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Helen Petts



helen petts, artist film-maker www.helenpetts.com

makes moving image and sound installations exploring landscape, history, sound and chance events. often works in collaboraton with experimental musicians. lives and works in london and north yorkshire.



1978 B.A. Humanities. Middlesex Polytechnic

1984 Post-graduate Diploma in Film Studies. University of Westminster

2002 B.A. Fine Art and Contemporary Critical Theory, Goldsmith's College, University of London

2004 M.A. Fine Art, Middlesex University


solo exhibitions

2013 Cafe Oto Project Space, London. 'Solo Soprano' - a portrait of Lol Coxhill, installation with 5.1 sound.

'Throw Them Up and Let Them Sing' - film installation exploring Kurt Schwitters landscapes and sounds toured to -

2013 Trøndelag Centre for Contemporary Art, Trondheim. Co-promoted by Ny Musikk.

2012 Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal (with Schwitters collection.)

2012 Hatton Gallery, Newcastle. (with Schwitters' Merzbarn Wall.)


selected group exhibitions, film screenings and festivals

2015 Stephen Lawrence Gallery London. Drawing Towards Sound. 

2014 Whitechapel Gallery. The Voice and the Lens.

2013 Tate Britain. 'Throw Them Up and Let Them Sing' during Schwitters in Britain exhibition.

Møre and Romsdal Art Centre, Molde, Norway.

'Solo Soprano' - Full of Noises Festival (commission), TUSK Festival, Newcastle,

London Jazz Festival and Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra Festival at CCA-Glasgow.

2012 'Throw Them Up and Let Them Sing', Royal Festival Hall, London.

'Three Films with Phil Minton', Zwei Tage Zeitung Festival, Zurich.

Icon Gallery, Birmingham. The Voice and the Lens.

2010 'TAPS - Improvisations with Paul Burwell' curated by Anne Bean, Richard Wilson, Robin Klassnik.

The Song Has No End, Wysing Arts Centre, curated by Andy Holden.

Hannover Jazz Week whole evening programme of my films with musicians.

2009 'Three Films with Phil Minton', Il Gesto del Suono Music Film Festival in Bolzano, Italy.


artist residencies

2013 Octopus Collective Barrow in Furness, made Solo Soprano for F.O.N. Festival.

Aldeburgh Music research residency with composer Colin Riley.

2009 Kathmandu University Music Department, Bhaktapur Nepal. Worked with ethno-musicologists and street musicians.


awards, prizes, fellowships

2013 Arts Council of England Grants for the Arts award for 'Solo Soprano.'

2011 Arts Council/Cultural Olympiad commission 'Throw Them Up and Let Them Sing'

2004 Arts Admin Digital Artist’s Fellowship

1998 Arts Council/BBC Dance for the Camera Award for film 'Man on Point' (with Mark Baldwin)

1996 Arts Council of England artist film award for 'Poleaxed'.

1986 Turin Youth Film Festival, Best Foreign Video for ‘MsTaken Identity’ (with Karen Alexander)



Has made many artist film collaborations with musicians Max Eastley, Gino Robair, Phil Minton,

Roger Turner, Ute Wassermann, Okkyung Lee, John Russell, for her curated Youtube channel


Co-promoter of Mopomoso free improvised music concerts with guitarist John Russell.

As TV producer/director has made arts documentaries for BBC and Channel 4 (separate CV).



David Briers, Art Monthly October 2012. Clive Bell, The Wire August 2010. Julian Cowley,

Subradar 2013. Stuart Broomer, Point of Departure, Spring 2012. Julia Knight, essay “Video” in

“Feminist Visual Culture” eds. Fiona Carson and Clare Pajaczkowka. Routledge 2001.

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