Invite boredom: Invigilator at PKN Coventry

Paul Conneally recently presented Invigilator at the Pecha Kucha Night Coventry Global Cities event.

Watashitachi ha kono basho de iroiro na koto ni kizuiteimasu.
As for us, by means of this place, various things are being noticed.

MECA 2009 book now available

In October of last year, Paul Conneally and myself were commissioned by Nathaniel Pitt and Malvern Exhibition of Contemporary Art (MECA) to conduct Invigilator: Malvern, 6th in the Invigilator series.

Invigilators prepare for Invigilator: Malvern

Invigilators prepare for Invigilator: Malvern

Invigilator: Malvern formed part of a programme of events taking place in and around empty shops in the centre of Malvern and a publication documenting the project is now available.

You can see a preview of the book below (Invigilator: Malvern is on pages 36-39).

Invigilator: Malvern

6th in the Invigilator series with Paul Conneally.

Emotion Grid

Paul Conneally and I were commissioned by Nathaniel Pitt and MECA to conduct one of our Invigilator pieces in Great Malvern yesterday.

Two pairs of invigilators started from Great Malvern railway station and followed the directions that used to take me from Birmingham’s New Street station to my job at a gallery in Digbeth:

Right, Left, Left, Right, Left, Right, Straight over, Straight over, Straight over, Straight over, Left, Left.


After arriving at our different destinations we commenced watching over our respective spaces. Mine and Jean Baynham‘s journey took us to the entrance to the carpark of Malvern Library. As we were filling in emotion grids for Paul’s research, a man who had approached from behind us and obviously read “invigilator” on the back of our t-shirts asked us what we were going to invigilate. We told him we weren’t sure yet and asked him what he thought we should invigilate and he responded by saying “the car park”. So that’s what we did.


I took my lead from past employment in libraries and started recording visitor statistics: number of people entering and exiting the library; number of people who only walked through the grounds in front of the library; and number of people who walked past us on the pavement without entering into the library grounds at all.

Jean found herself repeatedly approached by passers-by enquiring what it was we were doing and what it was that we were watching over. Magic vests – you gotta love ’em.


Paul and I are now processing various artefacts from the journey and from the invigilation. The results will be displayed in one of the MECA shop window spaces in Great Malvern town centre until the end of the month.

digbeth tweets

After a year of abstinence, I have finally succumbed to twitter.


SMS updating, time-stamping (sort of) and tomorrow’s invigilation. Here.

After the invigilation, once we’ve gathered back at VIVID, we’ll also be collating visual and aural traces here:

Let the quest for how best to document Invigilator continue!

Invigilator: Digbeth

paul conneally + nikki pugh + you + them
Saturday 29th March, 2-5pm
meet at VIVID at 2pm

As Digbeth continues its metamorphosis and assimilation into Eastside (Birmingham’s transforming, revitalising and regenerating regeneration project[1]) art institutions and project spaces present there are slowly increasing in number and yet, for the most part, they are safely kept behind locked gates, barred windows and access-controlled doors.

For Invigilator: Digbeth, a team of volunteers will take the role of gallery invigilator/visitor assistant outside where, rather than sitting in gallery spaces, they will be watchful over the streets and the day-to-day life unfolding there.

This is the fifth in the Invigilator series[2] where a single set of directions has been transposed onto different locations to determine the exact place for watching over; we can choose our significant starting points, but then a pre-determined sequence of lefts, rights and straight-ons takes us on a not-quite-random walk to an unplanned invigilation site.

Invigilator: Digbeth will consist of several invigilations taking place simultaneously throughout the Digbeth area. The significant starting points will be the galleries, studios and project spaces that would normally host the invigilators. The same galleries, studios and project spaces responsible for Digbeth’s renaissance…

Digbeth is also significant as the starting point for the Invigilator series as a whole since the directions used to arrive at the invigilation sites were derived from those used to get from home to a part-time job invigilating at VIVID.

All are welcome to join us for Invigilator: Digbeth. We will meet at VIVID at 2pm, borrow some of their red t-shirts and then walk to our respective invigilation sites (about 4 people per team) where we will be watchful for about 30 minutes before returning to VIVID for refreshments and feedback. No special equipment required: just bring yourselves, suitably warm clothing and a willingness to interact with the city.

Queries on the day phone: 0121 766 7876 (VIVID office)
Further information on the Invigilator series:


[2]New Forest,Derby,Tokyo and Nuneaton

Invigilator:Digbeth has been supported by Access West Midlands

invigilator invites

Invigilator : Digbeth

We’re currently getting excited about the re-appropriated business cards we’re using for the Invigilator: Digbeth invitations. Hope you do too!

[link to vimeo page]

paul conneally + nikki pugh + you + them
Saturday 29th March, 2-5pm

meet at VIVID at 2pm

bring a red top if you haven’t already arranged to use either one of ours or one from a different venue

invigilating Digbeth

Since May last year, Paul Conneally and I have been invigilating.

First I invigilated some of the New Forest. Then Paul replied by hopping on the train with the morning commuters and invigilating a building site in Derby.

Shortly after that I wanted to explore what would happen if you had more than one invigilator. I wanted to see how the presence of multiple invigilators affected the dynamics of an area that has to be walked through (rather than just a point location that people can walk past).

invigilating Tokyo

I was in Japan at the time so this gave rise to Invigilator: Tokyo and – inevitably – a whole barrage of further questions!

More recently, Paul and I met up in Nuneaton for the first of the invigilations that we have done together. More questions!

We now feel it is time for us to turn the process around on itself and use the next invigilation to examine its origin: my old part-time job invigilating the gallery space at VIVID.

We want to dissect what we have learned so far.

We want you.

We’re currently gathering people who would like to don red t-shirts and join us on Saturday the 29th of March for Invigilator: Digbeth. We want to scale up the Tokyo action and send small teams of invigilators percolating out through Digbeth: turning the whole cultural quarter thing inside-out to extract people from their barricaded, security-protected warehouses and onto the street for an hour or so.

As a nod to how this series of works came about, we’ll be using VIVID as a base, liberating their red t-shirts, and also returning there for the debrief session and refreshments afterwards.

The invigilations themselves involve following a set of left/right/straight-on directions and then probably about 30 minutes standing around that location being watchful. What we’re after, in order to give Invigilator: Digbeth some clout is a) as many invigilators as possible so we can properly cover a large area and b) some suggestions for relevant starting points for the random walks.

So, for now, we’d like you to do three things for us:

  • Put that date in your diary: 29th of March, 2-5pm.
  • Suggest some cultural venue/art institution-esque starting points that the random walks to the invigilation locations can start from. We know about the obvious ones near to VIVID such as Ikon Eastside, the Custard Factory and the soon to be opened Eastside Projects, but we’d like more. Are there any? Bung something in the comments and let us know about it!
  • Let us know if you’d like to take part. All welcome, but we’d be particularly keen to hear from anyone who would normally work as one of the aforementioned venues.

More details to follow a bit closer to the day, and further invites are being circulated in the real world too.

invigilator’s sheets

Currently doing a temping job sorting through incoming examination papers.

Dismayed to see the exam papers testing basic adult literacy are written in comic sans ‘cos, yeah, right, that’s going to make it easier…

Will wear an invigilator shirt to work tomorrow.


invigilator 4

Like the memorial in the park, all I really feel confident about saying regarding each of the pieces in the Invigilator series at the moment is simply that they happened.

george eliot was here

Nuneaton: George Eliot and Invigilator were here.

invigilator: nuneaton

invigilator: nuneaton

caterpillar was here

the sound of watching

A week or two ago I posted an incomplete post about invigilator: Tokyo.

Well, I’m back in the UK now and sorting through all my documentation from the trip to Japan.

I’ve uploaded a few images to Flickr. There’s a slideshow here, but the pages on Flickr include captions giving more detail about each image.

but I was a bit wary about taking too many photos during the invigilation. I think it’s just a little bit too intimidating for a project that’s so much about how people react to subtleties within a space.

So, as an experiment with alternative forms of documentation, here’s a sound recording we made of the invigilation:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Copyright and permissions:

General blog contents released under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa license. Artworks and other projects copyright Nicola Pugh 2003-2020, all rights reserved.
If in doubt, ask.
The theme used on this WordPress-powered site started off life as Modern Clix, by Rodrigo Galindez.

RSS Feed.