Somerset House Online Programme 2020

Spring/Summer 2020
I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now

I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now is Somerset House’s new free and ‘Pay What You Can’ online cultural programme, launching Friday 17 April and running across the spring and summer.

In this universal moment of social change and pause, we are reminded that more than ever our wellbeing depends on that of our neighbours. Many of us are finding a renewed appreciation, acknowledgement of and dependency in each other, at a time of physical distance. The programme, which includes live streams, and invitations to take part, read, listen and pause, considers themes of connection and commonality – the values which have always been integral to Somerset House as home to a vibrant community of artists, makers and creative practitioners. These themes have been emerging in our conversations with artists, and the programme encourages audiences to engage with them and their work more deeply. 

Taking the title of our recent abruptly curtailed Somerset House Studios exhibition, itself named after a work by resident artist Vivienne Griffin, I Should be Doing Something Else Right Now offers regular, newly commissioned content reflecting how artists are connecting, and the imperative to fill time. Organised around live streams, long reads, deep listens and a weekly ‘Pause’ series, much of it artist-led including a delve into Somerset House’s rich archives, the programme aims to encourage the appreciation of an artist’s work in full. 


Monthly from 28 April | 18.00-19.00
Pay What You Can

A series of new commissions experimenting with live streaming format. Six different Studio artists will respond to the provocation and current Gallery 31 exhibition theme ‘I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now’ via a live broadcast. The live series takes its title from an existing work by Vivienne Griffin who will kickstart the programme with a live broadcast exploring the themes of care, connection and commonalities. 

23, 30 April; 7, 14, 21, 28 May | 21.00-22.00

Our collective isolation highlights that all forms of community are now more important than ever. Established by Anne Duffau, Hana Noorali and Tai Shani, this new online platform will commission artists, writers and thinkers to share their work online. 
TRANSMISSIONS has been set up to provide a platform to pay artists at a time when many have had exhibitions, opportunities and subsequent fees cancelled.

With the first episode curated by Anne, Tai and Hana, the subsequent five episodes will be hosted by invited artists. Each artist included in TRANSMISSIONS will be paid a fee in return for their contribution. With a sense of community, all the money used to pay artists in season 1 has been kindly donated by established UK art institutions and commercially stable artists. 

Season 1 of TRANSMISSIONS will run as six weekly episodes screening every Thursday at 21.00 and repeated on Fridays at 09.00 on Twitch. Each episode will be screened twice only, and will not be archived to view again at a later date. 

Season 1 is funded and supported by Somerset House Studios, ArtQuest+DACS, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Oscar Murillo and Wysing Arts Centre.


22 April – 20 May 2020

As part of its year-round commitment to environmental sustainability, Somerset House celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a worldwide event on 22 April to champion transformative environmental action. Bringing together artists and designers who arecontributing to the urgent effort to address the current ecological crisis, Somerset House invites visitors to experience free interactive events online, interrogating how art and culture can inspire positive change in society’s relationship with nature.

Launching the 2020 celebrations on 22 April is All Our Children, a new project from British fashion designer Bethany Williams. Through a series of online workshops, Williams invites audiences to try the arts of flag making, embroidery and printmaking, all using clothes and fabrics they can find and reuse at home, as in all the designer’s acclaimed sustainable collections. 

Somerset House invites participants to share their creations on social media with @somersethouse using the #AllOurChildren hashtag in a collective virtual moment to draw attention to the climate emergency. Works shared by the public will contribute towards Williams’ All Our Children fashion collection, which will launch later in 2020. Audiences can also join a special live Q&A with Williams, led by Somerset House curator Karishma Rafferty, to discover more about the designer’s innovative and inclusive creative practice.

Further highlights include a mushrooms collage workshop from Mushrooms exhibition contributor, Seana Gavin (23 April); a family-friendly Grow Your Own Mushrooms blog from Edible Utopia’s Mycologist in Residence Darren Springer, equipping audiences with the skills needed to start their own mini mushroom farm (24 April); and a series of live online sessions presented by Somerset House and Fashion Open Studio which explore the future of sustainable fashion with leading designers, led by fashion journalist and editor Tamsin Blanchard and Fashion Open Studio co-founder Orsola de Castro (25 April). 
The Mushrooms events programme is supported by Gaia Art Foundation.


30 April; 14, 28 May; 11 June | 13.00 - 14.00 

Led by members of the Somerset House community, these digital sessions are designed for up to 100 young people aged 18-30 who are looking for access routes into the creative industries and the cultural sector against the current backdrop and complexities of remote working, self-isolation and resilience when building skills in new virtual spaces. Through emerging technologies, Upgrade Yourself: Peer Exchange introduces young aspiring creatives to industry peers and innovators, to inspire and connect the participants own ideas and experiences to the processes whilst gaining insight into potential current role(s) as professional artists, thinkers, doers and game changers. 
The Upgrade Yourself events are part of Somerset House’s wider Creative Careers Programme, which aims to bring new talent into creative organisations and to offer participants credible experience and valuable insight into what makes creative organisations tick. Upgrade Yourself: Peer Exchange online workshops are supported by the Maria Bjornson Memorial Fund. 


6, 13, 20, 27 May | 18.30 – 20.00 
Pay What You Can

DIY sound and music platform Mutant Promise launch a series of online artist-led workshops for progressive music making in isolation. Led by Joanne Armitage, Dan Evans, Johann Diedrick and Jessica Ekomane respectively, the workshops will cover themes including digital field recording within the home, interior soundscape composition, harmony and tonality in digital music software and an introduction to making music through live coding.

From 13 April

Throughout spring and summer, Somerset House will run a regular programme covering three strands: Long Read, Deep Listen and Pause, a weekly release of an artist work online that demands our full attention. 
The first season will revisit Somerset House Studio artist Laura Grace Ford’s psycho-geographic audio work Open Your Palm, Feel The Dust Settling There, alongside Nadeem Din Gabisi’s How to Be Free, a podcast exploring issues of mental health for young black men in London. Seth Pimlott’s film Alone Together will also be made available to view. Developed in 2018 with a group of young people connected to Whitechapel Gallery and the dancer Nando Messias, the film invites viewers to have more playful relationship to embodiment, taking them on a journey through alienation, curiosity and rapture.

Newly commissioned long-reads from members of the Somerset House community will create an opportunity for different voices to explore the programme themes from a personal perspective, considering the current moment and its possible implications for the future. Featuring Alexandrina Helmsley, Juliet Jacques, Season Butler, Hana Noorali and more.

At midday each week, Somerset House delves into its rich and varied archives to re-present works featured in previous programmes, including many commissioned sound and video works previously unseen online. Featuring works from Vivienne Griffin, Andy Holden, Seth Pimlott, Laura Grace Ford and more.

Deep Listen will feature long-form music and spoken word content that re-explores Somerset House’s archive alongside newly commissioned podcasts featuring interviews, discussions and creative responses to ideas of care, connection and commonality in the current moment and as we look towards the future.

As well as playlists and guest mixes from Somerset House Studios artists, a weekly feature –  APPENDIX – will offer a footnote to the content, unpacking references, influences and themes of the week's programme. A Friday digest of sound, video and written content from across the internet; a digital reading, watching and listening list for the extra-curious.

JULIANA HUXTABLE | Goethe-Institut x Somerset House Studios Residency moves online for May 

Somerset House Studios collaborate with the Goethe-Institut, London to establish a new international artist residency programme supporting a Germany-based artist working at the intersection of music, art and technology. For this inaugural residency, artist, DJ, writer, and performer Juliana Huxtable, one of the most singular voices in the contemporary art world, will join the community remotely for the month of May in a digital residency including events, artist development opportunities and more. Juliana’s first project will be a streamed performance as part of I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now Live

SONIC TERRAINS: Open Call Remote Residency Programme to Develop New Spatial Sound Works 
Somerset House Studios is inviting applications for a new online artist development programme, taking place from May to August 2020. Five artists will be supported remotely to develop skills in spatialised composition, each receiving a £3,000 artist fee and up to 30 hours of online studio sessions with state-of-the-art spatial sound studio Call & Response. The five resulting works will premiere online as time-based concerts as part of a special edition of Assembly (9-13 Sep), Somerset House Studio’s annual celebration of contemporary electronic and experimental music - in September 2020. More information to be announced shortly. 
Application deadline Friday 1 May 2020.

Sonic Terrains is supported by Jerwood Arts Development Programme Fund.

Bethany Williams’ All Our Children and Somerset House’s online cultural programme is supported by the Adonyeva Foundation. 


Earth Day 2020 at Somerset House

All Our Children by Bethany Williams | 22 April –20 May
- Flag DIY Workshops: 22 April, 6 May, 20 May
- Live Q&A: 22 April, 12.00
- Raise Your Flag: 22 April
Mindful Mushrooms Collage Workshop | 23 April
Grow Your Own Mushrooms | 24 April
Fashion Open Studio x Somerset House | 25 April, 14.00-16.00 

Tai Shani, Anne Duffau, Hana Noorali | 23 April, 21.00-22.00 
Sophie Jung | 30 April, 21.00-22.00 
Tarek Lakhrissi | 7 May, 21.00-22.00 
Johanna Hedva | 14 May 21.00-22.00 
Mykki Blanco | 21 May 21.00-22.00 
CA Conrad | 28 May, 21.00-22.00 

I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now
Vivienne Griffin | Tuesday 28 April, 18:00-19:00 
Juliana Huxtable | Tuesday 19 May, 18:00-19:00 
23 June, 21 Jul, 25 Aug, 22 Sept To Be Announced 

Upgrade Yourself 
Maeve Brennan | 30 April, 13:00-14:00 
Evi Kalogiropolous | 14 April, 13.00-14.00 
Nabihah Iqbal | 28 May, 13.00-14.00 
Akil Benjamin (from Comuzi) | 11 June, 13.00-14.00 

Mutant Promise 
Introduction to Making Music with Live Coding in SuperCollider, with Joanne Armitage | 6 May, 18.30-20.00
The Great Indoors: An Online Soundscapes Workshop with Johann Diedrick | 13 May, 18.30-20.00
Harmony and tuning workshop for Max with Dan Evans Harmony aka √p38 | 20 May, 18.30-20.00
Introduction to music and sound making with Jessica Ekomane | 27 May, 18.30-20.00

9-13 September