It started with a film ...

by Susan Merrick, artist in residence with FiLiA

'In 2016 Susan Merrick worked with a group of Artists at the National Archives to respond to some of the archives official documents on mental health. The National Archives will be touring the Artist responses to these documents throughout Autumn and Winter 2016/2017. Susan’s work is a film of her performance ‘Statements in Semaphore’ that she produced in May 2016. The ephemeral quality of performance is perhaps reflected in the final exhibition production. Limited to transportable panels the exhibition will simply show archival elements of the performance, a link to the film, and the dress that the Artist wore. The responses to the archives become an archive themselves, even within their first exhibition.’

This residency and subsequent performance was the starting point for Susan’s interest in dialogue to consider research around women’s rights, and became the basis of this project Statements in Semaphore in her role as FiLiA Artist in Residence 2017.

It is for this role as resident artist across 2017 that Susan has public funding from Arts Council England for. 

‘Art has a unique ability to communicate the diversity of women’s experiences, and to engage the public with feminism in an accessible way.’ FiLiA 2016

Over 2017 I will be FiLiA Artist in Resident (part-time). Funded in part by Arts Council England I will work across the year to develop work in response to the issues touched upon by FiLiA as an organisation.


'Statements in Semaphore is the title project that I am running through 2017 as my role ‘Artist in Residence’ with FiLiA. The project will take two parts, firstly producing a series of art workshops for women in my local area, and secondly developing a series of my own art work that will be a commentary to and made in response to the year long project. The work produced by the women participants and myself will then be exhibited in London and locally at the end of 2017. My work throughout the year will also be performed or exhibited at various national and potentially international events.'


'I am passionate about my Art practice being something that engages people and makes conversations happen, but not just with Artists. I want to engage with people who do not normally take part in the Art world, who are not academics and I want that engagement to be my practice.  This project is about just that and it is why I wanted to work with the charity FiLiA over 2017, so instead of being on my own, I will be engaging with other groups of women and my work will come from that.  I will begin by providing 12 workshops for groups of women in my local community who are supported by Women in Prison and You Trust Hampshire. These workshops will offer the opportunity for the women to create their own art work alongside and with the support of the professional artists. Together we will make a space that we create in but also that allows dialogue. Of issues relating to all of us as women in our own circumstances.'

To see details of this exciting project please visit HERE

Susan will be exhibiting some of this work at the FiLiA conference on the 14th-15th October.
For more of Susan's other work please visit