Matt Westbrook

I am an artist, educator and founding member of Grand Union Studios and Gallery. I have taught since 2002 and am the course leader for the Art and Design Foundation course at Dudley College.

My practice is underpinned by an interest in simulated environments and applying concepts such as pareidolia to an art practice.

At STEAMhouse I am learning new skills in marquetry and digital manufacturing and working alongside fellow members Intervention Architecture to design and build a bespoke exhibition structure and LAB that will tour a display of new sculpture, film and photographic work alongside plant and food outcomes.

I have been researching the life and legacy of politician Joseph Chamberlain and wish to engage a wide audience in discussions on cultural, political and global conservation issues. Chamberlain’s flamboyant dress and trademark buttonhole orchid made him an instantly recognisable figure in the 19th Century but at what environmental cost did maintaining this extravagant image have? The project aims to be an advocate for ongoing research between UK and Colombian academic and cultural institutions and raise the loss of biodiverse environments.

The project ‘Mr Chamberlain’s Orchids’ has received generous funding from Arts Council England, Bruntwood, The Feeney Trust, University of Birmingham, New Art West Midlands, and The Chamberlain Highbury Trust and will run from Summer 2019 to Spring 2020.