Rosa Ainley

Rosa Ainley

Rosa Ainley is a text-based artist, a writer and editor on architecture, space and buildings. She works across text, photography and audio as a means of creating and exploring spaces – residential, industrial, urban, local – and how people use or would like to use them. Her focus on shifting patterns of community/ites and notions of home and attachment to place involves creating spaces – physical, digital, on the page, on the wall – for the expression of voices usually muted or unheard in relation to redevelopment at all scales.

Her Phd-by-practice in Architecture ‘Writing Alexandra Palace: Plurivocity as a method of cultural recovery of buildings’ (RCA, 2016; AHRC-funded), an exploration of renewal through writing, focused on diverse groups of users of the building and their role as creators of spaces in and around it, intertwined with a cultural portrait of its uses and users, and of the social and political history of the country during its lifespan. The interplay between academic and artistic practice builds in different ways on ideas about writing the building and disruptive narratives around regeneration.

Projects are often focused on a particular space or place or building and its users: Lightboxes & Lettering (2018–20), a Heritage Lottery-funded project with Rendezvous Projects, on the experiences of people in the pre-digital printing industry in east London, including exhibitions at SPACE and Nunnery galleries, a series of oral history interviews for the London Metropolitan Archive, a book and workshops on printing and writing. Building 519 (2014), a publication and audio installation commissioned by Whitstable Biennale, focusing on the community of redundant workers from the closed Pfizer pharmaceutical complex at Sandwich. Leysdown Rose-tinted (2009–11), an arts regeneration public realm improvement project on the Isle of Sheppey where, together with muf architecture/art, as project leader, she worked with local arts, religious and business groups, schools, the WI and social groups. Outputs ranged from a rose garden, signage, street lighting, exhibitions, a postcard project and a community writing website. A Trick of the Light (2005), a digital writer-in-residence commission with architexts/Southeast Arts on residents’ and staff reactions to a newbuild performance space at Orchard House, a Rudolf Steiner residential home for young adults with learning difficulties.

She is the sub-editor at Architectural Review and a member of the Architecture and Culture editorial board, and currently teaching at the Royal College of Art and University of Hertfordshire. She is a director of Rendezvous Projects, a collective of artists working on projects on the social history of places. She has received awards and funding from AHRC, Arts Council, CABE, RIBA and Royal Society for Public Health.

Instagram @rosaainley
Twitter @rosaa

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