Shaking hands with ghosts

A weeks residency in Dartington Gallery

February 2010

Shaking hands with ghostsWhen I heard first that Dartington College was closing it’s doors in summer 2010 it seemed like a long way away, then a few months ago I realized it was very soon and I knew that I needed to mark it’s passing in some way, in my way…

This mini residency was about my desire to share with who ever choose to visit, a personal archive, based on my relationship with Dartington spanning 36 years of my life. I wanted to share conversations,present things to look at and reflect on, offer activities to engage in, that came as a response to the past, the present, and the future of this very particular place.

I wanted to shake hands with a small ghost in Aller Park in 1998 during a sites specific 3 month project but she was not having it and just moved our stuff about each night after we had gone instead.

Melanie Thompson

Part 2 – Ongoing Exhibition in Chimmels building Dartington College of Arts March – July 2010

Part 3 – Curated and devised by Melanie Thompson

Shaking hands with ghosts is a 3-day site-specific event.

It will be part of Festival 2010 held at Dartington College June 2010

‘Shaking Hands with Ghosts’ will be an event where we can say goodbye to the estate where the college has been based for 48 years. Every part of the estate holds important traces of people and work made through the history of the college. Every ex student or tutor has memories not only of work made in studios but site specific works created as a direct response to the extraordinary environment of the estate.

Original proposal

Each day from 11.00.00 am to 5.00 pm on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th and 11.00am to 3.00pm Sunday 20th of June 10 artists will present interventions in response to the estate surrounding the college.

Shaking hands with ghostsThe visitors to the work will be given a map with times, places and thoughts each day at the library.

All the artists are either teaching presently at the college or have taught in the past or are ex students.

All the works will reflect the strong multidisciplinary strand practiced at the college over many years but will also speak of each artist own practice, ranging from text-based work, visual art, sound, theatre and dance.

On Sunday in the afternoon the event will finish with a closing action involving the public marking the college leaving Dartington.

Melanie will give a lecture / performance to contextualize project on site.


  • Simon Persighetti
  • Kirsten Lavers
  • Karen Christopher
  • Jerome Fletcher
  • Roger Bourke
  • Rob Gawthrop
  • Melanie Thompson
  • Bob Budd
  • Blind Ditch
  • Sue Palmer and Maritea Daehlin
  • Propeller