Close Proximity

Close Proximity – New Greenham Park, Newbury 20-21 May 2005


A two day artists’ gathering for activities and discussions that will look at the changing identity of areas in the London ‘commuter belt’ and how they affect artists‚ practice.

Activities include: talks, walks, artists‚ projects, bird-watching, camping, visits to ex-military units and peace protests sites, visits to local businesses including a rapid prototyping company, and camp fire discussions. Organised for NAN (Networking Artists‚ Networks) by Helen Sloan (SCAN) and artist/curator


Three miles east of Newbury, sixty miles west of Shoreditch and just off the M4 (junction 13) New Greenham Park is a collection of light industrial businesses set in a 1000 acres of ancient heathland, a civil war battle site preserved from the ravages of suburban decay by the United States Air Force.

Close Proximity seminars and displays will take place in and around the old officer recreation centre, now the privately (and sometimes publicly) funded New Greenham Arts. NGA plays host to touring theatre companies, a gallery, several artists‚ studios and open workshop events.


Can anything of any cultural significance survive the Ballardian wipe down sprawl that has infected the South East of England? How are artists responding as a consequence? Have other forms of networks sprung up; survival strategies, pockets of resistance, gang culture, out of town developments? Are these satisfactory? How is this affecting art and the creative industries?

Are local galleries, studio complexes, and art centres really an option, or just good places to go for coffee?

Will we always be taken in by the tingle of fame and fortune offered by the Big City or is it an age and babies thing?


Speakers at the event will include: Murray Anderson, Stephen Beddoe, Boredomresearch, Celine Conderelli, David Cotterell, Sandra Drew, Peter Dunn, Victoria Pomery, Mike Stubbs, Stuart Tagg, and Sarah Thelwall

On-site artist projects by: Susan Collins, Sally Haynes, Trudy Williams

Guided tours will take a walk on the common now designated as a site of scientific interest, cold war decontamination chambers, ex-nuclear silos, an industrial fabrication unit and a council cleansing depot.

Tours: Companies resident at New Greenham Park in its new role, and a ‘historical’ view of the site through the Decontamination Chambers of the old military camp. Tours of the Greenham Common Nature reserve taking in some of the old areas of the military camp and women’s protest camps, and the missile silos (tbc).

Conference: Video screenings, discussions, talks into the night round a camp fire, strategies for working and ways forward for collaborative projects, formulating ideas for future strategies and initiatives.

Cost: Free, but places are limited to 50 so booking is essential

Booking deadline: 17 May

To book, contact or 01590 682824.
Please send a cheque for £10 to Close Proximity, SCAN, ArtSway, Station Road, Sway SO41 6BA. This will be returnable on arrival.

Accommodation is not included but, in recognition of the historical significance of the site, we have got permission to camp in the business park. For the less hardy there are several other places to stay in the area. A tandoori restaurant is next to the arts centre. Good car parking facilities are available.

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