Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot (28 May 1888 – 22 January 1947)

‘Let’s talk about Vivienne’
An Artist Led Walk by Elspeth Penfold with Turner Contemporary
‘Walking the Wasteland’ Research Group
Saturday March 11th 2017 11.00 a.m. – 1.30 p.m.
Meet: Turner Contemporary
Finish: Dreamland Margate

‘Let’s talk about Vivienne’ is an artist led walk by Elspeth Penfold with the Turner Contemporary ‘Walking with the Waste Land’ research group. As part of International Women’s Day celebrations in March 2017 we will openly and collaboratively celebrate Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot’s influence in the writing of the Waste Land with sited readings and interventions along the walk and reflect on the contribution of the ‘ghost women’ in TS Eliot’s writing. Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot has been seen variously as a femme fatale who enticed Eliot into marriage or his muse without whom some of his most important work would never have been written.



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Thread and Word – an introduction.
The walk is part of a programme of events organised at Espacio Gallery as part of the Threads exhibition curated by the Artists’ Pool. This exhibition brings together artists from varied creative practices, backgrounds, cultures and countries to explore the threads that connect us through our experiences, humanity, gender, friendship and relationship.

With this in mind I have invited artists, writers, friends, performers and walkers, to celebrate the threads that bring us together which will be reflected in the readings, interventions and performances as we walk. The route I have chosen is from the Espacio gallery to the site of Sculpture in the City where we can reflect on the achievements of the two women sculptors from different backgrounds, Amy Lucas (English) and Lizzie Sanchez (Peruvian) whose work is represented amongst the public artworks. Lizzie Sanchez’s work “cadenetas” (paper chains) is particularly evocative of the sentiment guiding this walk.

The walk is also an ongoing development of the work I have been undertaking for the last eighteen months as a part of the A Journey with The Waste Land Research group at the Turner Contemporary in Margate. It brings together several strands of my art practice. Cecilia Vicuña is a Chilean female artist whose art is a recurring influence in my work. I chose her poem for this walk as it is very much in the style of a stream of consciousness which has become widely known in Latin American literature as Magical Realism and was influenced by TS Eliot’s writing of The Waste Land. The words of Thread and Word also seems to be very connected with the ideas and ambitions of the exhibition at Espacio as well as my own work documenting the experience gained through walking by making knots in ropes.

It is my intention to explore further these connections through the walk and sited readings chosen by members of the walking with The Waste Land research group. I will be asking participants to use ropes to document the walking experience as recorded in my work Quipu, which has been selected for the exhibition at Espacio. More about this and my walking practice can be found on my blog: http://elspethpenfold.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/fragments-and-thoughts-explanation-and_14.html

I look forward to collaborating with the artists who have accepted my invitation and sharing their work as a part of this walk, celebrating the threads that bring us together. I hope that the walk will explore a common bond and provide us with new opportunities and experiences to develop our own art practices.


The walk is part of a program of events organised at Espacio Gallery as part of the Threads exhibition curated by the Artists Pool. I have had work selected for the exhibition, titled Quipu. This piece documents one of the walks I organised in Margate for the ‘Writing Buidlings’ symposium at the University of Kent in July 2016. So this walk is an ongoing development of the work we have been undertaking as a part of A journey with The Waste Land for over a year now. Also Cecilia Vicuña’s poetry, is very much in the style of a stream of consciousness as first used by TS Eliot. I thought it would be fun to explore these connection and more as we walk.