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Somerset House Releases New Six-Part Podcast Series The Process

Available weekly from 16 February 2022

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Uncovering the stories of artists and innovators connected to Somerset House’s cultural programme and its experimental artist workspace Somerset House Studios, The Process provides listeners with a fascinating glimpse into the artistic process behind some of the most inspiring works we experience in galleries, on stage, or through our headphones today.​

​Released weekly from 16 February, the series touches on a wide range of thought-provoking topics, with the creators selecting one big idea emerging from their work in progress, from protest and astrology to music, language, and colonialism. Each episode gives listeners a look behind the curtain to the world of the artist it features, capturing the absurdity, joy and innovation at the heart of the creative process as they explore these ideas. ​

​Episode One: Breaking the Rules ​

Andy Holden, artist and curator of Somerset House’s Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules exhibition, talks with Mark McGowan, otherwise known as The Artist Taxi Driver, whose unconventional performance art lambasts the political establishment. They discuss the spirit of Beano, performance, politics and the power of persona from the back of McGowan’s black cab. ​

Episode Two: What is Financial Astrology? ​

Artist, writer and Somerset House Studios’ resident Gary Zhexi Zhang’s work conceptually explores ecology, finance, and information. In episode two of The Process, Zhang delves into the recent focus of his research, the world of financial astrology. He’s joined by Christeen Skinner, a financial astrologist and Philip Grant, social anthropologist and former equity fund manager, to discuss how ideas of magic and finance overlap.

Episode Three: Language of Resistance  ​

Shiraz Bayjoo is a Mauritian artist based in London whose practice explores how language and identity in the Indian Ocean have been shaped by the legacy of European colonialism, and most recent work included a new commission for Somerset House’s We Are History exhibition, sponsored by Morgan Stanley.  Episode three of The Process joins Bayjoo in his studio as he puts the finishing touches to this new installation, discussing survival and resistance with activist and theorist Françoise Verges.​

Episode Four: Taking Fun Seriously​

Mercury Award-shortlisted Scottish musician, performer, composer and Somerset House Studios’ resident Anna Meredith took over Somerset House’s courtyard with re-invented musical dodgems in 2021 as part of its Dodge event.  In episode four, she explores the growing genre of interactive music with fellow Somerset House Studios resident sound artist Nick Ryan and games designer Nick Moran.​

Episode Five: Reclaiming the Commons​

Col Self is an artist, PhD student at Royal College of Art and Studios resident whose work focuses on the boundaries between public and private space in contemporary capitalist society. Col is joined by activist and author of Sunday Times Bestseller The Book of TrespassNick Hayes, to discuss the rights and history of traveller communities in the UK and the power of trespassing.​

​Episode Six: Healing through Roller Skating​

Tyreis Holder is an artist, poet, visual storyteller and Studios resident.  In the final episode of the series, listeners join Tyreis in Hyde Park as she takes to her roller skates, having discovered skating during lockdown.  Tyreis is joined by coach and fellow artist Marilyn Fontaine as they discuss the history of roller skating in London’s Black community, its links with the development of underground music and fashion in the 80s, and how it has helped them navigate intergenerational trauma and find freedom. ​

​Each series is developed with a different audio producer, working behind the scenes at Somerset House to uncover the stories explored through our programme and creative community. The first six-part series, The Process, is produced by Alannah Chance as part of the Creators in Residence Programme, supported by The Rothschild Foundation.

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London’s working arts centre 

Somerset House is London’s working arts centre and home to the UK’s largest creative community. Built on historic foundations, we are situated in the very heart of the capital. ​ 

Dedicated to backing progress, championing openness, nurturing creativity and empowering ideas, our cultural programme is ambitious in scope. We insist on relevance, but aren’t afraid of irreverence, and are as keen on entertainment as enrichment. We embrace the biggest issues of our times and are committed to oxygenating new work by emerging artists. Where else can you spend an hour ice-skating while listening to a specially commissioned sound piece by a cutting-edge artist?  ​ 

It is this creative tension—the way we harness our heritage, put the too-often overlooked on our central stage and use our neo-classical backdrop to showcase ground-breaking contemporary culture—that inspires our programme. Old and new, history and disruption, art and entertainment, high-tech and homemade, combined with the fact that we are home to a constantly shape-shifting working creative community: this is our point of difference. It is what we are proud of. And it is what makes the experience of visiting or working in Somerset House inspiring and energising, urgent and exciting.  ​ 

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