EXHIBITION: Jamilla Johnson-Small AKA SERAPHINE1369 at Tate Britain


SERAFINE1369’s practice is always relational, moving across spaces, contexts, scales, roles and collaborations. Their work often involves sculpture, text, electronic music, video, internal narratives, texture and trance states to build atmospheric landscapes. Choreographies become a type of stage, dreamscape or battleground through the live unfolding of tensions between things that create meaning.

Moving through mythological archetypes of monstrous creatures, from darkness into darkness considers what it means to be or feel haunted, host to multiple entities – existing in the tensions between coming together and coming apart.

Art Now is a series of free exhibitions showcasing emerging talent and highlighting new developments in British art.

SCREENING: AF Fellow Andrew Kotting screens Disabled and Disorderly at BFI London Film Festival

AF Fellow Andrew Kotting has collaborated with his daughter Eden Kotting to create a short film Diseased and Disorderly, showing at the 2021 BFI London Film Festival!⁠ ⁠

Diseased and Disorderly is a film that uses the paintings, drawings and collages of the neurodiverse artist Eden Kötting to make imagistic gold. Assisted by her father Andrew Kötting, the 2D animator Glenn Whiting and the 3D animator Isabel Skinner the collaboration takes us on a phantasmagorical journey into a world of Eden’s making and then beyond.⁠ ⁠

“Conceived before last year’s Lockdown but inspired by the situation in which we find ourselves today, Diseased And Disorderly is a celebration of difference and the glorification of persistence.”⁠ ⁠





Screening in ‘What Are You Looking At?” Saturday 16 October 2021 15:20 ICA, Screen 1

EXHIBITION: Rosa Johan-Uddoh’s Practice Makes Perfect at Bluecoat Liverpool

AF Finalist Rosa Johan-Uddoh is opening her solo show, ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ at The Bluecoat, Liverpool!⁠

Fri 15 October 2021 – Sun 23 January 2022⁠

Practice Makes Perfect is focused on the timely subject of childhood education in Britain. Rosa-Johan Uddoh looks at how schooling forms an early understanding of what it means to be British, but also at what within this is marginalised or left out. Responding to current debates about Black history within the National Curriculum, Uddoh has approached creating new work for this exhibition as therapeutic ‘wish fulfilment’ in a time of uncertainty and tension.⁠

The exhibition includes a major new work by Uddoh – a large-scale collage – which investigates the historical figure of Balthazar. According to tradition, Balthazar was one of the three biblical Magi and later a Saint, who offered the gift of Myrrh to Jesus. Depicted since medieval times as a lone black figure in artistic imagery of the Nativity scene or ‘Adoration’, this King is often the first time school children encounter a Black person of importance in a performance.⁠

Historically, Balthazar is also a figure through which white artists and their patrons in Europe first constructed ‘Blackness’. Through her research, with the assistance of Nasra Abdullahi, Uddoh has found and catalogued around 150 historical ‘Balthazars’ featured in ‘Adoration’ paintings made throughout European history. Thinking about the real, Black European sitters for these paintings, Uddoh’s billboard-style collage brings these Black kings together in friendship groups on a long march of solidarity to change the West.⁠

The exhibition also includes works on paper, video and new works that adapt the exhibition to the interior and exterior spaces of the Bluecoat.

NEWS: In memory of founding Arts Foundation Trustee, Grey Gowrie

The 2nd Earl of Gowrie was a founding Trustee of the Arts Foundation in 1993, and has died aged 81. Grey Gowrie was a man of letters, a poet, a Conservative politician and a prominent figure in the world of the arts. He was Minister for the Arts under Margaret Thatcher, and for four years chairman of the Arts Council of England. Our thoughts are with his loved ones.

Read his obituary in The Guardian.

Photograph 1988 Terence Donovan © Terence Donovan Archive.


NEWS: Shelley Warren CEO of the Arts Foundation announces her departure

Shelley Warren, CEO of the Arts Foundation has announced that she will be leaving her role at the charity at the end of October, after more than two decades supporting and promoting UK creatives. Fellows in that time have included Carol Morley, Rufus Norris, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Asif Kapadia, Ali Smith and Bethany Williams. The charity, which has become one of the longest standing arts awarding bodies in the UK was established nearly 30 years ago and has provided financial support to creatives from all walks of the Arts.

“Deciding to leave my post as Director after all these years has been a tough decision. I’ve loved every minute of being in a role which involves exploring and observing incredible creativity from some of the finest artists in the UK. However, as the past few years have shown me, it is also good to follow your dreams when the inner voice gets louder, and to this end I’m delighted to be embarking on an MA at Brighton while working with a team on a new digital project involving music related archives and collections around the world.

I’d like to salute all those who have both supported and been supported by this frankly wonderful charity. Thank you for making my time at the Arts Foundation such a rich and memorable experience. Good luck to all the past and future finalists and to the continuation of this unique fellowship scheme which has proved again and again that support given at the right time can help future success beyond measure.”

Howell James, Chair of the Arts Foundation added,

“On behalf of all the trustees I want to thank Shelley for her exceptional contribution to the development and growth of the Arts Foundation over the 22 years she has been director.

The Arts Foundation has been transformed under her leadership and is a very different organisation today. Shelley has raised our profile, used the creative opportunities that new ways of communicating in the digital age have offered us, and attracted generous support from many sponsors and donors.

The list of successful fellows who have benefitted from our awards over these years is testament to her skill in highlighting many varied arts forms, and attracting input from a dazzling array of individuals as nominators and judges. Shelley has nurtured the relationships with the many artists she has encouraged, growing the value of the awards to the artists themselves and staying connected with them beyond their fellowships, while promoting their work through the Foundation. The continuing success and health of the Arts Foundation is down to her strong leadership. We thank her and wish her well and all success in the next chapter.”

The Foundation will be appointing an interim director for six months to manage the 2022 awards, after which point a permanent position will become available. Details of the vacancy can be found here.

Media enquiries:

Dennis Chang, Bolton & Quinn

+44 (0)20 7221 5000 /

LIVE: Hollie McNish retells Antigone at Storyhouse, Chester

AF Fellow Hollie McNish has penned a modern retelling of the classic Greek tragedy Antigone, due to debut at Storyhouse in Chester this October!⁠

Wednesday 13 October – Saturday 23 October⁠
Tickets from £18 / £7 for Under 26s ⁠
Streaming and tickets via Storyhouse website⁠

A Storyhouse Originals production co-produced with Triple C.⁠
Adapted by Hollie McNish⁠
Directed by Natasha Rickman⁠

Antigone mourns her brother, left to rot in the field by her callous uncle, the tyrant King. She needs to honour her brother, to bury him. But whose law is greater – her god’s or her king’s? Antigone picks the fight anyway, and a personal tragedy of ancient Greek proportions follows.⁠

Sophocles’ deadly masterpiece tears the family and the state apart in this urgent political drama.

WATCH: Keisha Thompson introduces our 2022 Theatre Makers Award!

2021 AF Fellow Keisha Thompson introduces the second Theatre Makers award, which this year will focus on artists who focus on participatory and co-created theatre! We will be showcasing artists who harness and create innovative and original performative work, asking big questions and pushing the boundaries of theatre and cross-disciplinary practice. The award is made possible by fund set up in honour of Maria Björnson who was an extraordinary and innovative designer working across theatre, ballet and opera.

LIVE: Sam Lee takes Big Wow on tour!

The Guardian have reviewed AF Fellow Sam Lee‘s warm up for his October-November national tour!⁠

“Tonight, Lee delivers his songs with a terrific band comprising piano (James Kay), violin (Joseph O’Keeffe), double bass (Misha Mullov-Abbado) and percussion (Josh Green); Lee’s shruti box is called into service. These arrangements are spectacularly nuanced, somewhere between contemporary classical and jazz, with the fiddle melody the most obvious anchor in tradition. A recent parallel might be the US singer-songwriter Bill Callahan – a folk-adjacent voice counterpointed by susurrations and thrums. At one point, during Worthy Wood, Green percusses the violin’s strings with what look like chopsticks. This magical night’s binding spells are, however, nearly undone by the encore – a cheesy cover of Dream a Little Dream of Me.⁠

Lee has a heel planted in the ash-worshipper enclave too, though. He’s barefoot at Saffron Hall, and is used to talking earnestly about his work. Having done time at Cecil Sharp House, the high temple of Trad Arr, this dedicated archivist has spent years tracking down revered singers from Traveller communities and learning their songs – often just before these first-hand links with the old, horse-drawn ways of life were severed when those singers passed on.”⁠

Book tour tickets via Sam’s website, October 12 – November 26 2021

Read review in full. 

WATCH: Michael Lloyd’s silversmithing in Let Nature Guide My Eyes by Sue Thomas

AF Fellow and silversmith Michael Lloyd has collaborated with filmmaker Sue Thomas to document his drawing and making process, with his corresponding poem Let Nature Guide My Eyes. Watch below, and learn more about Michael’s work through his takeover of our Instagram.

Let nature guide my eyes,
For blinded by the veil of clever folly
I failed to see
the cost
of being me

My Planet plucked beyond her means,
She cries
‘Had nature ruled your thoughts,
less wounded I would be

Too late , or not too late?
The child’s child thrown to fate
or, some turn of tide , on natures side
a long remembered dream of Eden past.

The choice is ours ,
but will not last .

EVENT: AF Fellows Angie Bual and Mervyn Millar team up for The Hatchling this August 28-29

The Hatchling: World Premiere
28 & 29 August 2021

A spectacular dragon will hatch in Plymouth City Centre this summer, and grow to the size of a double-decker bus!

Where will her journey take her? Will she find herself a new home? And ultimately, will she FLY?

The Hatchling is a ground-breaking outdoor theatrical performance that will unfold over a weekend of events and reaches an extraordinary finale over the coast of Plymouth. Our beautiful visitor will hatch in the city, build herself a nest and then attempt to take to the skies in a bid for her freedom. Along the way, she’ll explore the city, and as she roams, she’ll encounter a series of events from intimate interactions to city-wide performances, prepared especially for her majestic visit.

At the end of her journey our hatchling will undergo an incredible metamorphosis, unfurl her wings, and attempt to soar over the sea at sunset! With a wingspan of over 20 metres, our hatchling is the world’s largest human-operated puppet to attempt flight.

Join us this summer for a spectacular adventure never to be forgotten.

Created by a leading design team specialising in puppetry, kites and immersive theatre, this is an unforgettable world premiere taking place in Plymouth this summer.  The Hatchling will bring together artists, community groups and city partners to create a public artwork of ground-breaking ambition – a cultural icon that will unite people from all walks of life.

Conceived by Angie Bual, Artistic Director and producer at Trigger

Directed by Mervyn Millar, Puppetry Director (War Horse, Significant Object)

Designed by Carl Robertshaw, Production Designer (Ellie Goulding, Bjork)

Visit The Hatchling website for more information.

OPPORTUNITY: Jerwood Arts launch 1:1 Grant

Jerwood Arts Press Release Announcing the 1:1 FUND
07 September 2021

Today, 7 September, we launch a new fund offering awards of £2,000 to support 35 pairings of independent early-career artists, curators and producers from across disciplines to connect, develop their practice and generate new ideas.
The 1:1 FUND offers awards for two early-career practitioners working in literature, music, performing, visual and contemporary arts to strengthen existing or start new collaborations after the isolating impact of Covid-19.
It will benefit 70-80 individuals in total working together collaboratively

Application is free.

Deadline is 12pm, Monday 4 October. 

Full guidance and the application form are available here.

The 1:1 FUND has been developed in response to feedback from applicants and artists, curators and producers we have supported over the past 18 months. This suggested the pandemic has made collaborating harder than ever, especially in real life, whilst highlighting the energy and inspiration created by strong creative networks and peer support. We also heard that chances for individuals to work together in a supported way, without the pressure to produce new works or find match funding, are increasingly rare.

As a funder that creates imaginative opportunities that provide transformative support for early-career artists, we hope the 1:1 FUND will build the confidence of early-career practitioners and open the door for future projects by supporting new and existing collaborations to exchange ideas, skills-share, research together and generate new ideas.

Full guidance and the application form are available here.

Jerwood Arts is the leading independent funder dedicated to supporting UK artists, curators and producers to develop and thrive. We enable transformative opportunities for individuals across art forms, supporting imaginative awards, fellowships, programmes, commissions and collaborations. We present new work and bring people from across the arts together in the galleries at Jerwood Space, London, across the UK and online.

LISTEN: Collaborate on our Sound For Environmental Change Playlist!

For our 2022 AFFAs, we are launching a new Music for Change Award in partnership with the PRS Foundation. Inspired by this award, Wille and the Bandits  sent us a fantastic playlist of music old and new, exploring themes of ecology, the environment and climate-related social issues!

We have added some of our own favorite tracks to the playlist, and would like to invite you to LISTEN, and COLLABORATE!

LISTEN: Sound For Environmental Change Playlist on Spotify

COLLABORATE: Email us your favorite environmentally conscious track to add to the playlist, on the environmental crisis and its social impact!


The Music for Change award, which is supported by the PRS Foundation, is one of five award categories chosen for the 2022 Arts Foundation Futures Awards. As with all our awards, nominations are made by practitioners and experts in the field on the basis of a proven track record of engaging with the environment through music. It is a celebration of artists, songwriters, composers, producers, and experimental sound artists who have a track record of focusing on the underlying themes related to the climate crisis. From Rock and Pop to Contemporary Classical and Opera, Dance and Electronic genres to Black Music genres, Jazz, Folk and everything in between!

Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award winning and PRS Foundation Chair of the Board of Trustees, Nitin Sawhney CBE said, “I’m delighted that PRS Foundation are partnering with our friends at the Arts Foundation to once again shine a light on outstanding music creators. Now is the time to recognise those music creators whose work covers climate action, sustainability and other areas of social concerns and so it is fantastic to see that this will form the criteria of the category we are supporting this year. I very much look forward to finding out which music creators in this field are nominated over the coming months.”

FILM: Zinnie Harris’ film debut, ‘A Glimpse’

AF Fellow, playwrite Zinnie Harris has released her film debut, A Glimpse! ⁠

What would you say to your past self? ⁠

A young mother accidentally opens a window on her past self, at a time when she was struggling with a series of miscarriages, and doubting everything in her life. How can she now help her past self through this distressing time and see hope in the future?⁠

Zinnie Harris is a multi-award winning playwright and theatre director, now starting to write and direct film. Her stage plays include FURTHER THAN THE FURTHEST THING (Tron Theatre/ Royal National Theatre), MEET ME AT DAWN, (Traverse Theatre / Edinburgh International Festival), THIS RESTLESS HOUSE (Citizens Theatre / National Theatre of Scotland / Edinburgh International Festival), and HOW TO HOLD YOUR BREATH (Royal Court Theatre). She wrote two 90 minute TV dramas for Channel 4 (RICHARD IS MY BOYFRIEND and BORN WITH TWO MOTHERS), and episodes for the BBC1 Drama SPOOKS. As a theatre director she has directed numerous main stage productions for the RSC, the Traverse Theatre, Royal Lyceum Theatre, and the Tron theatre. She won Best Director for the CATS 2017, for her direction of Caryl Churchill’s A NUMBER at the Lyceum Theatre, where she is an Associate Director. ‘A Glimpse’ is her first short film.⁠

Read more.⁠

NEWS: Black Obsidian Sound System nominated for 2021 Turner Prize, with AF Fellows Evan Ifekoya and Onyeka Igwe!

Huge congratulations to Black Obsidian Sound System, who are nominated for the 2021 Turner Prize!! B.O.S.S. collective includes AF Fellows Evan Ifekoya and Onyeka Igwe! ⁠

A public statement regarding the 2021 Turner Prize nominations

by Black Obsidian Sound System


“A People’s art is the Genesis of their freedom” Claudia Jones

Black obsidian is a smooth volcanic rock formed by the quick heating and cooling of lava. It is known as a stone of truth, of protection, of security, and for cultivating a feeling of stability from within. Black obsidian repels negative energy and discordant vibrations. It amplifies and transmits high frequencies and demonstrates the appearance of light within darkness. ⁠

Since the summer of 2018, Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S) organises with the intention of bringing together a community of queer, trans and nonbinary Black and people of colour involved in art, sound and radical activism. Following in the legacies of sound system culture, we want to learn, build and sustain a resource for our collective struggles. The system, based in London, is available to use or rent by community groups and others with the purpose of amplifying and connecting us. ⁠

We draw on the sound system as an archetype of black expression in order to present a more nuanced and complex picture of our individual and collective concerns. Somewhere in the space between history and myth we seek to choreograph a new way of being and existing in the world together. Whilst we are grateful for the recognition for our work as a collective, it is important for us to name some of the inconsistencies as we observe them.

What does it mean for a collective such as ours to receive such recognition in the art world at this time?

Although we believe collective organising is at the heart of transformation, it is evident that arts institutions, whilst enamored by collective and social practices, are not properly equipped or resourced to deal with the realities that shape our lives and work. We see this in the lack of adequate financial remuneration for collectives in commissioning budgets and artist fees, and in the industry’s in-built reverence for individual inspiration over the diffusion, complexity and opacity of collaborative endeavor.

The urgency with which we have been asked to participate, perform and deliver demonstrates the extractive and exploitative practices in prize culture, and more widely across the industry – one where Black, brown, working class, disabled, queer bodies are desirable, quickly dispensable, but never sustainably cared for. We remember what Claudia taught us. 

Over the last year, there have been strike actions at several art institutions, including the sponsor of the Turner Prize, Tate, protesting the redundancies staff have been forced to take. It is not lost on us that the collective action of workers coming together to save their jobs and livelihoods was not adequately recognised by Tate

We understand that we are being instrumentalised in this moment. We ask ourselves: how can a BPOC queer collective of artists and cultural workers be nominated for the Turner Prize whilst Black women artists continue to be silenced? Cases like Jade Montserrat’s are not isolated in the art world. We amplify Industria’s Open Letter to Tate, which lists a number of demands that are yet to be met, and to which you can add your signature.

So whilst we orient ourselves towards a practice of abundance, it is crucial that we acknowledge the context from which our participation emerges. We demand the right to thrive in conditions that are nurturing and supportive. 

“I hope that there comes a day when people like myself are able to enter without the complaint, without the requirement to speak on behalf of everyone else like us.” Jade Montserrat, quoted in Chaminda Jayanetti, ‘The Tate ‘Banned’ a Black Artist After She Called Out an Art Dealer’s Sexual Abuse’,

Industria statement, March 2021,

VACANCY: Arts Foundation Director

Director of The Arts Foundation – six-month fixed term contract

The Arts Foundation is one of the most important awards for artists, awarding five £10,000 fellowships every year across different artforms. Its previous winners reads like a who’s who of the arts. The next awards will be online in January 2022 in the categories of Animation, Music for Change, and a participatory-focused award for Theatre Makers, as well as continuing with our trailblazing Materials Innovation and Visual Arts awards

The AF is looking for an energetic Interim Director with an initial fixed six-month fixed term contract at 3 days per week (£50,000 per annum pro rata), to deliver the 2022 awards and run the foundation.

Closing date for applications: Tuesday September 21st 2021

Read more.

Media enquiries:

Dennis Chang, Bolton & Quinn

+44 (0)20 7221 5000 /

NEWS: Bethany Williams wins 2021 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund!

Huge congratulation to AF Fellow Bethany Williams, who has just won the 2021 British Fashion Council/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund!⁠ ⁠

“Once again, the finalists for the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund showcase the groundbreaking work that the £200,000 award has always celebrated. This year, though, there is a newly introspective mood, as designers consider more deeply the industry itself and its wider responsibilities. Olivia Singer introduces 2021’s winner, and the shortlist of rising stars shaping the future of fashion with a shared moral imperative as well as their own unique aesthetics.”⁠

“Bethany Williams has reconfigured what fashion’s relationship with philanthropy and sustainability could look like by structuring the foundations of her business as a social enterprise. Building long-term partnerships with grassroots organisations, spotlighting issues ranging from homelessness to the prison system while raising much-needed funds for charities working in these areas, or training marginalised communities in new skills, she is modelling a new vision of environmental responsibility and community engagement. “As designers, we are problem-solvers,” she explains. “We want to provide an alternative system for fashion production, as we believe fashion’s reflection upon the world can create positive change.””⁠ ⁠

Photograph by Charlotte Wales. Styling by Poppy Kain⁠

Read more.

BOOK: Hollie McNish’s ‘Slug, and other things I’ve been told to hate’

The new collection of poetry and prose from the Ted Hughes Award-winning author of Nobody Told Me, AF Fellow Hollie McNish

From Finnish saunas and soppy otters to grief, grandparents and Kellogg’s anti-masturbation pants, Slug is a book which holds a mirror lovingly up to the world, past and present, through Hollie’s driving, funny, hopeful poetry and prose. Slug is about the human condition: of birth and death and how we manage the possibilities in-between.

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

Click here to preorder and find tour dates and tickets

EXHIBITION: Alex Hartley in ‘UnNatural History’, The Herbert Gallery, Coventry City of Culture

Arts Foundation Fellow Alex Hartley is exhibiting at the launch of Coventry City of Culture 2021 with The Herbert Gallery’s group show UnNatural History – A major exhibition exploring natural history and climate change curated by Invisible Dust!

28 May 10.00am – 22 August 4.00pm 2021⁠ ⁠

The exhibition of works by international naturalists and artists will explore the role of the artist as an intrinsic part of the science of natural history, enabling our modern understanding of ecology, climate change, extinction and the threats to biodiversity. ⁠The observational skills and techniques of artists, including their speculations, have enabled us to learn about plants and animals in drawings, long before the advancements of technologies such as microscopes and photography. Featuring drawings, paintings, sculpture, installation, lens-based, digital media and new technologies, UnNatural History will connect these valuable collections to the past, present, and future of our relationship to nature through depictions, scientific representations and imagined realities created by artists. ⁠ ⁠

Image credit: Alex Hartley, The Present Order, 2016, image courtesy of Alex Hartley and Victoria Miro⁠ ⁠

The artists are: Alex Hartley / Andy Holden / Angela Brazil / Calvin Pang & David Robinson / Christina Agapakis, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg & Sissel Tolaas / Danh Võ / David Claerbout / Dorothy Cross / Doug Aitken / Dubmorphology / Frances Disley / Francis Upritchard / Gerard Byrne / Gözde İlkin / Lisa Reihana / Marianne North / Mat Collishaw / Michael Landy / Raqs Media Collective / Sarah Sze / Sonya Schönberger / Tania Kovats / Wangechi Mutu / Yinka Shonibare⁠ ⁠ The exhibition will be presented in our newly refurbished contemporary galleries, forming part of the launch programme for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021.

Book here.

WATCH: Keisha Thompson’s Earth Day 2021 music video

Released for Earth Day 2021, this years’ recipient of the Theatre-Makers award Keisha Thompson created this short film.

Written by SheBeKeke (Keisha), Werkha and Abel Selacoe,  DOP Ellis Meade  (Griot City Records)


It’s funny how braille can seem mountainous

Liquorice dreams poisonous to an idle tongue

Only the one who can ride chance into pride

like gripping the wings of Pegasus can sit with

hindsight and laugh into the inky mystery of mornings

BOOK: Joanna Walsh’s launch of ‘Seed’

AF Fellow Joanna Walsh is launching her new publication Seed on 3rd June!⁠

By resisting representational narrative, this book works like a 3D printer. Language is the raw material, laid down layer by layer, until the solid object of the story is formed. Non-conformist, hypnotic, incantatory, and satisfyingly strange.” Jeanette Winterson.⁠

Seed is Joanna Walsh’s best book, and that’s saying something.’ Isabel Waidner, author of Sterling Karat Gold.⁠

Seed is a marvel. Each page Joanna Walsh writes shines with such vividness and depth, painting a distinct vision that compels the reader to gaze again, to gaze ever deeper.‘ Doireann Ní Ghríofa, author of A Ghost in the Throat⁠

More than any other book I have ever read, Seed captures the experience of girlhood for me: the messiness, confusion and glory. Not hyperbole: just what I feel.’ Wendy Erskine⁠


Launch Event: June 3 8PM

Joanna will be interviewed by celebrated short-story writer Wendy Erskine in No Alibis Bookshop. This is a free online event.⁠

Book here.

READ: Materials Innovation Winner Shneel Malik speaks to Studio International

Shneel Malik – interview:

I’m a crazy optimist. I know that the right opportunity comes at the right time

Architect and bio-designer Shneel Malik discusses bio-algae, eco-aesthetics, artisans pioneering ecological waste-water treatment, and the next steps for her award-winning Indus project

“Water pollution is one of the largest contributors to climate change and the largest environmental cause of death in the world,” so begins the Youtube clip introducing the architect turned bio-designer Shneel Malik’s Indus project, which has been awarded the 2021 Arts Foundation Prize for Materials Innovation. This elegant design proposes applying handmade, locally produced ceramic tiles to the exterior wall of a building, their carefully contoured grooves filled with bio-algae that clean waste water as it passes over their surface from a top-mounted dispenser, to be recirculated into the factory from the trough at its base.

Read more on the Studio International website.

WATCH: Mariana Simnett releases two new films

AF Fellow Marianna Simnett, Film and Video Umbrella and the Rothschild Foundation are pleased to announce a month-long online screening of Marianna Simnett’s The Bird Game (2019), accompanied by a new film Confessions of a Crow (2021).

Launch date: 18th March 2021
Closing date: 17th April 2021

Watch Link for both films:

Confessions of a Crow is a companion to The Bird Game that draws out the ideas and influences of the film and deftly echoes its structure and mood. Assembling reflections from artists, writers and creative collaborators, it integrates them with the maverick musical musings of Simnett’s ringleader Crow herself.

Writers Marina Warner, Charlie Fox and James Bridle, artist Lindsey Mendick, and composer Oliver Coates speak eloquently about The Bird Game’s overlapping themes, which range from the insidious impact of new digital technologies to the enduring power of fantasy and mythology, and focus on the hypnotic, addictive and increasingly sleepless hyperactivity of contemporary life. With the aid of behind-the-
scenes footage and archive photographs of Waddesdon Manor, where The Bird Game was shot, Simnett dives into the history of the house which accommodated evacuee children in the Second World War, and to this day houses some of the rarest species of songbirds in its magnificent aviary. The troubling link between caging and caring is teased out through Crow’s terrifying grip on her child-prey, and her shifting role between abuser and abused.

The Bird Game was commissioned to mark the 150th anniversary of the Evelina Children’s Hospital for Sick Children, named after the wife of Ferdinand de Rothschild who also created Waddesdon Manor, and comes at a time when the mental health of the young has become a matter of growing attention and concern.

“Crow says anyone can play The Bird Game. In fact, you only need to look around to realise it’s already being played by millions all over the world. But you have to be ready to play. The Bird Game is for those whose brains can’t be fried by corrosive systems. The Bird Game is for the mutants and monsters and mermaids and cyborgs and aliens and werewolves and unicorns. Crow says we are all sick, every one of us,
yes you and you and you and you and you and you and yes you too. And the sooner you get along with that the sooner you’ll win the game. Another thing. In The Bird Game, the rules can change at any moment. There is no stable ground to stand on. And so the only thing to do is to stay alert, embrace the strangeness and fly into the flame.”
–Marianna Simnett

“a modern fable of abuse, trauma and transformation.”

“in the same way that Crow gets into the brains of these children, Simnett affects us
as our expectations are artfully subverted around each turn.”

–Millenium Film Journal

The Bird Game (2019) by Marianna Simnett.

Co-written by Marianna Simnett and Charlie Fox,

starring Joanne Whalley as “Crow,”

produced by Sophie Neave,

shot by Robbie Ryan BSC,

with music by Oliver Coates.

Produced by Film and Video Umbrella. Co-commissioned by the Rothschild Foundation, Frans Hals Museum, and Film and Video Umbrella. FVU is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Waddesdon Manor is owned by the National Trust and managed by the Rothschild Foundation.

WATCH: balletLORENT’s online programme of video performances

balletLORENT, Directed by AF Fellow Liv Lorent, are growing their online program of video performances!⁠

Now showing⁠:

International Women’s Day 2021⁠

Film: The Lost Happy Endings Film⁠
Exclusive to Marquee TV⁠

Film: Rumpelstiltskin Film⁠
On Marquee TV & Sky Arts⁠

View on balletLORENT’s website.

Image from ANIMALIA (2021)⁠

Being pregnant. It’s an odyssey.⁠

A takeover of body and soul. Some say after becoming parent your heart will forever live outside your body. How do you get ready for that?⁠

A life as a performer, who has given everything to the audience and the art form, is about to confront the essentials of being an animal too.⁠

Our bodies change as we become a mother. We become feeder and soft furnishing as mothers. It can be a frightening thought, especially in those mad pregnancy dreams.⁠

Growing a baby and getting ready to give birth is not a pastel experience. It is not fragrant and soft focus and mumsy. It is becoming your most primal, and facing yourself and your capacity to survive, love and protect. It’s facing the eye of the storm.⁠

LIVE: Studio Wayne McGregor’s The Dante Project

AF Fellow and Ambassador Wayne McGregor of Studio Wayne McGregor has announced The Dante Project with The London Royal Ballet this October!⁠ ⁠

The Dante Project⁠ 2021⁠ ⁠

Company⁠ The Royal Ballet⁠ ⁠

Choreography⁠ Wayne McGregor⁠ ⁠

Music⁠ Thomas Adès⁠ ⁠

Set and Costume Design⁠ Tacita Dean ⁠ ⁠

Lighting Design⁠ Act I (Inferno): Lucy Carter and Simon Bennison ⁠

Act II and III: Lucy Carter⁠ ⁠ Dramaturgy⁠ Uzma Hameed⁠ ⁠

Premiere date and venue⁠ Inferno (Act I): 12 July 2019, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Music Center, Los Angeles, California, USA⁠

The Dante Project: October 2021, The Royal Opera House, London, UK⁠ ⁠

The Dante Project is an epic journey through the afterlife, inspired by Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’.⁠ ⁠ This world premiere for The Royal Ballet features a new collaboration between Wayne McGregor and celebrated visual artist Tacita Dean alongside composer Thomas Adès, lighting designer Lucy Carter and dramaturg Uzma Hameed.⁠ ⁠ The first act of the work, Inferno, premiered in July 2019 at the Music Center in Los Angeles as part of a mixed programme celebrating the collaborative works of composer Thomas Adès and Wayne McGregor.⁠ ⁠ Commissioned by The Royal Ballet. ⁠ Music co-commission with Los Angeles Philharmonic.⁠ ⁠ Inferno was commissioned as a creative partnership between Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, The Royal Ballet, Company Wayne McGregor, and the LA Phil with generous support from the Lenore S. and Bernard A. Greenberg Fund.⁠ ⁠ ⁠ Image artwork by Tacita Dean.

Read more.

NEWS: Arts Foundation launches 2022 Music for Change Award with PRS Foundation

Launched in the week of Earth Day 2021 , this year the Arts Foundation has teamed up with PRS Foundation to create a new music award.  The Music for Change Award will celebrate UK based artists, songwriters, composers, producers, and experimental sound artists who have a track record of focusing on the underlying themes related to the climate crisis such as ecology, the environment and social cohesion.

The £10,000 award will incorporate music creators from all walks of the music spectrum, from Rock and Pop to Contemporary Classical and Opera, Dance and Electronic genres to Black Music genres, Jazz, Folk and everything in between. Criteria will include those who advance our thoughts about climate change and understanding of solutions as well as ecologically motivated practices and those with music practices related to community building and development, volunteering and voting. Three further finalists will receive £1,000 awards.

The Arts Foundation and PRS Foundation support the vision of the transformative role of culture and creativity and believe that interventions can enable and accelerate positive change on a larger scale, embedding deep ecological principles into the everyday.

Director of the Arts Foundation, Shelley Warren added, ‘Artists and arts organisations are increasingly being called upon to activate the social imagination, making available new ways to know and understand an increasingly complex world. Artists provide a critical lens that educates, and holds a mirror to society, influencing what gets attention in the public sphere and shaping perspective and opinion. We are delighted to be supporting with PRS Foundation such creatives with this award.’       

The Award comes at a time when the global pandemic has further identified a wide range of issues related to how society works and the importance of social cohesion and community as well as the shift in focus to local issues, social exclusion and poverty. The Music for Change award acknowledge these changes and hopes to highlight those music and sound makers who are helping to inspire and educate future generations about the important issues of today.

Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award winning and PRS Foundation Chair of the Board of Trustees, Nitin Sawhney CBE said, “I’m delighted that PRS Foundation are partnering with our friends at the Arts Foundation to once again shine a light on outstanding music creators. Now is the time to recognise those music creators whose work covers climate action, sustainability and other areas of social concerns and so it is fantastic to see that this will form the criteria of the category we are supporting this year. I very much look forward to finding out which music creators in this field are nominated over the coming months.”

In Autumn 2021 four finalists will be selected from a longlist of music creators, nominated by music experts from around the UK. For more news about the award please visit our website or follow us on instagram or twitter. Or email us on

The Arts Foundation and PRS Foundation

With the inception of its fellowship scheme in 1993 the Arts Foundation has awarded over £1,900,000 to nominated artists from the fields of Performing and Visual Arts, Design, Crafts, New Media, Literature and Film. Awards of £10,000 are made to assist the artists with living and working expenses and are made on the basis of both talent and need to artists living and working in the UK. The Arts Foundation has supported creatives who are actively involved in sustainable change particularly through their design awards. In 2020 the Social Innovation in Material Design award was won by fashion designer Bethany Williams and the award attracted much critical acclaim in its ability to attract and support future thinkers in the area of materials and sustainability. In 2021 the Arts Foundation included Environmental Writing as one of their awards which was won by Joanna Pocock.

PRS Foundation is the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent development. Since 2000 it has given more than £38 million to over 7,800 new music initiatives. In 2020, PRS Foundation grantees secured hundreds of high-profile nominations for major industry awards and won BRITS, AIM Awards and Ivors Awards – From 2018-20, 50% of Mercury Music Prize nominees have previously received PRS Foundation support, including winners Wolf Alice and Dave.

PRS Foundation grantee success stories include Little Simz, Sam Fender, Years & Years, AJ Tracey, Anna Meredith, Yola, Glass Animals, Ms. Banks, Ezra Collective, Jade Bird, Ghetts, Shiva Feshareki, Sarathy Korwar, Floating Points, Nadine Shah, The Fanatix, Imogen Heap, IDLES, Kae Tempest, Kojey Radical and Emily Burns.

Well known as an inclusive, collaborative and proactive funder (home to Women Make Music, Keychange and Power Up), in 2019 56% of music creator grantees were women, gender minority and mixed gender groups; 18% of creator grantees were Black; and PRS Foundation supports outstanding talent from all backgrounds, covering the whole of the UK and all genres.

For press enquiries : / 07976 692995

LISTEN: Joanna Pocock interviewed on The Sustainability Agenda Podcast

Our 2021 Environmental Writing winner Joanna Pocock is featured on a recent episode of The Sustainability Agenda podcast!

Episode 120: Interview with Joanna Pocock, author of Surrender, exploring the changing landscape and cultures of the American West.⁠

A compelling, moving, and eye-opening exploration of the outsider eco-cultures blossoming in the new American West in an era of increasing climatic disruption, rising sea levels, animal extinctions, melting glaciers, and catastrophic wildfires.⁠

The Sustainability Agenda is a weekly podcast exploring today’s biggest sustainability questions. Leading sustainability thinkers offer their views on the biggest sustainability challenges, share the latest thinking, identify what’s working –and what needs to change — and think about the future of sustainability.

Tune in here.

EXHIBITION: Tanoa Sasraku, A Tower To Say Goodbye at Chelsea Sorting Office

Chelsea Sorting Office

Beset with a trail of cancellations due to the pandemic, Tanoa, who won the 2021 Arts Foundation Visual Arts award will be opening her new show ‘A Tower To Say Goodbye’ at the Chelsea Sorting Office, 18 Chelsea Manor Street, London SW3 5UH on the 18th April until the 29th April.

Tanoa Sasraku’s appliquéd, newsprint flags are inspired by the visual and material structure of the Fante Asafo war flags of coastal Ghana, which the artist’s paternal ancestors fabricated in resistance to British colonial rule. Her own flags map personal stories of a life lived in modern Britain, as classroom materials are fused together to create cryptic, ceremonial objects.

The exhibition is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Visitors are required to have a ticket to attend. You can book an appointment slot via the Eventbrite link here . Tickets are free.

Access to the exhibition is at 18 Chelsea Manor Street, SW3 5UH. Please note that this is a different entrance from previous exhibitions. A conversation with Tanoa Sasraku accompanies the exhibition and is available at the exhibition and on the General Release website.

Face coverings must be worn and social distancing maintained during your visit.


LIVE: Samantha Fernando in ‘Current, Rising’ hyper reality opera experience, Royal Opera House

AF Finalist in Choral Composition, Samantha Fernando has composed original new work for ‘Current, Rising’, a 15-minute hyper reality opera experience at The Royal Opera House!⁠

21 May–10 June 2021⁠

Combining virtual reality with a multisensory set, blending historic stagecraft with cutting-edge technology. It invites audiences to step into an immersive, atmospheric virtual world and experience a dream-like journey carried musically by a poem layered in song. It is a radical new way of seeing opera in which you – the audience – are at the center of the performance.⁠

Inspired by the liberation of Ariel at the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Current, Rising will take four people at a time into its magical universe, traversing together the landscapes of the night, from twilight to dawn – exploring ideas of isolation, connection, and collective reimagination – a powerful experience for our time.⁠

Developed by a female-led creative team, this timely artistic experiment is directed by video pioneer Netia Jones and designed by award-winning designer Joanna Scotcher. The music is by renowned composer Samantha Fernando, the libretto is by the celebrated performance maker Melanie Wilson, and the singing voice is acclaimed Baroque and contemporary music soprano Anna Dennis.

Book here.

COVID 19: Hardship Grants and Professional Resources

The current coronavirus pandemic is causing unprecedented disruption to the arts, and the most vulnerable workers are often the artists and creatives themselves. Resources are popping up everywhere, and we are curating a regularly updated list of the most useful resources and best advice that we can find, along with all the grants that we are aware of.


Arts Support

Arts Council Open Funds

Arts Minds – Supporting mental health

The Craft Council’s Covid Resource App

Arts Professional’s CovidCulture Resource Page

GRANTfinder’s Coronavirus resource page

Trussell Trust: Find a Food Bank



The Royal Variety Charity Grant


Film and TV

Film + TV Charity’s Resource Guide

Film + TV Charity Financial Support



Association of Independent Music FAQ

Help Musicians’ Financial Hardship Fund

Musician’s Union Hardship Fund

The Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain

Help Musicians



The Royal Theatrical Fund’s Theatre Community Fund

Equity Welfare Trust – Welfare Grants



The Actors’ Benevolent Fund



Dance Professionals’ Fund


Visual Arts

The Eaton Fund

Axis Hardship Fund

The Artists’ General Benevolent Institution



Writer’s Guild Hardship Fund

Author’s Emergency Fund

The Writers’ Union Welfare Fund

Royal Literary Fund

The Society of Authors – Authors’ Contingency Fund


Arts and Social Welfare

Gane Trust Fund


Arts and Disability

MFPA Trust Fund for Disabled Children in the Arts


Young People

Philip Bates Trust Fund


Regional Support

Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Quartet Community Foundation

Cambridgeshire Community Foundation

Cheshire Community Foundation

Cornwall Community Foundation

Coventry and Warwickshire Heart of England Community Foundation

Cumbria Community Foundation

Derbyshire Foundation’s Coronavirus Fund

Devon Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund

Essex Community Foundation

Gloucestershire Community Foundation

Kent Community Foundation

Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation

Milton Keynes Community Foundation

Northern Ireland – The Community Foundation

North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Shropshire – Steve Morgan Foundation

Scotland – Creative Scotland’s Funding Programmes

Tyne & Wear and Northumberland Community Foundation

York, North Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire and Hull – Two Ridings Community Foundation

BOOK LAUNCH: AF Fellow Sam Lee publishes The Nightingale with Penguin

Arts Foundation Fellow Sam Lee is releasing his first book, The Nightingale, with Penguin Books on March 25!⁠

Preorder here.

‘Wondering and wonderful. The nature book of the year.‘ JOHN LEWIS-STEMPEL⁠

Come to the forest, sit by the fireside and listen to intoxicating song, as Sam Lee tells the story of the nightingale.⁠

Every year, as darkness falls upon woodlands, the nightingale heralds the arrival of Spring. For thousands of years, its sweet song has inspired musicians, writers and artists around the world, from Germany, France and Italy to Greece, Ukraine and Korea.⁠

Passionate conservationist, renowned musician and folk expert Sam Lee tells the story of the nightingale. This book reveals in beautiful detail the bird’s song, habitat, characteristics and migration patterns, as well as the environmental issues that threaten its livelihood.⁠

From Greek mythology to John Keats, to Persian poetry and ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square’, Lee delves into the various ways we have celebrated the nightingale through traditions, folklore, music, literature, from ancient history to the present day. The Nightingale is a unique and lyrical portrait of a famed yet elusive songbird.⁠

‘Sam Lee has brought the poetic magic that has long enchanted so many of his musical fans into the written word. Allow yourself to glimpse the world Sam sees, to be part of his love affair with the nightingale, and you will no doubt be delighted.‘ LILY COLE⁠

‘A wonderful book.‘ STEPHEN MOSS