A Journey with ‘The Waste Land’ is an innovative three year project, bringing members of the community and Turner Contemporary together to develop the gallery’s major spring 2018 exhibition. The starting point is T. S. Eliot’s famous poem, 'The Waste Land' (1922), parts of which were written whilst Eliot was convalescing in Margate.  

Learning is at the heart of Turner Contemporary, evident in this unique project, where participation and engagement comes to the fore, testing and building a new curatorial method which incorporates the knowledge and insight of members of the local community at all stages of the curatorial process.

The project explores the contemporary significance of the poem and its links to and impact on the visual arts and Margate’s cultural heritage.


By working with community volunteers in the research process, the project will enable the sharing of skills between academic and non-academic researchers.

The Waste Land contains many different voices, and uses quotations and references from ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture. Through opening up the research process to multiple perspectives and viewpoints, the project will diversify the development of this exhibition in a way which resonates with the experience of the poem itself.

The exhibition is being developed by Turner Contemporary, facilitated by external curator Professor Michael Tooby, and Research Curator, Trish Scott, in collaboration with local research participants and volunteers.

About the Project

About this website

This website is the project’s digital interface. If you’re a participant or want to get involved in helping to research and shape this exhibition, please sign up as a member to share images and ideas and get involved in debating content. The project diary, listing all events, is also in this area.


To keep up-to-date with the project’s progress, visit the news page.