August 2018

Our exhibition, ‘Pioneer‘, is now open in Orchard Gallery at Gunby Estate Hall and Gardens.

The installation, created with the help of other artists and the volunteers and staff of Gunby, for Orchard Gallery presents a contemporary reflection on the life of the inspirational Emily Massingberd. A leading light in the 19th-century women’s movement, Emily Massingberd founded the Pioneer Club, one of the earliest and most influential clubs for women, and campaigned ardently for the issues she believed in, which included her support for the temperance movement. She was one of the first women to run for public office, narrowly missing a seat in local government. Alongside her pursuit of social change she organised regular musical recitals, dramatic readings and concerts.

Each of the items in the gallery has been created in response to a different aspect of Emily’s life. However it is the intention that the installation be experienced as a single work, one which aims to capture, with a contemporary playful twist, just some of the spirit of this remarkable woman.

We would like to thank to Chris Twigg of Fine Modern Furniture, Julia Bickerstaff , David Dales, Laurence and Lynsey of Blocktails, and Andrew Barber and the volunteers and staff at Gunby for creating works for the installation and sharing their research.

The show is open until 31 August 2018.


June 2018

We are delighted to have a work created during our current project, Pioneer, with Gunby Estate, Hall and Gardens featured in In Another Place, a collaboration between the Contemporary Visual Arts Network East Midlands and ten venues bringing new art to new audiences.

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.

Our image relates to our current project responding to the life of Gunby heiress and 19th-century political activist Emily Massingberd. It is inspired by Emily’s founding of the Pioneer Club, one of the first and most influential women’s clubs, her capacity for subversion and the Gunby legend of her lecturing her tenantry on the evils of drink from a boat moored on the estate’s ice house pond.


You can see it on the corner of Glasshouse Street and Perth Street in Nottingham until 1 July 2018.

The exhibition, Pioneer, will be at Orchard Gallery, Gunby Hall, from 1 – 31 August 2018.



February 2018

For our latest project we are exploring the life of the inspirational Emily 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


August 2017

After a busy couple of days installing the culmination of our latest partnership project, Michael Sanders’ exhibition ‘Us, A Gunby Estate Domesday’ can now be seen at in Orchard Gallery at Gunby Hall & Gardens. The exhibition runs until 31 August 2017.

Michael Sanders' 'Us, A Gunby Estate Domesday', exhibition image

Michael Sanders’ ‘Us, A Gunby Estate Domesday’,

And here’s how we installed the show:

‘Us, A Gunby Estate Domesday’, an exhibition by Michael Sanders from CommonAs on Vimeo.


July 2017

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

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Central to the exhibition will be a series of metal objects forming a ‘model village’, representing some of the properties of the wider estate and offering an alternative perspective on Gunby Estate and its story. The model will form part of an installation containing Michael’s observational drawings; photographs of current tenants; segments of aural testimony and genealogical charts mapping available information on past residents. Together they will surround the visitor in a visualisation of an unmapped history.

April 2017

We are delighted to have received funding from the National Lottery via Arts Council England for our latest collaborative project, ‘Us, A Gunby Estate Domesday’, with Michael Sanders and the National Trust at Gunby Estate, Hall and Gardens.

During spring and summer 2017 artist Michael Sanders, supported by CommonAs, will work with the members of 28 households living in tenanted properties in the grounds of Gunby Estate, Hall and Gardens, to create a modern day ‘Domesday’, or landscape survey, of the estate, revealing the untold stories of the estate cottages, working farms, park and woodland. Research for the project will include gathering audio testimony from tenants and creating photographic portraits. It will culminate in an installation and exhibition in the Orchard Gallery at Gunby Hall.

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November 2016

‘A Ballad for Southwell’ works live 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!

October 2016

Chris T-T live at The Workhouse, 14 October 2016


On 14 October Chris will perform for the first time the completed works from his Creative Fellowship, live in the historic Committee Room of the Workhouse, Southwell.  Due to the intimate space places are strictly limited and must be booked in advance. To book online go to

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August – September 2016

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FIRST performance ‘A Ballad for Southwell’ by Chris T-T
Heritage Open Day, 10 September 2016, The Workhouse, Southwell,

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.

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

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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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