The Art of Protest / NOISE Festival – 2012

an image made up of 8 images submitted to the art of protest project

We had a chat with NOISE and we decided that it would be great if Full Circle Arts could get involved. The aim was for FCA to submit a work of art, representing the voices of our friends and followers. We sent out a callout via Facebook, Twitter and our newsletter, and put together a little collage of the works that were submitted to us.

Here it is!
 submission to the art of protest


Key to The Art of Protest collage with alternative text for images

a grid numbering the images forming a key


1. By bridge9. A large (7ft high) piece of crumpled newspaper lies in the centre of a large flat beach with the sea out in the distance. Its a photo of a big stencil he did on the beach in Ireland in protest against the rubbish people leave on the beach…He left it on the beach. it’s spray paint on sheets of plywood.

2. By Derek Culley. “Forgotten Man – Forgotten War” Oil painting. A dark and gloomy background with a ghostly face with large white eyes stares out directly at the viewer.

3. From Gill Guest. Using a photograph by Polish Photographer Mateusz Stachowski. The photograph is of a small and bedraggled teddy bear sitting on his own. Gill used it to illustrate the word her son Alex chose to describe what it’s like to have ME. ‘Forgotten’.

4. By Juan delGardo. “Who Are You Entertaining To” A still from a short 15 min film by Juan. The still shows a room with table covered in maroon table cloth. To one side of the table a man is seated wearing just a white vest, perspiring and looking sad, eyes turned down towards the floor. In front of the man facing him but with back towards the viewer stands a figure, we only see the torso the legs being behind the table and head and shoulders are out of shot. The film can be watched on Vimeo here: Over and over again a man hits another man. With his back to the camera the abuser towers over seated victim who faces us, his eyes averted. Each time he is hit the force of his assailant’s blows throws him sideways. Each time he slowly recovers himself and returns to his seat, composed, awaiting –as we begin to – for the next assault.

The work is a performance recorded in real time so that while the victim’s enacted response to the blows is a fiction mimicking reality, it is also each time slightly different, his reaction slightly modulated, perhaps taking longer to regain his composure, perhaps compressing his lips, or breathing even more heavily,, while he swallow hard or winces.

5. By Pauline Heath. “Winners and Losers” Painting, A brown plain flat background. In the top left hand corner lies a coiled snake, just off centre to the right is a red ladder and to the right of this are the words, “Some people win and the rest of us lose under the Tory Government. I put faith in Snake than Tory”.

6. By Liz Crow. “Bedding In”. A still photograph of Liz’s live art performance over 3 days. The photograph shows a room in the centre is a large wooden double bed with large fluffy white duvet. In the bed lies Liz, eyes shut and snuggled under the duvet. A red throw hangs over the bottom of the bed.

Bedding In emerges from the current welfare benefits overhaul, which threatens many with poverty and with a propagandist campaign that has seen disability hate crime leap by 50%.

Says artist-activist Liz Crow, “I wear a public self that is energetic, dynamic and happening. I am also ill and spend much of life in bed. The private self is neither beautiful nor grownup, it does not win friends or accolades, and I conceal it carefully.

“But for me, along with thousands more, the new system of benefits demands a reversal: my public self implies I don’t need support and must be denied, whilst my private self must be paraded as justification for the state’s support.
“For some months, I have lain low for fear of being penalised, but the performer is beginning to re-emerge; instead of letting fear determine who I am, I’d rather stare it in the face.”

“Bedding In is a performance in which I take my private self and make it public, something I have not done in over 30 years. It feels dangerous exposed exciting. In a gallery, over a period of three days, I will perform the other side of my fractured self, my bed-life. Since the public me is so carefully constructed, this will be a kind of un-performing of my self.

“I want to make a twilight existence visible. But more, I want to show that what many people see as contradiction, what they call fraud, is only the complexity of real life. This is not a work of tragedy, but of in/visibility and complication; a chance to perform my self without façade.”

Each day, members of the public were invited to Bedside Conversations, gathering round the bed or perching upon it to talk about the work, its backdrop, its politics.

7. Pauline Heath – Untitled, Photograph with text. The photo is of the House of Commons Chamber looking towards the Speakers chair. The chamber is empty of MP’s. The text reads “After Waking from dream, I only half remembered. I remember I was walking in dark labyrinth of sewerage, that carried the sick vermin’s poison that so called culture can make. As outsider, kind society threw up, from the bottom of its stomach rejecting even knowing of my being. Erasing my birth details Putting me in the stinking rat infected sewer”.

8. Pauline Heath – “World” painting a plain black background with to the top left corner a picture of Earth. In the centre of the painting are geometric shapes in different shades of blue made from intersecting circles.

9. Pauline Heath – “Second Rate” Photo with text. The photo shows a large tip with tractors and lorries tipping rubbish while birds circulate overhead. The text reads “Stuck in a wardrobe not being worn. Being passed over for the newest style; hoping fashion will come full circlewhen I could be an item of clothing worth seeing. To be a hundred. My dream? To be given to a charity shop, washed in luxury fabric conditioner, ironed not creased. I would be priced and hung up looking brand new. Someone would buy me, treasure me, the way I should be. I wish it was the case, but I’ve a feeling that instead will be my worst nightmare, the moths will come and I’ll be eaten away and end up in a bin liner and carried away with the rubbish.

10. Pauline Heath “Broaden my Horizons” painting. A plain blue background. In the centre a geometric shaped cylinder drawn in yellow lines, circles in blue it one above the other, but the circle in the centre is orange with a pointed edge to one side pointing out of the cylinder. In yellow text to one side are the words “I wish I could broaden my horizon”.

11. Pauline Heath Untitled painting A yellow background with lots of abstract semi transparent black wiggly lines overlapping and covering the entire image.

12. Pauline Heath Untitled painting. All in monochrome outlines of shapes, stars, hearts and arrows overlap grey wiggly lies. It appears as though the centre is lit by spotlight the edges of the painting be darker toned of grey.

13. Pauline Heath “The Last Travelers” Photograph and text. The photo is a close up of a woman sat in a wheelchair sat at a table and holding a piece of paper. The text says. “Pity us down hearted for we have lost all hope and are left to drown in a sea of doubt to follow the stony path of recovery. Some of us are well equipped to endure the hassles and task of finding home. Some fall by the wayside, the emergency services were not at hand for those of us who managed to struggle through the hazards of the terrain. The cold icy wind of neglect and pouring rain of scorn have found no shelter at the hostel. If we think we can make progress we’re in the same location, in fact we have not moved at all. Without a map we don’t stand a chance. There are thousands like me lost in the wasteland wanting home and getting nowhere.

The above Key, explaining who produced each of the artworks and an explanation of what they mean is also available to download in this Word documentalong with the Alternative Text.
There is a possibility that our work will be selected for the Final Showcase at the People’s History Museum, 20th April – 30th June 2013.
The collage is also available to view on NOISE’s website:
AGMA logoArts Council England logomanchester council logo


image of a plywood note book laser printed with details about the project

In collaboration with Stuart Childs, our Tinkerer in residence, we have put a wiki ( ) together as a central collaboration point for people to experiment with the SNIJ labs’ laser cut plywood notebook project.

The design is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license – for more details on the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license:

It sharing, it’s creating, remaking, playing, discovering… and there are prizes

With the advent of laser and 3d printers, we no longer need to send physical things hundreds of miles, so long as there is similar enough tooling and materials at either end of the supply chain.

What does this mean for designing and making? How does having access to your own rapid prototyping shop, be it in your own workshop or local enough to keep shipping costs to a minimum, change the way we make things?

We want to see what happens when we share a particular design or technique amongst a group of people from different countries, backgrounds, with different interests and occupations. We already have 16 people and organisations who have joined the wiki and project. If you’d like to take part, or just have a nosey, all the info is here  ( )

a photo showing a wooden notebook with a laser cut hinge
This project is running from 01 Feb 2012 – 01 May 2012 for designs to be entered into a competition to win prizes and be included in a final report / presentation about the project. The wiki will be left up after that to keep the designs shared and available to others.

We will be presenting this work at Future Everything 2012 festival in Manchester – highlighting how current technology and sharing practices are changing the way things are done.

To find out more visit the wiki and start collaborating!

a photo of glasses cut with a laser cutter




Chris, Mari and jade wearing wooden glasses made with the sniject hinge

The FCA women sporting Sniject hinge glasses made by Stu our Tinkerer in Residence

AGMA logoArts Council England logomanchester council logo


Mood Lamp Workshops – 2012

image from the workshop showing the designs made to make the mood lamps

After such successful mood lamp workshops which were oversubscribed back in Oct 2011 we wanted to give people another opportunity to take part.

photo showing the people enjoying the mood lamp workshop


The workshops were at Manchester City Art Gallery on 14/15 Jan. Participants designed and made their very own mood lamps out of LED lights, an old phone charger, a bike wheel and paper.

Over the course of the weekend we had 56 people take part and each person took home their new lamp.

We had a lot of young participants and it was lovely to see young girls not conforming to stereotype, they particularly enjoyed the electronics and wiring parts of the workshops. Of course everyone young and old  loved the spinning drawings. The spinners were actually made from old bicycle wheels. Armed with a mountain of coloured markers people not only made the shades for their lamps, but lots of spin drawings to take home too.
Comments from some of the participants:

Can’t wait for the next one – Thank you

A big thank you, turned our Sunday into a super Sunday

The children (and us grown ups!) loved everything, the spinning wheels and colour spirals and the electronics

I loved it especially the electronic bits” Betsy aged 6

Absolutely loved everything about this workshop from making the lamps to watching the robot pen drawing. Fascinating stuff for all the family, will be back for more

Absolutely brilliant time, Keep it up Full Circle

The teaching style of these guys is superb for young children. Very interactive, inclusive and informative

Kept the kids enthralled, excellent

Excellent day out, our children loved it. Very helpful with our disabled son who was included in everything and spent his time beaming from ear to ear

I loved ALL OF IT and I made a lamp for my bedroom” Seth aged 4

If you didn’t manage to make it to the gallery to take part you can still make your own mood lamp, here are the instructions:


Take a look at other photos from the day on our flickr page.

workshop leader helping young boy with building a lamp


AGMA logoArts Council England logomanchester council logo

SignVideo a R and D project

image of someone watching a BSL interpreter
This was a research and development project we did after winning an open commission from NorthernNet for projects that use next generation connectivity to engage audiences at Cornerhouse.

What We Did

Deaf Sign Language users are usually excluded from walking into a public service organisation or cultural organisation and using a service, unless an interpreter has been booked in advance. Getting an interpreter typically needs one months’ notice and can be very expensive. In many cases, Deaf people just have to get by without any Sign Language access.SignVideo have developed a service whereby deaf people can have easier access to services using remote computer links and/or videophone with interpreters. Presently this service is only being used by a limited number of Local Authorities and health service providers. We carried out a Research and Development trial using this service within a cultural venue.

The R&D would looked at 3 areas of use:
1) integrating the SignVideo service into a ‘salon’ or artist’s talk with the BSL interpretation shown screen-in-screen as part of the venue projection making it accessible to all d/Deaf audience members. The BSL would be embedded into the session recording ready for watching on-demand..

2) We used SignVideo within gallery tours where a deaf audience member could use a HSDPA enabled (post 3G) mobile videophone and/or Apple iPad Wi-Fi to access the SignVideo service giving them a chance to participate in the conversation and be empowered by being actively involved in the process.

3) We installed SignVideo at the Cornerhouse box office for booking tickets to any ANDfest events live, over the internet or via video phone.

We will worked with SignVideo and their software developers to adapt their service for a wider range of situations – testing out, integrating and streamlining existing SignVideo tools and software for ease of use in an arts venue. By choosing different situations and circumstances we hoped to align and fine-tune these technologies to provide simple useable solutions for Deaf users.

We were particularly keen to develop the SignVideo service for mobile devices. Creating a secure Wifi link from NorthernNet to expand the video connection out of the Media Access Bureau and around the [Cornerhouse] building to use HSPA (post 3g) mobile network connection enabling us to take advantage of the much higher bandwidth for live interpretation where standard WiFi or 3G would not be sufficient.

The full evaluation report including suggested ways forward is attached below.


Coworking research

graffiti on a huge building of a person with white eyes

I was aware of a few co-working spaces in the North of England, but sad to hear that Fly The Coop – based in the centre of Manchester – had recently closed – and wanted to explore a number of different spaces elsewhere. From looking on Desk Wanted [ ] – an online, worldwide directory of co working spaces it seems that the majority of spaces in each country are located in the capital city. Not necessarily particularly surprising, but I am surprised there are not more co-working spaces in metropolitan cities such as Manchester – especially as there’s such a big tech scene there. I can only find reference to one more Manchester coworking space – Open Space in Hulme [ ] – which is run as a member’s co-operative as well as offering coworking spaces in their shared office.

Coworking spaces in Berlin

photo of a welcome board

co.up [ ]

The first coworking space I visited in Berlin was co.up – situated on the third storey of a factory / office block. The atmosphere was lovely, and after a quick introduction by Thilo + Alex I was made to feel very welcome. I could have grabbed a desk but decided to work from one of the comfy sofas in the informal chill out room.As well as holding regular events such as the Berlin Processing user group, and user group, co.up also has regular informal ‘co.beers’ – a chance for the freelancers based there to chill out, have a chat about what they’re up to and spend some time together, meet new members, etc. It just so happened that I had turned up on a co.beers day, so ended up meeting + chatting with most of the people who were there.

As my friend Imran [ ] has said to me before – it’s the people who make a coworking space – and I think he’s right. The community / group vibe of a coworking space is what makes coworking so valuable for freelancers and small businesses who would otherwise be working alone or in an anonymous office on the nth floor of Office Block X. This was apparent at co up – and all of the other spaces I have visited – by holding events, meet ups and socials the coworking space becomes much more valuable than simply an office – it is a place for networking, collaborating + sharing ideas too.
One comment from a coworker there that stuck in my mind was – coworking spaces allowed him to arrive in Berlin [from another country] and start working pretty much straight away – very little set up time, hassle and so forth.

photo of a tower block

Betahaus [ ]

Offering more than traditional ‘hot desk’ coworking space – the betahaus was a great place to visit. Spread over 3 floors there is a real mix of different activities and spaces here. On the ground floor there is a big, airy cafe selling food + drinks, and also a workshop space with hand tools, a 3D printer and space to make things and store materials. The first floor is dedicated to freelancers and ‘hot deskers’ and the second floor has fixed desks and small offices for startups / small businesses.

I booked on to one of the semi-weekly tours and very soon got the impression that the betahaus has room for a lot of people to work, their website says around 120 people have been working there since April 2009. The betahaus was certainly one of the more dedicated, full on coworking spaces that I have been to; what most intrigued me was the addition of the tooled workshop as well as the cleaner office spaces.
photo of a busy notice board

Having different spaces encourages more variety in the type of work people can do in a venue – it seems that coworking spaces are traditionally occupied by people who can do most of their work on a laptop – which makes sense – but the addition of a workshop or specialised equipment may draw others to a space, creating different opportunities for collaboration.

Like any good coworking space the betahaus hosts many events and meetups and I went back for an Arduino / electronics / DIY making night, had a lot of fun and met some more lovely people.

One thing that caught my eye at the betahaus was the ‘Skype booth’ – essentially a small cupboard with a light that people could go in for a bit of privacy when making Skype or phone calls. There seemed to be quite a nice ‘funky’ / playful approach to how the coworking space was laid out in general, including some great chill out / social areas alongside the more ‘office-y’ bits.

 photo of a brick building with an archway
Much more chilled out than the rather business-y website would suggest, this coworking space was a real pleasure to visit. Founded in 1996 by Manu – an architect and artist – BCN-Berlin is a lovely example of a small inner-city coworking space[also quite cool as it is in the same building as Hard Wax – the place to buy techno records in Berlin]. Manu told me that back then he hadn’t seen anything like a coworking space before – and perhaps the BCN-Berlin was the first coworking space in Berlin – and he was fed up of working on his own in such a large studio space. So he decided to offer space to friends, visitors to the city and others who were interested in coming down to work from his studio. There is more detail on the website but I really got the impression that Manu has benefited from having other people around – and with such a friendly vibe to the place it’s hard to imagine why anybody would want to work alone.

Like co.up BCN-Berlin seemed mostly occupied by laptop based workers – not only freelancers but small companies / groups of people working together. It turns out that Deskmag – the online coworking magazine that conducted the recent global coworking survey – were based at BCN-Berlin and so I had a good long chat with them – thanks guys!

The Wostel [ ]

I found out about The Wostel coworking space from Kriesse [ ]  [thanks Kriesse]- a member of the co.up coworking space. The Wostel is a fairly new coworking space with small but very stylish and well formed rooms for coworkers. Similar to the betahaus in that there were separate rooms for hot deskers and fixed desk / small office space – but different in scale and style – there was more retro and antique furniture here compared to the very modern feel of the betahaus.

I spoke with Chuente – one of the founders – and she said that they were trying to create a particular feel and atmosphere for the Wostel that was different to the other coworking spaces in Berlin – and I think they’ve done a great job. Big communities and open spaces aren’t for everybody – and The Wostel is an example of how a smaller coworking space can be the right place for some people. Despite being relatively small The Wostel still holds events and shows including the lovely sounding ‘Kreativ-Speeddating’.


There are many more coworking spaces in Berlin [Deskmag alone lists 29!] but I reckon I managed to see a decent cross-section of different sizes and types of coworking space whilst I was there. I’ve got many fond memories of the people I met and spoke to whilst in each different space and a much clearer idea of why coworking spaces work for freelancers and small businesses. Like Imran said to me, it’s the people. By putting yourself in a position to meet new people and see what others are doing you are inherently more likely to gain more work and have fun doing it. It’s a given that you need to be able to shut yourself off from this from time to time to get things done – you can’t just meet and greet all of the time – but headphones can help do that, or even moving to a quieter part of a coworking space. People will soon learn when you don’t want to be disturbed.

I think a good balance may be splitting your working time between a coworking space and other places, perhaps a coffee shop, a library or maybe staying at home if you need to really focus and have some quiet time. Of course we all have our own needs and demands and should be able to determine what we want – especially as freelancers – but I would encourage anybody to try coworking, even if it’s only for a short time period. Many coworking spaces offer a free trial, or very short term contracts meaning you can get out if it’s not for you.

image of some graffiti

Each coworking space has it’s own identity, ways of doing things and differences that may suit some people more than others. If you have had a bad experience or don’t like one coworking space there’s a chance that another may suit you down to the ground.

Despite the majority of coworkers being self employed, freelance or part of a small startup company I think there may be ways of full time employees of larger or more established companies taking advantage of coworking spaces. There are some examples of larger companies allowing their employees to spend some time at coworking spaces – as a way of getting to know talent outside of the company as well as having a break from their usual office environment.

I am curious as to how an organisation that is used to having a full time office would fare without it; relying solely upon time at coworking spaces and working from home. I have yet to come across any companies that have downsized, or changed their operations in this way. My next post will look at what needs to be thought about and tackled if a company did want to get rid of their permanent office and make more use of coworking spaces.

Interesting links


AGMA logoArts Council England logomanchester council logo

The Marvellous Mood Lamp Workshops – 2011

image from the workshop showing the designs made to make the mood lamps

Participants made their own mini mood lamp styled by themselves using an old bike wheel and powered using an old phone charger.

They then took some paper, wire, LED’s and electronics and turned a useless old phone charger into a lamp

There was no upper age limit so anyone who wanted to experiment in electronics and art using recycled materials came along and gave it a go!

Check out some wonderful photos from the weekend on Flickr:


AGMA logoArts Council England logomanchester council logo

The Inclusion Project – 2011

what does inclusion mean to you?

As when a word is repeated over and over again it tends to lose its meaning, we found ourselves increasingly at a loss as to what inclusion actually means. And it seems we’re not alone in this. Looking around, we found a lot of people – other arts organisations, schools, government, etc. etc. – are using this word these days without necessarily being clear about what they mean. Perhaps inclusion is at risk of becoming nothing more than another buzz word; a word organisations like to use to sound impressive and to tick the boxes of funding bodies.


And yet we at FCA truly believe that we are an inclusive organisation. When we talk about inclusion we mean it in the sense that both disabled and non-disabled artists are welcomed as equals; events are marketed accessibly and widely and are hosted in accessible venues suited to our participants’ requirements with varying levels of support offered according to each individual’s needs.

But maybe inclusion means different things to different people?

inclusion postcard '100% involved'


In June, Michael and I attended a workshop titled Inclusive Practice, led by DIY Theatre Company and spent the session exploring a multitude of different ideas about what it is to be inclusive. It was an interesting and highly illuminating discussion and became the starting point for our Inclusion Project.

The Project began simply by asking people on Facebook to tell us what inclusion means to them. This developed into a creative project in which members of the public were invited to respond to the question “What does inclusion mean to you?” on the back of a postcard. We received around 30 postcards, either sent to us by post, emailed to us, or posted in our touring post box, which travelled around Manchester venues for a couple of months. The box was kindly hosted by BlankSpace, Nexus Art Café, CUBE and Cornerhouse, and also made an appearance at the Nip and Tipple pub in Whalley Range.

inclusion means freedom of expression


The project is officially closed, but if you’ve got an idea you’d like to share with us about what inclusion means to you, we’d still love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave comments.

Image 1. Inclusion Wordle

Image 2. 100% Involvement! (anon.)

Image 3. Inclusion means the freedom of expression (Sonny J. Barker)

AGMA logoArts Council England logomanchester council logo


Young Artist Development Programme

image of post it notes on a wall

The evaluation report of Young Artist’s Development Programme 2011-2012 is available here:

The Young Artist Development Programme is an inclusive twelve-month intensive development opportunity for 18 to 30 year olds who have a keen interest and commitment in pursuing further arts participation, training, education or moving towards a career in the arts and creative sector. The service aims to increase young people’s knowledge, skills, networks and experience in the arts to help them follow their ambitions.

Our current programme began in May 2011 and will complete in May 2012.

Photo of the group around the table working


YAD aims to:

  • Provide an intensive and supportive arts development opportunity.
  • Provide a Platform for creative expression, skill sharing and critique.
  • Encourage individual personal development planning.
  • Identify individual arts development goals.
  • Encourage individual action planning and self-directed learning.
  • Raise awareness of arts opportunities in Manchester.
  • Encourage participants to take part in external arts opportunities.
  • Work with partnering artists and organisations.
  • Increase arts knowledge, networks, participation and opportunities.
  • Identify training needs and opportunities.
  • Provide training and development opportunities.
  • Offer Silver Arts Award to participants under the age of 25 and support them to achieve accreditation

Service offers:

  • Monthly development workshops,
  • Mentoring,
  • Networking opportunities,
  • Individual Professional Development Planning sessions,
  • Silver Arts Award,
  • Individual training and development budget,
  • Ongoing Information, advice and guidance,
  • Exit and individual forward planning session

photo of post it notes on a wall


Overall mission of the Young Artist Development Programme

To offer an inclusive and alternative arts development experience that will build on the competence of young emerging artists/creative practitioners who would like to progress in the arts and to encourage a real and sustainable future for their involvement within the arts and creative industries, as young leaders, emerging artists or arts practitioners.

To find out more about the programme, activity and participants involved visit our blog
Or follow the conversation on Twitter #fcaYAD

You can find the evaulation of the Young Artist Development 2009 here:


AGMA logoArts Council England logomanchester council logo



image of a boy touching a picture of a dolphin

Full Circle Arts teamed up with LiveWire (Cornerhouse’s young peoples’ group) and artist collective The Sancho Plan this year to work on a fantastic project called Interact with groups of young people. Mediabox funded the project, which has involved creating characters, storyboards, animations and sound scapes.

The final piece of work was showcased in Cornerhouse’s gallery on Saturday (26 June 2010) and young and old came along and had fun using drum pads to interact with the computer-game style installation of animated characters and sound. It was great for us and the young participants and producers to receive so much excited feedback and watch the audience enjoy taking part and er …well interacting with their installation.

photo of the animation


To see the final piece visit:

Visit our blog for further details:



AGMA logoArts Council England logomanchester council logo

A story behind every number – 2010

image of participants leaning back against the wall laughing

We have worked with many young people, emerging and professional artists though our artist development services, participatory projects and digital networks. This document outlines just some of those figures and tells a couple of stories to get behind the numbers.