6 October – 26 November 2017

A mark, object, or other indication of the existence or passing of something.

Humans have always sought to leave their mark in time and have marked transitions between life and death. We were interested in both the temporary and permanent physical traces humans leave as they build up over our lives and that live on after our death. This project opened up conversation about how we respond to death, engage with life as a result of death, and the spiritual and faith dialogues connected to it.

The exhibition commenced with two installed works: Matt Antoniak’s charcoal drawings and Jade Mallabone’s interactive drawing device. The exhibition was added to over its duration as a series of events took place. This was a slow development over the two months of the project’s duration as we think about and reflect upon these themes.

During the project there was a series of events and workshops to allow visitors to be involved in, including: discussion evenings about how we process loss; two drawing workshops led by artist Theresa Poulton; a floral tributes workshop; a Day of the Dead celebration led by Erika Servin; a Death Cafe and a Traces project Funeral and Wake to close.

traces flyer inside


Pre-exhibition Discussion Grief – as part of Mixing Bowl | Tuesday 26 September, 6.30 – 8.30pm | Holy Biscuit

How does our culture grieve? How would you draw grief? An evening thinking about how our culture grieves and reflecting on our own experiences.

Drawing Workshop with artist Theresa Poulton| Wednesday 4 and 11 October, 1 – 3pm | 4 – Forum Cafe | 11 – Holy Biscuit

Participants brought a pair of shoes along that held significant memories. Theresa lead us in discussions and drawing activities about these memories.

Exhibition | 6 October – 26 November | Tue-Fri 11am – 4pm, Sat 1-4pm

Matt Antoniak’s striking charcoal drawings of roadside flower tributes and Jade Mallabone’s interactive investigations of sounds as traces. Other interactive elements, including a memorial activity and the results of the drawing workshops with Theresa Poulton, were also on display.

Floral Tributes Workshop |Wednesday 18 October, drop in anytime between 10am – 1pm | Forum Cafe

How would you personally like to be commemorated and remembered? A drop-in workshop to discuss how we commemorate a life and would like our own personalised floral tributes to look. A wreath design based on some of these conversations was then made by the SAW team.

Experiencing Grief – as part of Mixing Bowl |Tuesday 24 October, 6.30 – 8.30pm | Holy Biscuit

Huw Evans, a friend of the Holy Biscuit and creative writer, shared with us a work-in-progress piece of theatre reflecting on his recent experiences of being diagnosed with terminal cancer, as we explored together what it means to confront our own mortality. Led by Becky Allon-Smith (one of the Mixing Bowl team).

Day of the Dead / Dia de Muertos |Tuesday 31 October, 6 – 8pm | Holy Biscuit

Erika Servin, who is originally from Mexico, lead us in an evening fiesta to celebrate those who have died. This is an occasion based on Mexican traditions to pass on the legacy of those you’ve loved and to remember that those dead are always with you as long as you remember them. Erika asked that visitors brought a photograph of their lost loved ones. There was Mexican food, music and plenty of reminiscing.

Death Cafe | Friday 10 November, 7 – 9pm | Holy Biscuit

At a Death Cafe people drink tea, eat cake and discuss death.  Death Cafe is an international movement (see with an aim to increase awareness of death to help people make the most of their (finite) lives. Reflections on the evening and our discussions about death were recorded on paper plates which were then added to the growing exhibition.

Traces Funeral and Wake – as part of Mixing Bowl |Tuesday 28 November, 6.30 – 8.30pm| Holy Biscuit

How do we live in the light of the inevitability of our own mortality? We commemorated the life of Traces and thought about how we can go forward to live in the light of the conversations had during this project. Led by Andii Bowsher (co-ordinating faith advisor and Anglican Chaplain, Northumbria University).

If you found any of the topics in this exhibition difficult there was someone to talk with in the gallery every Wednesday from 2-4pm.

This project is presented in association with DRAWING. DRAWING is a programme of exhibitions and events asking the question ‘Does Drawing Matter?’ Running from 1 November – 31 December 2017 the programme engaged, inspired and enabled audiences to participate in drawing while supporting artists and organisations across all levels of practice in the presentation of drawing. For more information please contact