The School for Invisible Urbanists is a project exploring children’s capacity to make change happen in the world. It takes the form of a secret society of young people from Broad Oak Primary School in St Helens who are working together with artist Andy Field to consider the changes they’d like to see in the world around them and what they can do to begin to initiate that change.
Using strategies drawn from street art, live performance, tactical urbanism and participatory design, we began by thinking about change on a civic level but, in the light of the current pandemic, are now thinking much more locally about the homes we live in and what we can do to make them better in this moment of shared crisis.
Stay tuned to find out more The School for Invisible Urbanists as this project develops.
We’re working with Queer Artist Amy Pennington to bring together a new group of young people living in St Helens who identify as LGBTQ+/ LGBTQ+ curious/ an ally to work on a new arts project.
Together Amy and the young people will explore different art forms and cultural experiences, such as day trips to art events; creative workshops and other cultural activities; developing a frame of reference and a common language to create new artworks together. The resulting artwork will be shown as part of St Helens PRIDE in July and the Young People’s Take Over, an arts festival for young people in St Helens in August – September this year.
Additionally the artist will also work with the young people to programme events as part of St Helens Council’s Arts In Libraries project – Cultural Hubs, an exciting Arts in Libraries project that brings a fantastic range of arts events into all St.Helens Libraries.
Calling all young people living in St Helens identifying as LGBTQ+ / LGBTQ+ curious/ or an ally* (*someone who supports LGBTQ+ people, a friend or mate)
Go and see shows, galleries, performances in Liverpool & Manchester for free
Hang out together and meet new friends
Explore different art forms in creative workshops
Queer Artist Amy Pennington is looking to bring together a group of young people (aged between 14 – 18 years) to take part in an exciting new arts project, produced by Heart of Glass and St Helens Libraries, Cultural Hubs.
As part of this group, you will work with Amy to discover different art forms and cultural experiences, and create new artworks to be shown at St Helens PRIDE and an arts festival for young people in St Helens later this year. If you’re interested in getting involved, we‘d love to hear from you! To find out more about the project and how to attend our next meet-up please get in touch using one of the following ways:
Following the successful delivery of a recent pilot with a small cohort of artists, we’re now delighted to announce a coaching support programme for early career artists from any art form (3 – 6 years professional practice) directly engaged in or passionate about socially engaged practice.
Coaching is a short-term approach to professional development. It can help you to meet goals that seem out of reach, and unblock challenges that seem stuck. ‘Rupture’ will use the format of group coaching for up to 12 early career artists, led by Sarah Bailey. Sarah is a trained coach with over 15 years experience in the cultural sector. She will help you to reconnect with your purpose; improve your working practice; discover new solutions to old problems; and, lead and support change.
The programme will comprise four day long sessions between December 2019 and March 2020. All sessions will take place at Heart of Glass in St Helens.
To apply please send the following (no more than 500 words) to Emma Fry (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 5pm on Friday 22nd November 2019:
a description of your practice (please include links where appropriate)
a description of your current challenge or goal.
This opportunity is available to any artist who identifies as being within the first 6 years of a professional practice.
All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application no later than Friday 29th November 2019. We anticipate the coaching sessions to take place as follows. Exact dates for the final three sessions will be agreed by the coaching group at the end of Session 1.
Session 1: Friday 13th December 2020, 10am – 4pm
Session 2: January 2020
Session 3: February 2020
Session 4: March 2020
‘Rupture’ forms part of Heart of Glass’ national professional development programme for artists, producers and commissioning agencies working in social and community contexts.
Please contact Emma Fry (email@example.com) with any questions or queries.
Feedback from previous participants:
“Coaching is a form of magic – just like in the movies, you realise the answers were inside you the whole time! Being part of the rupture programme has had an immediate positive effect, obstacles that seemed insurmountable suddenly became challenges that could be broken down into actionable steps and I’ve made real progress towards my goals.”
“Sarah was brilliant as the coach and she created a safe, fun and supportive environment in which to work with others. She was very skilled in listening to each of us and helping us to move our own thinking on. Sarah certainly did this for me.”
“Labelled as the suicide capital of England and Wales, St Helens needs some love, some Madlove…”
Take Over is our annual festival that reimagines public spaces through art projects made with, for and about people in St Helens. For our 2019 festival, we invited artist and mental health activist the vacuum cleaner (aka James Leadbitter) to take over a vast empty shop and create a space for art, conversation and care.
From 1-30 November, the vacuum cleaner and Heart of Glass invited you to be part of a ‘Madlove’ Take Over – an arts festival for mental health that is transforming the old St Helens Argos store on Church Street into a space for tea, chats and moments to relax.
Together, we’re brought 13 local, national and international artists and communities together to make exhibitions, films and new performances for this pop-up space – all aimed at supporting people’s mental health. You can find out more information about what was in the space below.
Find out more about the vacuum cleaner and the ideas behind A Madlove Take Over in this subtitled video below.
Did you join us for this autumn festival, made with and for the people of St Helens. Perhaps you explored the space and its artworks, chilled out in the bell tent or attended one of the many free events in the space? Did you take a seat around the Together Table and enjoy a brew blended as part of the Time for Tea project or get crafty and chatty in the Care Cafe?
You can find out more about what happened in the Madlove Take Over Space below and in this subtitled video.
What happened in the Madlove Take Over Space?
Take Care St Helens
A way to find special spaces and places in our town that offer support, advice and care, created by Hwa Young Jung and communities of St Helens.
Together Table A place to relax, hang out and share a cuppa with friends.
Time for Tea Enjoy a free brew – a custom tea blend made by a group of Torus Housing residents from Clockface with artists Yara and Davina, in collaboration with Tony from Leaf Tea, Liverpool. More info here.
Care Cafe Take a seat, talk with friends, or even strangers. Artist Lois Weaver and U3A St Helens invite you to gather under the awning of care. More info here.
Children’s Play Area Watch your little ones play while you enjoy a cuppa on the Together Table.
Hana Madness – paintings A series of colourful paintings by award-winning Indonesian artist and campaigner exploring her own experiences of mental health. More info here.
Change Grow Live – Monsters (a collaboration with Hana Madness) A series of colourful characters made by service users from Change Grow Live, sharing stories of recovery and how we are understood by our community. More info here.
Madlove Portraits See if you can find a familiar face in this series of portraits of St Helens folk, captured by photographer Stephen King.
Mr Men Do Psychiatry Laugh / cry at artist / activist Dolly Sen’s mental health parody of the Mr Men series. More info here.
Software Garden Watch and listen to this meditative music video album nurtured over two years of collaboration and workshops. Made by artist Rory Pilgrim, with a poet, a singer, a choreographer, a rapper and a disability activist. More info here.
Bell Tent Relax in this chill out, quiet space.
The Suicide Chronicles: Chronicle One Watch and listen as three women privilege us with access to a private world through these short films. A project by Joanne Lyne, Angela Samata, Lisa Vint with Mark Storor. More info here.
But One Day Watch a short film about love, loss and loneliness by self-described ‘cleaner and sort of video artist’ Kim Noble. More info here.
Baby change station
Cinema / performance space Enjoy a free film screening, or programme this space with your own events. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.
Heart of Glass pop up office Come say hello and find out more about our projects as we temporarily move our office into the Madlove space.
Madlove Take Over Events
1st November – Stand Up, Sit Down, Roll Over by Jess Thom – Info
9th November –Den Building for Grown Ups with Cathy Cross – Info
14th November (11am) – 20 Minute Suicide Prevention Training with St Helens Wellbeing Service – booking not required – Info.
15th November – Software Garden performance and talk with Rory Pilgrim, Robyn Haddon and Carol R. Kelland – Info
21st November (1-3pm) Kitty’s Mix n Match: Open Mic – Info
21st November – Kitty’s Pick n’ Mix Performance Night with Kitty O’Shea – Info
22nd November (5pm) – 20 Minute Suicide Prevention Training with St Helens Wellbeing Service – booking not required – Info.
23rd November (12-4pm) – Screen-print your own Care Map of St Helens tea towel to take home with artist Kate Hodgson – drop-in – suitable for 5+years, children must be accompanied by an adult.
27th November (1-4pm) – Hana Madness monster making art workshop – drop-in – suitable for 5+years, children must be accompanied by an adult.
28th November (5-7pm) – Screening: The Stranger on the Bridge documentary + Q&A with Jonny Benjamin MBE – book tickets.
29th November – How Can We Do This Better? with the vacuum cleaner, James Leadbitter – Info
A Madlove Take Over is curated and produced by Heart of Glass, the vacuum cleaner and Mary Osborn (Artsadmin) with the support and collaboration of individuals, organisations and communities across St Helens. The Madlove environment is designed and produced by Sascha Gilmour and the vacuum cleaner’s team.
Supported by Arts Council England, Creative People and Places, The Hardshaw Shopping Centre, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The National Organising Committee for Indonesia as Market Focus Country at the 2019 London Book Fair, Bethlem Gallery, Mental Health and Justice, Wellcome Trust, British Council.
Special thanks to Change Grow Live (CGL), Torus Foundation, Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SoBS) St Helens, St Helens University of the Third Age (U3A), The Hardshaw Shopping Centre, Inglenook Farm, Reverend Janet Ashton and to all of the artists involved in this year’s festival.
Samaritans: 116123 A safe place for you to talk anytime (24h, free).
Papyrus: 0800 068 41 41 Prevention of Young Suicide (free & confidential).
AMPARO: 0330 088 9255 Support for anyone affected by suspected or actual suicide.
Shout: text 85258 The UK’s first text support for anyone in crises, anywhere, anytime.
Suicide Prevention Available on Google Play and Apple App Store now.
Stay Alive App Packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in a crisis.
Calm Harm App Tasks, information & support to help you resist the urge to self-harm.
In 2017 we collaborated with artist Mark Storor and schools in St Helens to explore what role places play in young people’s emotional health. One of the project’s outcomes was a declaration (written by Rainford High School pupil Ben, scroll down to read) and delivered to St Helens Council on the steps of the Town Hall (read more about the Army of Beauty parade here).
In response the council want to collaborate with children from St Helens to develop a child friendly town. Heart of Glass is working with the Children’s Services team on a creative consultation with young people from across our town. The aspiration is that it will be the first step in making St Helens a ‘Child-friendly Borough’!
We are asking children and young people to lead this journey and help us find out: ‘what does a child-friendly borough look like and feel like to live in?
The views of children and young people are being collected on postcards as part of the #DearStHelens Project; their ideas and inspirations can be recorded and posted back to us. To start our journey with meaning and integrity, we’re aiming to collect as many responses from schools and community organisations to make it truly representative of our Borough.
If you are a young person, we can’t wait to hear from you! You can give us your ideas by filling in the postcard you are given at school or you can send us your thoughts digitally using (this online form).
If you are an adult responding on behalf of a young person, use the online form.
If you are a teacher, please head to the ‘Project Resources’ section at the top of this page to download the #dearsthelens learning resource.
(If you haven’t received a postcard to fill in, you can respond to the Google form.)
Follow the journey #dearsthelens
Key terms and resources:
Child Friendly Town/City: Every child has the right to grow up in an environment where they feel safe and secure, have access to basic services and clean air and water, can play, learn and grow and where their voice is heard and matters.
A different kind of conference. Each year we invite colleagues and comrades from the UK and beyond to the town of St Helens to discuss, share and consider:
What is the role of art and artists in civil society ?
What are the fierce and urgent questions facing collaborative and social art today?
What the potential of collaborative art, with and within community and social contexts?
#WithForAbout is a moment for public critical reflection and a chance to explore some of the tensions and challenges in our work and in this field of practice. We invite interested parties to critically reflect and discuss in a different type of ‘conference’ setting. Read about previous conferences below.
In April 2019, over 120 participants were invited to collectively produce a dinner course, present it in a meaningful way; document the process and the event; contribute to discussion; submit a page for publication. Facilitated by artists Joshua Sofaer, idle women, Claire Weetman, Chrissie Tiller, Mark Storor, Eggs Collective, Cathy Cross and Heather Morison, groups were encouraged to take part in a collective experience in space and time, to embody the values we expound and to reflect on a common task.
This was a special edition of our With For About conference series, the fifth Staging Post of the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP). An ambitious transnational cultural programme focusing on the dynamic area of collaborative arts across Europe.
2017 With for About: Art, Activism & Community In May 2017 we partnered with Axisweb, idle women and Chrissie Tiller to host the second iteration of the conference With For About. The conference took place at Friends Meeting House, St Helens. 16 speakers / provocateurs and 100 participants explored collaboration, language and our role as artists, producers and commissioners in an ever-changing socio-political landscape.
2015 With for About For our first With For About, 73 artists, producers, caretakers, educators, participants and commissioners gathered to talk and share ideas in St Helens Town Hall. The event aimed to create the space to explore validation, working in context, public art and publics and approaches to professional development. More information here.
Heart of Glass, in collaboration with Mark Devereux Projects, is delighted to announce a series of six practical artist professional development sessions for artists working within socially engaged practice. The sessions will take place in St Helens between November 2018 and April 2019.
This new collaboration is one component of Heart of Glass’ new national professional development programme for artists, producers and commissioning agencies working in social and community contexts. Details of other components including specialist areas of practice and coaching & mentoring will be announced in due course.
Led by Mark Devereux Projects, each workshop in the series will address key aspects of realising projects and commissions, providing attendees with the confidence and know-how to move their practice forward.
Each workshop will be tailored to the participating artists’ key questions and concerns; providing information, advice and guidance alongside open discussions and peer-to-peer sharing.
Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Workshop lunches will be hosted by a different member of the Heart of Glass staff/associate artist team to provide informal networking opportunities and access to staff expertise where relevant.
Whilst primarily aimed at artists working within socially engaged practice, artists working within other mediums are also welcome.
Sessions can be booked individually or as a whole programme at a discounted rate. Find out about the season ticket here.
Find out more about each workshop by following the links below:
If you require access support to attend a workshop please be in touch with us via email@example.com or on 01744 623290 so we can arrange this for you.
We are now delighted to offer a limited number of travel bursaries (up to £50 per individual, per session) to support attendance. Bursaries may be used to contribute towards the cost of travel and/or childcare costs. All artists attending (including those who have already booked tickets) are eligible to apply. Priority will be given to those who would otherwise be unable to attend. Those wishing to apply for a travel bursary should send the following information by email to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Thursday 8th November 2018:
Amount applied for (up to £50 per individual, per session)
Brief explanation (200 words max) of how the bursary will support attendance
Breakdown of costs
Travel bursaries will be paid after attendance, and on receipt of proof of expenditure.
Individual sessions: £25 per session (£10 concession for students, senior citizens and St Helens based artists) Season Ticket – all 6 sessions: £135 (£54 concessions: students, senior citizens & St Helens based artists)
Professional Development at Heart of Glass
Professional development is one of a number of research and talent development strands initiated by Heart of Glass to establish essential critical pedagogy around collaborative and social arts practice, and to offer a collegiate space for debate, enquiry and sharing in this field. Other strands include WITH FOR ABOUT – Heart of Glass’ annual conference, the fourth iteration of which will take place in May 2019; writing & publishing – PRAXIS Volume II will be published later this year; and FIERCE AND URGENT CONVERSATIONS: The First International Triennial of Social and Collaborative Arts Practice, which will take place in Autumn 2021.
About Mark Devereux Projects
Mark Devereux Projects has established a proven track record of developing artists’ practices and careers since forming in 2013. This year marks our fifth anniversary.
Mark Devereux Projects: • specialises in supporting artists during crucial transitional stages in their career • works collaboratively with artists, placing their core interests and ambitions at heart • believes in paying artists • supports artists both outside and within the commercial art market • provides tailored information, support and guidance through mentoring and • professional development programmes • champions art which is compelling, critical and ambitious • produces and curates exhibitions, talks programmes and events that challenge artists and audiences • encourages creative risk • forges connections between artists, galleries and audiences • advocates for artists and works to enhance their national and international profile
Many of the artists we have worked with have gone on to receive important commissions, prizes, exhibitions and grants that have furthered their careers.
Mark Devereux Projects is a Company Limited by Guarantee (8818208), receiving project based funding to support our activity and programming.
Booking is now open for Take Over Festival (#TakeOverStHelens) and for six thrilling weeks between 16th September and 13th December 2018, art, culture and pop-up performances are igniting the streets and the spaces of St Helens. No location is off limits as artists are invited to showcase new and engaging work in libraries, shops, labour clubs and public spaces. St Helens 150’s edition of the festival examines the idea of identity. In a world where the only constant thing is change, what does that mean to our sense of self?
Contributors include son of St Helens, Frank Cottrell Boyce, award-winning US performance troop Split Britches (in a North of England debut of their Unexploded Ordnances show), and – fresh from her Edinburgh festival triumph – Selina Thompson presents salt – her visceral, vulnerable and beautiful exploration of her family’s colonial history.
Whether challenging, enthralling, captivating or enchanting – or, possibly all of the above – Take Over Festival promises to break culture free of its borders, and bring it kicking, screaming and exploding into the places where you’ll least expect it.
A documentary film about the campaign to unionise the women who cleaned office blocks at night and who were being victimised and underpaid by their employers. A key work of the 1970s, this intensely self-reflexive film implicates both the filmmakers and the audience in the processes of precarious, invisible labour. Find out more here.
Berwick Street Film Collective Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott and Humphry Trevelyan. UK, 1972-75. 90 min.
£4, £3 (St Helens Library Card), £2 (concessions). Tickets and access info here and any library in St Helens.
Sunday’s Best – Larry Achiampong
Friday 5 October – Friday 16 November (12-6pm), 20B Church Street, St Helens
Sunday’s Best is a series of film and installation comprised of vivid audio and images of praise and worship sessions in a Ghanaian community church, married with the comparatively stark interiors of a traditional Catholic church. Documented across a number of sites in London, the work considers how belief systems within the African diaspora are inflected by colonial histories. In particular, the relationship with Christian imperialism and its impact on Achiampong’s tribe (the Ashanti). Sunday’s Best is an attempt to unbraid and reconcile the incongruence between western and non-western faith practices and the remains of history, nostalgia and trauma. More info here.
Thursday 11 October (7pm), Rainhill Library. This event is suitable for 16+ BSL interpreted performance.
Saturday 13 October, (1.30pm), Eccleston Library. This is a family friendly event.
To celebrate Libraries Week, Frank Cottrell Boyce will deliver a series of readings from his popular books including Millions and Sputnik’s Guide to Life at two different events. Frank Cottrell Boyce, who was educated in St Helens, has written television episodes for Coronation Street, Brookside and Doctor Who and contributed to movie screenplays including: Forget About Me, Butterfly Kiss, Welcome to Sarajevo, 24 Hour Party People, The Revenger’s Tragedy, and Millions. Find out more here.
Both events are FREE, tickets required. Book online here or call into any library in St Helens to purchase your tickets. Access info here.
The Rank and File (PG)
Thursday 18 October (7pm), Chester Lane Library
Director Kenneth Loach. Producer Graeme McDonald. Script Jim Allen. 1971. 71 min.
Based on the Pilkington Glass strike that took place in St. Helens in 1970, this film by Kenneth Loach uses a documentary approach to cover a wildcat strike among rank and file union members antagonised by a too-cosy relationship between the board and union executive that had resulted in the gradual erosion of pay and conditions. Loach uses a documentary approach to cover the action. Find out more here.
£4, £3 (St Helens Library Card), £2 (concessions). Tickets online hereand any library in St Helens.
salt. – Selina Thompson
Saturday 20 October (7pm), Parr Library
Selina Thompson presents the multi-award winning salt. – her visceral, vulnerable and beautiful one woman show retracing of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back. In February, two artists got on a cargo ship, and retraced one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica, and back. It was a long journey backwards, in order to go forwards. This show is what they brought back. Find out more here.
£6, £5 (St.Helens Library Card Holders), £3 (concessions). Tickets and access info online here and any library in St Helens.
Jonathan Beaver Residency and Exhibition
Residency: Monday 22 – Saturday 27 October (10-4pm), various St Helens libraries. More detail here .
Exhibition: Thursday 15 November – Wednesday 19 December (10-4pm), Moss Bank library
Jonathon Beaver is an embroiderer, animator and arts educator based in Liverpool. He began working with needlepoint at the age of nine, encouraged by an auntie. He uses this traditional craft, often used to mark family occasions and decorate homes, to evoke queer family. Jonathon’s pieces range from small scale to large tapestries reminiscent of work from a bygone era, but bringing an old craft into a contemporary setting through subject matter. His practice takes traditional constructions of gender roles and identities and allows them to be explored and freed from societal shackles. Much of his work is an exploration of his personal gender preferences and identities both as an individual and an artist. Using words and literature as a starting point Jonathon will be in residence at various St.Helens Libraries from Monday 22nd – Saturday 27th October, creating new work for an exhibition at Moss Bank library as part of Take Over Festival & Homotopia in November.
This event is free and drop in.
Le Gateau Chocolat
Thursday 1 November (7.30pm), exact location to be confirmed (venue will be accessible and in central St Helens)
The opera-occasional, lycra-loving, black-beard, drag-diva Le Gateau Chocolat returns to St Helens to present a unique performance of his newest treat, RAW CACAO, in collaboration with a local brass band. This specially curated cycle of songs is the six-inch heeled, six and half foot tall, wig-clad wonder to the sound of brass, everything you expect and as you’ve never seen before.
£6, £3 (concessions – students, senior citizens). Tickets and access info available online here.
Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) – Split Britches
Thursday 8 November (7.30pm), St Helens Town Hall
Award-winning veteran US performance duo Split Britches will present a North of England debut of their show Unexploded Ordnances (UXO). Combining a Dr Strangelove-inspired performance with a daring forum for public conversation, Unexploded Ordnances (UXO), a theatre piece by Split Britches, explores ageing, anxiety, hidden desires and how to look forward when the future is uncertain. Find out more here.
Performed by Lois Weaver and Peggy Shaw Written by Lois Weaver, Peggy Shaw and Hannah Maxwell
Technical Design: Jo Palmer Video Content Design: Claire Nolan Design Consultant: Matt Delbridge Sound Design: Vivian Stoll Choreography Consultant: Stormy Brandenberger Production Manager: Hannah Moore Company Manager: Laura Petree Producer: Alex Legge
£6, £3 (concessions – students, senior citizens). Tickets and access info available online here.
Funny Cow (18) and Q & A with Maxine Peake
Monday 12 November (7pm), Ravenhead Social Club
Maxine Peake plays the gritty role of ‘Funny Cow’, a comedian who breaks through the glass ceiling of the all-male 1970s comedy circuit to rise to stardom. Set against the backdrop of working men’s clubs in the North of England, Funny Cow is both a love-letter to a bygone era and the defiant story of a woman who refuses to give up her dreams. Find out more here.
Director Adrian Shergold. Producers Mark Vennis and Kevin Proctor.
£4, £2 (concessions – students and senior citizens). Tickets available and access information online here.
We Are Still Here – Simon Mckeown
Saturday 8 December 2018, 7.30pm, St Helens Town Hall
Digital specialist and DaDaFest Artist of the Year, Simon Mckeown is working with the local disabled community to present a fun, exciting and visually poetic spectacle inspired by the town. We Are Still Here will use the complex Victorian facade of St Helens Town Hall as its canvas. Featuring massive super-sized outdoor projectors, next-gen digital mapping software, and immersive soundscapes.
This event is free but tickets are required and can be booked online here.
Wrap Party with Eggs Collective
Thursday 13 December (time TBC), The Citadel
To cap things off, writers, performers and producers of politically-charged theatre, Eggs Collective (party political artists in residence with Heart of Glass for the whole of 2018) will curate the unpredictable and unmissable besequinned centrepiece ofa send off to the 150th anniversary celebrations.
Ticket information to be confirmed, keep an eye on our website and social media.
Liverpool/St Helens-based artist Kate Hodgson believes in the power of print to shape, and to shift conversations. As part of this year’s Independents Biennial, Kate has been working with a group of women and their children to produce a new print-based creative project.
Over the summer the group have been experimenting with print techniques and exploring the artform’s past, pivotal role as a way to disseminate political messages. With Parr’s Torus Housing, the group have also held a series of sessions with local councillors, touching on equality, democracy and the machinations of local government. These conversations have fed into the series of printmaking workshops, along with the group’s passion for crafting, to produce a series of posters, t-shirts and totes – keep an eye out for the resulting images on a street near you!