The Arts & Culture Round-Up: 1-7 May 2020

Connecting our Communities: Arts and Culture Round-Up

New artist opportunities…

Many freelance artists and creative practitioners have been impacted by Covid-19. In response to this, Metal has reframed their usual, annual Programme of Artists in Residence to create 18 new Remote Residencies. Open to local creative communities in Liverpool, Peterborough and Southend-on-Sea, each residency has a stipend of £1,000.There are three rounds of application, which include deadlines for the 15 May, 12 June and 10 July 2020.More information can be found here.


Mainspring Arts is launching its Two Metres ApART digital museum, which will showcase new artwork every week for 12 weeks. They are on the lookout for the best of neurodivergent art, so if you are a poet, writer, visual artist, comedian, musician, performance artist or any other type of neurodivergent artist/creative, then they’d love to hear from you. Interested? Then find out more over on the Mainspring Arts website.


Love Sings…

Culture at Home: Love Sings

We’ve heard about a brilliant global community singing project and wanted you to hear about it too. So if you have a lovely singing voice (or not whichever the case may be) or know somebody that does, then read on!

Inspired by her originally composed song and the motivation to bring people together in the spirit of connection, co-creation and goodwill, Creative Director Jennifer John has joined forces with Zút Media to open her project ‘Love Sings’ up to the world.

Jennifer’s vision is to create a virtual choir made up of people who have a shared passion for singing. It doesn’t matter which country you are from, what language you speak or your singing ability everyone is welcome to join in. The only requirement is that you learn the following song and video yourself singing it with energy, passion and lots of smiles. All the contributing videos will come together to feature in a film showcasing the collective singing experience and be shared far and wide – spreading a little bit of joy to all parts of the world.

With over 30 years of experience as a Choir Director and music mentor, you can be rest assured you’re in safe hands. Interested? Then head over to the Jennifer John website where you will find full instructions on how to get involved, as well as a handy resource pack and step by step guidance on how to upload your video for inclusion.

Be quick, the closing date is 11.59pm on Sunday 3 May… We can’t wait to see the end result, can you?

Learn the song with Jennifer…

Music for the heart & soul…

Performing arts students at Jelli Studios Theatre Arts College have found a way to come together while apart. To help boost morale and share a little joy amongst each other they have created this special video. No professional equipment in sight, just smartphones and a lot of talent went into producing this heart-warming piece. Enjoy and share far and wide!


In a throwback to the 1990s, Bluecoat have shared a compelling video of Sun Ra and his Cosmic Love Arkestra. In a rare visit to Liverpool this legendary US jazz musician, who actually claimed to be from Saturn, delighted large crowds with 90 minutes of intense gospel, swing and free jazz music. Enjoy the pioneer of Afrofuturism in action here.


A host of music stars including Dua Lipa, Coldplay and Bastille came together to cover the Foo Fighters classic song, ‘Times Like These’, in aid of Comic Relief and Children in Need. Missed the live stream? Not to worry, catch it here.


We can’t believe that renowned Bluesman Mike Francis is offering up free Skype House Gigs during our time in isolation. Having found this musical outlet an enjoyable and therapeutic experience he is openly inviting people along to 1-2-1 house gig sessions of free music and a chat. Check him out on this Twitter and Instagram accounts. What’s not to like!


What we’re listening to…

As one of the oldest arts centres in Liverpool, Artistic Director Bryan Biggs and Jayne Casey reminisce and talk memorable Bluecoat gigs with Bido Lito! Listen in here.


If self-care and wellbeing is high on your list of priorities at the moment then Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place might be just the tonic for you. Join celebrity guests as they share their highs and lows in an honest and relatable way. Head this way for uplifting wellbeing tips.


If you have read and enjoyed Giovanna Fletchers novels, then herHappy Mum, Happy Baby will be right up your street. Detailing the trials and tribulations of parenthood, well known and inspiring ladies, including non-other that the Duchess of Cambridge, share their experiences and provide reassurance that in the grand scheme of things we’re all doing a great job!

Opera, but not as we know it…

Taking a leaf out of America and their love of drive in movie theatres, English National Opera has announced its plans for what is thought to be the world’s first drive in operas. If all goes well live performances will take place early September in the grounds of Alexandra Palace. Chief Executive, Stuart Murphy told the Guardian “It is a bit of an experiment and if it works it might be a way of bringing the artform to people in a totally different and authentic way.” We agree, it’s a great idea! Read the full article here.

Something to get the creative juices flowing…

Writing on the Wall are hosting a live-stream writing challenge weekdays at 10am on their Facebook and Instagram channels. Completely free to join, the challenges are short 5 minute writing bursts to help kick-start your day with a jolt of creativity. You’ll be given a short writing prompt to inspire your thinking and off you go. If you’re happy with the end result, you can always share your creations by tagging them in their posts and stories. Give it a go.

Supporting & safeguarding our creative & venue industries…

The Creative Industries Federation have penned an open letter backed by more than 400 of the UK’s leading artists, musicians and creative figures calling on government for urgent funding for the creative industry. Many within the sector are facing particularly challenging times and unless more is done the country is in danger of becoming a cultural wasteland. To help encourage support, they have launched a #OurWorldWithout digital campaign on their Twitter and Instagram channels.


The Music Venue Trust has launched its ‘Save Our Venues’ campaign in the hope that some of the hundreds of grassroots music venues across the UK can be saved from closure. They are calling on artists, music fans and the wider community for support by performing ‘at home’ gigs and donating where possible. If you would like to lend a hand check out what they have to say here.

Virtual museums…

Whilst the Postal Museum in London may be closed, for a limited time only they are opening their Mail Rail for everyone to experience at home. Through their virtual tour, you can capture the sights and sounds of the Mail Rail from deep beneath the streets of London. Interesting stuff!


Let’s dance, dance, dance…

Want to learn some dance steps with your little one and have some fun? Liverpool Arab Arts Festival will be hosting a special online workshop for parents and babies where you can learn dabke, a traditional Palestinian folk dance. No experience is required, so why not join Sylvia and baby Zayd from 10.30-11.30am on Saturday 9 May. It’s all free, you just need to sign up beforehand here.


Bluecoat have hand-picked a selection of archival materials including interviews and features to celebrate International Day of Dance.


Bisakha Sarker MBE, Artistic Director of Chaturangan, an Indian dance company, is interviewed here talking about her long relationship with Bluecoat. If you like what you hear, you may want to watch her immersive dance installation, Do Not Yet Fold Your Wings, made in collaboration with visual artist Ansuman Biswas and composer Chris Davies.


‘Expanding The Picture’ was an exciting project designed to support and showcase the development of Tony Carroll and Diana Disley‘s emerging dance practice. Co-created by Mary Prestidge, the essence of this collaboration and the journey and magic of the performance itself, is captured in a short film created by Soup Collective.


Last year, Frances Disley presented ‘Tripleflex’, an installation and performance that combined visual art and dance, using a giant colourful floor painting to act as a guide for the performers. The work was part of Disley’s wider exploration into art spaces and her desire to make those spaces more accessible for adults and children alike. You can watch the full performance here.


In two short films, dancers and choreographers Andrea Buckley and Paula Hampson reflect on their work and the ways in which the Bluecoat has shaped their work over 30 years.

Knitting just got interesting…

The Punchcard Economy Banner is in lockdown across the water in Belgium, so artist Sam Meech is on the lookout for something to keep himself occupied. Enter you! Finding it hard to concentrate and work an ‘8 hour day’, Sam is interested how and when other people are working during the pandemic, especially those within the arts. Are you working less? Or in a more fragmented fashion? In the absence of an actual exhibition, he is inviting you to log your working hours for one week and visualise it as a data motif. He will then knit this pattern as part of a small banner that documents how we are all working at the moment. To get involved in marking this moment in time sign up here.

Fancy sharing your thoughts…

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has published a survey to understand the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on organisations in the digital, creative, culture, media, sport, gambling, telecoms, and tourism sectors and your experience of the government funding schemes available. If you would like to take part and share your views, make sure you complete the survey by 23.59pm on 15 May 2020.

Get involved…

Salt Act is a new, live, mass participation artwork by artist Clare Brumby, building links between India and Liverpool through the creation of an original piece of choreography. Based on ideas of non-violence, protest, visibility, unity and truth, the project is an exploration of the collaborative process and creative approaches. Clare is reaching out and looking for participants to connect in open dialogue and dance sessions to explore how you reimagine the post-lockdown world. Gathered dialogues will inform new choreography inspired by yoga postures and performed by 80 participants during an online performance taking place on International Yoga day on Sunday 21 June. More information can be found here.


Visually impaired pupils at St Vincent’s School have created a project, ‘Journey for Peace’ to share across communities whilst in isolation. Using a series of 7 comics with 7 themes connected to iconic statues in Liverpool, the ultimate aim of the project is for people to come together and share the common goal of supporting and investing in visually impaired young people around the world. Read more about this inspiring story here.

Not to be missed virtual events…

Writing On The Wall is proud to present a brand new digital programme, WoWFest20: Lockdown, which unites an inspiring and passionate collection of artists to help us all through these difficult times. Featuring acclaimed writer and scholar Noam Chomsky, Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, renowned theatre-critic Lyn Gardner, multi-award-winning short story writer AL Kennedy, comedian Francesca Martinez, writer and philosopher Raoul Martinezand journalist Maya Goodfellowto name but a few, this virtual festival brings together the best of the cancelled British festivals. Running throughout the month of May, this amazing virtual event will keep book lovers in touch with the artists and festivals they love. Don’t miss out, find all you need to know here.

And finally: People make it work…

Senior Associate at Counterculture and independent cultural consultant, Andrea Nixon MBE, has been speaking with Change Creation with regards to how the arts industry is reacting to the drastic changes enforced by lockdown, and what this means for the future. Check out the video below to find out what Andrea had to say.