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Staff Profile

Helen Turner

Associate Head of Art

Staff profile image of Helen Turner

I have a background in Public Art, with a specialism in Textiles and am experienced in arts project management often including community engagement. I have worked on several Arts and Health projects including work with people who use mental health services, care leavers and elderly patients. I have also delivered participatory arts projects in schools and informal educational settings on behalf of the REP theatre in Birmingham, MAC in Birmingham, ExCathedra Choir and others.

I am also a Natural Voice Practitioner and half of the folk duo ‘Union Jill’. As a performer I use ethnographic elements, which explore discourses from a feminist perspective as well as stimulating experimental pedagogy, including attempting to subvert the researcher (performer)-subject power dynamic through audience participation. I am currently interested in exploring the creation of artefact through participatory performance.

Publications and papers


2011 “Forgetting the Machine: Patients' experiences of engaging in artwork while on renal dialysis.” Journal of Applied Arts and Health, 2(1), 57-72. – research assistant

2009 Enquiry Based Learning project ‘Research Realised - Using Creativity to Facilitate Enquiry-Based- Learning in the Community Arts Curriculum.’

2008 C4C Collaborating for Creativity Fellow  -  Manifestations Project with students

2007 ‘Constantine Procession – Collaborative Working’ paper given at NALN conference, Tate Britain

Conference papers

Apr 2009 ‘Nothing But Roaring’, EBL Faculty of Arts YSJ, presenting ‘Research Realised’

Feb 2007 NALN Conference, Tate Britain – presenting ‘the Constantine Project’

Exhibitions and residencies


Mar 2003 ‘What Shall I Wear’ - YOTA project with St. Basil’s Resettlement Centre for young people, exhibited at Houses of Parliament.

May 2001 ‘Dive In’ - exhibited at Hotbath Gallery, Bath as part of ‘The Language of Water’ conference.

Jan 2000 'Dive In' - suspended fabric swimming pool for group exhibition at The New Gallery, Stratford-upon-Avon

January 2000 'DNA' - a rotating sculpture and collaborative work on the 'Urban Forest' both for 'Revolution'  - Birmingham City Council at the ICC- then permanently housed in Birmingham Library


Feb-May 2001 'A Walking Work of Art’, Community Fashion Show, Stroud.                 

June 2000-May 2001 ‘What Shall I Wear?’ - Artist led YOTA funded project with St.. Basil’s Resettlement Center for young people experiencing homelessness.

Oct 1998 - 1999 St Martin in the BullRing – Resident Artist.

Commissions (since 2000)

Jun 2012 Secret Tea Party Commission for North Yorkshire Open Studios

Feb 2006 Newland Health Care Centre - Lead Artist on a new build project.

Jan 2005 Westbourne Health Centre –Creating site specific artwork throughout the building.

Jan 2003 ‘Wythenshaw Forum’ - working with a team of artists for Chrysalis Arts to produce public Art for building refurbishment.  Plus individual textile panels commission

Sept 2001 ‘College Banner' - Chapel installation for York St. John

Oct 2000 'Artsites' - 2 projects at school and community centers to create permanent site-specific installations, working in collaboration with glass artist Heather Marshall

Jan 2000 Millennium project - translucent time capsule with Counden Court Community School (Y.9) –inverted fabric pyramid suspended from balcony.

Schools and community work

Jan – July 2006 Artistic Producer for ‘The Constantine Procession’. York St John University students and graduates leading a Collaborative Arts Summer School in partnership with The Museums Trust, and 4 secondary Schools.

Jan 2002- Sept 03‘ ArtStart’ Arts and Health residency working with care leavers (age 16-21)

May 2002 - 2003 Contexts photography project with Hull and East Yorkshire MIND (Exhibited in Bridlington - April 2003)

Sept- Dec.2001 ‘Floating Riverbank’ scheme designed for workshops in primary schools for installation in REP Theatre Foyer for ‘Wind in the Willows’

Sept- Nov. 2001 ‘Noah’s Flood’ production with ExCathedra performed at Symphony Hall.

Aug 2000 & 2001 Gallery 37, Birmingham City Council run arts project. A four week intensive project, providing ‘apprentice artists’ (disadvantaged young people 16-24) with arts training.  Leading Textiles’ (2001) and ‘Multi Sensory Sculpture' (2000) projects.

Sept 2000 - 2001 Lakefield school, Gloucestershire - new build project with 2 amalgamating primary schools.

Sept 2000 Tiverton Special School:  Planning and delivering a week of visual art activities with children with severe learning difficulties. Work produced toured Europe as part of the ‘European Education Project’.