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Moorbank Garden spans 3 hectares and is part of the Town Moor, a large working farm in the centre of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, adjacent to the campus of Newcastle University.

Ten Plants, Ten Printmakers is Susan Priestley’s latest research project bringing  ten artists with ten of Moorbank’s key plant species and their associated research scientists to work together to produce new prints and/or works which engage with printmaking. Whilst the project is being developed in response to the dual arts and science purpose of traditional botanical prints, the focus of any new works will be the visual representation of any research findings and the importance of each plant species in relation to current research areas.

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Copper Engravings 1810 Newcastle’s Literary & Philosophical Society.

Book2Book3book4Botanical Bookpagecover

The  partnership with Northern Print (NP)  has the potential to develop into a residency, exhibition and associated community engagement project.   The NP commission has a number of parallel concerns that I am keen to exploit and explore. For example how key institutions, such as The Lit & Phil influenced the development and emergence of knowledge in the area of botanical research and  the impact on research today. I am interested in drawing out links and threads in the timeline of development and draw attention to these elements.  My work is collaborative in nature, with the cross-fertilisation of ideas having a natural, fluid relationship.  The opportunity to develop a research project in collaboration with the Lit & Phil’s archive material has the potential to enrich and extend my practice and current commission with NP.

Background Moorbank Garden

Plants grown at Moorbank Garden are the focus of research that spans a range of disciplines, such as agriculture, neuroscience and biochemistry. Outside, several areas are used for field experiments and trial plots, including an experimental hay meadow. The glasshouses are also used to support research in photosynthesis and plant physiology, genetics, medicinal plants, bioremediation, hydrology, agronomy and bee behaviour (www.ncl.ac.uk/biology/about/facilities/moorbank)

ButterfliesinstrumentLime treemicroscopeMoorbank1Moorbank2Moorbank3Moorbank4plants pots
wasp nestPlants were first grown here in 1923 and the area under cultivation was extended in 1980 when material was transferred to the site from the late Randle Cooke’s Kilbryde Garden at Corbridge. Outside are formal plantings and collections of rhododendron, potentilla and medicinal plants. The glasshouse complex (0.1 ha) was erected in 1985 and holds collections of tropical and desert plants and many other groups used in teaching. The glasshouses are divided into cool areas (8-10 °C in winter) and warmer areas (min 16 °C in winter).

Research

Plants grown at Moorbank Garden are the focus of research that spans a range of disciplines, such as agriculture, neuroscience and biochemistry. Outside, several areas are used for field experiments and trial plots, including an experimental hay meadow. The glasshouses are also used to support research in photosynthesis and plant physiology, genetics, medicinal plants, bioremediation, hydrology, agronomy and bee behaviour.

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