Fuel and the Cultural Institute at King’s College London
Thursday 14 May | 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 9pm
Friday 15 May | 4pm - 7pm (sign language interpreted)
Art Exchange, University of Essex
Think of a woman who inspires you. Got it? We want to know who she is and why.
We’re transforming Art Exchange into a live performance garden and filling it full of brilliant artists and academics, each paying tribute to Phenomenal People in their lives.
Jenny Sealey (Artistic Director of Graeae) nominates her friend Caroline Parker who taught her how to be deaf, before inviting us to sign to a classic pop song. Actor and puppeteer Akiya Henry celebrates the life of her foster mother Joyce Dymock; Leisa Rea (Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Clod Ensemble) celebrates ordinary women. Especially for Colchester, Professor Pamela Cox (BBC Two’s Shopgirls) will join us in the garden.
Between performances, you can relax in our garden, drink lemonade and nominate your own inspiring woman on our website: you’ll have their name sung by contralto Lucy Stevens in a glorious aural tribute.
It’s all free, so drop in and enjoy the day.
Funded by Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Arts Council England and Esmee Fairbairn Foundation via the New Theatre in Your Neighbourhood project. Originally commissioned by Southbank Centre, London.
In 2014, in collaboration with King’s College London as part of the Cultural Institute’s Knowledge Producers programme, we launched an online space where you can tell us who you think deserves recognition, find out about other extraordinary women, and join a conversation with King’s academics, artists and many others.
We presented live performances by brilliant artists in a special indoor garden that toured around the UK. In each location the garden was created by local and international artists including renowned Artistic Director of Graeae and co-director of the opening ceremony of the Paralympics, Jenny Sealey, artist and designer Sophia Clist, and stand-up performer Rachel Mars. Alongside this we launched an online space, a digital garden, where you can tell us who you think deserves recognition, find out about other extraordinary women, and join a conversation with King's academics, artists and many others. www.phenomenalpeople.org.uk
The Cultural Institute at King’s commissioned Fuel as one of their four inaugural Knowledge Producers to undertake further research for Phenomenal People. Throughout 2013 Kate and Louise spent time with academics at King’s College London exchanging ideas and responding to a set of challenges at the roots of the process - what are the implications of curating these women’s stories, and whose voices might be obscured in the act of choosing? Knowledge Producers, a new programme created by the Cultural Institute at King’s College London, is tailor designed to help artists answer these sorts of questions. Bringing Fuel and cutting-edge King’s College London researchers together, it has allowed an academic perspective on those questions to emerge, shaping Phenomenal People, and provoking yet more discovery. A process of exchange, Fuel’s discussions with its collaborators have afforded academics with fresh insights into cultural and artistic production and their input has changed and shaped the project today you can see today.
In 2012 we were commissioned by the Southbank Centre to present some ideas as part of the Women of the World Festival. We commissioned 15 artists to present short performances about a woman who inspires them. We worked with sculptors, poets, actors, musicians, designers and comedians to create a secret garden in the basement of the Southbank Centre. The event was experienced online and in person by over 10,000 people. They joined us for food, drink, music and performance and the atmosphere was electric and memorable.
Artists involved were: Makiko Aoyama, Rachel Blackman, Sophia Clist, Helen Eastman, Akiya Henry, Rachel Mars, Natalia Kaliada, Katie Mitchell, Victoria Moseley, Melanie Pappenheim, Clare Patey, Leisa Rea, Jenny Sealey, Peggy Shaw and Erica Whyman. The creative team included Malika Booker, Natasha Chivers, Lizzie Clachan, Nic Green, Lois Weaver and Melanie Wilson.
To watch films of the short performance pieces from the performances at the Southbank Centre in 2012, visit phenomenalpeople.tumblr.com.