Phoebe Davies

Phoebe Davies is a Welsh artist and researcher based at Somerset House Studios. Her practice investigates how people perceive their social framework, often working with and in response to individuals and communities, generating work through collaboration, collective action and DIT* strategies. Davies often finds herself referencing and exploring collaborative models of working across different social and cultural sectors, be that methods of organic farming, feminist organising or speculative fiction. For the last year, a key focus of her practice has been working within community sports settings, researching athletic methodologies, coaching and rehabilitation.

The final forms of Davies’s work are project dependent, and have included live performances, video, audio, print works and constructed social spaces.  Recent projects have led her to work with sex educators, secondary school students, elderly residents in care homes, sports teams and DJs as well as art spaces and institutions, including Tate Britain and Tate Modern (London), Whitechapel Gallery (London), Arnolfini (Bristol), Eastside Projects (Birmingham), Wysing Arts Centre (Cambridge), Steirischer Herbst (Graz, AUT),  The Wellcome Collection (London), Praksis (Oslo, Norway), Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland, USA) and SA-UK SEASONS (Johannesburg, ZA). She is also a recipient of the British Council Social Practice Fellowship Award, Inaugural Jerwood New Work Fund, and PICA’s Creative Exchange Lab Residency.

She currently co-facilitates three research groups: Bedfellows, a radical sex re-education research project; Synaptic Island, a London-based womxn and non-binary DJ collective; and Art is Action, a UK-based social practice research group.  She also has an ongoing collaboration with the performer and choreographer Nandi Bhebhe, together they direct work as Bhebhe&Davies.

DIT* = Do It Together.

Andy Field

Andy Field creates projects that invite people to consider their relationship to the places they live and the people they live with. Over the last decade this has manifested itself across a range of forms and disciplines, including street games, event scores, installations, studio theatre shows and one-to-one performances. A key strand of Andy’s practice involves making work in collaboration with young people with the aim of enabling them to play a meaningful part in the civic discourse of the cities and towns in which they live.

Gemma Nash

Gemma Nash is a sound artist and digital storyteller whose work focuses on re-imagining the ‘othered’ body and the complex relationship between medicine, disability and ethics.  She creates raw, authentic sound narratives to uncover and reimagine stories about people, places and objects.  Her work often involves unusual sonic reference points and the the convergence of sound and visual artistic practices.

Nash has exhibited work in a variety of locations, including: Art Galleries, Museums, Pop-Ups, Shopping Centres and her own home!  Her work has been shown across UK and internationally, and she is regularly works with Metal, Sound and Music and Drake Music.  She is also part of Cutter & Nash – a new collaboration with live artist, Gareth Cutter. The collaboration was formed in November 2017 through Metal’s Change Makers project led by creative producer Kate Marsh. Fusing their shared interests in non-normative bodies, voices and queerness, they create eerie and seductive soundscapes using their voices, synthesisers, DAWs and hacked controllers.

Cathy Cross

My work as an artist within schools and colleges is to question, challenge how we see space. I look for the spaces in schools and buildings that are ignored or not considered learning spaces, and use projection, lighting and sound with found or used objects to encourage audiences to see things differently. Lately I have been encouraging students to use their handheld devices as light and projection sources, finding impact with shadows and textures. The most successful projects for me are when we give the young people a voice. My work enables them to communicate their message and their voice visually. I always push people to see how to display work differently, whether projecting onto bodies, the ceiling, unusual surfaces or through their senses other than just sight. My work as Creative Director for Make Space Create has allowed me to work on large scale projects that enhance outdoor spaces for cultural events as well as small intimate story telling moments through immersive theatre approaches.

Studio Morison

Studio Morison, Heather Peak and Ivan Morison have been commissioned to develop the design of a new public artwork in St Helens.

Plans for a skatepark have been submitted with partners from across Merseyside and Studio Morison who are leaders in public art and public space, have been researching with St Helens skateboarders and skateboard experts since the spring.

As part of the research 40 skateboarders from St Helens travelled with Studio Morison to Stoke Plaza Skate Park and Projekts in Manchester for inspiration.

The project is being led by a committee that includes Heart of Glass, Merseyside Police, St Helens Council, 51st Skate and the skateboarding community.

Studio Morison are developing workshops with the committee and the skateboarders to ensure the design will be suitable.

The project successfully gained funding from POCA (Proceeds of Crime Act) and Heart of Glass through their Art Council England Creative People and Places fund and CAPP (A Creative Europe funded programme) investments.

Patrick Fox director of Heart of Glass said:

“The popularity of the trip to Stoke with Studio Morison and local skateboarders really showed us the appetite for this project.

“The passion of Heather and Ivan is matched by the skateboarding community and I think this is a brilliant opportunity to create something special for St Helens.

“It has been a long time coming for the skateboarders of St Helens to have an area to develop and showcase their skills – as well as a unique and beautiful space.

More news to follow soon…..

idle women

idle women offers a place for all women and girls to belong.

Founded by co-caretakers Cis O’Boyle and Rachel Anderson in 2015, idle women is an artist led organisation that initiates and creates contemporary art with and by women.

idle women is responding to the devastation caused by austerity cuts to women’s services and the systematic erasure of women’s contributions to public life. They believe in creating opportunities, networking and other connections with women across the UK and beyond, and nurturing long term partnerships with specialist women’s providers.

In October 2017 the idle women institute was opened on Haydock Street, the venue was given a make over allowing it to be a safe, accessible and welcoming place for women to visit. A series of workshops and open days have taken place including car mechanics and boot camps for surviving and thriving.

 

Mark Storor

Mark Storor is an award winning British artist with an international reputation and extensive experience of working collaboratively with organisations and communities with little connection with the arts, and in sensitive settings.

Working in the space between live art and theatre, he has been described in the British press as: ‘a genuinely visionary theatre maker’, ‘an alchemist’, and ‘one of the most distinctive voices in British Theatre’.

His work is devised, often site specific and always collaborative. 
He specialises in giving voice to those we all too rarely choose to hear, often collaborating with people from vulnerable and marginalised communities and those living with chronic illness. He usually works over several years to create extraordinarily beautiful, delicate and uplifting theatre in which community performers and professionals work side by side in genuine partnership.

His work is intensely visual and poetic – images from his shows tend to stay with audiences forever. He is currently working with Heart of Glass on Baa Baa Baric: Have You Any Pull?

Simon Mckeown

Simon Mckeown is an award winning internationally exhibiting artist renowned for his work which touches on and considers disability as well as our digital futures.

He is leading a new art project celebrating St Helens as a location for invention and innovation. This energy is still present today, taking form through artistic and cultural experiments, making St Helens a fertile ground for community and collaborative based arts practices.

To cement this status, Ignite St Helens, a new commission led by Artist Simon Mckeown, will work with the local community and in particular, disabled artists, to create a series of works which will not only reflect on 150 years of the town’s history but also project into the future, exploring St Helens and its people as a creative force.

Mckeown will develop, through a co-production programme, a number of events leading up to a mass outdoor video projection.

Working throughout 2017, and culminating in 2018, this bombastic artistic endeavour; including massive video projection, will temporarily manipulate the townscape, blurring reality and space and presenting new and alternative realities for our consideration.

 

Sheila Ghelani

As an artist Sheila makes work in a range of media – performance, installation, participatory event and moving image. She works both as a solo and collaborative artist, and originally trained in contemporary dance.

She is interested in the relationship between art and science with particular focus on hybridity, crossings, carefully controlled experiments, the practice of medicine and care, colour, genetics and love. She is an artist who champions making work for the passer-by. She is currently working on and touring Common Salt with artist Sue Palmer as part of her ongoing Rambles with Nature series, and developing her latest project Elemental.

She has shown work at venues and festivals across Europe including Belluard Bollwerk International in Switzerland, Fierce Festival in Birmingham, NRLA in Glasgow, Trouble Festival in Brussels, Performance Space in Sydney and the Wellcome Collection in London.

As a collaborative artist she is a long-standing Associate Artist of Blast Theory and has toured and performed nationally and internationally for them and many other companies . She also teaches in Academic contexts and regularly mentors artists and students and gives public talks.

Sheila is an Associate Artist for Clod Ensemble’s Performing Medicine Project, regularly working with medical students across London and is currently an Associate Research Fellow in the School of Arts at Birkbeck.

In addition, universities she has taught at include, Queen Mary University (London), University of Salford, University of Hull (Scarborough), University of Birmingham (School of Education) and King’s College London.

To find out more about Sheila’s work visit her website. 

Across summer 2017, residents at two St Helens housing schemes shared gestures of goodwill and got to know each other as part of Getting To Know You, a project by artist Sheila Ghelani

This summer artist Sheila Ghelani worked with the residents of Helena Partnership scheme, Parr Mount Court and Heald Farm Court.

Each week participants were invited to take part in events and activities which included sound craft and photography (to name but a few of the things they got up to) all with one purpose in mind – to reach out to residents who weren’t present and generate new bonds and conversation between those present. Together neighbours explored the thresholds and boundaries that exist in their communities.

Ghelani is an interdisciplinary artist working in performance, installation, participatory event and moving image. She has been helping the participants create extraordinary gestures, that reach out to their community of neighbours and beyond to the residents of the other housing scheme, and invites others to step over their thresholds within the scheme.

They have assembled and then given out bunches of flowers and bracelets, created a set of performative photographs and finally 260 bespoke tea cups.

Sheila Ghelani, explained back in September 2017:

“The project is nearly at an end. The final artistic outcomes, our photographs and the tea cups, are both in production and all that remains is for me to deliver them to participants when they’re ready, in a kind of mass gifting event. I say mass gifting as one of the outcomes be is a fine bone china teacup which every resident in each housing scheme will receive to keep.

There have been lots of highlights throughout the project. A particularly enjoyable moment was conducting some home visits – so taking the art to residents in their own homes, those who weren’t able to attend the weekly sessions in the main common room of each scheme.

Another highlight was bringing some of the residents of the two housing schemes together in a final mid-morning party. They really enjoyed meeting each other! I’m also hoping the final artworks will be a highlight too.”

I also loved the assembling and delivering of flowers in the very first session. It caused an exciting stir in both scheme. I also had a great research visit to the St Helens archives, let’s just say there were lots of highlights.

The final artistic outcomes of the project are a teacup with a pattern on it designed by myself/residents and a set of 3 posters featuring photos of the residents revealing a small piece of info about themselves in front of what can only be described as a kitsch backdrop.

Each scheme will get a framed set of the images to hang somewhere. Of course, there were lots of other outcomes from week to week – deep conversation over different types of making, gestures of good will and invites sent out to those not present, music, cake, gifts etc.”

Sophie Mahon

 

Sophie Mahon Sophie Mahon is a socially engaged Artist, who combines film, sculpture and digital experimentation to create installations and public artworks. Her works are often interactive, participatory and shown in the public realm.

Currently based in Manchester, Sophie has worked across the UK with various groups and communities as well as with organisations including the Whitworth, Tate Modern and Grundy Art Gallery.

She currently leading a project called ‘The Next Term’, working with teachers, young people and researchers across the UK to highlight challenges faced by schools. This year-long, collaborative project will culminate in an immersive art installation-come-festival which will explore the future of education, taking place in an abandoned primary school in Manchester in March 2018.

Other recent projects include an Artist residency with The Heart of Glass, collaborations with Take Back Theatre and a permanent bronze sculpture created with communities from South Manchester.

Find out more about Sophie’s work with Heart of Glass here