The Tetley

Fear of the Surplus

29 November 2013 – 12 January 2014

by Emma Rushton & Derek Tyman

Building on a previous project entitled The Good Life, Manchester-based Rushton & Tyman presented Fear of the Surplus, a series of public discussions which took place on a purpose-built stage located within The Tetley’s Auditorium Gallery.

Rushton & Tyman’s hand crafted stage structure provided a context for exploring perspectives on work, labour and welfare. The stage was a setting for a programme of talks by a group of invited speakers – authors, activists, academics, theorists, organisers and campaigners to unpick ideas of work – what it is, why and how we do it, its values and rewards and the conflicting ideas and issues which surround it. With current government rhetoric surrounding work and welfare, Fear of the Surplus is timely in providing a space where conflicting ideas about labour, work systems and possible alternatives can be voiced and debated.

Fear of the Surplus refers to those groups – unemployed, the elderly, migrant workers, the recently made redundant, single mothers, under employed, public sector workers – that are either used as scapegoats by those in power, or considered extra to requirement or ‘surplus’ to requirements, or both.

A full list of events and talks that appeared on the Fear of Surplus stage can be seen here. Audio recordings can be heard here


Artists’ biographies:

Emma Rushton and Derek Tyman are artists based in Manchester who work together collaboratively. As part of their practice they invite others to respond to or participate in their work. Recent projects have featured large-scale sculptural constructions or reconstructions of specific objects, often referring to historical and cultural events. For ‘The Good Life’, 2011, they reconstructed a copy of American author Henry David Thoreau’s ‘cabin in the woods’ in a forest in the Lake District and invited artists, academics, philosophers to debate the good life. Their recent book The Good Life (published Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, 2013) documented the project and included texts by writer Lynsey Hanley, writer and activist Anthony Iles (editor Mute) and a 4 track CD by the three-piece art rock band Die Kunst.

Solo exhibitions/projects include: LIAR 2012, Sub Urban Video Lounge, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2013); The Argument Is Not Finished And The Stage Is Still Being Built, Argument Vertoningsruimte, Tilburg, Netherlands (2012); The Good Life, Lanternhouse Art Centre, Cumbria (2011); Flying Down To Moscow, Neues Kunstforum, Cologne, Germany (2009); Piccadillyland, Art on the Underground, London (2008); Will Someone Stop You…? Artis Arts Centre, Den Bosch, Netherlands (2007); Garden for To Kwa Wan, 1a Contemporary Arts Space, Hong Kong, China (2007); Access Permitted, Unit 2, London (2006); Yourland, Leeds City Art Gallery (2005). Rushton and Tyman’s work has also been included in projects and group exhibitions of international artists in Breda, Netherlands; Antwerp and Brussels, Belgium; Koln and Berlin, Germany; St Petersburg, Russia; Hong Kong, China; England and the USA.


Fear of the Surplus was made possible with support from 

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