Barker, Garry ORCID logoORCID: (2020) NEST. [Artefact]


The output is an artefact comprising an artist’s book. It was developed from a performance, initially presented at SNAParts Gallery as part of INDEX, a fringe festival linked to Yorkshire Sculpture International, alongside Barker’s sculpture and drawings, im(Material) Disarray. Research process: Barker explored the use of allegorical visual narratives to communicate and make meaningful local community experiences. The research consisted of a series of imaginative drawings made in response to observational drawings of swans trying to build a nest out of discarded plastic waste. A verbal narrative was then constructed around the illustrations and initially tested out with a live audience as a spoken performance and then make into an artist’s book. Research insights: The development and publication of ‘Nest’ allowed Barker to test audience reaction to an allegorical narrative in various formats, from a sculptural installation to a spoken word performance to a fable in the form of an illustrated artist’s book. The integration of text with drawn, spoken word and sculptural presentations of an idea has allowed the allegorical potential of the work to reach a much wider audience than working in any one area. In particular more children have been brought into dialogue with the work, parents are able to engage them with readings after initially experiencing the work as an installation. The opening out of conversations beyond the human has revealed a direction for practice that has unexplored possibilities. The artist is now researching how early animist practices can be integrated into his allegorical narratives. Dissemination: The artefact was published by Workshop Press and disseminated via blog at

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