Mocktails at Gunby

We had great fun recently creating ideas for mocktails with the volunteers and staff at Gunby Hall & Gardens. The workshop, led for us by Laurence and Lynsey of Blocktails, was part of our project ‘Pioneer’ exploring the life of Emily Massingberd. Emily was a passionate campaigner for the temperance movement and established a number of temperance bars, so with the expert help of Laurence and Lynsey we set out to create our own ideas for temperance drinks.


The volunteer and staff created recipes will form part of an installation planned for Gunby’s Orchard Gallery for August.

In Another Place

We are delighted that our forthcoming project, Pioneer, with Gunby Estate, Hall and Gardens is being featured as part of In Another Place.

In Another Place

In Another Place  is a celebration of contemporary art produced and presented by venues in the East Midlands.

10 regional organisations have invited visual artists to present original artworks on advertising billboards in a range of locations for 6 weeks. Transforming these everyday hoardings into a vibrant display across the region, In Another Place aims to bring art to audiences, in places where normally they would see advertising.

In Another Place is a collaboration between the Contemporary Visual Arts Network East Midlands and ten venues bringing new art to new audiences.

#inanotherplace   Read More


For our latest project we are exploring the life of the inspirational Emily Langton Massingberd, women’s rights campaigner and former owner of Gunby Hall Estate and Gardens. The project is being supported by the National Trust and forms part of their 2018 year long celebration of Women and Power, marking the centenary of female suffrage.

We are planning to create an installation in Gunby Hall’s Orchard Gallery for August 2018 celebrating the spirit and achievements of this pioneering 19th century female, whose mark can still be seen around the Gunby Estate today. Founder of the first female members’ club, The Pioneer Club, social campaigner and ardent temperance activist, her time in Lincolnshire saw her narrowly miss obtaining a seat in the first County Council Elections in 1889, for which, as a landowner she was able to stand.

Ice House Pond, Gunby Hall

Gathering research material at Gunby Hall’s Ice House Pond

Exhibition: ‘Us, A Gunby Estate Domesday’ by Michael Sanders

Michael Sander’s exhibition ‘Us, A Gunby Estate Domesday’ will open in Orchard Gallery at Gunby Hall & Gardens on 1 August.

image by Michael Sanders

Image by Michael Sanders of a tenant holding Rail Tickets for the former London and North Eastern Railway. Purchased on the occasion of the final train passing through the Gunby Estate.


Michael Sanders has created this work for Orchard Gallery evolving from his experience as a long-term residential tenant on the Gunby Estate. Working with National Trust volunteers on archival research, and by capturing the portraits and memories of other current tenants, Michael has created a contemporary Domesday for Gunby, offering a parallel story to that told in the Hall.

The exhibition has been  supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

A Ballad for Southwell, what participants said:

We have had some lovely feedback on our latest project ‘A Ballad for Southwell’ with Chris T-T’s at The Workhouse, Southwell. Here’s what the participants had to say:

For me it has been a great experience. I have been a reseracher here for 19 years. It is easy to get stuck in a rut. This project has given me new insights into how some of the research can be used in new ways. The research I have done over the last 2 years has been used in a variety of new ways – in the songs of Chris T-T, some of the new technologies that have been trialled in recent months at the Workhouse, includng being involved in recording some of the songs, and discussing song structure with Chis. It has been good to work with him and CommonAs – Lesley & Darren. They have been inspiring to us and I think we have been a valuable source for them. – Workhouse Volunteer

I thought it was brilliant. – National Trust Staff Member    Read More

A Ballad for Southwell works on Soundcloud

We are delighted to share the first of Chris T-T’s final works produced for his Creative Fellowship at The Workhouse, Southwell, as part of the project ‘ A Ballad for Southwell’.  The project has been initiated and co-ordinated by CommonAs in partnership with the National Trust and supported by lottery funding from Arts Council England.  We hope you enjoy the works!

FIRST performance ‘A Ballad for Southwell’ by Chris T-T

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As part of Heritage Open Day 2016, Chris T-T will be sharing publicly for the first time works created for the project ‘A Ballad for Southwell’. The works have been created in collaboration with volunteers and staff from The Workhouse, Southwell, and will performed in the former infirmary of this Victorian Workhouse, now operated by The National Trust. The project is coordinated by curatorial collective, CommonAs in partnership with The Workhouse, Southwell.

Chris will perform three live sets as follows:

  • 11am in the Committee Room in the main Workhouse building, (performed on the original harmonium for this set only).
  • Repeated 2pm & 3pm in the former Workhouse Infirmary, Firbeck House.

There is no need to book in advance, but space will be tight, so if you want to be sure to hear Chris perform we advise you get there early.

This will also be a rare chance to see inside the infirmary building, Firbeck House, not normally open to the public.

Heritage Open Day is free and open to all. There will be lots of other exciting stuff happening throughout the day at The Workhouse. For full details check their What’s on page.

‘A Ballad for Southwell’ is supported by lottery funding from Arts Council England and coordinated by CommonAs with The Workhouse Southwell. It is part of the Re-imaging The Workhouse programme.

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June 2016

 A Ballad for Southwell – Chris T-T at The Workhouse

If you would like to meet Chris T-T, our Creative Fellow at The Workhouse, Southwell, you can pop along and meet him on the following days in summer. He’ll be on site during day and you’ll find him in the cafe at lunchtime.

Thursday 16th, Friday 17th June, Saturday 18th, 11am – 1pm

Thursday 7th, Friday 8th & Saturday 9th, 11am – 4pm
Thurs 21st, Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd, 11am – 4pm

Thursday 4th, Friday 5th, Saturday 6th, 11am – 4pm
Friday 12th & Saturday 13th, 11am – 4pm

Open Heritage Day – FREE ADMISSION
Sat 10 Sept
Chris T-T will be giving a special performance with volunteers from The Workhouse of the music created during project times tbc

Museum at Night
Fri Oct 28 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Chris T-T will give a short closing performance of music from the project as part of Museum at Night after-hours storytelling evening.
For more details of what he will be up to you can follow his blog:


May 2016

Meet The Workhouse’s Creative Fellow 2016

Our National Trust Creative Fellow, Chris T-T, will be back at The Workhouse, Southwell from Thursday 16 – Saturday 18 June, developing ideas for A Ballad for Southwell.

Each morning from 11am – 1pm he will be hosting drop-in workshops exploring simple songwriting techniques for turning themes and stories from the Workhouse into verse – all welcome, just pop in.

Alongside Chris’s sessions professional illustrator, Darren Alexander, will be hosting drop-in sessions to create imagery to be used on an illustrated ‘Ballad Sheet’ to accompany Chris T-T’s musical work.

Chris will also be in the cafe at lunch time, if you want to just pop in and have a chat.

Admission to the Workhouse is free to National Trust members. Details for entrance for non-members can be found on their website

darren typeface ideas


May 2016

Workhouse Echoes:
Musician Chris T-T in conversation with Mick Ryan at The Gate to Southwell Festival

We are delighted to announce that Chris T-T, our Creative Fellow with The Workhouse, Southwell, will be speaking about the project at The Gate to Southwell Festival on Friday 10 June at 2pm.

The historically significant Workhouse at Southwell is rich with powerful human stories. Chris T-T is creating a series of contemporary musical works, commissioned by CommonAs, in partnership with The National Trust, it’s volunteers and visitors. Hear Chris discuss his experience of transforming these stories into song with Mick Ryan, creator of the folk opera, A Pauper’s Path, commissioned by the Festival and the National Trust in 2011.
Day or weekend tickets for the Festival can be purchased via the Gate to Southwell Festival website – where you can also see the whole festival line up.

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March 2016

The project blog from Chris T-T, lead artist for our ‘Ballad for Southwell’ Arts Council supported project in partnership withe The National Trust at The Workhouse, Southwell, is now live. Chris will be posting regular updates as the project progesses –

The project is part of the National Trust’s Re-imagining The Workhouse programme and is devised and curated by CommonAs.

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February 2016

We are delighted to have been awarded funding from Arts Council England, Grants for the Arts, to realise A Ballad for Southwell. A project working in partnership with musician Chris T-T and The National Trust at The Workhouse, Southwell, to produce a contemporary musical work responding to this unique heritage site, and engaging new audiences in its fascinating history and contemporary context. CommonAs are coordinating the project working with Chris T-T, who will collaborate with site volunteers, visitors and wider community groups to produce an original creative audio work. The finished piece will be shared via live performance, digital download, an illustrated ballad sheet and on the Workhouse audio visitor guide.

Work on the project will commence in spring 2016, with the pubic performance and launch of the work produced in autumn 2016.

The project forms part of the National Trust’s, ‘Re-imagining The Workhouse‘ programme

For updates please check Chris’ project blog



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