Capturing the light: shadows and ghosts

a residential short course with William Arnold

Capturing the light: shadows and ghosts

an™ residential short course

Course will take place in September 2019, final dates TBA

Dartington Hall, Devon, UK

Preliminary announcement

Artist William Arnold leads a special weekend workshop using a variety of techniques for capturing images without a traditional camera using materials and chemicals as old as photography itself.

Full details to be announced soon – but if you’d like to reserve a place you can email us now to let us know of your interest (places will be limited to 12).




[image above: from 12 Ilford ‘Special’ Lantern Plates (2x2″)
Fruit and vegetables from the artist’s garden (2018).
Photographed after Charles Jones.
A work in progress.][main image: detail from Suburban Herbarium
Camera-less silver-gelatin prints (12x16″)
2015 – 2017
Truro, England]


“William Arnold is a photographer influenced by the first pioneers of the medium and perhaps of the theory that has pervaded photography since its birth. Sir William Newton, the academic painter, declared in 1853 that photography could never capture the ‘atmospheric veil’ which nature throws across the world, and yet Arnold seems to both refute and capture this aspect by exploiting light and shade to produce artistically driven portraits of the world around him. The work explores themes of temporality and attributes of photography as both art and source of documentation. Interested in the politics of representation, the works draw from the subjectivity and objectivity involved in the act of photography and in how photographs are perceived.” – Sarah Ryan (2016)

Living and working in west Cornwall, UK, William is interested in the layers of history, human and natural that comprise the making of the landscape and the role played by the photographic surface both literally and metaphorically in recording, interrogating and representing these histories.


MA Photography – Photography & The Land (University of Plymouth 2014)
BA (Hons) History (University of Lancaster 2004)

The shape of a day

Every course is different, but read this for more information about the working schedule during an short course. This course is bound to be a little different, given that we will be spending plenty of time in the water, and therefore likely less time in the classroom.

This course is for those who…

  • would like to explore their own practice and experiment with light
  • want to develop practical project-development skills, learning more about how to work with ideas and places
  • are seeking ways to express their deep love for the natural world
  • wish to (re)discover their own embedded place in nature
  • are happy to be in a shared-learning environment, teaching as well as learning


Like all residential courses, the course is for anyone in need of an opportunity to engage with new approaches to creative practice or a rediscovery/refreshment of their creative selves, It allows for a condition of radical permeability – between senses, processes and materials. The course is for those who wish to engage in an unpredictable, shared process of practical enquiry with all the uncertainty and curiosity of a complete beginner, irrespective of their prior accomplishments.

All that’s a way of saying that you can bring along a lifetime of creative experience, or none at all. Either way, you will be open to change and to rediscovery, and be happy to share and exchange knowledge and ideas.

About short courses residential short courses are designed as intensive periods of work, reflection, quietude, and creative energy. They are not just designed for artists, although creative expression forms an important part of the activity and learning.

We take an inclusive and transformative approach to learning: this is not a hierarchical structure but one of genuine knowledge sharing and with the assumption that everyone in the room has much to learn and much to offer.

Day 1 will be in the wonderful Ship Studio in Dartington Hall’s medieval courtyard; the main workshop space will be in Studio 1, a large blackbox adaptable space in which you can make a mess if you choose. This space becomes yours for the duration of the course and how it is laid out and how it feels is very much a product of the course and those engaged in it.

Dartington is in itself an extraordinary venue. In addition to its medieval courtyard and other buildings, it is situated in a 900-acre rural estate wrapped by the River Dart in one of the UK’s most beautiful areas – the South Hams of Devon. The estate is a varied ecological site, with the river and riverside, open field and woodland including some ancient woodland, managed and farmed areas, in addition to the Grade II* listed formal gardens boasting an astonishing array of native and non-native species. For almost a century the modern Dartington has been a place of societal change, of creative exploration, and of social experiment. For more information visit

All of this is surrounded by the extraordinary landscapes and seascapes of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We are just a few miles from the sea, and will be spending much of our time either along the River Dart as it wraps its way round the Dartington estate, or in nearby Start Bay, stretching between Dartmouth and the Start Point Lighthouse.

What previous participants have said

…I just want to say thank you for organising the short course for In Other Tongues. The course leaders were excellent; well organised, inspirational, caring and encouraging.  The evening with Alice Oswald will stay with me as a very special event. The Ship studio was a lovely venue too; and it was a privilege to be able to work in it and the surrounding gardens/grounds. I learnt a great deal, and it is still percolating.

Overall I thought the course was fabulous, not least [because of] the tighter focus on writing (with support from drawing/illustrating) which produced a very intense programme of practical work which was about delivering creative work.


Non-residential (includes lunches and dinner) £310

Full residence with all meals, in student-style accommodation (shared bathrooms) £400

Full residence with all meals, in hotel accommodation (private bathroom) £465


There is a maximum registration of 12 people.

If you need to pay in instalments this is possible (at no charge). Please contact us. The majority of the fee must be paid prior to commencement of the course.