Meet Lucy Harvey, Quarry Bank’s visual artist in residence 2017

We’re delighted to announce Lucy Harvey as our artist in residence during June and July 2017. Lucy’s artwork will be on display in the gardens at Quarry Bank from 23 September – 19 November 2017. Over the summer, Lucy will be blogging about her research and the creation of her artwork.

Hello, I’m Lucy Harvey and I’m very pleased to say that I’m currently undertaking the first ever visual artist residency at Quarry Bank this June and July. During my time here I’m going to be working around the estate and gardens, and responding to the pursuits and interests of the Greg family through a new artwork which will be unveiled in the gardens this September.

I thought writing a blog post might be a good way to introduce myself to visitors, volunteers and staff, and to give people a better idea of what my work is, what an artist in residence is, and what I’ll be doing during my time at Quarry Bank.

Lucy Harvey – Useful Work Versus Useless Toil, 42nd Street, Manchester, 2014

My work looks at the ways in which we create meaning in our lives and make sense of the world around us. Previously I’ve looked at why we collect things, why we make things and why we believe certain things, and this has touched on scientific and educational pursuits, as well as hobbies. Normally this results in sculptures, installations but also public events, like tours and talks. I like to make things myself but I also like to work with other people to make, or fabricate artworks, and quite often I use found objects or reference archive or museum collections in my work.

I’ve done quite a few artist residencies as I like to make work which responds to a particular place or an avenue of research. That said, the ‘in-residence’ part of this kind of work is a bit deceptive as quite often, you don’t actually move in. Instead, you might repeatedly visit to research, develop ideas and then take these away to make a body of artworks somewhere else.

Edward Hyde Greg (1827-1910) and his steam-yacht at Quarry Bank

Since I’m Manchester based, and transport has improved since the early days of the mill, I’m commuting to Quarry Bank and will be going away to make the work for the gardens in August. Members of the volunteer and staff team might find me looking in the archive, working in the office or the staffroom, and visitors might see me doodling in the garden but I’ll also be posting back here with my progress.

So, what am I going to be making? Well, I’m currently reading into Hannah Greg’s approach to education and self-improvement and I’m interested how this relates to current ideas about well-being and happiness. I’m also particularly interested in the collections and interests of Robert Hyde, Robert Philips, Edward Hyde, Thomas Tylston and Mary Greg – who, across generations, developed a rather varied catalogue of learning and leisure pursuits.

I’m currently exploring these disciplines and archival material about them, and thinking about how these pursuits still provide people with a great sense of purpose and meaning today. I’m keen to take inspiration, or borrow, elements of these disciplines and materials in some way to make my work, but how I decide to do this will very much depend on what I uncover during the remaining six weeks of my residency. I’ll report back as my research and ideas develop.


Lucy Harvey is a Manchester born visual artist and co-director of Paradise Works in Salford. You can read more from her here, and follow her on Twitter @LucyOwl.

Lucy’s residency is delivered by the National Trust through Trust New Art and supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

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