Acclaimed artist, Richard Deacon, In Conversation at MK Gallery ahead of new sculpture for Milton Keynes

Richard Deacon, Footfall, 2014. Image courtesy of Richard Deacon.

Richard Deacon, Footfall, 2014. Image courtesy of Richard Deacon.

On the evening of Thursday 17 November there will be a rare opportunity to hear artist and Turner Prize winner Richard Deacon In Conversation at MK Gallery.

The Gallery is working with Deacon on an ambitious public art project, to be installed on a roundabout in Milton Keynes in 2017. During this In Conversation event, Deacon will present an illustrated talk about his practice and share his proposed design for the sculpture.

The commission forms part of MK Gallery’s contribution to MK50, the celebrations to mark the city’s 50th anniversary. The idea comes from an unrealised MK Development Corporation proposal in the 1970s to install a sculpture on every roundabout in Milton Keynes, providing landmarks across the city.

Deacon has a longstanding association with Milton Keynes, having collaborated with Bletchley-based firms, Kemco Fabrications Ltd and Twin Engineering Ltd, for much of his steel fabrication work. Works have been exported from Bletchley around the world, including Japan, New Zealand, Canada and Europe. Working in wide-ranging media, Deacon selects ‘materials, processes and methods that are needed to create something, without knowing what the result will be…. arriving at sculptures unlike anything made by anyone else.’ His highly acclaimed career dates back to the late 1970s and was recently celebrated in the 2014 Tate Britain survey exhibition.

The sculpture, which has been made possible through generous support from a local resident, is planned to be installed on Fox Milne roundabout in Milton Keynes. The free In Conversation event begins at 7pm. With spaces limited, pre-booking is essential HERE.

The sculpture commission builds on the success of previous MK Gallery work in this area of Milton Keynes, including the popular outreach programme, Start the Art: Out and About for families living in the new housing areas of Broughton Gate and Brooklands. Later this year, MK Gallery, in collaboration with Broughton and Milton Keynes Parish Council and Milton Keynes Council is recruiting an artist to work within the local community to create a new public artwork in Middleton. An open call for artists will be advertised in November via, with project delivery set for 2017 to coincide with the MK50 celebrations.
MK50 logo

MK Gallery’s Head of Development and Communications wins a Women Leaders MK Award

Clare Wood

Clare Wood, Head of Development and Communications at MK Gallery

Clare Wood, Head of Development and Communications was recognised on Friday for her contribution to culture and creativity when she won in the Creative Industries category of the Women Leaders MK Awards 2016. In a glittering award ceremony at Hilton Doubletree, hundreds of people from across the Milton Keynes business and community sector celebrated the commitment and achievement of all women in the city.

Now in its second year, the Women Leaders MK Awards successfully delivers its aim of giving women living and working in Milton Keynes empowerment and recognition for their work. The awards are led by Jan Flawn CBE, founder and Chair of neurological care provider PJ Care. As a previous winner of the CBI First Woman of Business Service Award, Jan recognises the value of identifying and celebrating leadership talent and is a tireless supporter of women in business.

Clare was nominated by MK Gallery Director Anthony Spira in relation to Clare’s work leading the fundraising for the forthcoming expansion of MK Gallery. Speaking about the awards, Clare said “It is such a privilege to have these awards running in Milton Keynes. I am so grateful to Jan Flawn and the partners for their commitment to celebrating women’s achievements. Delivering the awards is an enormous undertaking, culminating in the splendid awards ceremony. The competition is very strong and I felt fortunate to be a finalist. To win is just fantastic. It is wonderful to have this recognition and for the excellent creative sector in Milton Keynes to be celebrated. The award is also hugely motivating as MK Gallery takes forward the final phase of fundraising to deliver the multi-million pound MK Gallery expansion.”

All winners of the Women Leaders MK Awards have the opportunity to be nominated for a national CBI First Women Award. Further details about the Women Leaders MK Awards and CBI First Women Awards can be found by visiting and

Awards ceremony

Meet our second Family-in-Residence, Ebn’s family!


Hello. I am Ebn. I am 8 years old and I have been coming to MK Gallery for Start the Art and Saturday Studio since I was 2 years old.

I am not very good at reading and writing because I have Autistic Spectrum Disorder but I have a BIG imagination and I love doing all sorts of art, especially when you can make a mess!

My mummy is Ilundi. She used to do graphics and street dance. My RanRan (grandma) is Dawn. She is a textile artist now but she used to be a teacher and ran a puppet company and a circus. My grandpa is Ian. He takes photos and videos and likes dancing to rock ‘n’ roll. My Uncle is Tymon. He is Timoni the Clown. He performs in a circus and makes costumes and props. My other uncles, Joe and Duncan may come to help if they are not working elsewhere.

Our event is about enjoying making and doing art things together as a family. We would like to show you how we enjoy watching wildlife, make animal costumes, dance like the animals and make and perform puppet shows about them. Please come and enjoy the fun with us.

Alex Evans, a community artist, has been inspiring us and helping us. We have been making preparations by choosing the best animal videos to copy and making sample masks and headdresses. I can’t wait to share them with you. You can take yours home.

We were lucky to be invited to be the Family-in-Residence, probably because we come to Saturday Studio so often but I think any family can ask to be the one.

Our event, called Wild Rumpus, after Maurice Sendak’s story is on:

Sunday 25 September from 1pm until 3pm
Please book online by clicking here.

This event is for children 0 – 11 years and all their family.
£1 per person on the door.
I think its the best £1’s worth in the whole of Milton Keynes!

Find out more about MK Gallery’s Family-in-Residence scheme here.

Families flock to MK Playday

MK Gallery at MK Play Day, August 2016

MK Gallery at MK Play Day, August 2016

MK Gallery at MK Play Day, August 2016


We were delighted to welcome almost 400 children and adults to our stand at MK Playday earlier this month.

On Wednesday 3 August, we continued the fun after our weekly Start the Art session by heading over to nearby Campbell Park for MK Playday, which is an annual free children’s event in Milton Keynes, funded by the MK Community Foundation.

Families worked together with artist Alice Boland-Rhodes to create a beautiful, colourful chime installation.

As you can see from the photos, there was a great turnout and we were excited to deliver creative and messy activities in the wonderful setting of Campbell Park, which the Gallery is very lucky to have on its doorstep.

Take a look at our Flickr account for more photos of the day and keep an eye on our website for forthcoming family events.





MK Gallery at MK Play Day, August 2016

MK Gallery at MK Play Day, August 2016


MK Gallery patrons visit Juergen Teller’s new studio

Juergen Teller Studio, London, April 2016. Photograph by Johan Dehlin. Courtesy 6a architects.

Juergen Teller Studio, London, April 2016. Photograph by Johan Dehlin. Courtesy 6a architects.

The Gallery is working with 6a architects on its major renovation and expansion. Last week, our patrons enjoyed a tour led by 6a’s Tom Emerson of one of their recently completed building projects, photographer Juergen Teller’s studio in North London. MK Gallery patron, Peter Howard, describes the visit:

“The artist and fashion photographer Juergen Teller’s new studio is a bright spot in a nondescript part of west London. A group from MK Gallery was shown around last week by the architect, Tom Emerson of 6a architects, who is of course responsible for designing the major extension and remodelling of MK Gallery. Interestingly, a solo show by Juergen Teller, Don’t Suffer Too Much, took place in MK Gallery in 2003.

The studio occupies a narrow but deep plot in a terrace. Tom explained that it is really three square buildings aligned down the length of the plot, separated by landscaped courtyards. The first contains two storeys of conservation storage and offices, the second is a spacious top-lit studio, while the third is more domestic in character. Glass doors and covered walkways down one side of the site set up a linear route from the entrance, linking all three buildings through the courtyards.

A palate of in-situ concrete, plain concrete blocks, and large windows onto the courtyards gives the scheme an understated dignity, and the neutral tones that Teller required. The lack of finishing plaster and the exposed electrical conduits impart a gritty precision that challenged the builder, but result in a finely crafted place, while remnants of the historic party walls and an approach to landscaping that derives from a study of London bomb sites establish a truly London context.

Having visited this finely designed project, we came away feeling impatient to see the completed new MK Gallery.”

The tour was followed by the UK premiere of Chaises Musicales, Swiss artist and past MK Gallery exhibitor Eric Hattan’s recent performance piece with musician, composer and fellow countryman, Julian Sartorius. The event, which was held at Café OTO in Dalston, was also the UK launch of a new catalogue published by Holzwarth and MK Gallery, Works 1979-2015, surveying Hattan’s career to date. Video footage of the performance will be available to watch on our Media Channel shortly.

MK Gallery patrons generously support the Gallery’s work and in exchange receive access to unique events, tours and activities. If you would like to know more about becoming a patron, please contact Clare Wood on 01908 558 313 or email

Emptying the Gallery

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As we move ever closer to construction, Claire Corrin, MK Gallery’s Exhibitions Organiser, describes the work undertaken over the past couple of weeks to empty the building.

As anyone who has ever moved house will know, you always have much more stuff than you anticipate and after 17 years, MK Gallery is no exception.

The team and I have been extremely busy with clearing the building of workshop and AV equipment, catalogues and library books, all of which have been moved in to a storage unit until next year.

It’s an incredibly exciting time, albeit bittersweet, as light bounces off the empty gallery walls and sounds echo from room to room. We’ve documented the process for this blog post, and we hope that you enjoy these behind-the-scenes photos.

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MK Gallery expansion receives planning consent

MK Gallery expansion

MK Gallery expansion: indicative view of auditorium window. Courtesy 6a architects

With unanimous support, planning consent for the redevelopment and expansion of MK Gallery was granted at this evening’s MK Council Planning Committee meeting, enabling the delivery of this world-class building with award-winning architects, 6a.

Working to create a cultural, artistic and social centre with bar and café; auditorium for film, music and events; and dedicated community facilities, the Gallery will re-open in 2017, as part of the city-wide celebration of its 50th anniversary year.

Tonight’s decision applies to an adapted expansion plan which originally received planning approval in March 2015. The revised plan incorporates improvements including an auditorium making the most of stunning views over Campbell Park in Central Milton Keynes.

Commenting on the decision, MK Gallery’s Director Anthony Spira said:
We are thrilled to receive planning consent. The unanimous support of the application is an endorsement of the detailed design work undertaken over the past three years. We now look forward to getting underway with the build, seeing this world-class gallery come to fruition, and welcoming larger audiences from 2017”.