Invitation to Rest

Concerned with public spaces, how we view them, how we behave in them, how we see the world when we are in them.  Where do we rest in a busy shopping street?  Are we allowed to lie down?  What is stopping us?  Where can we meet? Where can we rest?   How do we regard those who do?  Is anyone (self-) excluded in our current way of organising and designing public space?  Can this change?


bus stop bench

bus stop bench

cornmarket bench people past

Cornmarket bench Oxford









How might we more creatively and inclusively shape our public spaces?  What structures, designs, spaces or circumstances would make it easier to rest?


Time for yourself.  Time with others.  Free to rest.

A series of surreal and thought provoking stagings, images and interventions exploring our attitudes to the act of lying down or resting in public spaces. 


lyingdown yellow suitsDSC_6476 (copy)

lyingdown Frideswell0DSC_6411 (copy)LyingdownCornmarket0DSC_6517 (copy)

Resting Places Street experiment.  July 2016.

Photos: Peter Jones





If you are interested in these questions and are a performer, researcher, landscape/public furniture designer, planning officer, social activist, anthropologist, artist, or none of the former and would like to get involved please contact me.




The Beauty of rest

‘Resting Places’ A collaboration with Dancer: Rachel Gildea and Photographer: Josh Tomalin. Supported by ‘Playground’  . 

Photographs were exhibited  at ‘Playground on Fire’ June 25th-27th 2015 at The Old Firestation Oxford.

photo:Josh Tomalin

Resting places project June2015

photo: Josh Tomalin

Resting places project June 2015

photo: Josh Tomalin

Resting places project June2015



‘Resting Places’ at the OFS gallery June 2015 comprised an Exhibition, performance, talk and event.

Four beautiful photographs suspended over a bed of grass on which the audience were invited to lie down to view the images.  ‘PLEASE keep off your feet LIE DOWN’.  A list of questions about lying down in public.  An information and interactive area for suggestions and thoughts of places to rest in the city centre.

On the Friday a talk on ‘The Beauty of rest’  and a mini performance with Rachel Gildea followed by a ‘lie-in’ .

Made possible by Skyrocket scheme of Playground.  I now have a much better idea of what is involved in setting up an exhibition as opposed to a live dance performance.  More shoots are planned and the next venture will be the staging of some live street events and making contact with designers, planners and public.

I have discovered I am not alone in my quest to make our city spaces more inclusive, restful and sociable.  My aim is to make rest and spending time ‘doing nothing’ in public more socially acceptable and to provoke more creativity in the way our public spaces are designed and occupied.  What is offensive about lying down in public?  Looking forward to having fun asking the question.


_PRO9633 Rachel lie hedge Test shoot.  Beginning collaboration with Rachel Gildea (dancer) and Josh Tomalin (photographer).

On a cold day in April 2015

Photo Josh Tomalin



rachel lie on







Resting in public experiment 2014


A couple of interesting looking organisations!

Theatrum Mundi is a professional network of urbanists and artists in different cities and offers a forum for cross-disciplinary discussion about cultural and public space in the city.  The collective consists of academics, architects, planners, performing and visual artists, with the aim to stimulate debate around ways to revitalise urban culture.

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Our pioneering Placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs










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