Somerset House Studios - Winter 2017

  • New season of events, featuring:
    - panel debate with Brian Eno on artistic power in political discourse
    - in-conversation with fashion designers Gareth Pugh and Charles Jeffrey
    - club night in Somerset House’s Deadhouse from black queer female and non-binary EDM sound artists and DJs
  • New residents join Somerset House Studios, following funding to open up further spaces

Somerset House is celebrating the first birthday of Somerset House Studios by announcing its biggest season of events so far and the arrival of 12 new residents to the former Inland Revenue offices, which have been transformed into artist workspaces.

Since Somerset House Studios was opened by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in October 2016, it has welcomed over 75 artists and their teams to its central London site.  A programme of public events, exploring themes central to the work of its resident community, has been enjoyed by thousands of visitors at Somerset House and resident artists have been taken to present work at Sónar in Barcelona, Mutek in Montreal and next month to Lima with the British Council Peru.

As well as creating spaces which support the cross-disciplinary practice that so many artists are exploring, Somerset House provides a public platform for their work and ideas.

This platform enables audiences to engage directly with some of the most exciting artistic voices around and the issues that matter most to them, such as subcultures, community, nightlife and emerging technologies.

Winter 2017 sees the biggest season of Somerset House Studios events to date.  Full listings information can be found at the end of the press release, with highlights included below:

‘Superflux: The Future of Power’ is a series of open debate forums, exploring the future of representation, governance and democracy. Across four separate events, future-forecasting design agency Superflux invites speakers from across the political spectrum, and beyond, to join discussions with members of the public on the future of representative rule.

Artistic Power with Brian Eno and special guests
12 December 2017, 18:45 – 20:30, £5

For the second event in the Future(s) of Power series, Brian Eno joins a panel of artists and cultural producers to reflect on their own power within society.  As success and exposure often activates participation in political discourse, the group reveals the tools and tactics they apply in an attempt to radically challenge and provoke change, and question whether there is an adequate culture of responsibility that comes with artistic power.

‘Studios Artists In Conversation’ is a new bi-monthly series, which profiles the work, ideas and influences of Somerset House Studios artists.

Gareth Pugh and Charles Jeffrey with Lou Stoppard
22 November 2017, 18:45 – 20:30. Talk: £7, Combo ticket for talk and entry to North: Fashioning Identity: £12

Fashion designers Gareth Pugh and Charles Jeffrey sit down with SHOWstudio editor-at-large and co-curator of Somerset House’s major winter exhibition North: Fashioning Identity Lou Stoppard to discuss the collaborations that have brought them to the forefront of the fashion field.

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.

‘Nocturnal City’ is a series of events exploring the state of nightlife in London and other cities.  Previous events have connected Berlin and Barcelona, with DJs, artists and professionals from both communities seeking to create common cultural standards.

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

On the penultimate weekend of North: Fashioning Identity, the last event in the Nocturnal City series explores the interplay between London and Manchester’s alternative scenes with an evening of panels, installations and music performances, including a special music programme by Factory Floor’s Nik Void.

‘Arts in Society’ is a partnership between Somerset House Studios and King’s College London (who are based in the East Wing of Somerset House) which pairs Studios residents with King’s researchers.  As artists team up with academics, the collaborations aim to bring new perspectives on urgent contemporary social issues.  The ‘Arts in Society’ events offer insights into the results of their research.

BOOM! A RAVE IN BLACKNESS: Josh Caffe, Venus Ex Machina, Shy One and Marcia Carr
Curated by Evan Ifekoya and Dr Madison Moore
24 November 2017, 20.00 – 01.00, £8

In conjunction with their BOOM! The Politics of Black Sound research project, black queer female and non binary EDM sound artists and DJs come together for a one-off and one-of-a-kind club night, set in The Deadhouse, an atmospheric tunnel underneath Somerset House’s courtyard.

The line-up’s selection of sound works will investigate the relationships between sound and blackness, and sound and queerness.

Europe's most exciting community of emergent makers, Makerversity, resident at Somerset House Studios, present a series of civic hacks talks and workshops.  Members of the public can meet Makerversity’s community and collaborate to design and build a toolkit to tackle today’s civic issues.

Civic Hack: PROTEST
7 – 18 November, Times vary, Free

Throughout November, the hacks will address activism, inspiring design solutions for protest.  The programme  includes an introduction to the history of 21st-century  protest from Rob Orchard, the co-founder of the slow journalism magazine, Delayed Gratification, which has reported on uprisings and protests across the world, from Tahrir Square to Black Lives Matter; a banner-making workshop with the UK’s foremost trade union banner maker, Ed Hall; and a two-day workshop inside Makerversity’s Studios space with grassroots organisations Citizens UK & Stop Funding Hate  to create the tools for change, which will go on public display over the event’s closing weekend.  

Somerset House is thrilled to announce 12 new arrivals to Somerset House Studios from November 2017, taking the cohort to 75 artists, in addition to Makerversity’s 200-plus members.

Following generous support from the Rothschild Foundation, Outset Contemporary Art Fund and Gaia Art Foundation to open up further spaces within Somerset House Studios, 11 new artists will occupy additional spaces, while visual artist duo Julia Crabtree & Will Evans take over the workspace from Caroline Williams and Deborah Pearson, both of whom work in performance.

Other new residents include: Album Corp, a new music platform from South London artist Klein and musician Jacob Samuel; electronic composer and producer Beatrice Dillon; art publishing collective OOMK; visual artist Maeve Brennan; virtual reality documentary filmmaker Jayisha Patel, and Hyphen-Labs, an all-female international design, production and research studio.

Somerset House Studios residencies are offered for a focused period of artistic and professional development of up to two and a half years.  As well as affordable and secure studio space in the centre of London, the residency allows artists championing collaboration, experimentation and provocation to join a unique, supportive community and to access funded opportunities for research and creation of new work.

Marie McPartlin, Director of Somerset House Studios, said: “Our first year focused on bringing together a community of artists whose work we are most excited by, a community that is culturally diverse and truly representative of the best work being made in London right now. In 2018, the Studio’s public programme, which explores nightlife, subculture, technology, activism and experimental work, gets bigger and bolder. Watch this space.”

Jonathan Reekie, Director of Somerset House, commented: “Somerset House Studios is a major milestone in our vision of how Somerset House can be a centre where contemporary culture is imagined, made and experienced. It represents a significant investment in a new generation of artists, makers and thinkers and gives Somerset House’s programme an exciting new creative engine.”

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.



Music Hackspace
Music Hackspace, the community of innovators in music technology and sound art, continue its weekly programme of workshops, free artist talks, software sessions and one-off events, which showcase future trends in music, art and technology.


Chloe Lamford: Show Room
27 Oct 2017 – 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.

Defrag: Commercial Technologies with Werkflow and The White Pube
31 October 2017, 18:45 – 20.30, £5

A talk on the role of commercial technologies, such as social media and game engines, in the creation and consumption of art, with digital art studio Werkflew and critics and curators The White Pube.


Makerversity’s Civic Hacks | PROTEST
7 – 18 November, Times vary, Free
Banner Repeater Party 2017 with Benedict Drew (live electronics) and DJ Chooc Ly Tan
8 November 2017, 19.00 – 23.00, Entry by donation

To celebrate the launch of its first Local Giving fundraising scheme, Somerset House Studios is hosting Banner Repeater, the artist-led reading room and project space located on Platform 1 of Hackney Downs Station.  There will be a special prize draw, with artworks by the likes of Yuri Pattison, Jenna Sutela, Melanie Jackson, Zarina Muhammad and Anne de Boer, to win on the night,

Jennifer Walshe Sound Salon: Sound, Sexuality and Robots with special guest Kate Devlin
15 November, 18:45 – 20:30, Free

Jennifer Walshe’s monthly Sound Salon series reveals new trends in technology and its impact on the music of the future.  The contemporary composer will be joined by a rolling roster of special guests.

Arts in Society | Food Fictions: Burton Nitta with Dr Christine Barnes
21 November 2017, Display: 11:00 - 16:30, Dinner Table Discussion: 18:30 - 20:00, Free

Social media personalities, health promoters, food technologists and environmental activists will accompany future design studio Burton Nitta and King’s Fellow Dr Barnes at a ‘dinner table’ discussion on the future of food.  Visitors are invited to the ‘dinner table’ to join the debate.  During the day, visitors can see a display of future food prototypes.

Studios Artists In Conversation | Gareth Pugh and Charles Jeffrey with Lou Stoppard
22 November 2017, 18:45 – 20:30. Talk: £7, Combo ticket for talk and entry to North: Fashioning Identity: £12

Arts in Society | BOOM! A RAVE IN BLACKNESS: Josh Caffe, Venus Ex Machina, Shy One & Marcia Carr
Curated by Evan Ifekoya and Dr Madison Moore
24 November 2017, 20.00 – 01.00, £8

27 November 2017, 18.30 – 19.30, Free

The eleventh edition of the quarterly sound-based test centre hosted by artist Anne Tallentire and writer Chris Fite-Wassilak, in which artists are given up to seven minutes to present a new sound work to the audience, is hosted by Somerset House Studios for the first time.

OOMK zine launch
30 November 2017, 19:00 – 22:00, £8

New Somerset House Studios residents OOMK launch Issue 6 of their zine, which features the work of over 20 women artists and writers for The Food Issue.  Ticket includes a copy of the new publication.


4 December 2017,
18:45 – 20.30, £5

Beatrice Dillon: Taut Line
7 December, entry at 19.00, 19.45 and 20.30, £5

New resident Beatrice Dillon presents Taut Line, a sound installation exploring Pauline Oliveros’ concept of ‘Deep Listening’, which advocated for the active and thoughtful awareness of sound. Co-commissioned in partnership with Abandon Normal Devices, Dillon has reconfigured the piece for The Deadhouse, a rarely accessible underground tunnel running beneath Somerset House’s courtyard, clad with headstones dating from the 1600s.

Superflux: The Future(s) of Power | Artistic Power with Brian Eno and special guests
12 December 2017, 18:45 – 20:30, £5

Jennifer Walshe: Sound Salon with special guest Erica Scourti
13 December 2017, 18:45 – 20:30, Free


Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy
8 – 13 January 2018, Times vary, Prices vary

A dynamic six day series of alternative, artist-led approaches to wellness and self-care.

9 January 2018, 18:45 – 20.30, £5

Jennifer Walshe: Sound Salon with special guest Dani Admiss
10 January 2018, 18:45 – 20:30, Free

MoneyLab: Art, Culture and Financial Activism
Ruth Catlow (Furtherfield), Geert Lovink (Institute of Network Cultures), Brett Scott (The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance), Demystification Committee and more to be announced

20 January, 10.00 – 18.00, £15/£12 concessions
A day-long programme of workshops, discussions and experimentation exploring the relationship between financial technologies, artistic practice and contemporary culture.

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

A major solo show of new work by Somerset House Studios artist Eloise Hawser. Taking the form of a three-room installation, By the deep, by the mark is the result of over a year of research and artistic production whilst in residence onsite, which draws playful parallels between extraordinary feats of civil engineering and the intricate inner workings of the human body.


New curatorial platform from South London artist Klein and musician Jacob Samuel, for new music and delivery

Electronic composer and producer

Collective emerged from Open School East and focuses on art, education and politics that resist the com modification and standardisation of learning

All female international design, production and research studio using technology, art and futurism to test the boundaries of physical and digital space

Virtual reality documentary filmmaker

Visual artists working in sculpture, installation, film and print

Multidisciplinary artist exploring technological invasiveness and sentiment

Designer, feminist activist and sociologist

Visual artist working in moving image and installation, exploring the historical and political resonance of sites and materials

Artist, researcher and filmmaker exploring the effects of network technologies on social relations, urban space and political structures

One Of My Kind is Sofia Niazi, Rose Nordin and Heiba Lamora, an inclusive small-press platforming the work, spirituality, faith, activism and the identity of women

The alias of Nontokozo F. Sihwa - producer, artist, programmer and hacker



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About Somerset House
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.