DIY 13: 2016 - Curious (Leslie Hill & Helen Paris) ‘PRIVATE KEEP OUT!’


A weekend by the sea side exploring the very British obsession with privacy, keeping ourselves to ourselves and keeping each other out

Project summary

At home we are expert in marking out our territory with net curtain or privet hedge barricades.  We take these fortifications further afield, delineating out our territory at the campsite, denoting exactly what’s ours with an elaborate array of caravan awnings and precisely positioned plastic chairs. Even on the public beach we take good care to demarcate the patch of sand we have deemed ‘ours’; clearly outlined by a firmly erected windbreak border, a cordon of canvas deckchairs, the clear-cut oblong of a towel or strategically placed pinwheels. These are lighthearted examples of how we set up our territory, mark out what’s ‘ours’ and keep ourselves in and everyone else out. However when looked at in the current crisis of asylum seekers and immigrants the notion of who is let in and who is kept out, what belongs to whom and what is ‘private’ takes on a very different register.

PRIVATE KEEP OUT! playfully looks at ways we might more successfully break down boundaries, develop more successful relationships with each other and find ways to operate on more communal levels. Over the course of a weekend, PRIVATE KEEP OUT! participants are invited to explore the double-sided issues of privacy and trespass through a series of generative workshop activities and site responses led by Helen Paris and Leslie Hill. We are delighted to be working with Home Live Art as our partner organization for this project.


Participants can be students, graduates, emerging or mid-career artists, who come from any area of artistic practice. All participants should have some experience of making work and be interested in working in a participatory way, prepared to take risks and try new ways of working site specifically.

The application requires a short paragraph about you and your work (200 words), and another that tells us why you are interested in this workshop and how it connects with your own practice either in terms of work that is site specific, politically engaged, or connects with a creative interest in ideas around privacy / access (200 words).

Dates, times and location

PRIVATE KEEP OUT! takes place over the weekend of 27-28 August on the stretch of coast between St Leonard’s and Hastings on the South East coastline  - itself a geographical marker of access granted and denied. Each day starts at 10am with workshops till 1pm, the afternoon given over to site specific performances on ideas around PRIVATE and TRESPASS.  Each evening from 6-7.30pm everyone decamps to a PUBLIC or PRIVATE house for complimentary drinks and snacks and to discuss the performances.

This DIY is supported by Home Live Art

The artist

Helen Paris and Leslie Hill are Curious – a company known for its edgy, humourous interrogations of contemporary culture and politics. Curious has produced over 40 innovative works, for theatre, festivals and landscapes. Curious has presented at venues and festivals such as the RSC and the Pompidou Centre (2011), the Sydney Festival (2013) the Edinburgh Festival (2014) and their work has been supported by funding bodies such as Arts Council England, British Council and Wellcome Trust. Their recent book, Performing Proximity is published by Palgrave Macmillan and they are professors of performance making at Stanford University. Curious is produced by Artsadmin.  

Part of DIY 13: 2016 Project List