Sarah Evelyn Marsh

Welcome to my blog


Here you will find updates and announcements of projects I've designed, delivered and been involved in over the past year.

I hope you find something interesting to read.

By evelynarts, Aug 8 2017 04:10PM


I recieved a Travel Bursary from a-n artists information company and carried out a research project on autism-friendly opportunties for families in a gallery in Poland over the months of May and June 2017.

Please click here to read these posts and follow me on Instagram to see more of my adventures in Sopot, Poland.

By evelynarts, Jul 17 2017 02:05PM

Captivating Spaces was a 'Culture Babies' conference at the Whitworh Gallery, Manchester in 2016.

As consultant for Manchester Art Gallery's Family Learning programme from 2014 - 2016, I was invited to talk about our Clore Art Studio family learning space.

Captivating spaces

CultureBabies conference at The Whitworth


We are proud to have a space in the heart of Manchester Art Gallery, dedicated to Family Learning. Our free, monthly under 5’s sessions (Baby Art Club and Mini Art Club), regularly use the space as a starting point for their journeys of exploration and our ever popular holiday programme for ages 0-11 has found a home in the Clore Art Studio over the past 12 months.

It’s a large space, with changing galleries on either side and is accessible by stairs and lifts. It is open 7 days a week 10-5pm

In 2013, in line with our learning philosophy, we made the decision to move away from the fixed, push-button interactivity, and to focus attention on creating an environment that was open-ended, playful, immersive and supported creative learning.

Trying something new…

It was a challenge to move away from the familiar and some of our regular visitors resisted the changes to a space they felt comfortable and confident in, but the last 10 years of family workshops and activities in the Clore Interactive Gallery had given us extensive experience into how families learn in and interact with our exhibitions and collections. The aim was to use this to create a new Clore Art Studio, a research space where new ideas could be trialled and developed. Referencing Reggio Emillia approach, we wanted the Clore Art Studio to be acknowledged as the ‘third teacher’.

The first Clore Art Studio was inspired by Grayson Perry’s tapestries, we pulled three threads of investigation from them;

The continuous swirling line, vibrant colour palette and the humble, everyday objects.

We wanted to create a space that was open ended and supported creative play, so invited a group of Yr 1 children into the gallery for a week of workshops so we could research how they interacted with various interventions.

It was suggested by an evaluation team from MMU that the Clore Art Studio is in itself a ‘pedagogical masterpiece’ because it plays with a number of dualities including: body/mind; familiar/strange; real/imaginary; private space/public space.

They added that the Clore Art Studio gives, “a sort of permission to play, to feel that there is a space where there are possibilities and where we are not going to tell them what to think and do”.

Shaping the space…

In 2014, The Clore Art Studio was redesigned by myself, Sarah Marsh and Jessica Wild, as practicing artists with complimentary disciplines and as Freelance Artists overseeing the Family Learning programme at Manchester Art Gallery. The redesign of the Clore became embedded in our own creative practices and it’s legacy continues to develop and grow. Both Jess and I see the Clore Art Studio as an ongoing project. As artists we draw on our personal experiences to inspire new ideas and dynamic ways of working, this keeps it interesting for us and innovating for the families that engage with it.

Although the space is primarily for families, over the last 18 months we have had Architects take over the space, MMU students use it as a 3D sketchbook, home schoolers use it as a meeting point, as well as Support Networks for parents.

During October workshops we had a day of live music from Yoga teacher Szilvia and her tibetan singing bowls and giant gong! And most recently we noted that fathers who work in the city are meeting their partners and babies in the Clore Art Studio as a way of spending some quality family time during their lunch breaks!


During the development and planning stages of Pattern, our response to the House Proud exhibition, we worked closely with the curators, discussing ideas, interpretations and generally thinking creatively together, these meetings shaped and honed our ideas and led to a fluid and holistic link between the exhibition and the Clore Art Studio. Families could find connections through materials, textures, colours, shapes and forms. These created a language of meaning for our early years visitors and they were able to connect to the exhibition on a deeper level.

We selected the theme of Pattern from the exhibition as our tool of exploration, breaking it down into 3 themes of Colour, Shape, Repeat and selecting a strong, connecting colour palette and material choice.

Saddled with this information, we asked ourselves the question; How many ways can we explore pattern in this space?

To a creative thinker, this question may seem rather simple, but as the Clore Art Studio is on occasion an un-manned space and we are located in the heart of the gallery, there are a number of challenges; no wet materials, no scissors etc.

These challenges became positive aspects to our planning and supported us to continuously develop and shift our thinking creatively.

With a main focus on ‘Play’, we split the space into 4 key areas:

Inspire, explore, create and develop….

These areas have evolved during its installation, nods to other exhibitions have inspired changes. As Jess and I’s confidence within the space grows, so do our ideas and experimental risks. We have fun with the space, and I think this can be felt when you are in there.

Pattern has been a huge success story for the gallery, our numbers of visitors to the space continues to grow and we have been able to follow this wider-reaching success story on social media platforms such as Instagram. During Pattern we added large vinyl hashtags to the space #MAGfamilies and this has supported the personal touch we are nurturing with our visitors. Recently a group of mums and babies came up from London to use the the Clore Art Studio and we were able to comment on their visit and to personally invite them back to our new space in February.


Our next install is on the horizon, and the Clore Art Studio is now closed for it's makeover. Inspired by upcoming exhibition, The Imitation Game, we are exploring the theme of Transformations through sensory, imaginary and creative play. We are inviting families to explore the space and all the different ways you can transform yourself in it.

We are keeping a similar layout and adding new materials and ideas. The new space opens on Saturday 13 Feb at 10am.

The Clore Art Studio is now at the heart of our Family Learning Programme and has become a promotional tool as well as a learning and playful one. Our sensory based workshop Open Doors, for children with Autism is based in the space and is informing the way we work and widening the access for all families in the gallery.

Here are some quotes from families and professionals about the Clore Art Studio

'It was the interactive aspects of the space that interested me, the ability to shape and change the areas but for the outcome always to remain illusive in terms of depiction. 

The division into loosely defined zones helped me in the activities I was looking to create. 

This way the space remains 'open' as a visitor spectacle...we cannot 'know' the space or make quick assumptions. In this way it remains a space that invites curious minds.'

Ian Whadcock, Senior Lecturer on the BA(Hons) Illustration with Animation

Manchester School of Art

My baby is able to roam around and explore lots of exciting things

My son is autistic, I have never seen him so happy, drawing free flow and listening to the music, what a fantastic idea.

'sensory magic'

eye catching, educational, intriguing

'How brilliant to have a space this is primarily directed at children and their creativity'

'A fascinating opportunity to learn more about what my daughter likes to do'

She didn't want to leave

‘Better than Reggio Emillia’ says an Italian parent with 3 children

By evelynarts, Apr 11 2017 09:14PM

Explore artwork, experiment with new ideas and think differently.

Make it…is a joint community learning partnership between Tate Liverpool, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and the City of Liverpool College, that enables 18-30 year olds using mental health services to access support and learning through art at Tate Liverpool.

During this eight week course a group of young people have come together to work collectively; responding to the broad theme of Identity. With no prior knowledge of each other, the group developed interesting and thought-provoking dialogues, built friendships that have grown outside of the course and made connections through artworks on display in the Constellations galleries at Tate Liverpool and the Open Eye Gallery.

The course has encouraged us to look at the world from a different viewpoint. With a passion for the city of Liverpool, the young people have taken inspiration from architecture, the River Mersey and Albert Docks area; fusing it with explorations of their identity through conversations, personal reflections and opinions, to create sensitive and highly creative responses.

Through peer-led methodology the young people have been supported to develop a unique, creative language through photography, film and creative processes. Using analogue ‘photoshopping’ techniques we discovered we could edit, layer, add and remove elements of what we see around us; we became live-editors. By bleaching out photographs, layering acetate drawings on top of images and adding layers, angles and multiples with the use of mirrors, the world became an ever-changing canvas for our ideas. An ingenious kaleidoscope, invented by one of the students, developed these ideas further and heightened our views into beautiful, moving imagery.

We have selected images that represent our most present process-driven outcomes, but these don’t signify the end of our creative journeys, if anything they are just the beginning.

By evelynarts, Mar 10 2017 05:07PM

Paper, fragile and strong
Paper, fragile and strong

Let’s see things differently, through the eyes of each other.

Look Closer: Altered Perceptions

We are a group of women aged 15-25 who have come together from across Merseyside to consider themes and issues that are relevant to us all. We come from different backgrounds and have varied experiences but by exploring the issues that are important to us all like gender, sexuality, mental health and identity we have shared perspectives and found a common language. Using paper as a metaphor for both the strength and fragility of emotions, feelings and states of mind we have created this space. We invite you to engage with the installation and look closer, helping us to encourage others to alter per- ceptions and celebrate all women and their individualism.


Late November 2016, two groups of young ladies, from different backgrounds, with different gender identities, came together to explore their common-ground, using art and the gallery as a vehicle for developing their discussions, emotions, thoughts and ideas into a creative and interactive outcome.

As the lead artist on this project, it was my role to create a ‘safe space’ for the girls to feel comfortable and confident in order for sincere and sensitive discussions to take place. My Gallery / Arts Educator method is peer-led; driven by the participants ideas and responses to artworks, environments and materials. There were no predetermined idea of outcome, other than this was a Tate Collective and Tate Exchange project that would be exhibited in Tate Liverpool over 4 days.

Introduction to the gallery

The project began with 2 sessions for each group separately. Through ‘found text’ from newspapers, we made connections to artworks in the Constellations galleries. These abstract connections provided us with a way into the artwork, encouraging discussions to flow organically in front of them. It was interesting that both groups were drawn to the same artworks on separate occasions, when I relayed this back to each group, it seemed to provide a sense of reassurance and mutual respect before they met.

I selected the Constellations gallery opposite Tracey Emin’s My Bed, as a number of Fe- male artists are represented such as; Eva Hesse, Rachel Whiteread, Zanel Muholi, Gillian Wearing and Louise Bourgeois, whose connection with Emin is well documented. The young women spoke with maturity whilst discussing issues around the objectification of female bodies in the media, gender issues, feminism, personal insecurities, and the impact of social media on their wellbeing.

Tracey Emin & William Blake In Focus.

Around Emin’s My Bed, discussions and thoughts formed in Constellations were developed and deepened. The ‘found text’ became abstract poetry inspired by My Bed, and the young women’s personal associations with the emotive piece;

Poem 1

Night doesn’t have to mean ‘end of the day’. Here’s why it makes sense Quality of life has a price

Not something you see everyday

Suspending privacy Got the blues

Poem 2

Mind games and pursuit Sluggish Monday Kingpins of tobacco Autumn addiction

Poem 3

Monday 17th October 2016

Threw petrol on fire

drug abuse




It was a matter of principle

That’s more important to me than winning I’m no threat

The solution miracle saints


The found text also became powerful, association words that were stitched and stained onto white, cotton pillowcases. During these sessions we worked with Tate Collective participant and embroiderer, Michaela Swan. As a younger member of the team, Michaela was a fantastic role-model figure for the girls, as well as providing a skills sharing master- class.

Abstract poetry
Abstract poetry

By evelynarts, Nov 15 2016 04:06PM

Last Friday (11th Nov), saw AWOL studios open it's doors wide to the creative and savvy people of Manchester and beyond. We saw hundreds enter the old bed mill in Ancoats and there really was a buzz about the place.

I exhibited a number of artworks both in my studio and within the group exhibition.

Recently, I've been working on a number of studies of 'the line' that have led me to use free-hand embroidery stitch onto cotton, create 3D sculptural forms that are soooo tactile and a number of painting studies on lengths of board and stretched canvas.

If you would like more information on anything you see, or would like to book an appointment with me, then please contact me.

E: [email protected]

Stacked 0:1
Stacked 0:1
Piece 0:1 2016
Piece 0:1 2016
intertwined. Cotton and lace 2016
intertwined. Cotton and lace 2016
o rio 2016
o rio 2016
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