The Centre of Attention homepage

the centre of attention

The pavilion of post contemporary curating
a semi-staged total art work

other exhibitions


initial call for ideas


longlist of architectural proposals



project outline


The skeletal remains of Sutton Scarsdale Hall continue to decay. A dilapidated wreck of a structure, you enter at your own risk. This decay needs to be resisted and Sutton Scarsdale needs to live again...

In the very heart of England, Sutton Scarsdale Hall is to become the Pavilion of Postcontemporary Curating. What is a pavilion of postcontemporary curating?

First it will be a new international art facility set in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. The current Hall is a perfect exhibition/ performance space, lit from above, with high walls, neutral floor. It will be dedicated solely to new curating.

2nd. The Pavilion of Postcontemporary Curating will be a sculptural work incorporating the remains of Sutton Scarsdale Hall.

3rd. The pavilion of postcontemporary curating will provide a home for the Centre of Attention and its archive.

Also, the space will have a special remit to act as a 'patron' to working class artists and curators by providing these facilities for free.

As a functioning work of art/art centre, it should provide everything the contemporary curator requires and be able to evolve as those needs change...
Importantly it will facilitate new media production as well as old, it will have a library, archive, research facilities and study resource, studios and accommodation as well as a gallery dedicated to the history of the house.

It will be a base for new ways of looking at art and its production. A sculpture, it will become part of the regional landscape and act as a beacon to advanced ideas and art praxis in the regional and international scene.



Timetable for the pavilion:

2009 Secure the remains of the building. ACT NOW to stop the decay.
October to January 2010 Architectural call to re-imagine the site

March 2010 Press conference at QUAD in Derby and publication of the longlist

April 2010: Film released: The pavilion of post contemporary curating by the Centre of Attention

Fall 2010: Recruitment and announcement of Advisory Board

Fundraiser launch in London

2011-12 Planning. Construction of sculpture/art centre

2013-14 Completion and inaugural exhibition and residency







Sutton Scarsdale Hall Sutton Hall detail

Dramatic gestures define Sutton Scarsdale Hall:
the 3rd Earl of Scarsdale absconds with the underage daughter of a wealthy merchant;
the 4th Earl, Hogarth's inspiration for 'the Rake's Progress', ruined by rebuilding the house into a rival Chatsworth;
Joseph Arkwright, the impotent aristocrat and coal mine owner, model for DH Lawrence’s Clifford Chatterley
Post war, the Sitwells rescue the ruin, passing the burden on to English Heritage in the 1960s.

The House's history closely embraces the building and the trajectory of the nation: from courtiers, merchants and industrialists to property speculators, dilettantes and conservationists. The fate of Sutton Scarsdale is our fate.

In 1919, local builders demolish parts to re-use in their suburban home developments; Paneled rooms were sold off. One reached the Philadelphia Museum of Art where it frames its British painting collection; other rooms going to Randolph Hearst for his fantasy home of San Simeon and to Hollywood director Mitchell Leisen for the (Oscar nominated) sets of his 1945 feature film 'Kitty'.

One aim of this project is to break from Romanticism’s stranglehold on our epoch and other para-modern attitudes, by shifting the building from a narrative space back to a functional container.

Using the spinning jenny of the internet, the pavilion of postcontemporary curating becomes a vomitorium of ideas and an incessant interface of images and information, downloading like earth on the victorian corpse: Undead.


  Oak Room in the sale catalogue 1919 Oak Room at the Philadelphia Museum of art
Robersons catalogue, Knightsbridge, 1928 Interior of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gallery 277, 2008


This work manifests itself initially as an architectural competition, a film for webcast, a publication and meta performance.


Contact: the Centre of Attention, 67 Clapton Common, London E5 9AA


The Pavilion of Postcontemporary Curating, Sutton Scarsdale Hall is supported by:

re-place, site-specific contemporary art in derbyshire

derbyshire arts derbyshire county council lottery esmee fairbairn