Goodband. Photographs: Tony Bartholomew
Hazel Colquhoun (left) and Lara Goodband. Photographs: Tony Bartholomew

Co-artistic directors Lara Goodband and Hazel Colquhoun explain the genesis of a project which will bring contemporary art to York’s ancient corners

York Curiouser was born out of a desire to bring more contemporary art to the city – why should people have to go to Leeds, Manchester or London to see it?

We wanted to dream up something that would lend itself to the city’s fascinating medieval street pattern: you can wander through narrow passageways then suddenly, unexpectedly, emerge into a hidden courtyard, a spectacular garden or grand vista.

We know of loads of brilliant places in York that people never visit or experience, and we wanted to highlight these places.

That sense of wonder led us to the name York Curiouser (originally the project was called Curiouser and Curiouser, but it was just too much of a mouthful). We felt it could be a bit like Alice’s experiences in Wonderland.

So, from June 14 until July 7 this year, you might find poetry in intriguing places, catch soundworks down snickelways, or become immersed in an artwork inside a medieval tower.

Some works will be here today and gone tomorrow; others will slowly degrade and fade over a few weeks.

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The curious artists. Click on the picture for a larger image

We’ve gathered together artists from across the country, although the core is from York and nearby.

Already on board are installation artist Susanne Davies, artist and academic Matt Hawthorn and sound artist Damian Murphy, all from York, and poet John Wedgwood Clarke, textile artist Sally Greaves-Lord and ceramicist Karen Thompson, all from Scarborough.

Representing the Rest of the World are installation artists Heinrich & Palmer, the multi-disciplinary Janet Hodgson, and Jacques Nimki, who works within the urban landscape.

We will also be creating and programming walks, talks and educational projects for York Curiouser. Some of the artists are working very closely with both the University of York and York St John University enabling students across departments and disciplines to learn from the artistic process.

We have also created, and will be leading, a series of workshops for students at the University of York.

The National Centre For Early Music is also confirmed as one of the sites. But we don’t want to give too much away at this stage, as it’s all about exploring and finding things.

We hope you’ll be able to join us.


  • Hazel Colquhoun, an independent public art commissioning curator, and Lara Goodband, an independent visual art curator, will regularly blog on YorkMix about the York Curiouser project
  • York Curiouser artworks will cover a range of media including light, sound, ceramics, poetry and textiles, developed for specific city locations
  • For more information see the project’s Facebook page, its Instagram images or follow @yorkcuriouser on Twitter