Curious House: Unlocking Bishops’ House through creative practice

Past Events


Art Installations Unlock Bishops’ House Sheffield, S8 9BE
Preview: Friday 22 April 6pm – 8pm

Curious House will showcase a series of site-specific artworks responding to Bishops’ House, Sheffield. Built around 1500 the house is the best surviving example of a timber framed building in this area. Artists Lyndall Phelps, Rachel Emily Taylor, Louise Finney, and Caroline Claisse have been invited to respond to the historic space. Through their individual art practices, their work reveals histories that are currently untold and invisible.

Phelps is particularly interested in the physical residues of the last inhabitants of Bishops’ House; the Meersbrook Park gardeners and their families. All evidence of their domestic environment has been stripped away; the only clue to their occupancy lies in old photographs. Using archaeological recording techniques and archival references, Phelps is reintroducing traces of the 1960s wallpaper that once adorned the walls of this extraordinary time capsule.


For TaylorCurious House began with a conversation with Trudy, who spent her childhood in Bishops’ House until her family moved out in 1973. In her piece The Girl Who Lived in Bishops’ House, Taylor has combined fragments, layered voice recordings, augmented by slide projections – or ‘screen’ memories – of family photographs and documentation from Museums Sheffield’s archive.


Finney plays with ideas of traditional museum aesthetics in Bishops’ House, working with experimental text and weaving smaller, hidden narratives through signage that is typically used to aid a general understanding of a particular period of time. Challenging this approach to reading history, Finney’s work points towards the much more subjective, personal, and associative way we encounter the past.


Claisse is interested in the volunteers who work at the house, their expertise and role in engaging visitors with heritage. By acting as a facilitator and using participatory methods, Claisse is developing four mini-exhibitions with the volunteers to display their own favourite story about the house. Contained in drawers, the four exhibits will engage visitors through touch and sound, and a set of objects will be used as vehicles to tell each story.

Updates on the artists’ progress and further information on the project will be posted on the exhibition website The exhibition is part of the Art Sheffield 2016 Parallel Programme and is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. To find out more about the Arts Council visit

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Posted on 4th April 2016

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