Our world is in flux. The list seems endless: from the effects of climate change, to war, spiralling energy costs and inflation, seismic constitutional change – kings and queens and national identities – to debates around reproductive rights and gender politics. Can art help decode what’s happening in the twenty-first century? The Gallery invites 10 artists from around the world to make art about The State We’re In. The Gallery is a new kind of cultural institution without walls that challenges traditional models of viewing art. Each season we invite 10 artists to respond to critical and urgent questions of our time. The aim of the project is to generate meaningful debate and start a national conversation through art. Season 2 of The Gallery will launch in January 2023.
Submission to The Gallery is FREE. Applications close Sunday 16 October 2022. For more information and to apply, visit http://www.thegallery.org.uk/open-call-for-artists/, scroll to the bottom of our Open Call page, read through the information pack and follow the instructions.
This initiative exists to champion ground-breaking artworks by artists at any stage of their practice. Open to practitioners aged 18+, working at any level, including students. Artists can be based anywhere in the world and all selected artists receive a fee of £2,000.
All artists receive: • A fee of £2,000 • Support from Creative Director Martin Firrell exhibition Curator Bren O’Callaghan • An international platform to exhibit their work • Artwork showcased online at thegallery.org.uk • The services of a designer to format the artwork for digital and print • Costs of production, mounting, and leasing of the advertising spaces • Selected photographic documentation of the artwork displayed outdoors • Scheduled online meet-ups with fellow contributing artists and team • Participation in online discussions regarding making art for the public realm • Invitation to exhibition launch in January 2023. If based in the UK, standard travel and one-night accommodation will be included. For artists based outside of the UK, a travel stipend of £200 towards any/all travel expenses, including visa fees and one night’s accommodation is included. • For those based outside of the UK, Artichoke will investigate additional means of support towards travel costs where possible (e.g., from Embassies, Trusts and Foundations).
Taking over thousands of public sites reserved for advertising, The Gallery exhibits on street billboards, digital screens, bus shelters and cinemas. In July-August 2022, the artworks for Season 1 were seen by over 12 million people across the four nations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This is an opportunity for artistic exposure on a grand scale and to be part of the national debate.
Join us at We Make Tomorrow 2022, a day for creativity, community and connection.
It has been two transformational years since We Make Tomorrow 2020, two years where the cultural community mobilised on climate action, and connections between environmental, social, and cultural justices were exposed.
With contributions from poets, artists, musicians and writers, Julie’s Bicycle invites all cultural organisations and individuals across the UK and beyond to join, collaborate and be inspired.
Together we will delve into themes beyond operational action, and, through the voices of many pioneers, celebrate creative climate leadership, and appreciate what more we can learn.
This one-day summit will look at political, demographic, economic and social changes driven by our changing climate, and explore how working with shared purpose can generate social, economic and creative value that helps us all to imagine, and craft a better tomorrow.
The We Make Tomorrow 2022 programme will include sessions on:
Community-led practice and place-making
Funding climate justice
Mitigation beyond net zero
Creative responses to global climate impacts
Health, wellbeing and resilience
Using creative climate action to build a legacy
…and much more.
Join us for a day of valuable knowledge-sharing on Thursday 13 October at the Birmingham Rep & Library or online to spark ideas and inspire you to lead from the front on the climate agenda.
MAIA are the We Make Tomorrow 2022 visual artistic commissioning partners.
MAIA is an artist-led social justice organisation, working globally from their home city, Birmingham, UK. Their work explores the relationships between artists, imagination and liberation, through developing cultural programmes, artworks, resources and spaces to practise alternative paradigms, where culture and Black thought are catalysts.
Anthony is the dramaturg for We Make Tomorrow 2022, helping to make the event as participatory as possible.
Anthony Simpson-Pike is a director, dramaturg and writer whose work has been staged in theatres including The Bush, The Gate, The Young Vic and The Royal Court. He is currently Associate Director at The Yard Theatre, was previously Resident Director at Theatre Peckham and Associate Director at The Gate Theatre. Anthony is also a facilitator, having worked with young people and communities at The Gate, The Royal Court, The Young Vic, The Globe, and National Theatre.
Recent directorial work includes Lava by Benedict Lombe (Bush Theatre), Living Newspaper (Royal Court), The Electric by Vickie Donoghue (Paines Plough/RWCMD), and The Ridiculous Darkness by Wolfram Lotz (Gate Theatre).
Civic Square will be presenting a workshop and introduction to their doughnut cities models.
Together with many people and partners, CIVIC SQUARE are visioning, building and investing in social and civic infrastructure for neighbourhoods of the future, rooted in the heart of Birmingham; their home city.
CIVIC SQUARE builds upon a decade of research, discovery, and practice as Impact Hub Birmingham and as part of the 00 family around systems change, land, housing and what 21st Century civic spaces might need, looking at how they are participated in, funded and maintained.
Alongside an ecosystem of local and global neighbours, CIVIC SQUARE are discovering and developing civic and social infrastructure to collectively respond to our growing societal challenges. They are working collaboratively and imaginatively at the scale of the neighbourhood through many different ways of organising, within Public Square; Regenerative Neighbourhood Economics Lab; and Creative Resistance.
Nest Collective are the We Make Tomorrow 2022 musical performance commissioning partners.
The Nest Collective is a leading force in contemporary and cross-cultural folk music. We bring people together to experience extraordinary music, rekindling connections with nature, tradition and community.
Founded in 2005 by Mercury-nominated artist Sam Lee, the Nest Collective began as a small gathering of music and folk lovers. Today, our vibrant annual programme includes a diverse range of music events in locations across the UK, featuring outstanding emerging and established folk, world and roots artists from across the globe.
Friends of We Make Tomorrow
Partners and sponsors of We Make Tomorrow
This event is run in partnership with the Arts Council England as part of the environmental programme.
Good Energyis a pioneering, clean energy company whose purpose is to power the choice of a cleaner, greener future for everyone. Having led the way in clean energy since 1999, Good Energy is making it easier for people and businesses to make renewable energy part of their lives. Its mission is to help one million homes and businesses cut their carbon by 2025. It supplies customers with electricity from a community of over 1700 renewable generators, helps tens of thousands more generate their own clean power and is accelerating clean transport too as a major investor in Zap-Map, the UK’s go-to electric vehicle charging app. The company has a long history of working with the arts and cultural sector.
Sustainable Wine Solutions began its journey in 2002 as Borough Wines in the world famous Borough Market with its I WILL REFILL wine on tap concept.
Today Sustainable Wine Solutions are the true champions of sustainability within the drinks industry, with their fully circular business model supplying zero waste wines in the most sustainable and convenient formats for the trade with Uk’s only refill Kegs for wine-on-tap and the first Bottle Return Scheme,directly invested in tackling packaging and transport of wine (the biggest source of emissions in the wine industry), as well as working with sustainably led winemakers passionate about quality wines with provenance.
A year on from the United Nations climate talks, known as COP26, which took place in Glasgow last year, COP27 will be taking place in Egypt on 6-18 November 2022. I have spent some time over the last few months arranging calls with people involved with arts and cultural organisations based in Egypt to discuss COP27 and the roles of the arts in work on climate change in Egypt. In this blog post, I will share some of the key thoughts and advice that came up in these conversations.
Egypt COP27 presidency
The Egyptian government will host COP27. COPs systematically move around locations on different continents, so COP27 will formally be an ‘Africa’ COP with an accompanying focus on issues relevant to this continent. The Egyptian government’s programme for COP27 includes a focus on climate finance and delivering on the ground change that will follow on from decisions made at COP26. The official programme also includes an official ‘civil society day’ on 15 November intended for contributions from beyond the delegates of nations that are the main participants in United Nations conferences. This may include space for arts and cultural contributions. It will be the first time where culture is formally represented in the official ‘Blue Zone’ through the Resilient Hub theme ‘Arts, Culture, Heritage and Antiquities’.
Many of the people I spoke to commented on the fact that COP27 is being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, which is situated in the largely desert-filled Sinai Peninsula at some distance from Egypt’s main population centres along the Nile. Sharm el-Sheikh is a major tourist site and recently attracted criticism for building a perimeter wall that effectively cut it off from nearby residents. As such, the location is neither especially conducive to protest nor to arts and cultural activities, although some key institutions such as the Sharm el-Sheikh Museum are planning events for COP27. As such, it is worth considering whether it is worthwhile making plans for Sharm el-Sheikh or whether to make plans elsewhere in Egypt instead, which may be relatively cut off from COP27 itself.
Perceptions of climate change in Egypt
Virtually everyone I spoke to emphasised that climate change is regarded by many in Egypt as a privileged, middle-class issue that is detached from everyday concerns. This perception also exists in Scotland, but to a lesser extent. However, the interviewees did highlight some key concerns. In Cairo, issues around air pollution and desertification as a result of river dams and deforestation came up most often. People based in Alexandria emphasised the risk that sea level rise poses to the city and the Nile delta more broadly, with flooding affecting shipping to the port as well as beach tourism.
Given the cultural importance of Egypt’s long history, risks posed by climate change to ancient monuments through flooding, extreme weather, air pollution, and ocean acidification came up repeatedly. Other significant movements included campaigns around reducing pollution in the Nile (which is clearly of great ecological and cultural significance for Egypt) and banning disposable plastic. One interviewee also discussed the importance of recognising that Egypt is a majority Muslim country and considering how messages around climate change can consider elements of Islamic scripture that promote good stewardship of the land and discourage wasting resources.
The Egyptian government
Human Rights Watch has said that ‘Egypt under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government has been experiencing one of its worst human rights crises in many decades’. The right to protest is curtailed and this will likely have implications for COP27. Many have expressed concerns that the Egyptian government wants to use COP27 as an opportunity to promote its public image on climate change while continuing to pollute. People working in the arts and culture sector emphasised to me that they could engage with climate change and provide space for discussion about the issues but needed to refrain from anything that could be construed as political. Another interviewee suggested that the Egyptian government’s policies make projects with schools difficult, contrasting with school pupils being a primary audience for climate change public engagement projects in Scotland. Some positive steps from the Egyptian government were also noted, such as the Green Museums Initiative, currently being piloted.
Advice for Scottish collaborators
Some of the people I spoke to were already aware of or actively working with Scottish partners on COP27, and almost all were interested in this kind of international collaboration. Many of these also emphasised, however, that funding is difficult for them to obtain in Egypt if it is not closely related enough to their core organisational aims, so projects focusing on climate change can be hard to make space in budgets for.
Another important piece of advice was about the importance of arts and cultural projects involving not just educational activities or exhibitions but also practical actions like tree planting or permanent changes. Otherwise, we risk reaffirming perceptions that this is a privileged or luxury discussion rather than something pressing and urgent.
Joya: arte + ecología / AiR is an “off-grid” interdisciplinary residency rooted in the crossroads of art, ecology and sustainable living practice. It is located in the heart of the Parque Natural Sierra María – Los Vélez, in the north of the province of Almería, Andalucía. Joya: AiR offers abundant time and space for residents to make, think, explore and learn from their surroundings.
Joya: AiR supports a range of disciplines including, but not limited to, visual art, writing, music, dance, curatorial and film. Founded by Simon and Donna Beckmann in 2009, the Joya: arte + ecología / AiR programme is grounded in the foundation that dynamic and sustainable creative activity is the backbone to regenerating the land that has been slowly abandoned over the last fifty years.
Since 2009, Joya: AiR has welcomed over 900 artists and creatives to realise their projects within one of the most unique and beautiful regions of the country. This is one of the sunniest regions of Europe receiving over 3000 hours of sunlight a year. Residents have access to studio space and 20 hectares of land. Accommodation (private room with attached bathroom) and meals are included, as is collection and return to the nearest public transport system. Joya’s working languages are English and Spanish.
Speakers: Natasha Trotman & Keynote TBC | Curators & Speakers Art in Flux: Aphra Shemza, Maria Almena & Olive Gingrich | Chair National Gallery X: Ali Hossaini
Performances: Analema Group | Augestine Leudar | Kimatica Studio
During the pandemic media artists provided a silver lining of cultural activity. Post-Covid, the role of technology in society has changed the way we work, communicate, consume and create culture globally. This technological transformation necessitates a reflection on the artists’ role in forging this societal change. How can artists help to ensure that digital resources remain accessible, affordable, ethical, and human-centred? As active agents, visionaries and pioneers of rapidly changing techno-cultures, media artists lead by example through their own practice, frequently identifying public deficits through their art. Through talks, performances and a hybrid exhibition, ‘Art in Flux: Transformations’ spotlights intersections between arts and society.
Over the last 3 years, Art in Flux in collaboration with National Gallery X, led a public discourse on artistic strategies to address societal needs including the need for equal representation, environmental change and wellbeing. By asking important questions around agency, accessibility and the role technology and creativity play, this discourse now culminates in the ‘Transformations’ event at National Gallery X. In this event we come together to reflect on tectonic shifts in society, and how media artists encounter, engender and question such ‘Transformations’.
Introduced by NGX co-director, Ali Hossaini against the backdrop of the National Gallery’s collection, with presentations by Art in Flux founders Aphra Shemza, Maria Almena and Olive Gingrich, FLUX artist Natasha Trotman and a keynote speaker (TBC), ‘Transformations’ opens a discourse on seismic changes, and how media art practitioners contribute to societal change through their artworks. Three performances by The Analema Group, Magik Door and Kimatica Studio will frame the evening. A hybrid exhibition curated by the Art in Flux team presents artworks by Analema Group, Aphra Shemza, Jake Elwes, Kimatica Studio, Kira Zhigalina, Magik Door, Natasha Trotman, Olive Gingrich, Shama Rahman and Stuart Bacthelor.
However, after engaging deeply with Dr. Vanessa Andreotti’s Hospicing Modernity and related publications, and after much reflection and some initial unlearning, I’ve come to the conclusion that any ‘transformation agenda’ led by artists needs to involve rising up, dissenting and disassembling modernity itself (extractive capitalism, colonization, disconnection with nature, systemic racism, etc).
I’ve started by accepting and embracing de-modernization in my day-to-day life, with its various un-learnings, inter-relations and account-abilities. I am thankful for the guidance and insight from wise and courageous people on this journey from the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures collective, Kamea Chayne’s Green Dreamer, Alice Irene Whittaker’s Reseed, Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation, Britt Wray’s Gen Dread and many more…
It’s a work-in-progress as I try to ‘hold space for the good, the bad, the ugly and the messed up, within and around’as Dr. Andreotti suggests.
It involves a lot of listening and humility.
What about my statement that the arts have ‘thecapacity to shift people’s hearts and minds and will be central to a transformation agenda’?
They do have this potential, of course, but too many, including myself, are anchored in modernity’s comforts and woven into colonial systems to see the forest for the trees.
While I appreciate and respect any and all efforts to create art that raises environmental awareness and that proposes solutions to the ecological crisis, the artistic activities that interest me the most now are those that directly address the root causes of our destructive behaviour and that contribute to creating the elusive ‘conditions for other possible worlds‘.
Anything else seems like fiddling while Rome burns.
When people ask me if I’m hopeful, I say that no, on the short term, but yes, on the long term.
The sailing circus performance “Ripples” set sail across the Baltic Sea to inspire people to act for a more sustainable future. Combining performing arts and environmental activism, we set sail for hope, for action and for change.
“If action triggers action – can our art create a ripple effect for climate action that can spread across the sea?”
The performing arts company Acting for Climate (NO) tours the Baltic Sea in the summer of 2022, in collaboration with Festival Norpas (FI) and Hawila Project (DK). Radically challenging the sustainability standards of the performing arts industry, “Ripples” is toured with the sailing vessel Swallow. The two-masted wooden sail ship from 1926 acts as a stage for the performance, as a home, and as a mean of transport – Ripples is literally fueled by the wind, and the artists sail both day and night between harbors. With extreme acrobatics all the way up to the top of the 20-meter-high masts, the ship acts as a stage for a world-class international team of artists, whose movements are led by a soundscape blending in voices of climate activists from all around the world, Ripples is one of a kind performance!
The seed of Acting for Climate was planted in Norway in 2014, with the dream and the goal of using artistic expression to inspire action for a sustainable future. “Ripples” is the latest creation of the company, currently strengthening and expanding its network of people, artists and activists that nurture collaboration for sustainability.
Their first sailing performance, Into the Water, was among other featured in National Geographics, and reached thousands of audiences in the harbors and millions online.
“As artists we have the opportunity and responsibility to inspire action, joy and change” – Emma Langmoen, artist.
The performance “Ripples” is directed by Hanne Friis, for whom the project combines high quality performing arts with a real action against the climate crisis. Seven artists alternate contemporary circus, physical theatre, dance, music and storytelling to convey a narrative of hope. Played site-specific on the boat, “Ripples” is an absorbing performance whose aim is to engage minds while entertaining eyes.
The performance is a voyage into the future, into the hopes of a new generation who feels truly connected to nature and to what being an artist means. Artistic expression is a powerful tool to empower society, to embody ecological grief and hope for the future within the ship’s magnificent framework.
“Ripples” reaches out to people and creates space to reflect. In fact, the performance is combined with workshops, approaching artistic communities and local audiences in all the countries where Swallow will dock.
Acting for Climate questions the values of our society, inspiring curiosity and discussions, embodies the change that can be achieved in society, starting with sustainable touring.
“We challenge our times, inspiring people to act towards climate change, to reflect on how humanity treats nature. Let us sail around and enter the harbors and hearts of people” – Hanne Friis, Ripples’ artistic director.
Ripples Artistic Director: Hanne Trap Friis
Starring: Abigael Rydtun Winsvold, Emma Langmoen, Heidi Miikki, Lucie Piot, Ole Skovgård Dampe, Marie Binda, Max Behrendt
Project leaders: Abigael Winsvold & Emma Langmoen
In collaboration with Hawila Project & Festival Norpas
PR & Communications: Federica Parise
Produced by: Acting for Climate & Festival Norpas
Producers Team : Federica Parise, Ronja Tammenpää, Irina Pleva, Ania Lewandowska, Isabella de Judicibus
Music by Annelie Nederberg Costumes by Michiel Tange van Leeuwen Rigging design by Matt Horton
The project is funded by the European Union | Erasmus + programme, KONE Foundation, Nordic Culture Point and the Norwegian Culture Fund. The project is supported by Sharing Copenhagen.
15.07 – 17.07 Performing in Holbaek – Denmark | with Hawila Project 04.08 – 07.08 Performing in Taalintehdas – Finland | with Festival Norpas 11.08 – 13.08 Performing in Helsinki- Finland | with Dance Theatre Hurjaruuth 20.08 – 21.08 Performing in Saaremaa – Estonia | with Big Wolf Company & the Estonian Contemporary Circus Development Centre 02.09 – 04.09 Performing in Copenhagen – Denmark | in collaboration with Ofelia Plads 11.09 – 14.09 Performing in Norway | with Nøtterøy Kulturhus
SENSORIA: the Art & Science of Our Senses is a multi-site exhibition and symposium that bridges LAZNIA Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA) in Gdansk, Poland and Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts & Technology at York University in Toronto, Canada. Held simultaneously in both locations, the exhibition and symposium will engage multi-sensory research that revitalizes our sensory connections to our surroundings, through and despite technological tools, networks and latencies.
The exhibition is co-curated by distinguished curator Nina Czegledy (Agents for Change: Facing the Anthropocene, 2020 & Leonardo/ ISAST 50th Celebrations, 2018) and Sensorium director Joel Ong. Czegledy brings together an international network of artists and scholars who explore the intersection of art, science and the senses in the project that she has meticulously developed over multiple years. Sited concurrently in both Poland and Toronto, the Sensoria exhibition will explore the dissociative potential of contemporary technologies on the senses, treating it not only as a social crisis but also an opportunity for creative play and experimentation. It aims to engage a conversation about the senses from the perspective of art, but also science, incorporating artists that straddle the boundaries of knowledge production in a variety of ways.
The symposium leverages the exhibition content as the starting point for more in-depth conversation about the connective aesthetics of everyday sensing and the knowledge-creation potential of artists and scientists collaborating in innovative ways. The socio-political turbulences we have experienced worldwide during the last decade have created unprecedented social and personal strife. While connections are sustained now amongst virtual networks that straddle vast spaces, how might we consider the sharing of intimate senses through smell, touch, and bodily movement as a form of mutual support? The symposium explores questions such as these with keynote presentations by Ryszard Khuszcynski, Chris Salter and David Howse, as well as roundtables between artists and scientists, and performances by Csenge Kolozsvari and York University’s DisPerSions Lab (led by Doug Van Nort). All aspects of the symposium will be presented with virtual components, so as to allow both in-person engagement in Toronto and virtual presence in Gdansk and elsewhere.
The SENSORIA exhibition will run:
LAZNIA CCA : Sept 16th – Oct 30th 2022 Gales Gallery, York University Toronto : Sept 26th – Oct 14th 2022
The symposium will be held in person at York University, and streamed online on Oct 4-5th 2022
In addition, the exhibition and exhibiting artists will be open to the public during Nuit Blanche on Oct 1 2022.
Sensoria’s Toronto edition is programmed by Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts and Technology (Sensorium) at the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD) as part of the Year of the Arts Program
Guy van Belle, Roberta Buiani, Lorella Di Cintio and Kavi, Grace Grothaus, Hrysovalanti Maheras, Agnes Meyer-Brandis, Gayil Nalls, Michael Palumbo, Michaela Pnacekova, Raewyn Turner & Brian Harris.