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Discuss and Exchange: 'Surfacing Control' - Sarah Cole and Annis Joslin and John Hume

  • Theatre Deli (Studio) 202 Eyre Street Sheffield S1 4QZ (map)

SAN invited artists Sarah Cole and Annis Joslin to work together with John Hume for this D&E session which takes an honest and open view of what control means at a grassroots level. With over 20 years of working in the health and care sectors, John brings an insightful view of process-driven socially engaged practice from a different perspective. Sarah and Annis will be sharing ‘Messy Business’, a very current project working with women who have experienced domestic and sexual abuse. Short presentations will be followed by small group discussions and collective conversation.

Surfacing Control: Why we need to ensure there is true involvement in our work in the ‘social’ sphere - John Hume

How we all work as practitioners, regardless of the sector/area, is critical if we are to have an authentic, meaningful and sustained impact with the people with whom we work. The session will focus on why collective control is more than a ‘nice-to-have’ and what we all, as practitioners, need to consider so as to not undermine this most important element of social engagement.

Messy Business - Sarah Cole, Annis Joslin and Joining Hands Joining Hearts.

Messy Business is a work in progress. Sarah Cole and Annis Joslin, with their community partners from Joining Hands, Joining Hearts, will be presenting some recently made short videos that have emerged from working with women who have experienced domestic and sexual abuse. “Our Mess is Our Message’ is a phrase used by JHJH, and this has been the basis for this work. The session will involve a video screening, short practical activity (to reflect the artists working processes) and a discussion about the role of art and activism when working with people who are undergoing, or have been through, trauma. This presentation is an interim moment to reflect on what the work might be able to do. Commissioned by People United in association with Joining Hands Joining Hearts and supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Optivo.


John Hume:

John has a background in social work, working closely with people with learning disabilities and mental health needs. It is through this and other work over the past 20 years, that he developed a keen interest in ‘control’ and how it manifests itself and how it can be undermined by our practice. John currently runs People’s Health Trust, where the concept of collective control plays out through externally evaluated, community/resident-led partnerships across Great Britain, some lasting for as long as 8-10 years.  Much of the engagement work has involved artists in all the settings in which John has worked and considers the intersectional elements of living and working in GB today.

Sarah Cole and Annis Joslin:

Sarah Cole and Annis Joslin have each worked as social arts practitioners for over twenty years. Sarah is a senior lecturer at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London where she teaches on the BA Fine Art. Her practice is concerned with exploring models and experiences of care, pedagogy and play. Outcomes include TRIBE (Peckham Platform 2014), made with a South London young women’s group, Smother (Artangel, 2010) developed with Coram and their very young mothers group, and In-Kind (2014), a one-to-one performance in an old military ambulance developed with long-term carers in Islington. Annis uses drawing, animation, photography, performance and story-telling to create lens-based digital artworks that are shown in galleries, museums, online and in community contexts and situations. Her work has been exhibited and screened nationally and internationally with commissions from organisations such as Photoworks, The British Museum, Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, The Royal College of Physicians, The National Trust, The Women’s Library and The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.