Somerset House Studios: January - April 2018

Somerset House starts the year with an exciting season of events from Somerset House Studios and seven new arrivals to the community, which offers multi-disciplinary artists affordable space and opportunities for funding, research, collaboration, creation and presentation of work.

  • New season of events announced:

-  Former special projects editor at The Guardian and WikiLeaks staffer James Ball and Mevan Babakar of Full Fact discuss how technology is changing the media landscape and perceptions of reality

-  Imran Perretta’s The Listening Party series kicks off with Emptyset’s Paul Purgas journeying through his influences and inspirations, from music video obsessions to unreleased album tracks

-  Material Explorations – a series of workshops and talks discovering the materials behind the making of ‘pharma food’ – including a kombucha brewing masterclass

-  London and Manchester club counterparts come together for a night of debate, DJ sets and live electronic acts in the final Nocturnal City event

  • One of Somerset House Studios founding residents Eloise Hawser stages a major new exhibition at Somerset House, connecting feats of engineering and forces of nature
  • New residents join Somerset House Studios, including film makers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, artist Koo Jeong-A and musician Gaika


A key element of Somerset House Studios is to provide a public platform for the resident artists’ work and ideas, enabling audiences to engage directly with some of the most exciting artistic voices today.

Full listings information can be found at the end of the press release, with highlights included below:


13 February, 18:45 – 20:30, Pay what you can
Following its sold-out run in 2017, the panel discussion Defrag continues with the theme of ‘reality’. 

In a world of ‘post truth’ and ‘fake news’, a host of distinguished guest speakers explore how technology is changing the media landscape, for better and for worse. 

The panel includes James Ball, former WikiLeaks staffer and special projects editor of The Guardian (where he played a key role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden); Labour councillor for Newham, Sevi Akiwowo, who founded anti-online abuse campaign Glitch! UK; Mevan Babakar of fact checking organisation Full Fact, and designer Ted Hunt.

Curated and hosted by Imran Perretta
26 April, 18:45 – 20:30, Pay what you can

In a new series for 2018, The Listening Party brings together an array of artists and musicians, each exploring the unique sonic and visual cultures that underpin their practice.

For the first event, Somerset House Studios resident Imran Perretta is in conversation with sound, performance and installation artist Paul Purgas - with whom Perretta shares his studio space - focusing on the influences - from music videos obsessions to hidden treasure tracks - that have shaped his identity.

The Listening Party series culminates in an event in Somerset House’s Deadhouse in July, with a curated line-up and exclusive sets from the participating artists and additional guests.

Next event in the series:
24 May: Nabihah Iqbal

With Nik Void, Flora Yin Wong, Loft and Afrodeutsche
27 January 2018, 16:30 – 00:00, £10-15

On the penultimate weekend of North: Fashioning Identity, the last event in the Nocturnal City series explores the state of nightlife in London and Manchester today.  Special guests from the club communities in both cities connect with the aim of creating new cultural standards, from safe spaces to access to alternative scenes, and celebrating their clubs’ contribution to their cities’ cultural fabric. 

Following panel discussions featuring the likes of Boiler Room, Rye Wax, Five Miles and female collective Meat Free, two DJ sets and three live electronic acts – including a special dance floor set by Factory Floor’s Nik Void – take over to champion the sounds of their cities and close the Nocturnal City series.  Nocturnal City is curated by Studios resident Estela Oliva.

8 – 10 February 2018, Times and prices vary
Europe's most exciting community of emergent makers, Makerversity, resident at Somerset House Studios, present a series of one-off events exploring synthetic biology.  Investigating the applications and ethics of this radical technology in the industries of pharmaceuticals and food, special guests share the secrets and speculate on subjects as diverse as lab-grown meat, genetic data privacy, personalised drugs and harvesting.  The public can also experience ‘engineering’ something of their own, such as kombucha in a brewing masterclass with Green Labs.

From January to April, Somerset House Studios artist Eloise Hawser stages an exhibition as part of the Charles Russell Speechlys Terrace Room Series.  The show will be the first of its kind to examine connections between civil engineering and cutting-edge medical imaging devices, never before seen in an exhibition context. 

A collection of multidisciplinary elements, brought together by Eloise Hawser through research and original works, comprises of sculptures, collage, video simulations, sound art installations, archival imagery and fully functional medical imaging ‘phantoms’ - specially designed objects used to test medical imaging equipment such as X-Rays, MRI and CT scanners in place of a human.

During her residency at Somerset House Studios, Hawser has taken inspiration from the site’s history and influential position on the river, adding a site-specific element to the work. Visitors are offered an insight into Hawser’s unique creative practice as well as hidden elements of Somerset House’s and London’s social and engineering history.

This exhibition is also supported by the Port of London Authority, with help from HR Wallingford.

Somerset House is thrilled to welcome seven new arrivals to Somerset House Studios from January 2018.

Artists and film makers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard – directors of the multi award winning Nick Cave documentary 20,000 Days on Earth, which received its UK premiere as part of Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House’s 10th anniversary season – join Somerset House Studios in a newly-refurbished space in the New Wing.

Other new residents include: Seoul-born artist Koo Jeong-A, whose work often involves the reinvention of public spaces - always site-specific, one of her most celebrated series includes glow-in-the-dark skateparks; electronic musician Gaika; Savage Messiah author Laura Grace Ford (formerly Laura Oldfield Ford), an artist and writer concerned with issues surrounding contemporary political protest and urbanism; Lawrence Lek, a Frankfurt-born simulation artist, and maker-researcher Natasha Trotman, whose work explores multi-sensory design.

Finally, Berlin-based, Finnish installation and performance artist Jenna Sutela is the recipient of the Somerset House Studios + Google Arts & Culture’s n-Dimensions residency, the first ‘remote’ artist-in-residence programme launched outside of the Google Arts & Culture Lab in Paris.  From February, Sutela receives a dedicated studio space at Somerset House for four months, working towards developing a machine learning project to be published online as part of the Studios programme.  As well as advisory days at the Google Arts & Culture Lab, she will also be supported by artist mentor Memo Atken, who has been with Somerset House Studios since its launch. 

‘Arts in Society’ is a partnership between Somerset House Studios and King’s College London which teams up Studios residents with King’s researchers to bring new perspectives on urgent contemporary social issues. 

Over the course of 2017, six academic-artist collaborations researched subjects as diverse as sexual consent, migration, the politics of black queer sound, and food porn.  These responses will inform the work being developed in residence at Somerset House.

The culmination of these collaborations can be seen in a series of short films, available to watch here:


Full events listings for January – April 2018


Chloe Lamford: Show Room
Until 6 May 2018, Free

Leading theatre designer Chloe Lamford transforms Somerset House’s Great Arch Hall entrance space with an installation which calls to mind an imaginary, theatrical back-stage to Somerset House itself. It features abandoned architectural features, imagined vistas, theatrical props, shimmering curtains and moveable stages.


Nocturnal City | London-Manchester with Nik Void
27 January 2018, 16:30 – 00:30, £10-15

Eloise Hawser: By the deep, by the mark
31 January - 22 April 2018, Free, Part of the Charles Russell Speechlys Terrace Room Series

Studios Artists in Conversation| Chloe Lamford and Tom Scutt
31 January 2018, 18:45 – 20:30, £7

Stage designers Chloe Lamford (Associate Artist of the Royal Court) and Tom Scutt (Associate Artist of the Donmar) share stories of shaking up traditional theatre spaces, demonstrating how sets and structures can have meaning beyond the words spoken within them.


Jennifer Walshe Sound Salon: Play, Labour and the Internet
7 Feb 2018, 18:45 – 20:30, Free

Jennifer Walshe’s Sound Salon series reveals new trends in music, sound and technology.  New media curator Dani Admiss and LSE fellow Dr Jamie Woodcock look at the blurred lines between work and play for modern day professionals and imagine the instruments, agents and infrastructures for the future workforce.

Makerversity’s Material Explorations | PHARMA FOOD LABS
8 – 10 February 2018, Times and prices vary

Defrag: Reality
13 February 2018, 18:45 – 20.30, Pay what you can


Imran Perretta’s Listening Party: Paul Purgas
26 April, 18:45 – 20:30, Pay what you can

Full list of new artist residents at Somerset House Studios:

  • Gaika
  • Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
  • Jenna Sutela
  • Koo Jeong-A
  • Laura Grace Ford
  • Lawrence Lek
  • Natasha Trotman

Somerset House thanks supporters of Somerset House Studios, including Westminster City Council, Foyle Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Sir Siegmund Warburg's Voluntary Settlement, Rothschild Foundation, Outset Contemporary Art Fund and the Gaia Art Foundation, John Ellerman Foundation, Cockayne Trust and the Case Foundation.


For press enquiries, please contact: / 0207 845 4624


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About Somerset House
Inspiring contemporary culture
A unique part of the London cultural scene, Somerset House is an historic building where surprising and original work comes to life. From its 18th-century origins, Somerset House has been a centre for debate and discussion – an intellectual powerhouse for the nation. Somerset House is today a key cultural destination in London in which to experience a broad range of artistic activity, engage with artists, designers and makers and be a part of a major creative forum – an environment that is relaxed, welcoming, and inspirational to visit while providing a stimulating workplace for the cultural and creative industries. 

Since its opening in 2000, Somerset House has built up a distinctive outdoor public programme including Skate, concerts, an open-air film season and a diverse range of temporary exhibitions throughout the site focusing on contemporary culture, with an extensive learning programme attached. In October 2016, Somerset House launched Somerset House Studios, a new experimental workspace connecting artists, makers and thinkers with audiences. The Studios provide a platform for new creative projects and collaboration, promoting work that pushes bold ideas, engages with urgent issues and pioneers new technologies. Somerset House is also one of the biggest community of creative organisations in London including The Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art, King’s College London Cultural Institute and over 100 other creative businesses. It currently attracts approximately 3.4 million visitors every year.