Eleanor Stevens Socially Engaged Events Artist, Writer, Researcher

Eleanor (Elly) Stevens is a socially engaged, relational artist, writer and researcher. Elly's research is concerned with discovering and making known the intricate connections between people, wildlife and place, which otherwise may remain untold. She uses archive resources alongside participatory community events to draw together a body of information which characterises the interconnections between people and place, businesses, surrounding historical and architectural legacies, and our wider ecological habitat.

Elly utilises a variety of media, from storytelling and on-site events to sound pieces and written text in order to create an interplay which links people imaginatively with, and fosters a wider understanding of their place in the world they call home. She involves people as co-creators, creating open spaces where connections can be made, and noting how everyone's stories are part of a body of interconnected narratives, rooted in a place. She writes factual and storied pieces from her research, which she brings to the locality to be shared. The work aims to reveal a richness and depth of lived and layered histories within a place, and the wealth of that which is local.

After completing a BA in Technical Arts and Special Effects for Theatre at Wimbledon School of Art in 2006, Elly went on to work as arts facilitator for the Rainbow Street Girls School in Loreto House Convent, Kolkata India. It was here that the new experience of India and the journey to trace her family lineage combined, as this was where great aunt Vida had been a student in the 1920's, and later ordained as a nun, taught as Principal for the school in the 1970's and 80's. During this journey Elly was impressed as she traced the journey of her Kolkata born grandmother Rona, and two sisters, Vida and Yden. She became aware of the implicit nature and influence of this story in her own life.

Elly volunteered in a remote district of Nepalas support visitor and journalist working alongside a German physiotherapist and local health professionals, caring for children with Cerebral Palsy. Here Elly was able to begin assimilating the diverse customs and beliefs all all around her, and begin to make sense of the multitudinous impressions that were pouring in. Filled with a reverence for and celebration of the multifaceted appearances of life in India's abundance of local customs, Elly has carried with her an understanding that ritual and celebration kindle respect and make sacred the local culture within the natural world.

On arriving back in the UK in 2008 Elly set up a creative partnership EL&ABE with Anna Garforth, creating site specific growing text - coined 'moss graffiti' (see photos) - and garden installations. Elly trained in Permaculture Design with Naturewise London and also worked as Sustainability Officer for the Arcola (Pioneering Boris Johnson's 'Green Theaters' initiative) to facilitate the construction of a community rooftop garden. She was invited to become Green Ambassador for Hackney City Farm, representing the farm and it's ethos, facilitating courses, events and workshops. She began to write poetry and stories stimulated by her journey, which she later performed at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden and other venues.

Elly also helped devise and facilitate the first events for the anti food waste campaign, which later grew to become the organisation This Is Rubbish, recently awarded the Welsh People's Millions award. She was a member of the Seeds of No-tree Camp at the Nowhere gathering, a month long experiment in creative freedom, participation, cash-free community, conceived, built, experienced and returned to nothing by all participants, set in the deserts of Zargotha, Spain.

Making the decision in 2009 to step back from her creative practice in London, to explore and develop new creative ideas, Elly joined the Masters course in Arts and Ecology at Dartington College of Arts, having been awarded funding from the AHRC, she moved to the beautiful South West, where she has continued her work since.

Elly is currently working on a commission for Torbay Council and Ginkgo Projects. Having gathered compelling and thought provoking narratives from local people, she has assembled a website of these 'Berthing Tales' of the Harbour, and is now working with artist and metalworker Caren Hartley who will produce artworks which will be permanently sited on the harbour.

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Berthing Tales: Tracing the Stories of Torquay Harbour / <span itemprop="startDate" content="2011-02-25T00:00:00Z">Fri 25</span> to <span  itemprop="endDate" content="2011-02-26T00:00:00Z">Sat 26 Feb 2011</span> <span>(2 days)</span>Berthing Tales: Tracing the Stories of Torquay Harbour / Fri 25 to Sat 26 Feb 2011 (2 days)

Come celebrate Torquay Harbour's rich ways of life, and share your stories of the place: The harbour has developed rapidly over the last 250 years. The stories of peoples lives remain in traces, as the patina on railing...