Approved: 16.08.2006

Liz McGowan

Artist, Project manager, Arts development worker, Teacher, Gallery educator

Approved: 16.08.2006

I work with natural and found materials, creating sculptural responses to the natural environment. My focus is the meeting point of inner and outer landscapes, where personal creativity is given inspiration and form by the fine structures of those elements – stone, reed, leaf, earth – that combine to form a landscape. I collect and sort these elements. I use them to make sculptures, installations

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  • Location: Aylsham, East
  • Activities: Primary education, Secondary education, Special needs education, Residencies, Public art
  • Categories: Education project, Environment, Installation, Participatory, Sculpture
  • Tags: Environment, Education, Exhibiting, Site Specific, Nature Reserve, Outdoor Learning, Sculpture Trail


I work with natural and found materials, creating sculptural responses to the natural environment. My focus is the meeting point of inner and outer landscapes, where personal creativity is given inspiration and form by the fine structures of those elements – stone, reed, leaf, earth – that combine to form a landscape. I collect and sort these elements. I use them to make sculptures, installations and drawings in the landscape and in the gallery. I also work with those processes that shape and transform the landscape – snow, wind and water. My personal concerns in this work are about containment and expansion, about the cycles of growth, change and decay, and about the shifting relationship between us and our world.

CV & Education


2012 ongoing Artist in Residence at RSPB Minsmere, making site specific sculptures, working with families and capturing impressions and memories

2012   Norwich Castle Open, Vision and Reality

2012  Constellation - installation in Yarmouth Minster

2004 - 12  Bergh Apton Sculpture Trail - outdoor, site specific installations using local natural materials, workshops and demonstrations.

2010 Art of Faith - Exhibition at the Norwich Castle Museum

2007 Wood at Wood’s House - site specific leaf installation for King of Hearts Arts Centre, Norwich

2005 Windscape - installation exploring the movement of the wind around Salthouse church tower, grant aided by Arts Council England

2004 Eastern Open - curated exhibition at Kings Lynn Arts Centre

2004 Sculpting Summer - lead artist for a series of temporary, linked site specific installations involving local communities in a journey down the waterways of the Southern Broads to the sea.  Responsible for overall aesthetics, liaising between artists and South Norfolk Council, making my own commissioned work and feeding back to an exit conference.

2003 Crossover - Commission by Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery to make wall hangings inspired by the River Lark and run workshops for secondary school pupils and teachers.  Highly commended in the 2003 Artworks Awards

2002 Paper Works - touring exhibition with Rural Arts East with sculptures, demonstrations and workshops

2000 Rockland Broad - residency at Rockland St Mary, Norfolk, making outdoor site specific environmental sculptures and facilitating the making of sculptures by the community to celebrate Rockland Broad

1999 Seachanges - duo exhibition with John Richter at Kings Lynn Arts Centre

1999 Barrington Farm - residency and solo exhibition at centre for adults with disabilities

1996 Hebden Bridge Sculpture Trail

1995 Open Air Sculpture - installation of water sculpture at Wysing Arts, Cambridge

1993  The Shifting Form - solo exhibition at Kings Lynn Arts Centre inspired by Welney Wildfowl and Wetlands Reserve

1992 Moments of Growth - solo exhibition at the King of Hearts Arts Centre and linked site specific sculpture at How Hill Nature Reserve


The Crooked Rose 2013

Five artists in conversation for Norfolk Open Studios:  Liz McGowan, Kim Turner, Chloe Mandy, Red Sanderson and Maria Pavledis.  The exchange of ideas and ways of working continues.

Touch Wood 2013

Exhibition with Lynda Williams at the Greenhouse, Norwich.  Installation celebrating trees and sustainably sourced wood.

Inside Outside 2012

Outdoor reed installation with Jane Frost for 'Aisle and Air', an exhibition curated by Isabel Vasseur at Cley, Norfolk

Salt Trails 2009 - present

Collaboration with Jane Frost, creating work through relationship with place and people, inspired by a desire to be sensitive to the environmental effects of the source, process and use of materials.

Offering multi-sensory conversations with the outside world through guided walks and themed projects.

Mapping the Wind:  ongoing project on the North Norfolk Coast initiating conversations with the wind through walks, themed workshops and wind diaries.  Supported by the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and the Poppyland Partnership

Abrasion  2010

Collaboration with Malca Schotten exploring the eroding coastline on the North Norfolk Coast, leading to an exhibition at the King of Hearts Arts Centre, Norwich.

Splinter  2007 - present

A small group of diverse artists working outdoors, exploring ways of combining the actions of fire, water, earth and air.  Creating sculptures that exist briefly as live events and are recorded permanently as digital photographs.

Fire sculptures, beach installations, including Cutting Edge, a 100 metre installation on Happisburgh beach, a photograph of which was part of ‘Material Worlds” in the Forum in Norwich

Britz and McGowan  2001 - 2007

Inspired by the detail and pattern of landscape, making drawings and installations addressing themes of the relationship between microcosm and macrocosm and the cyclical processes of death, birth, change and renewal in nature.

Two exhibitions of our work:  a drawing exhibition at Blickling Hall and an exhibition of site specific sculptures, drawings and installations at Salthouse Church.

As part of the regeneration project Cromer Prospect, a commission by Commissions East to make a  temporary site specific installation on Cromer church: a galaxy of starfish projected onto the church tower.

Installations for the BBC’s main entrance in Norwich and for an exhibition at Wingfield Arts in Suffolk.  Two installations for the Norwich Fringe Festival, one of site specific drawings and one of a galaxy of starfish.

A Norfolk Songline  1998 - 2004

A project conceived by McGowan and Hugh Lupton, based upon the Australian Aboriginal idea of walking the land as a way of ‘singing’ it alive with story, song, poetry and image, and using the Peddars Way, a 45 mile Roman road across Norfolk as the songline.  Organised in partnership with Norfolk County Council and funded by National Lottery, European Development and the Highways Agency.

1988 - 2000:  Six site specific temporary sculptures made from local materials on the Peddars Way were made into images that were incorporated into a multi-media performance and book.  Six village schools located near the songline were supported to make contributions to the performance in their village.  Stone carver Tom Perkins was commissioned to make six permanent waymarkers for the Peddars Way incorporating extracts of poetry from the performance.

2004:  A second series of temporary site specific installations on the Peddars Way contributed to two five day guided walks led by McGowan, Lupton, singer Helen Chadwick and the National Trail, and also to ten further performances of ‘A Norfolk Songline’ in East Anglian arts centres.


20 years experience of workshops and residencies for:

  • primary and secondary schools, adults and families, adults and families with special needs, gifted and talented and physical disabilities.
  • conferences and teacher’s training days
  • The Broads Authority, RSPB, the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art, the National Trust, Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery, Norfolk Childrens’ Services, Creative Partnerships, Norfolk Arts Partnership, Vital Communities Cambridge, Norfolk Social Services, the Peddars Way and North Norfolk Coast, North Norfolk Countryside and Parks Service, Norfolk Museums Service

RSPB:  Workshops and activities with families to facilitate their access to and enjoyment of the Minsmere reserve

Artlandish:  Commissioned by Norfolk Childrens Services to create a teachers pack for schools groups visiting the outdoor sculptures at Houghton Hall, Norfolk and run induction days for teachers.

Wheels of Change:  Working with Norfolk Childrens Services and Norfolk Waste Management Services and 7 Norfolk secondary schools to design a series of posters on reducing, reusing and recycling waste for display on the backs of Norfolk’s school buses.

Junk Culture:  Residency at St Joseph’s College, Ipswich, working with four schools to create a series of indoor, site specific paper installations of sculpture and words using materials recycled by the schools.

Earthwords:  Sculpture residency at St Joseph’s College making an outdoor site specific installation and running workshop with local schools to create an outdoor sculpture, poetry and word trail.


I have received and managed 4 Arts Council grants for sculpture projects, co-administrated the first Norfolk Songline project and acted as lead artist for Sculpting Summer.

2011 - 2012 - Norfolk Arts Forum Executive Committee

1996 - 2000 - Norfolk Open Studios Committee Member

1992 - 1999 - Co organiser of Aysham Rural Arts, local promoting group for Creative Arts East


A Norfolk Songline, Hugh Lupton and Liz McGowan, pub.1999 Hickathrift Books ISBN 0 9537692 08

Sea-changes, Liz McGowan and John Richter, pub. 1998 Kings Lynn Arts Centre

A Personal Choice, The Aude Gotto Collection ISBN 0 9518657 5 7


Audo Gotto, The King of Hearts, Norwich


“Fringe Exhibits Unique Artwork”  Eastern Daily Press, Sept 27th 2004

“Peddars Way” Norfok Journal, July 2000

Review of “A Norfolk Songline”  Eastern Daily Press, 1st April 2000

“Songlines” Norfolk Journal, March 1999

Review  “Evocative Shapes from our Natural Environment”  Eastern Daily Press, May 1993

Review  “Inspired by the Norfolk Broads” Eastern Daily Press, 11th June 1992


2004 Ramblings, BBC Radio 4


Minsmere residency:


Mapping the Wind:

Peddars Way Songline: