The Origin: Collaboration between Maria Celina Val & United Response

The Origin: Collaboration between Maria Celina Val & United Response

2  July 2021
Stanley Picker Gallery

Following a series of successful online workshops, Stanley Picker Gallery were delighted to meet United Response in person for two workshops inspired by The Origin, one taking place at the Gallery, and the second of the boat. 

United Response visited in two groups, the Art Club and their Wellbeing group, and for many, this was their first venture out with others post-lockdown. In their first workshop the groups visited the exhibition and had the opportunity to try on some of The Origin costumes, imagining each other as inhabitants of the fictional island community – everyone looked great! Later led by Gallery Assistant and poet, Maria Celina Val, they took part in a special creative writing exercise. 

For their second visit, the groups explored inside and outside of the boat, pointing out landmarks and considering what it would be like to live on the water. They had the opportunity to pose some of these questions and ideas to skipper Man Somerlinck, such as top deck disco with decks! They completed their compasses, setting the needles and choosing the words that would guide their directions: north, south, east, and west before having lunch in the sunshine. (photos)

Stanley Picker Gallery look forward to continuing our partnership with United Response and are excited to have been invited for a special Makaton class during the summer, to further enhance our conversations with the members. 

Maria Celina Val is Stanley Picker Gallery Assistant, KSA MFA graduate, and member of Kingston Writers’ Centre. On 10 June she took part in a special performance by KWC in which she presented a piece composed especially for The Origin.

United Response is committed to making life better for people with disabilities. They are a charity that supports people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs, at home and in the community. Find out more by visiting their website

Ben Judd’s Stanley Picker Fellowship project The Origin reflects on Britain’s island status, both literal and metaphorical, and how islands shape the communities that live there. The Origin brings together the communities surrounding the Stanley Picker Gallery – from Kingston University students and academics to local networks, charities and residents – and asks them to imagine a classless, stateless, humane society based on common ownership. A temporary community, an experiment in living, a fictional island group. This collaborative project culminated this summer with an installation at the Gallery, a boat on the River Thames and a series of performances, workshops and events – a rehearsal for an alternative future.