Exhibition: Translators by Justyna Scheuring

What: Exhibition, TRANSLATORS by Justyna Scheuring
When: 2nd Feburary – 28th February 2017, Thursday 2nd February 2017 6 – 8pm
Where: CANAL, 60 De Beauvoir Crescent, London, N1 5SB

CANAL is delighted to present a solo exhibition by Polish performance artist Justyna Scheuring, who lives and works in London.

For Translators , Scheuring brings together professional signers and language translators to communicate with her audience through a multitude of voices, and to explore the professional and functional interaction between her performers.

Using the device of ‘translators’, Scheuring questions issues of identity in a context of personal trauma, the rise of nationalism in Europe, global migration and the experience of otherness.

Scheuring’s practice combines performance and installation. Performative events challenge preconceptions of participation in social events, whilst her own performances play with the relationship between matter, body, environment and words. Translators combines performance and a stage design which functions as an art installation.

Scheuring offers an ambitious show, supported by the Arts Council, and partly resulting from a collaboration with Bepartofit.org.uk, a voluntary organisation for reducing social exclusion for deaf and disabled people, as well as the artist’s personal experience as a Pole living in the UK.

Educated at the University of Arts, Poznan (MFA) and an MA in Performance Making from Goldsmiths (2010), recent performances include Kings College Arts and Humanities Festival, SPILL live art festival, and SWAB International Contemporary Art Fair Barcelona. Scheuring has participated in numerous performance events throughout Europe and the UK.

“When I create a performance I see it as a sculpture communed by a space, the objects and people; and composed like a music piece or a poem – with respect to the time and rhythm.”


For more information, please contact Monika Bobinska on mebobinska@gmail.com.

CANAL 60 De Beauvoir Crescent London N1 5SB
Gallery hours: Thur-Sat 1-6pm
Transport: Haggerston overground
Contact 07866 063 663


OPPORTUNITY: ‘DIY Public Selfcare System’

What: Call for artists, Liverpool DadaFest
When: Deadline to apply, 14 June 2016, 5pm. Performance Dates: Tue 9 – Sat 13 August 2016
Times: DIY Public Selfcare System is a 5-day process, comprised of: 2 consecutive days of group work, 1 day for rest/recovery or guided individual work, then 2 more consecutive days of group work. We are working to a model of 4hrs of ‘intensive’ work per day.
Where: The Bluecoat, Liverpool. This DIY is supported by DaDaFest.

Think we might be let off for posting this with only 48 hours (maybe less) to apply, following de-install of last exhibition, install of the new exhibition, and hectic private view – which we will be posting more about later. Phew. Anyway, quick, quick, apply for this…

DIY Public Selfcare System gathers together artists with lived experience of long term disabling conditions to explore acts of self care we have to perform in public, and consider repurposing these acts as performance.

Project Summary

As the government dismantles our public health and welfare systems, the future looks like “no money, no care”: it looks like chronic illness for all those not at the very top of the pile. To survive without access to public healthcare, everyone is going to have to learn to perform public acts of self care.

  • We will gather as a community of artists who are experts at the durational performance of thriving in a world that is geared against our survival.
  • We will share insight with one another drawn from our diverse creative approaches and experiences: on self care in general; on the poetics, politics and aesthetics of our actions; on how to take up space.
  • We will engage in a playful process of repurposing and appropriating our necessary actions of self care as performance gestures; looking towards the creation of performance works for public spaces.


We welcome artists of all ages and at all stages: young artists just beginning to make work as well as older or more experienced artists; those who are perhaps experiencing disabling conditions for the first time; those with perspectives on how disabling conditions are affected by other intersections.

We welcome you to engage in a challenging, playful, collaborative and professional creative process convened by an artist who specialises in making intimate and interactive works with unfiltered audiences in mind.

The application requires answers to the following questions (as written or audio responses):

  • Tell us a bit about yourself and your artistic practice. (max 300 words or 3 mins audio)
  • Why do you want to be part of DIY Public Selfcare System this August? (max 300 words or 3 mins audio)
  • What public act of self care might you be interested in exploring as creative stimulus and why? This doesn’t commit you to anything specific, but it helps us get to know you and the way you think. (max 300 words or 3 mins audio)
  • Please provide web links to anything you think we should see (ideally these would include specific works of yours or projects you have been involved in, but it can also be the work of others, or things that you are thinking of as a result of contemplating this project). Please specify what it is and why you want to draw our attention to it. (max 5 links).

We welcome applications from those based beyond and within Liverpool: DadaFest will do their best to help find or organise accommodation if you need it.


All the information on this page is also available in an audio format, and audio applications are accepted too. Listen to audio information about this DIY here.

We are committed to doing what we can to ensure that no participant is stopped from attending, especially by the very lived experience that we seek to value. DadaFest are providing a small amount of cash and a larger amount of time to assist with the practicalities of accessing the workshop.

If you have any questions or worries about access (or anything else) that you would like to address before applying, do not hesitate to contact Cathy (cathyb@dadafest.co.uk) or Rhiannon (rhiannonarmstrong@gmail.com).

Please note that all applications must be done via the online form, rather than being emailed direct to DIY artists.


Event: Cure All Karaoke!

Come one, come all, come sing your little heart out! News is that there’s something fun for you to do this Friday, east London way, courtesy of our comrades, Daily Life Ltd. Read on, chums…

What: Karaoke Extravaganza!
When: Friday 4th December 2015, 7:30pm – late
Where: Chats Palace, Hackney, London E9 6DF

Do you need saving from your December Blues?
Bobby Baker and the Daily Life Ltd are here to help!Friday 4th December 2015, 7:30pm – late 
Chats Palace, Hackney, London E9 6DF
This incredible evening includes:
Bobby Baker and her legendary show COOK DEMS featuring her fabulous BAKED ANTLER recipe for Survivors with Status.
Edible PRIZES for the best song! Wow!
Art Tombola and more!

Don’t miss this chance of a lifetime to mingle with some Cool Cats and Diggedy Dogs


Disability and Political Activism in Art

Want another reason to love (the late, Lord) Dickie Attenborough? Ya know, the “world leading filmmaker, actor and life-long patron of the arts”. Need another reason to hold him even closer to our collective nations’ breast? I got one: The newly opened gallery at the Attenborough Arts Centre.

Richard Attenborough founded the absolutely excellent Attenborough Arts Centre in 1997, in conjunction with The University of Leicester – the place where he grew up, literally on campus, and where his father, Frederick, was once principal. Now, eighteen years on, Attenborough Arts, steered by Richard’s son Michael, who was handed the patronage in 2014, continues to follow Richard’s vision and legacy by “striving to include everyone in great art, culture and learning”, resulting in a brand new £1.5 million gallery at the existing arts centre site.

Mental Spaghetti was lucky enough to be invited to the private view and press opening of the new gallery so went sent our founder, Marie-Louise Plum to its inaugural exhibition, Art Life Activism, to view both new and existing work from a proud clutch of important names in the world of disability and political activism in art.

Gallery One of the newly opened space

Gallery Three of the newly opened space

The new gallery, actually comprised of three warehouse-type spaces, built to make much better use of what was once a carpark, is in addition to the art centre’s existing exhibition space. Essentially the foyer and first floor balcony of the arts centre, this original space now acts as an exhibition space for local artists, as well as tutors at the art centre (like Diane E. Hall, pictured below), who are also encouraged to further their own art practice in the studios.

This really excites us – art tutors who are still practicing artists is not that uncommon, but a commercial place of work encouraging them to work on their own stuff and exhibit it? That’s becoming less common. In addition to the promise of local artists exhibiting alongside more well known artists, we love that this is happening there.

Diane E. Hall, ‘Drawing Differences’, exhibition in the existing Balcony Gallery. See more here.

Art Life Activism is part of a “new, socially engaged exhibition and events programme which will have a positive impact in the promotion and research of disability culture.”

Attenborough Arts have announced that their “visual arts programme will focus on art that is relevant, engaging and accessible, critical and progressive. Our exhibitions will have a social motivation exploring the changing role of contemporary art, its local and global relevance; supporting practical, aesthetic, and poetic new approaches to our society, our environment and our place within the two.”

The roll-call of artists on display during this exhibition is as follows…Tony Heaton, Noëmi Lakmaier, Aaron Williamson, Bobby Baker, Simon Raven, David Hevey, Adam Reynolds (obituary by Tony Heaton), Ann Whitehurst and Liz Crow. I urge you, dear reader, to click the links back there – all of them – for more information about each artist, and to see some of their work.

All the artists work on displace is absolutely essential to see, so you must, if you can, by train, bus, car, ferry, hovercraft, even a jetpack, get to Leicester to see this exhibition. You have until January 17th to do so. I don’t want to be the slackjaw gumflapper who ruins the surprise party for you, so without giving too much away, I’m going to give y’all sneak peak at a few choice cuts…starting with a mention of our kindly pal Bobby, of Daily Life Ltd.

In case you missed the rollercoaster-like, illustrated catalogue of illness that was Bobby Baker’s Diary Drawings, exhibited at The Wellcome Collection in 2009, here’s another chance for you to see them. Although the entire collection isn’t there, a good wealth of framed diary drawings are on display. There is also a jolly but serious illustrated poster that I haven’t seen before, ‘Battle Hardened/How to be an activist’, commissioned by the Greenbelt Festival, perfectly fulfilling the criteria of an exhibition concerned with art, life and activism.

Bobby Baker, ‘Battle Hardened’

Bobby’s work sits under the golden glow of a hovering NHS issue ‘Invacar’, given to wheelchair users between 1948 and 1980’s as a ‘prosthetic’, later condemned on health and safety grounds (really). Gold Lamé is installation by artist and Shape Arts CEO, Tony Heaton OBE. Two other installations by Heaton, Great Britain from a Wheelchair, an “iconic item of disability arts and culture”, and Shaken Not Stirred are on display in Gallery Three and One, respectively.

Tony Heaton, ‘Shaken Not Stirred’ and ‘Great Britain from a Wheelchair’

“Shaken Not Stirred is a sculpture made out of 1,760 charity collection cans. Recreated in 1992 as part of the ‘Block Telethon’ campaign, it was part of a performance piece in which, during the press conference, Heaton rushed into the room and hurled a prosthetic leg into the pyramid, symbolically demolishing the hierarchy of charities.”

Aaron Williamson shrewdly commented that “The title Shaken Not Stirred reflects the essentially superficial act of assuaging one’s guilt/sense of superiority, by ‘giving’ to disabled people through charity appeals rather than through social justice and rights.”

That quote enables a snakey little segue into our chosen Exhibits of a Deliciously Curious Note category: The Affligare Unit, and the retrospective of ‘lifelong activist for disability rights’, Jim Chosen, both works by aforementioned Aaron Williamson. Neither the history of Jim Chosen or The Affligare are too well documented online, but definitely don’t Google them like I did, stick with your suspension of reality to get the real magic of these exhibits.

Exhibited objects from ‘The Affligare Unit’

On show are a few objects from the cached history of The Affligare Unit, which Williamson has curated, most of them having been “found in a hoard in Germany, beneath a barn in Hildesheim, in 1972 “. Williamson explains “The Affligare Unit were a tribe of disabled mendicants in medieval Europe. They formed after witnessing a meteor storm in the Netherlands”.

Our favourite Affligare objects on display are the Glimmerers Souvenirs*, talisman-like, mythical, folk art effigies, the Decorated skull, complete with brassy doubloonish eye shields, some kind of HG Wells conjured physical augury, a shamanic brain, and the Porringer Meteorite Bowl, which you must read more about, here.

*The 1811 Grose Dictionary describes Glimmerers thusly: ‘Persons begging with sham licences, pretending losses by fire.’ Aaron Williamson explains more about Glimmerers and the subject of 17th Century begging, here.

Exhibited items from ‘The Estate of Jim Chosen’

As for Jim Chosen, who sadly “died in 1994 when a bus ran into him as he crossed the road outside his squat in Lewisham”, and his ‘disibility rights group’, The Way Out, you really need to witness the documented history yourself. “Born to a paraplegic mother and a strict, militaristic father, Chosen saw disability as the last frontier for social inclusion after all the traditionally marginalised identities.

On display are a series of photographs featuring public announcements, statements in situ, and a collection of ephemera; memories, musings, notes, slogans, phrases and ideas all feature. See the Chosen 7″ record, in its illustrated sleeve, which reached number 48 in the charts in 1975 – the song featuring the lyric ‘Topsy Turvey’, which Chosen coined as a term for the need of revolutionary reversal and social upheaval. The lyric can also be found inscribed on Chosen’s guitar, also exhibited.

“These days, you can’t wear your heart on your sleeve when society’s wiping its nose all over your jacket.”

We were absolutely spirited away to new worlds by The Affligare Unit and the documented history of Jim Chosen. If it’s not clear enough already, we’d like to announce to the world that we bloody love Aaron Williamson and the worlds he weaves. If you’ve got thumbs, stick them up. Now.

More from the Estate of Jim Chosen

The most arresting piece of work in the exhibition is, without doubt, Simon Raven’s film The Tip on the Iceberg, simply a “scrolling list of names of people who are argued to have died in the UK following recent benefits sanctions.” The names alone illustrate a shocking register of desperation and despair, the result of huge social injustice. The real driving home of just how tragic the situation is, are the brief descriptions detailing the circumstances of each death, adding punctuation marks to what’s usually seen as names, numbers…statistics. This information, taken from a regularly updated list compiled by The Black Triangle, propels names and numbers into a reality that resonates, personally. The tip of the Iceberg is a response piece to Richard Attenborough’s film ‘Cry Freedom’, which features a scroll of people killed in police custody during apartheid in South Africa.

As we already said, all the work on display by each and every one of the artists is essential viewing, in terms of power, reason, activism, aesthetics and sensation. They will make you feel, take a knock or two, realign your thoughts, ask yourself questions. Spend time in there. Nothing is to be taken at face value.

DPAC Activist banner in Gallery Two

To compliment the current exhibition, and in addition to their creative learning courses, Attenborough Arts has a night of performance, debate and lectures, taking place on 10th December. Attenborough Arts invite you to “join our panel of experts and arts professionals for a discussion about contemporary art and political activism. Speakers include Shape Arts Chief executive and artist Tony Heaton, artist Aaron Williamson, and Professor Richard Sandell, from University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies. Bobby Baker is restaging ‘Drawing on a Mother’s Experience’. First staged in 1988, the work had almost 300 performances by the year 2000. Now a grandmother, Baker chooses to revisit the performance.”
More information here. It will be unmissable.

We’d like to give huge thanks to all of the exhibiting artists for sharing their work, and to Michaela, Patricia and Jessica, for making our visit so brilliant. Also, to all at Attenborough Arts Centre and gallery, rock on being righteous, it was a great privilege to be included on your opening day.

More information on the Attenborough Gallery

Entrance to the gallery is FREE. The exhibition opens to the public on Wednesday 18 November and will run until 17 January 2016. Opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sunday from 12pm to 4pm, closed Bank Holidays and between 24 December and 3 January 2016. An opening preview will take place on Tuesday 17 November, 6pm – 9pm. Tickets are FREE, but advanced booking is strongly advised at http://www.attenborougharts.com

As part of the exhibition, the Attenborough Forum Art, Life, Activism: Talks and performance will take place on Thursday 10 December, 5.30pm – 9pm at Attenborough Arts Centre. This forum includes a discussion with exhibiting artists Tony Heaton, Aaron Williamson, Bobby Baker; and Professor Richard Sandell, from the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies. The event includes Bobby Baker’s moving performance Drawing on a Mother’s Experience, performed over 300 times and revisited for the first time after 15 years of its creation. Tickets cost £10 / £5 concessions.

The Attenborough Arts Centre has been supported by the Breaking Barriers Appeal, which aims to help fulfil Richard Attenborough’s original vision to improve access to the arts for all. For more information about how to donate, please contact Ave Vinick at (0116) 252 2176 or arv4@le.ac.uk or make a gift online at http://www.le.ac.uk/breakingbarriers

The University of Leicester’s Attenborough Arts Centre prides itself on being accessible and inclusive. With over 18 years of experience, the programme offers courses and workshops, contemporary art, performance and live art, theatre and comedy, live music and jazz, dance, activities for children and families, and more. It is proud to champion emerging talent and disability-led performance companies, supporting those starting their careers. Its outstanding access and inclusive work has been recognised, through multiple awards and grants from Arts Council England, BBC Children in Need, Leicester Shire Promotions and Visit England. Its audience has grown from 57,000 people over the last year.

Attenborough Arts Centre is part of the University of Leicester’s Division of External Relations. Its new exhibition programme will significantly contribute to the University’s corporate social responsibility, wider public engagement and strategic research goals. It will specifically explore issues of human identity and inter-cultural interactions, promote inter-discipline, attract high-calibre collaborators, and encourage new imaginative approaches that culminate in exhibition projects.

Play: Get Yourself Together

What: Theatre play
When: Thu 05 Nov – Fri 06 Nov, 7.30pm
Where: Camden People’s Theatre
Ticket Information: £12 / 10, available here

Presented by Josh Coates
Part of ‘Fitter Happier More Productive’: a selection of cutting-edge artists respond to the cult of self-betterment, and explore how it feels to be imperfect in its shadow.

Is it my fault I’m like this?
Is it my fault I’m angry?
…is it?

One Christmas, Josh was diagnosed with depression and then hit by a car. The following year he was on Job Seekers whilst attempting to balance his sanity and gift buying.

This is a show about that time. This is a show about being ill and being fit for work. This is a show about the DWP and being from Bolton. This is a show that explores the thin line between mental health as a clinical and a political issue.

Part stand up, part spoken word and part teenager in his room pretending he’s in a punk band, Get Yourself Together is an autobiographical show that questions if society is making us ill and asks, “what next?”

Directed by Anna Ryder, Dramaturgy by James Varney, Design by Jen Swindles and with extra support from Ellie Stamp and the Royal Exchange.

Outing: Romeo & Juliet at ROH, plus drawing!

What: Romeo & Juliet, ballet performance
Where: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
When: Saturday 19th September

Free Space Gallery, based at the Kentish Town Health Centre, London, have informed us about an opportunity to go to a ballet performance at a very keen price. To find out more, and to book your discounted ticket, read on…

“Free Space Gallery are pleased to have teamed up with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to offer discounted tickets to see their production of Romeo & Juliet.

We have secured the whole balcony in the theatre where we will be able to consume our own food and drink, and actively encourage drawing during the performance!

Members from all of our groups will be going along so it will be a lovely crowd, and we hope that you too would like to come along, perhaps with family and friends.

Please spread the word about this opportunity to see Romeo and Juliet from the balcony of the Royal Opera house on Saturday 19th September, 1.30pm performance.”

To book a ticket please get in touch: info@freespacegallery.org / 07950695699
Kentish Town Health Centre
2 Bartholomew Road

Roving Diagnostic Unit

Mental Spaghetti has been invited to join Bobby Baker and her team as part of the Roving Diagnostic Unit at Shuffle Festival, taking place tomorrow, 25th July 2015!

Check out the details below and come and join us for investigations, tea, cake, and later, a top notch, Cure All Cabaret (tickets for both available here).