Richard Skelton (Experimental Music, 2014)

Richard Skelton

Shortlisted in 2014 for Experimental Music

Richard Skelton is an artist from Lancashire in northern England. His work is informed by landscape, evolving from sustained immersion in specific environments and deep, wide-ranging research incorporating toponymy and language, ecology and geology, folklore and myth.

Between 2005 and 2011, he published 20 editions of music via his own acclaimed Sustain-Release Private Press, under such names as A Broken Consort, Clouwbeck and Heidika. He currently records under his own name, as The Inward Circles, and as *AR (with his wife and creative partner, Autumn Richardson). To date he has released over 30 EPs and albums of music, and has produced work for exhibitions, performance, feature films and documentaries.

His books include Landings (2009) – a deeply personal study of the West Pennine Moors of Lancashire, UK; Moor Glisk (2012) – a poetic exploration of the effects of the Industrial Revolution on rural Lancashire, and Limnology (2012) – a long form typographical essay on the mythology of rivers, including a glossary of over 1,000 ‘water-words’.

In 2015, his work was translated into Spanish and published in an anthology of ‘English landscape poetry’, alongside the writing of Thomas A Clark, Helen Macdonald, Alice Oswald, Peter Riley and others. Later that year his poetic exploration of the ‘inanimate life’ of the Cumbrian uplands, Beyond the Fell Wall, was published alongside the works of Iain Sinclair and Oliver Rackham in the Little Toller Books Monograph Series. 2016 saw the release of The Pale Ladder, an anthology of rare and out-of-print titles from 2009–2015, and in 2018 The Look Away, his first novella, was published.

Working with Autumn Richardson he has initiated a series of poetic place-studies entitled ‘Field Notes’, published as pamphlets through their own Corbel Stone Press. Together they edit Reliquiae, an annual journal of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, translations and visual art. Each issue collects together both old and new work from a diverse range of writers and artists with common interests spanning landscape, ecology, folklore, esoteric philosophy and animism. They have also published six editions of The Contemporary Poetry Series, featuring writing from over 80 international poets including Don Domanski, Alec Finlay, Steffi Lang, Peter O’Leary, Nathanial Tarn, and Sarah Westcott.

Over the past half-decade, Richard and Autumn have collaborated to produce a significant body of work encompassing music, texts, film and artefacts informed by the upland landscape of south-west Cumbria, UK. A retrospective entitled Memorious Earth: A Longitudinal Study was exhibited by Lakeland Arts at Abbot Hall and Blackwell in 2015. Also on display was a ‘Museum of Ferae Naturae’, which examined the role of animals such as the bull, deer and fox in British mythology and religion, set against a history of animal persecution in old Cumberland and Westmorland. Memorious Earth was published as a book by Corbel Stone Press, and Ferae Naturae by Lakeland Arts.

Richard is the ‘founding member’ of the Notional Research Group for Cultural Artefacts and the Centre for Alterity Studies. His latest ongoing work, The Cult Revived, is concerned with a ‘linguistic excavation’ of northern Britain.

Between 2013 and 2017, he participated in the Frontiers in Retreat programme – a collaborative project that fostered multidisciplinary dialogue on ecological questions within a European network formed around artist residencies.

Between 2017 and 2020, he is a Vice-Chancellor PhD Scholar at Manchester Metropolitan University.