‘COMMON SALT’ seasons Somerset libraries

Common Salt – a ‘show and tell’ performance around a table – begins a national tour this autumn with a chance to see it at three Somerset Libraries – Wells, Frome and Yeovil from this month.

Common Salt explores the colonial, geographical history of England and India taking an expansive and emotional time-travel, from the first Enclosure Act and the start of the East India Company in the 1600s, to 21st century narratives of trade, race and culture.

Common Salt has been specially developed for libraries and museums, and historic places with hidden histories and collections.  A small audience of up to 25 people per show (with two shows in each venue) sits around the table to watch Common Salt.

It activates insights into our shared past, laying out a ‘home museum’ of objects and stories; of the Great Hedge of India, of borders, and collections – all accompanied by original Shruti box laments.

Sue Palmer and Sheila Ghelani, who run the events, undertook months of research into the many threads that go into Common Salt, exploring the interconnectedness between history and global power, artefact and trade, race and memory, and to question the collective amnesia that seems to travel beside history.

This national tour builds on showings of Common Salt in 2018 where it was very well received by audiences, who called it ‘mesmerising’, ‘thought-provoking and poignant’, ‘powerful’ and ‘exquisitely crafted’. One audience member described it ‘as like reading a book in 3d real life’.

Common Salt is at three Somerset Libraries this Autumn, in partnership with Somerset Libraries and Somerset Art Works.

Cllr David Hall, Cabinet Member with responsibility for libraries at Somerset County Council said: “It’s a real coup that such a nationally acclaimed event will be visiting three Somerset libraries this autumn. Funded by Arts Council England, it will be on a national tour through autumn 2019 to spring 2020 to museums, libraries and arts venues across the country, including the Queen’s House Royal Museums Greenwich, and The British Library – and our very own Wells, Yeovil and Frome libraries. If you are interested in attending, get in touch.”

Tickets are available online, with a limited number on sale at the library desk (cash only)

For further information and links to book tickets: http://www.inquilines.com/common-salt



Contact Sue Palmer: mailto:sue@biggerhouse.co.uk

High resolution images available (Photos credited to Paul Samuel White)


For more information and ticket booking links please visit:

www.sheilaghelani.co.uk/commonsalt | www.inquilines.com/common-salt/

  • Supported using public funds by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Developed with support from b-side and One Final Act by Rajni Shah Projects.
  • The artists were inspired by the form of the ‘show and tell’ and the ‘nature table’ in making the performance, which could also be described as an illustrated talk with a difference.

#Common Salt



 Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer both work individually as artists whose work spans performance, audio and moving image. Each artist’s practice centres on using research to make artistic work with detail and resonance, for public places, made for the passer by or the guest; making new work with and for the public is the meeting point between artist and context.

Sheila and Sue first collaborated as part of Sheila’s Rambles with Nature project, developing an experimental collaboration bringing their strengths and interests together through language and object, music and lyric, political and social geography, wit and wryness.

Each brings an incisive intelligence, an ambitious and inquisitive approach to making work, with a wealth of experience in working collaboratively with institutions, places and people. Both artists are skilled and crafty at using charismatic live performance and visual media to present intimate, implicating and gently unfolding connective experiences for audiences, with exquisitely produced visual materials.

Sheila Ghelani has made art work in major public cultural institutions here in the UK and internationally, including installation, performance and digital media art works at Tate Liverpool, Fierce Festival in Birmingham, Wellcome Collection and Southbank Centre in London. She has shown work abroad in Switzerland, Belgium and Australia. Rambles with Nature (2013-2015) funded by ACE, created work exhibited through moving image, live performance and publication.

Sue Palmer has worked for over 30 years using contemporary arts practice to engage people and public space in the UK and internationally. Commissions include ‘The 100 Year Old Band’ in Germany and Finland alongside work for Battersea Arts Centre, B-side festival and many non-arts organisations including the National Trust and the Forestry Commission. Sue has worked in a diversity of contexts using live and digital art forms across the UK and internationally, and was an Associate Lecturer in Performance at Dartington College of Arts.

For more information:

www.sheilaghelani.co.uk/commonsalt | www.inquilines.com/common-salt/