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UCL Culture Blog


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The Slade Rock Room Takeover – ‘Poison’

By Nick J Booth, on 5 May 2016

For the past three years MA sculpture students from the Slade School of Fine Art have been involved in an experiment creating work influenced by the Rock Room, the Geology Collections and the Earth Science Department here at UCL. Every year the resultant one day pop-up event has been totally different from the last, you can read about previous events here and here. This year marks the fourth instalment of the project, and the last in the Rock Room’s current home.

The Rock Room Slade Takeover will be open to the public between 12.30 – 4pm on Friday 13th May, while special selection of museum objects and books from UCL Special Collections will be on display between 1 – 2 on Wednesday 11th.

Slade - art works in the mineral display.


This year’s theme is ‘poison’, which came about as a result of a separate student led pop-up earlier in the year. For the first time this year’s take over will be preceded by a workshop in the Rock Room on the Wednesday before, with the aim of  bringing together researchers, staff and students around the ‘poison’ theme.

Slade - art work in the Rock Room.


The workshop will feature a perfumer, Nicola Pozzani (Fragrance educator at LCF, UAL and Bern University of the Arts, CH, and bespoke perfumer at Floris, London), and museum objects related to poison from across UCL’s Museums and Collections, including arrows, jelly fish and mercury ore.  For the first time this year UCL Special Collections are also involved, and will be displaying a number of rare books. The workshop is open to all interested parties, and the books and objects will be on public display between 1 – 2 in the Rock Room.

One of the art works from the Slade event in the Rock Room.



Following on from the workshop the takeover day on Friday 13th will run from 12.30 – 4pm, and is open to all. It will feature original work by current Slade staff and students.

Slade - art work in the Rock Room


The idea of the Rock Room takeover is to allow artists to display their work in a different setting, and to experiment with new ideas. The project has changed and evolved as time has gone on, and the only guidance from me is that they don’t damage the room or displays. This has meant that every year the Rock Room has looked very, very different. I’ve chosen the photos on this blog to give an idea of the sort of work that has been displayed over the last few years. This year could look nothing like this.

Slade - art work in the Rock Room.


Books from UCL Special Collections and objects from UCL museums will be on display 1-2 on Wednesday 11th May. The workshop will run from 2 – 4pm.

The 4th Slade Rock Room Takeover will run from 12.30 – 4pm on Friday 13th May.

Nick Booth is one of the curators of the Teaching and Research Collections at UCL.

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