creative conversations with Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust

17 Jan

Welcome to the first episode from my new series of creative conversations. I start this new series by talking to Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust (PQST). They have established a great centre on Portland, a place for discovery and learning that brings together people from different backgrounds through the exchange of skills and knowledge.  I talk to Hannah Sofaer and Paul Crabtree, who are central to Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust.

Right click (or Ctrl click on a Mac) on this link (Creative Conversations with Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust) to download (Save Link As). Or subscribe to our podcast, or subscribe via iTunes to have it automatically appear in your inbox.


Before talking to them I start the show by trying to explain myself a bit; talking about where these shows started from, of how last year I was interested in the coming Olympics to the town and about the large sum of money that would be around to pay for the cultural Olympiad. I was intrigued to hear how local artists might see this; how might it effect their practice; what legacy did they envisage it might leave.

I was surprised at how many other people found these shows at all interesting, as I’d primarily made them for myself and didn’t think many people would want to listen to thirty minutes of artists talking about themselves, but people did! I found them immensely rewarding to do and personally forged many new connections, and was always glad to hear that other people did as well.

I’d always intended to go back and do these shows again, to try and talk to the people and organisations I recorded shows with previously, along with having new conversations with some of my new contacts. This I have now, finally, getting around to doing!

This intro last for 7min and you can skip this part and jump straight to hearing Paul and Hannah. I just felt it was important to establish why I had started these conversations. You won’t hear me so much on the shows following this.

Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust

The centre includes an Arts, Science, Research and Project Space  at the Drill Hall Gallery and Stone Workspace where artists geologists ecologists architects designers, the community and other researchers can  develop, test out and present new work.

PQST are a fascinating organisation with strong links to the communities that live around them. They have working relationships with scientists, with artists and within the higher education sector. If you’d like to read more about their history;

On this show I talk to Hannah Sofaer, PQST creative director, and Paul Crabtree, the trusts secretary, two of the key workers at PQST. They give us an idea of the trust and its early days from Tout Quarry Sculpture Park to renovating the Drill Hall. According to wikipedia there is estimated to be over 70 different sculptures within the quarry. Hannah mentions some of the artists like Phillip King, one of Anthony Caro’s best known students, Antony Gormley, Royal College, Richard Wilson, Shelagh Wakely, Keir Smith, along with lesser known artists.

Hannah was amongst these early artists and she saw the value of what the trust was about and has kept her involvement from being a trustee to now being its creative director. We hear about its structure and the vision of PQST. We briefly talk about their roles within the charity. That though they have an official title, they undertake many different jobs. We hear how it is incredible difficult to raise money to pay staff, it tends to be funding on a project-by-project basis. They list a wide range of funders who have supported the charity over its 30 years.

The trusts has a wide range of connections from those local to them, including people who used to work in Portland quarry industries, to much wider national and international connections. They have had strong educational links right from the start and its through those links that they put on some really interesting shows over the summer of 2012 that we talk about in next weeks episode.

They talk about how they have developed, about how the have researched the spaces made from quarrying the landscape and what might happen to these spaces afterwards. How the Drill hall is an amazing resource that will provide them an opportunity to showcase not just artist work but also those from scientists, geologists and from the local community.

Learning about material and its source of origin. Going back as far as you can go and going forward as far as you can go. “We stand in the middle of time. Here we are in this space in time, human beings have been here for a tiny moment compared to the landscape, which stretches back through the Jurassic sequence.” – Hannah Sofar. As Antony Gormley said right at the beginning of the project; “Human time and the vastness of geological time.”

The trust saved tout quarry from mineral rights and this is were its energy went. The Drill Hall came because they need to house the archive they have collected over its 30 years. It’s been a serious commitment.

To find out more about Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust;

tel: 01305 826736

The Drill Hall, Easton Lane, Portland, Dorset, DT5 1BW



3 Responses to “creative conversations with Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust”


  1. Creative Conversations 2013 - JOE Stevens news - January 18, 2013

    […] To read more about and listen to this show.  […]

  2. Overview of Series 2 of Creative Conversation | creative conversations - June 26, 2013

    […] episode 1 with Portland Sculpture and Quarry TrustI start this new series by talking to Hannah Sofaer and Paul Crabtree, who are central to Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust.… […]

  3. Series 2 ratings | creative conversations - July 3, 2013

    […] The most popular show from series 2 has been my first conversation with Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust. […]

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