First Fridays are our informal gatherings/sharings, open to all. They started life as a physical place to meet up for a shared lunch followed by a live or occasionally remote presentation by an artist or group. Since May 2020 we have been gathering online which has taken away some of the social aspects but opened First Fridays up to a much wider and geographically diverse audience. Each event is on the First Friday of the month starting at 13.00 and finishing at 14.00 (UK time).

This month will be a response to our Sentient Performativities event which will still be wrapping up as we convene. We’re likely to be in a state of euphoria and exhaustion so who knows what will emerge…

Image above: Material and systems research, The Sustainable Darkroom

Sentient Performativities: thinking alongside the human June 26-29 (symposium) June 29-30 (postgraduate forum) annual symposia are renowned for the depth and breadth typically addressing an issue of urgent importance through the lens of art and creative thinking. This year, from June 26 to 29 (with a postgraduate forum from June 29 to 30) we are offering Sentient Performativities: thinking alongside the human. The event is taking place online and at Dartington Hall in southwest UK.

Curated by Minou Tsambika Polleros (’s Assistant Director) and her indomitable organising team, the event’s richness and complexity is hard to capture in a few sentences. But try we must…

Sentient Performativities investigates somatic (ie bodily) practices and their role in fostering ecological awareness and interspecies communication. In short, this is about how we feel the world rather than how we think about it. The event is being held for those attending in person at Dartington (Devon, UK) and on Zoom Events for those attending online. In addition to a dazzling array of sessions and panels there are almost 60 short workshops to choose from. It’s very difficult to pick out highlights but you can see the whole programme here.

There are two keynote events: firstly from Dr Nita Little who is one of the founders of Contact Improvisation and who is speaking and also offering a workshop on Relational Intelligence. (Nita is also offering a two-day short course from June 30 to July 1 – a rare opportunity for a deep dive into contact improvisation for the 21stC.) The second keynote address comes from Dr Sarah Abbott who will be sharing thoughts on interspecies communication and collaboration. A surface pick of other topics, simply to give an overall flavour of the event are Lily Hayward Smith on The Shape of Sound; Dr Pavel Cenkl on Running and Resilience on the Arctic; Nikki Wyrd on Somatics and Psychedelics;; Joanna Dobson & Julia Schauerman speaking of human-bird encounters; Lisa May Thomas on VR and the sensing body; Paula Murphy on Eco-somatics and teacher education; and a panel glorying in the title ‘Conversation in the Form of a Hedge Lay and a Cow Lick’. On Tuesday listen in to an extraordinary panel on more-than-human activism convened by Beatrice Allegranti, with guests Foluke Taylor, Stella Duffy OBE, Yolanda Opacka, Sharon Watson MBE and Alice Bell. There’s so much more.

Workshops are on offer from Angie Balbernie, Jim Conroy & Basia Alexander, Olive Bieranga (a one-to-one experience), Paul Beaumont, Paula Kramer, Simon Whitehead and many more. All workshops are limited to 10 participants (or fewer) and can be booked only after you register for the event.

In addition to the sessions and workshops there is a performance programme, a film programme and a small exhibition. Everything (except some workshops) is as available to the remote audience as to those onsite. It is also possible for local people to register for the performance evening only and there is a one-day registration available covering any 24-hour period. There are numerous other levels of registration supporting a range of incomes. We still have a few bursaries available for those willing to spend some hours as stewards during the event (if you are interested contact

Registration details are at and the programme can be perused at If you’re planning to come from a distance please be aware that onsite accommodation is selling out; all hotel rooms are now sold but there is still some budget accommodation remaining.

Registration details are here and the programme can be perused here . If you’re planning to come from a distance please be aware that onsite accommodation is selling out, particularly in the hotel rooms in the courtyard.


If you’re interested in a stewarding bursary there are still a few left. Contact us