I live and work between Shoreditch in London, our ateliers in France and in the beautiful Tamar Valley, Cornwall UK. For over 20 years, I have balanced my own studio practice with the privilege of working with students of all ages, running residencies which help to devise and expand the creative curriculum.
I specialise in assisting young people to lead with implementing improvements and change within their organisations.
Initially, I began working with young people at the now famous Stantonbury Campus in Milton Keynes in 1979, whilst also working as a member of the cast with Roy Nevitt and Roger Kitchen's ambitious community theatre productions. These large scale musical and theatrical productions were successful in weaving narratives between the incoming diverse communities from Glasgow and London suburbs in the new town, with long term residents from nearby farming villages.
This fired my lifelong passion for issues based and socially engaged arts.
Since then I have devised and performed with Rational Theatre Company at Hull Truck, The Place London, Battersea Arts Centre, Cardiff Arts Lab, The Arnolfini Bristol, and worked on socially engaged residencies alongside Birmingham Royal Ballet, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Eden Project Cornwall, Education Action Zone Plymouth, The Photographers Gallery London, and for Tate exchange with Plymouth College of Art.
My studio work is centred in installation and fine art printmaking. In 2014 I won the Design Factory Award at the Design Museum London, for digital textile designs pictured on this page. In the same year was selected by the Victoria and Albert Museum/Morley Gallery to show fine art print work in the "Inspired By" Exhibition.
I am presently engaged in a new project developing and running The Ministry of Making, a new Creative Hub and Community Interest Company, which opened this year to offer studios, workshops and a maker-space between Cornwall and France, to practitioners, artist/educators and craftspeople.
Jo Tyler works with soundscape, light, extended layers of print and transparent glass vessels to describe current global states of instability and flux.
Disembodied voices played within this immersive experience give a sense of intimacy with others. Like pillow talk, they offer a moment where we can still our own concerns, and see into another person’s world.
Sometimes the work is sombre, and shadowy; sometimes playful and unexpectedly adventurous, but always it is compelling, hypnotic and passionately rooted in the redemption of human connection.
Jo works to create her blown glass vessel designs with master glass technician, Lawrence West. She then fills these simple transparent vessels with a moving assortment of evocative substances; ice and oil drip onto a bed of red ochre, drawing on the intelligence of the body and inviting us to respond with every cell to pressing environmental concerns.
Jo’s fine art print work, using transparent layers of extended ink, handprinted chine colle and delicate Japanese handmade washi paper, offer insight into the design processes that inform the glass installations.
The testbed video for this installation can be seen at
The “Temporary Craft” process takes place within three distinct stages: sourcing, designing and deconstructing, during which participants are encouraged to reframe their role as spectator in increasingly active terms, as “witness or beholder” to the act of making.There are fluid routes through the activities, and people are able to drop in to create the design, step back in regard, or retreat to gather more supplies at any time during the life of the event.The lead artist chooses to deliberately apply the humblest and most accessible of materials: an old carpet or rug is provided on which to construct the design.Bowls are made available which participants use to gather materials from the immediate locale. It is made clear that collected materials must be biodegradable and gathered in silence with awareness for environmental concerns. This fosters an atmosphere of care and watchfulness, which runs through the whole event.
Boundaries between professional and amateur are intentionally bridged from the outset. The artist appears as a cultivator to support this process. During the first hour of the event, beach sand, flower petals, left over desiccated oranges, and earth gathered by participants begin to arrive at the site, to be incorporated onto the main design.
People add to the installation freely, patterns evolve and expand, and people become absorbed in designing, step back to witness the whole picture, or exit to collect new materials.
As the event comes to completion, the artist reappears to initiate the deconstruction. Participants take part knowing that the piece will inevitably be destroyed and, in an ideal context, they, themselves, will carry out this deconstruction. Participants are requested to step back and observe how their own part in the design sits alongside patterns that have been designed by others. They are able to witness that multiple and unlegislated contributions can result in a design that holds unique aesthetic value.
At this point people will often want to photograph the final piece. The artist then initiates a collective action (usually with an invitation to physically connect the group, for example by joining hands) to undertake the destruction of the piece by walking through the design and scattering the materials. Finally, the resulting chaos of organic materials is carried to a compost bin or buried.
Temporary Craft was presented at making Futures Conference 2015.
Light Up-an installation that participants create for themselves
Participants make hand made slides, which are projected into a dark space, with white walls. They wear white garments, and "catch" works of abstract art- created either by themselves, or fellow collaborators, on sheets of white paper.
Light Up recently featured as part of Tate Exchange with Plymouth College of Art and will be presented as part of beyond Words Conference at Plymouth University in March 2017
Who Allows You?
Who Allows You? Is a washing line intervention that has popped up in Giardini at Venice Biennale, and at Glastonbury Festival. The title is taken from a Roald Dahl quote from "The Twits".
Who Allows You? invites participants and audience to enter into a playful and lighthearted conversation about agency, compliance and democracy, on their own terms.
The Last Refuge is a glass and print installation.
Seven metres high, the translucent mono prints on thin washi paper depict a culture in crisis, a wall, a structure at the point of the fall. Hand blown stones balance precariously, on a bed of shattered glass. The images describe how phenomena intra-act in barely perceptible ways, but to great effect. The smallest stones hold up monolithic boulders. If they move, the whole thing is likely to topple and shift.
The installation speaks of human frailty, power structures, uncertainty and present states of instability. It was made during a time when the USA voted into power it’s most incoherent leader, and the UK decided to split with countries whom it has been allied with since the last European war.
The Last Refuge describes hierarchy as “the last refuge of the insecure”, and references what Karen Barad calls a “many layered intra-action between subject and object”, calling for us to rethink the ways that we understand agency and governance.
“Existence is not an individual affair. Individuals do not pre-exist their interactions; rather, individuals emerge through and as part of their entangled intra-relating”
Participatory and inclusive arts for Schools and Community Groups
For over 30 years, Jo has designed and supported the development of issues based arts, and creative action research in schools, and in community settings.
She is passionate about expanding the reach of gallery and institutional settings, in order to make art visible and accessible to all, and embed it in our everyday lives, in the public domain.
She specialises in student and whole - school led curriculum enrichment, and in actively supporting young people’s community leadership.
Jo has worked as a Creative Agent for Creative Partnerships with Real Ideas Organisation (RIO), as a Partner Schools Manager for Devon Arts in Schools Initiative ( DAISI), and has run her own company, Creative Kids, since 2000.
Jo worked with RIO, Golden Tree and UNESCO World Heritage to enable students across Devon and Cornwall to design 5 separate pieces of large scale public art, which all the passengers still enjoy, in partnership with Plymouth Rail Station.
She has contributed to the development of creative club nights with Rambunctious Social Club.
If you want to contact Jo for an informal (free) 30 minute discussion about designing an exciting project for your venue, which will involve your participants, please feel free to call, email or text.
Jo is passionate about making sure that creativity is available for everyone, regardless of income or background.
Scroll down to view some images from students work made during exciting events and arts residencies