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University of Cambridge

Open: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm

We are closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Please note the house will be temporarily closed for 4 weeks from 14 March 2024

Book Tickets

Open: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm

We are closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Please note the house will be temporarily closed for 4 weeks from 14 March 2024

Still from Space & Freedom.© Helen Petts 2019
For Adults

Film Screening and In Conversation: Space & Freedom

26 January 2024, 6.30–8pm

Join us in the Kettle’s Yard house for screenings of two films by artist filmmaker Helen Petts. Following the screening, Helen Petts will be in conversation with the curators of Making New Worlds: Li Yuan-chia & Friends, before a short piano set by Steve Beresford.

This event has passed. £10 (£8 Friends, £5 students), booking required

Please note, attendees will be able to visit the exhibition, Making New Worlds: Li Yuan-chia & Friends, from 5.30pm on the day of the event.

Space & Freedom (2019)

22’ stereo HD

Space & Freedom (2019) creatively explores Li Yuan-chia’s original plans for the LYC Museum and his relationship with the Cumbrian landscape. Originally commissioned by Manchester Art Gallery, the film is the result of extensive research into Li Yuan-chia’s own film archive. It mixes his 8mm footage, and previously undiscovered sound recordings, with contemporary HD footage and field recordings along with the musician Steve Beresford improvising with the images in a complex sound work.

Archive 8mm film and sound recordings courtesy of the Li Yuan-chia Foundation and The University of Manchester.

Space & Freedom, film still. © Helen Petts 2019.

Throw Them Up and Let Them Sing: In the Footsteps of Kurt Schwitters (2012)

30’ 8mm and HD

Throw Them Up and Let Let Sing, film still © Helen Petts 2012

Made for a solo exhibition and installation alongside Schwitters Merzbarn Wall at the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle. Helen Petts followed Kurt Schwitters’ route of exile from Nazi Germany to the uninhabited Norwegian island of Hjertøya and the nearby mountains and glaciers, then Elterwater in the Lake District where he created the Merzbarn. The film explores abstract rhythms, textures and sounds along the journey, often referencing Schwitters own art work.  Featuring free improvisation musicians Sylvia Hallett, Adam Bohman, Phil Minton and Roger Turner, performing ‘Merz’ inspired music.

Made with financial assistance from Tyne & Wear Museums and the Arts Council England London 2012 Festival.

Helen Petts avoids historically fetishising Schwitters, electing instead to compose her film with the same combination of great care and mercurial randomness with which Schwitters made a collage or poem.

— David Briers, Art Monthly

Helen Petts

Helen Petts is an artist film-maker who explores rhythm, texture, sound and chance events, both in the rural landscape and in her long standing relationship with the free improvisation music community. A former television director of arts programmes, she now regularly shows her artist films in festivals and gallery installations, both in the UK and internationally. She studied Fine Art at Goldsmith’s College and Film at Westminster University. Her work is distributed by Lux Artists Moving Image and is in the British Film Institute Artists Film Archive.

Helen Petts filming in Norway. © Helen Petts 2012

Steve Beresford

Steve Beresford © Helen Petts 2012

Steve Beresford is a free improviser performing on piano, electronics and toy instruments. He performs internationally, was awarded the Paul Hamlyn award for composers in 2012, but is also known for his long collaborative relationship with visual artist Christian Marclay.  The book Pianos, Toys, Music and Noise – Conversations with Steve Beresford by Andy Hamilton, has recently been published by Bloomsbury.

Making New Worlds: Li Yuan-chia and Friends

Making New Worlds: Li Yuan-chia & Friends retraces Li’s commitment to fostering creativity, his interest in play and his investment in new ways of being in the world. Through the LYC, Li showcased Roman artefacts, works by major figures of British modernism, local artists and contemporary practices including kineticism, land art and video. The LYC’s children’s room provided a place for young people to experiment with art making, while craft workshops played host to communities of making. Much like Kettle’s Yard, the LYC also had a library, a garden, and spaces to socialise, transforming how we encounter art.

The exhibition puts the LYC into conversation with Kettle’s Yard. Both projects evolved over time, with collections (in the case of Kettle’s Yard) and exhibitions (in the case of the LYC) being shaped through friendships and personal affiliations, including with the artist Winifred Nicholson, who was an important presence at both the LYC and Kettle’s Yard.

Li’s practice – as both artist and organiser – is at the centre of the exhibition, along with those artists he exhibited at the LYC and those who were part of the cosmopolitan networks he enabled and enriched. Making New Worlds will also include works by contemporary artists reflecting on the afterlives of Li’s work in the present.

Making New Worlds: Li Yuan-chia and Friends has developed in partnership between Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art as part of its ‘London, Asia’ project, and is accompanied by a new publication produced by Kettle’s Yard and supported by Paul Mellon Centre.

It is co-curated by Hammad Nasar (Curator, Strategic advisor and Senior Research Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre), Sarah Victoria Turner (Director of the Paul Mellon Centre) and Amy Tobin (Curator, contemporary programmes, Kettle’s Yard).

Find out more about Making New Worlds: Li Yuan-chia and Friends


Please note, for conservation and security reasons, no bags or large coats are allowed in the house. Limited bag storage is available at reception.

This event will take place in the extension of the house which is accessible, with some limitations. The upper part of the ground floor extension area is accessible for wheelchair users and the ground floor extension area of the house is newly accessible for wheelchair users with a ramp. There is no lift to the upper floors of the house. If you call in advance or ask at the information desk we can reserve an accessible seat for you. Please get in touch on 01223 748100 or email

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