Somerset House's Summer Online Programme

New events, exhibitions and series announced as part of Somerset House’s June and July online programme, entitled I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now
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Somerset House’s online cultural programme – entitled I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now – continues throughout June and July with more new commissions, live streams and revisits to the archive.  Much of the programme has been created in collaboration with artists who would ordinarily be working from Somerset House Studios and with Somerset House’s long-standing partners, inspired by themes of connection and commonality.  

Highlights include:
- Sons of Kemet Live: Mercury Prize-nominated band Sons of Kemet’s headline set from Somerset House last summer streamed for the very first time, on what would have been the opening night of Summer Series with American Express
- Windrush Day: Somerset House honours this special day with a series of archive podcasts, films, live music sets and long reads celebrating the contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants to the British cultural landscape
- Sleep Mode: A special takeover week of content and broadcasts on the theme of ‘always on’ culture and the ‘new normal’ to create in a post-lockdown world 
- The launch of podcast series, Coping Mechanisms: From Somerset House’s British Podcast Award nominated producers, this new podcast series features guests such as Jarvis Cocker, Noel Fielding, Tim Burgess, Robin Ince, Nabihah Iqbal and Carol Morley in conversation with artists and filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard on lockdown creativity
- Unquiet Moments: Capturing the Everyday:  Nine international curators from The Courtauld Institute of Art’s MA Curating the Art Museum course bring together 35 major works by artists from Rembrandt to Zarina Bhimji selected in response to a chapter of Somerset House’s history, in a digital first for the world-renowned gallery and higher education institution
- Upgrade Yourself: A series of fortnightly talks and Q&As from artists for future creative professionals, featuring the world’s only creative student and graduate website Arts Thread, artist Eloise Hawser and Tolúlopé́ Ògúnrèmí of tech collective Coders of Colour
- Sonic Terrains: Five artists – Kelman Duran, Lafawndah, Loraine James, Ben Vince, 
Zadie Xa – join an exciting new residency programme, supported by Jerwood Arts’ Development Programme Fund, for spatial sound, the first of its kind in the UK 

Further details and all events are included below. All events listed can be accessed through, unless otherwise indicated.


Mercury Prize-nominated band’s headline set from 2019 streamed for the first time
9 July | 19.30 | FREE/DONATION

For the very first time, Somerset House will stream the Sons of Kemet headline set from Summer Series with American Express. This never previously released footage, from a sunny Saturday evening last summer, captures the energy of the Mercury Prize-nominated quartet Sons of Kemet, bringing irresistible polyrhythms and restless melodies infused with political fervour to the courtyard crowd. The sold-out show featured all nine tracks from ‘Your Queen is a Reptile’, which pays homage to nine Black women including Doreen Lawrence and Harriet Tubman, alongside a selection from their first two albums and premieres of tracks from their next unreleased album. Special guests including rapper Kojey Radical, rapper and songwriter Sampa the Great and Grime MC D Double E joined the band on the open-air stage, adding to the electrifying event. Following the Somerset House set, one newspaper review exalted them as “the best live band in the UK right now”. The footage from this set has never previously been aired and it will be streamed on what would have been the opening night of Summer Series with American Express, bringing a vibrant festival atmosphere straight into the home. The streamed set will not be archived and it is free to watch, though the band have requested that viewers consider donating to Justice4Grenfell instead.

A special day of celebration focused on the contribution of the Windrush Generation and their descendants to the British cultural landscape 
22 June | All Day | FREE

Somerset House will mark this year's Windrush Day by delving into the archives of last year’s Get Up, Stand Up Now, an exhibition celebrating the past 50 years of Black creativity, and Somerset House Studios’ public programme.  This special day features podcasts, films, live music sets and long reads from an esteemed group including musicians Aba Shanti-I, Dennis Bovell and Gaika, writer Margaret Busby and artists Errol Floyd and LR Vandy. 

A special week of online events responding to ‘always on’ culture and the ‘new normal’ 
23 – 28 June | Check individual event listings for further details | FREE

Across the week of midsummer – which sees the longest day and shortest night of the year – Somerset House will host a special week of online events  reflecting on how current conditions could reset our ‘always on’ culture.  Curated by Sarah Cook, this takeover week will feature new and updated works from artists who participated in Somerset House’s blockbuster show 24/7, which explored living life in ‘sleep mode’ – one where you can never fully switch off – and was due to show as part of Glasgow International at the end of April. Moving online, this special Sleep Mode week will now look at the original themes in light of the lockdown lessons we may have learned and the future of work and play as a result.  Highlights from the week include a live stream from Alan Warburton discovering virtual spaces connecting people with nature and a broadcast featuring new works from Douglas Coupland’s Slogans for the 21st Century series,  newly-released footage of contagious yawning from Hyphen Labs, new paintings from Michael Mandiberg depicting a variety of virtual backgrounds seen during lockdown meetings and a new cybersecurity film from Addie Wagenknecht masked as a beauty tutorial.

Sleep Mode is additionally supported by University of Glasgow.

A new podcast hosted by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard
Episodes released from 30 June | FREE

Somerset House Studios based artists and film makers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard host a brand-new podcast series, Coping Mechanisms, produced by Somerset House’s own British Podcast Awards nominated team.  In each episode, Forsyth and Pollard talk to a number of familiar faces – including Jarvis Cocker, Noel Fielding, Tim Burgess, Robin Ince, Nabihah Iqbal and Carol Morley – all of whom have instigated a new online activity, open to all, during lockdown. These new, impromptu communities have helped many feel a little less isolated in these strange times, but it also feels like the start of an important shift in the shaping and sharing of culture.  These illuminating and amusing conversations traverse the collective importance of such initiatives and the evolution of art-making, as well as looking closer at the individuals behind these ventures and learning more about their creative drive.  A joyful listen for anyone who has also (re)discovered their creative side during life in lockdown.

At-home artist performances streamed live 
Alan Warburton | 23 June | 18.00 - 19.00 | FREE  (as part of Sleep Mode week) Sonya Dyer | 21 July | 18.00 - 19.00 | FREE 

Somerset House’s live streaming series continues throughout the summer with two new commissions.  Experimenting with the production and editing tools they have to hand, artists Alan Warburton and Sonya Dyer will live stream a performance from home, responding to the provocation I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now. Warburton’s live stream will air as part of the special Sleep Mode week, connecting to themes of ‘always on’ culture and the future of work and play in a post-lockdown society. Dyer's live stream will reflect possibilities of Black futurity in the form of a broadcast from the future, transmitted via the Andromeda Galaxy, in the latest iteration of her Hailing Frequencies Open project.

Regular releases of long-reads, films, music and podcasts 

Throughout June and July, Somerset House will regularly release newly-commissioned long reads and the best video and audio recordings from its archives.  The schedule follows and further details of June and July releases can be found in the Listings section towards the end of the press release:

Long Read - newly-commissioned long reads, released typically fortnightly on Mondays , featuring 2019 Somerset House Studios’ curator in residence Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura and Makerversity on creating PPE at Somerset House

Pause – video works featured in exhibitions or commissioned as part of previous programmes, released weekly on Wednesdays, from the likes of Mira Calix and Project O

Deep Listen – music, podcasts and spoken word works from Somerset House’s archives, released weekly on Sundays, featuring the voices of CCH Pounder, Barby Asante, Jessica Ekomane, Annie Goh, Paul Purgas and Imran Perretta amongst many others 

The Courtauld Institute of Art’s MA Curating the Art Museum students present the first fully digital version of their annual exhibition 
Opening 18 June | FREE
Curator Tour | 18 June | 18.00 – 19.00 | FREE

For the first time in its 13-year history, The Courtauld Institute of Art’s MA Curating the Art Museum programme will host an online exhibition. Organised by nine emerging curators spread across the globe – all of whom are students of The Courtauld’s MA Curating the Art Museum course – this landmark exhibition Unquiet Moments: Capturing the Everyday is inspired by a chapter of Somerset House’s history. For over 130 years, 8.5 miles of vaults were situated within Somerset House, holding all records of Births, Marriages and Deaths in the UK and archived the wills of the nation. These emerging curators have chosen 35 major works from the Arts Council and Courtauld collections, spanning four hundred years of artistic practice, from the seventeenth century to the present day, featuring artists from Rembrandt to Zarina Bhimji. The collected works imagine a new national archive in which quiet, everyday moments of human connection and transformation are recorded, rather than recognised rites of passage. Other selected works include those from Paul Cézanne, Berthe Morisot, Sunil Gupta, Barbara Walker and Mikhail Karikis.

On the evening of its opening, Somerset House and The Courtauld will host a live conversation with the curators, where they will introduce the show and take viewers on a virtual tour.

Based in the North Wing of Somerset House, The Courtauld Institute of Art is an important part of Somerset House’s creative community and Unquiet Moments: Capturing The Everyday creates a positive opportunity for further collaboration together.

The Courtauld and Somerset House collaborative digital programme is supported by Morgan Stanley.



Artist talks and Q&As for future creative professionals   
Fortnightly on Thursdays from 25 June | 13.00 - 14.00 | FREE   

Upgrade Yourself is a new digital strand of Somerset House’s Creative Careers Programme, bringing fortnightly bite-sized snippets of information, innovation, and inspiration over lunch-time sessions. Led by members of the Somerset House community, these digital sessions are primarily aimed at people aged 18-30 looking to work in the creative industries and cultural sector.  Inspiring resilience during these tough times, Upgrade Yourself introduces aspiring creatives to industry peers and innovators, who will talk through their own experiences and processes before opening up to the virtual floor with a Q&A session.  Contributors for June and July include: the world’s only creative student and graduate website Arts Thread; artist Eloise Hawser and Tolúlọpẹ́ Ògúnrẹ̀mí of tech collective Coders of Colour. 

Progressive music making workshops   
Weekly from 8 July | Prices Vary

DIY music platform Mutant Promise launch a second series of online artist-led workshops for progressive music making in isolation. Led by Ana Quiroga, NSDOS, Victor Mazon, Tokyo based collective EBM(T) and more, the workshops cover themes such as virtual listening rooms, hardware building at home and capturing un-hearable sounds.  New to this series, the one-off workshops will additionally include further short courses for deeper learning.  


Opportunity for Lithuanian artist to participate in new online residency 
Submissions by 13 July at 10.00 

As part of Somerset House Studios’ commitment to international collaboration, Somerset House Studios partners with Vilnius-based centre for art, residencies and education, Rupert and the Lithuanian Culture Institute for an online residency to support a Lithuanian artist pushing the boundaries of established practice. This residency is focused on artistic development and provides a space for the selected artist to build confidence and trust in their practice and process. Selection will be by a panel comprised of representatives from Somerset House Studios, Rupert and the Lithuanian Culture Attaché. The successful artist will undertake two month-long digital residency at Somerset House Studios with a dedicated mentor from the Studios artist community. This will include a series of one-to-one sessions as well as critical support from Somerset House Studios producers.   

Kelman Duran, Lafawndah, Loraine James, Ben Vince, Zadie Xa join new online spatial sound artist development programme 

Somerset House Studios is pleased to announce the artists selected for its new online spatial sound artist development programme, SonicTerrains: Kelman Duran, 
Lafawndah, Loraine James, Ben Vince, Zadie Xa.  These five artists will each be supported remotely to make an ambitious new spatial sound work with a £3,000 artist fee and up to 30 hours of online studio sessions with state-of-the-art spatial sound studio Call & Response, who are also part of the Somerset House Studios community.  All five works will premiere online as part of a  special digital edition of contemporary electronic and experimental music festival Assembly in September 2020. 

Sonic Terrains is supported by Jerwood Arts' Development Programme Fund  

Unless stated, all events and series can be accessed through and are free. 

9 July  |  19.30
Accessed via Somerset House’s YouTube 

22 June |  Content shared all day on Somerset House’s website and social media channels

Long Read by Sarah Cook  | Available from 23 June – 5 July 
I Should Be Doing Something Else Right Now Live by Alan Warburton | 23 June | 18.00 - 19.00   
Pause by Nastja Säde Rönkkö | Available from 24 – 30 June 
Special broadcast feat. Addie Wagenknecht, Douglas Coupland, Hyphen Labs, Michael Mandiberg and more | 26 June | 18.00 
Live panel discussion | 28 June | 16.00  

Episodes released from 30 June 
Accessed via Somerset House’s Audioboom  

Alan Warburton | 23 June | 18.00 - 19.00  (as part of Sleep Mode week) Sonya Dyer | 21 July | 18.00 - 19.00

Curator Sarah Cook introduces Sleep Mode |  23 June – 5 July (as part of Sleep Mode week)
2019 Studio’s curator in residence Tabitha Thorlu-Bangura reflects considers the theme We Are All Ancestors | 6  – 19 July ​
Makerversity discuss their current PPE micros manufacturing hub at Somerset House | 20 July – 2 August

Nastja Säde Rönkkö |  24 – 30 June (as part of Sleep Mode week)
Mira Calix |  1 – 7 July
Project O | 8 July – 14 July
Jenna Sutela |  22 -  28 July
More films yet to be announced

The Listening Party: Studios artists Paul Purgas and Imran Perretta in conversation on their music influences | 28 June – 4 July
NEW: Mutant Promise: Annie Goh & Jessica Ekomane in conversation |  5 – 11 July
Imaginary Landscapes from Somerset House’s 2019 exhibition Get Up Stand up Now feat. Barby Asante, Paul Goodman, CCH Pounder |  12 – 18 July
A feature on Birmingham experimental music and arts festival Supersonic from Somerset House’s Assembly 2018 |  19 – 25 July
Sound Salon: Journalist Adam Harper discusses post-internet sound as part of Jennifer Walshe's Sound Salon series | 26 July – 1 August

Digital exhibition opens 18 June  
Curator Tour  | 18 June | 18.00 – 19.00
Artist Talk with Sunil Gupta | 24 June | 17.30 - 19.00
Artist Talk with Karl Ohiri and Mohini Chandra | 29 June | 17.30 - 19.00
Double Bill: Andrea Luka Zimmerman and Mikhail Karikis Film Screening | 14 July | 18.00 - 19.45
Screening: BRIDGIT by Charlotte Prodger | 15 July | 18.00 - 18.45

Upgrade Yourself: Peer Exchange… Emerging talent with Arts Thread | 25 June | 13.00 - 14.00 
Upgrade Yourself: Peer Exchange… Artistic practice with Eloise Hawser | 9 July | 13.00 - 14.00 
Upgrade Yourself: Peer Exchange… Tech & code with Tolúlọpẹ́ Ògúnrẹ̀mí | 23 July | 13.00 - 14.00 

Make electronic music with live coding sequencer Orca, with NSDOS | 8 July | 18.30 – 20.00
NSDOS and Dmitry Paranyushkin in conversation with Block Universe director Louise O'Kelly | 22 July | 18.00 – 19.00
Introduction to music production from field recordings in Ableton Live with Ana Quiroga | 29 July | 18.30 – 20.00
Virtual listening room by internet sound collective EBM(T), feat. Amosphère and Miriam Stoney | 5 August | 18.00 – 19.00
DIY hardware workshop for recording unhearable sounds in the home with Victor Mazon | 8 & 15 August | 10.00 – 14.00
Charges may apply for some events