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WoRD SouP: Alex Billingham Explorers Project Residency

A vibrant, abstract collage of textures and colours incorporating written text and an image of the artist.

Join artist-in-residence Alex Billingham to explore the Herbert’s collections, armed only with a tin of Alphabetti Spaghetti and a neurodivergent brain

Get your tasty, delicious WoRD SouP at the Herbert this November. Mmmmm…. That’s good dyslexia!

Following a five-week residency at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Alex Billingham presents WoRD SouP – an exploratory journey into the bowels of the Herbert and its extensive collections stores.

Bringing together filmed and physical artwork inspired by our collections, this mini-exhibition was developed on-site as part of the Explorers Project in partnership with Outside In. Explorers is a national programme of art and activism established by Project Art Works, focused on dismantling systemic barriers, creating platforms for neurodivergent people and changing the discourse around how they are positioned and described in culture. This year, three residencies were offered at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum and The New Art Gallery Walsall.

By incorporating words and text into their artwork, Alex playfully interrogates their experiences of dyslexia.

Alex said, “So often when people discuss neurodiversity, it’s from a position of othering and victimhood. I really wanted to show the joy of being neurodiverse. Yes, spelling and grammar can be difficult for me, but that also means I get to have a totally different relationship with words and the world beyond.

“It’s this that helped me find alternative ways of interacting with the collection and its heritage. So much of being neurodivergent for me is taking information, restructuring it into a format that I can understand, and then converting it into something that other people can interact with. So for me, the obvious output to this residency was a full-blown music video extravaganza.”

Read more about the residency in our Q&A

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