Carey Young - Speechcraft

Artist Performance in Oxford Town Hall
Saturday 24 November 2007, 1pm - 3pm
The Old Courtroom, Oxford Town Hall, St Aldgates

Modern Art Oxford has commissioned British artist Carey Young to create a live performance-based artwork, which will take place in the Old Courtroom in Oxford’s Town Hall on Nov 24th. Members of the public will be invited to watch, to judge and to take part.

Speechcraft features a meeting of the international public speaking club Toastmasters. Widely used by businesspeople as well as trainee lawyers and politicians, Toastmasters helps people to construct their public presence so that they look and sound like ‘leaders’.

The work will feature members of the Oxford branches of Toastmasters: Isis Speakers and Oxford Speakers. At the meeting Young will reveal specific topics and subject matter that each speaker must respond to by giving an impromptu speech. The artist and curator Gavin Delahunty will then speak in competition with each other. All the speeches will be judged and evaluated by other Toastmaster members, as well as the audience, in a cycle of inspiration, review, and reward.

Carey Young has written: “Speechcraft is in many senses an opportunity for the invited public to think about the relationship between art and the public by presenting Toastmasters as a kind of alternative space of creativity, interpretation, ritual and critique. ”

Carey Young’s work employs a variety of media, including video, photography and performance. Young often uses training processes used within global business to involve the viewer in questions of complicity and criticality.

Speechcraft is presented in association with ARC - a provider of information, guidance and support for creative practitioners in the South East.

Notes to Editors
Carey Young: Biographical Information
Carey Young was born in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1970, and is based in London. Her work has been exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2003), ICA, London (1999 and 2003), Vancouver Art Gallery (2005), Paula Cooper Gallery, New York (2005), the Hayward Gallery, London (2006) and the Moscow Biennale (2007). Her work is also to be found in public collections including Tate Modern, Arts Council England and the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris. From 1 December 2007 to 12 January 2008 Young will have a solo exhibition at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. For more information see

Toastmasters was founded in California in the 1920s. Its mission is to offer low-cost training in public speaking and leadership which is accessible to all. Widely used by businesspeople as well as trainee lawyers and politicians, it has no ideological basis. There is no instructor at a Toastmasters club; instead, each speech is constructively critiqued by a fellow club member in terms of effective performance, including body language, use of imagery, rhetorical skill and tone of voice.