a performance around a table

by artists Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer

Friday September 28, Ship Studio, Dartington

18.00 and 20.00 (numbers are limited for each performance)



a show and tell, a nature table, a battle mat, an evidence table


Common Salt explores the knotty complexity of trade, lucre, enclosures and borders exposing a loop of forgotten weaponry, covert colonialism and contemporary finance, resonant with our times.

From the first English hedges that broke up common land to the Great Hedge of India that cruelly cut India in half, from East Indiamen ships wrecking on English shores to 21st century narratives of trade and race, Common Salt opens these evocative and powerful narratives hidden in plain sight in our museums and history books.



Sue and Sheila’s performance was incredible. I’d never seen a theme presented in this way. It was thought provoking and poignant. Thank you to both the artists and b-side 

Dave Warren, Facebook post following b-side preview

Wonderful performance talk by Sue Palmer and Sheila Ghelani tonight at Outpost. What a treat – so interesting – a compelling and engaging way to present their research and a visual delight too – a performance around a table

Molly Scarborough, b-side festival



The performance, presented around a table, takes audiences on an intimate and profound time-travel; a 400 year journey in under an hour, activating insights into our past, questioning our human responsibilities, inveighing against our collective amnesia.

The work is based on over five years of research by the artists into nature, colonialism, trade, borders, language, race and wealth focusing on England and India.


The surface becomes a habitat where narratives are laid out, maps unfolded, objects placed for close reading and stories given alchemical dimensions.

Rich with interdependence, with one thing becoming another, carefully sourced objects and crafted texts accompanied by original Shruti box laments, layer up, creating a powerful, intimate and immersive experience for a small audience for up to 17 people.


The site of the shipwreck of the East Indiaman ‘The Earl of Abergavenny’ on the Sandbanks, Weymouth Harbour; 252 people drowned including 158 East India Company soldiers.

The East India Company remains the most powerful corporation the world has ever seen, a precursor to today’s transnational corporations. But … little marks its rise and fall, its innovations and its crimes. A selective memory reigns …

Jane Trowell, ‘Loot, Reckoning with the East India Company’, PLATFORM 2002



I really enjoyed following the journey of your research … especially the story of Eliza Brightwen … It was engaging, immersive, exploratory,
Elizabeth Selby, b-side audience member

The table – filling up. The experience was lovely
William Sherdan, b-side audience member

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