Fern Thomas is based out of Swansea, Wales, UK. Rooted in the processes and principles of Social Sculpture, her work explores the potency and transformational capacities of the image in its broadest sense and interrogates her relationship with the ecological, archetypal, and mythological world. Manifesting in action – live or documented – her process-led and intuitive explorations often take the form of a physical interaction or ‘meeting’ between herself and a place, a dream, a history or another being.

Thomas is the winner of Mostyn Open (2011), was a recipient of the Arts and Humanities Research Council Award (2011/2012), was awarded the Interdisciplinary Arts Prize (2013) at Oxford Brookes University for her work during her Masters in Social Sculpture, and received a Creative Wales Award in 2014 to support her ongoing research into participatory forms and their relationship with sustainability. Thomasreceived her MA in Social Sculpture from Oxford Brookes University, working with Shelley Sacks, where she developed the post-apocalyptic research unit Institute for Imagined Futures & Unknown Lands.

She co-initiated the collaborative and pedagogical groups Art’s Birthday Wales and Forever Academy, works closely with her key collaborator Owen Griffiths, and is a member of the Social Sculpture Research Unit based in Oxford, UK.

Fern Thomas, From the Watchtower Radio Station, 2014, Audio. Spoken word/ sonic interpretation, Publication: Printed by Like Lichen 


From the Watchtower is an unfolding process-led research work that will develop across the duration of the Ephemeral Coast exhibition. It will see the transformation of citizen into learner/observer, into active participant.

Expanding on a daily practice of watching the sea from her top floor flat overlooking Swansea Bay, the ‘Watchtower’ will be activated by Thomas through a series of day-long observations of the sea.

Across several weeks, set days will be dedicated to the act of observing the sea or ‘keeping watch’ from a high window overlooking the sea where shifting tides, colours, and unknown phenomenology will be observed. Set within the context of an ‘Ephemeral Coast’, From the Watchtower will explore our relationship with the sea, the potential future of the oceans and the processes of understanding through observing. Working with an imagined future, the work will also question what ‘keeping watch’ of the sea might mean.

At the end of each day observations and thoughts will be transformed into a spoken word/sonic interpretation of the day which will be made available online as a download from the From the Watchtower Radio Station. Participants are encouraged to upload the sound works to their mobile devices and take a walk across Swansea Bay.

Those who also view the sea from their homes will be invited to participate in a ‘shift’ at the watchtower, where they can share with Thomas their observations.

A small publication, published by LikeLichen Press, will be made available at the end of the exhibition.

View the updates and download the sound works from: www.thesefuturefields.eu/fromthewatchtower