Introducing Colour & Poetry: A Symposium V

Introducing Colour & Poetry: A Symposium V
1st March 2023

Colour & Poetry: A Symposium V 21st – 22nd  March 2023 is a cross- and inter-disciplinary two-day virtual event held by the Slade School of Fine Art, in celebration of International Colour DayWorld Poetry Day and World Pigment Day. The symposium hosts a range of speakers representing the arts and humanities, science, and industry, drawing upon knowledge from within and outside of the UCL community, it includes presentations, readings, performance and practical workshops.

In its fifth year, Colour & Poetry: A Symposium, shares many of the ambitions of its inaugural event, bringing distinct but diverse disciplines together as lively material encounters. Then as now, combinations of arts, sciences, technologies, and humanities collectively explore traditions, processes and histories across times and cultures, and evidence the value of materials and language. During this time, we have intensively felt the pandemic, environmental and cultural change and amidst geo-political inertia and stasis we look to creative arts practice and research to alert others of these disturbances and produce new frames of reference. As we seek to address global challenges, different ways of thinking and making are required. UCL’s cross and interdisciplinary approaches present exciting opportunities for innovation. Working in partnership further expands these possibilities. Academic engagement with external partners ranges from individual artists and practitioners to industry, third sectors, and our local and global communities. Working together produces new overlaps, inter-disciplines, and unique opportunities for addressing environmental, social, and cultural concerns. This event does not seek to claim these practices but rather to share them widely and set them to work for societal benefit.

The symposium also marks the third anniversary of World Pigment Day founded by Dr Ruth Siddall, geologist and Jo Volley, artist.  It is part of the Slade School of Fine Art’s Material Research Project & Network and builds upon the traditions of the Colour & Poetry symposia hosted at UCL since 2019.

The celebration of World Pigment Day holds the space for art and science to flourish, debate and challenge. Inspirations ranging from chartreuse and duchess satin, crustaceans and Deleuze to Kodachrome and coding inform creative exchanges of knowledge and ideas. The intermingling of these matters, produce dynamic modes for research and innovation.

As with previous years, there will be a range of speakers sharing and exchanging knowledge. A plurality of voices, disciplines, and perspectives from across departments of the multidisciplinary university and beyond the campus energises the symposium. Contributors present a vibrant exploration of artworks, stories, workshops and experiences through colour, scientific lenses and spoken word. The symposium also celebrates the dynamic potential between pigment, poetics and politics is performed to raise environmental and critical consciousness.

Audiences of the symposia know they will be inspired, enlightened, and challenged by works of art, poetry, and scientific discovery. Emerging dialogues traverse and interweave boundaries as vibrant and colourful encounters to call in the new. This is to underscore the value of the arts and the contribution of creative practice, its methods, and methodologies to critically question and innovate within and beyond its domain.

We warmly thank all of the artists, speakers, panellists and contributors to the symposium.

The symposium is accompanied by an online exhibition of over 200 works exploring the theme of Colour/Print/Poetry curated by Stephanie Nebbia. Lesley Sharpe has produced an edition of 50 digital  prints Print & Poetry V (Palatino), 2023, 29.7cm x 42cm to commemorate the show which can be purchase for £50 plus postage. Enquires to Lesley Sharpe


We thank Stephanie Nebbia for her curation of Colour/Print/Poetry and generous support of the Slade School of Fine Art Material Research Project and its associated events. Stephanie is an artist, curator and the Global TFAC Manager for Colart.

And lastly, very special thanks go to Jo Volley, the inspirational founder and director of the Colour & Poetry: A Symposium. Jo is Slade Deputy Director (Projects), Coordinator of the Material Research Project & Network and Director of the Material Museum at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL where she studied from 1972 to 1977 and has taught since 1986.


Dr Jo Townshend is an artist working in London. Her practice research investigates the possibilities of new materialist methodologies to develop new and different approaches for education leadership. Working at the interface of industry and academia, Jo recently initiated a Partnerships Lab for the new School for Creative & Cultural Industries at UCL East. Before that she was the Principal Partnerships Manager for the Creative Industries, UCL RIGE. She was a Founding Principal of a Studio for the Creative Industries, delivering further education with industry. She is  Chair-Director of London’s Contemporary Visual Arts Network and Co-Founder of UCL Art Futures.


Colour & Poetry: A Symposium V  21st-22nd  March 2023 is free to attend but must be booked thorough Eventbrite.
The full programme and booking information is available on the Slade website.


Follow us on Instagram

Brand Partners