Elder Vernacular is a research project compiling an artist's palette of materials grounded in the East Oxford landscape.
The project asks what it might mean to (re)discover a visual ‘vernacular’ in the context of COVID-19 and climate change, which have both spurred city dwellers towards an embrace of the hyper-local, for physical and psychological sustenance.
It takes inspiration from the work of early researchers like Robert Plot, the historical surveyor of Oxfordshire’s landscape and folklore. Plot’s wide-ranging enquiry will be re-purposed to answer contemporary needs for grounding in the landscape. The artistic materials and research developed will be shared in workshops with the Recovery Group based at Restore on Elder Stubbs Allotment’s, and feed into in a mural and temporary installation in Florence Park, and exhibition in the autumn.
A book will be produced that documents the research process and uses materials developed during the project in its making.
Elder Vernacular also connects to a longer term Fig project developing an artists garden on Elder Stubbs, growing plants to make dye, paper, and other artist materials from, such as organic photo emulsion, including yarrow, woad, calendula, maize, gladioli, and chard. Greenhalgh is growing soy bean, dyers tickweed, beet, to explore making paints from, and will also be conducting an archaeological dig on the site.
Eleanor Greenhalgh is an Oxford-based artist and mental health worker. Her projects comprise visual and participatory arts from digital publishing to murals, with a focus on site specificity, open source methods and the study of collaborative/consensual practices. She completed an MA Networked Media at Hogeschool Rotterdam in 2013 and has delivered public arts projects with Cowley Road Carnival, Arts at the Old Fire Station and Tandem Collective amongst others. She currently combines frontline mental health work with activism on gender issues and urban planning, alongside research developing an integrative public arts practice spanning local heritage, urban planning and wellbeing.