Transformative Futures - Camden Art Centre

A free weekly collective for young people to discuss, explore and create art together.

Transformative Futures is a series of free artist-led workshops for people aged 15-25 that offers an opportunity to learn new skills and approaches to art-making.

Led by a cohort of contemporary artists the programme will offer participants the opportunity to try processes and techniques being explored by artists today including drawing, performance, sculpture.

To coincide with the return of New Contemporaries to Camden Art Centre this year’s workshops will be led by a number of artists featured in the exhibition who will share an insight into their creative processes and practice.

The artists will guide the group through different ideas, themes and provocations exploring a range of processes and techniques. Each session is designed to allow participants to develop new skills, learn about the art world and collaborate with artists and their peers.

The programme is designed for those with an interest in Art, no other knowledge, practical skills or training is required to participate with sessions designed to be inclusive and accessible. We are particularly interested in reaching young people not currently in university education and in the boroughs of Camden, Brent, Barnet and Harrow.

This year the programme of workshops will run on Saturday afternoons from November until Summer 2024 when the participants will design and produce a weekend takeover of Camden Art Centre sharing ideas, concepts and work produced through the year.

Term Three - April/ June 2024 Term Two - January/ February 2024 Term Two - February/ March 2024 Images The Artists - Term Two Term One - November/December 2023 The Artists - Term One

Term Three - April/ June 2024

Saturday 27 April: Exploring Ecosystems, Textiles, and Connectivity with Nqatyiswa Mendu
This session will explore the theme of collaboration as an approach ahead of the Transformative Futures Takeover. Drawing on ideas around textiles, ecosystems, stories, and connections the session will invite participants to create a web to think about collaboration, shared knowledge, connectivity and process.

Saturday 4 May: Transformative Futures Takeover Intro session
This session led by the CAC learning team will look ahead to the Transformative Futures Takeover in early July and invites participants to consider what themes, works and ideas they may want to explore in the public showcase. Using the year so far and upcoming sessions this workshop will be an opportunity to shape a collective vision together.

Saturday 11 May: with Holly Graham

Saturday 18 May: with Holly Graham

Detail on future sessions will be announced soon. Workshops will run weekly through to the Transformative Futures Takeover that takes place on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th July.

Term Two - January/ February 2024

Saturday 13 January: Transforming Value with Lili Murphy-Johnson
This workshop uses playful making techniques such as performance, storytelling and filming to alter the values of everyday objects. The workshop will expand our perceptions of what art can be, what it is to make something, and what it is for something to be special.

Saturday 20 January: Drawing narrative: dreamscapes and the potential within the everyday with Harriet Gillett
This session guides participants through life drawing in a contemporary context and establishing a visual narrative using props and scene building.

Saturday 27 January: Hybrid Realms: Mythology, Collage, Sgraffito with Efrat Merin
This workshop will explore how mythology is used in art and how myth-making can be a creative, personal process. Participants will work in collage to create hybrid images and learn the sgraffito technique in which an image is made by removing layers.

Saturday 3 February: Studio Session
There will be no artist led activity on this day, participants are encouraged to use the studio and visit the New Contemporaries Live performances taking place on site.

Saturday 10 February: Exploring Storytelling Through Photography with Alannah Cyan
This session will introduce the concept of folk-style storytelling through photography and guide participants to interpret narratives within the New Contemporary artworks and creating their own visual stories.

Saturday 17 February: This is New Contemporary with Anne McCloy
Using the New Contemporaries exhibition as a starting point participants will identify themes that resonate and use the visual language of zine making to communicate their ideas.

Term Two - February/ March 2024

Saturday 24 February: Quilting: Technique with Luke Rooney
This hands-on session will introduce at the fundamentals of quilting and how different designs and techniques have been used through time as a means of collaboration and communication.

Saturday 2 March: Quilting: Creativity with Luke Rooney
This session will allow participants to create their own designs based on techniques and languages used within quilt making communities both traditional and contemporary.

Saturday 9 March: Studio Session
There will be no artist led session on this day, participants are encouraged to join the New Contemporaries Workshops taking place on site.

Saturday 16 March: Beast Building with Emma Sheehy
Participants will draw on ancient and medieval imagery and symbolism to create their own bizarre and unusual mythical beasts.

Saturday 23 March: Sonic Frequencies with Joshua Woolford
During this workshop, Transdisciplinary artist Joshua Woolford will share their approach to building sound-based performances – from writing and developing ideas to experimenting with electronic instruments, audio clips and their voice. Participants will work on developing short sound clips and pieces of text, leading towards a group performance to share what has been created.

The Artists - Term Two

Lili Murphy-Johnson is an artist working between performance art and jewellery. She is interested in value and how it is measured and changeable. In her work there is a focus on the way the meaning or value of an object can disappear or alter, depending on the viewer. Lili’s jewellery and performances poke at the meaning of being ‘correct’ in our behavior and interactions. She uses humour and subversion to work through her ideas, drawn to where humour can become awkward and tense.

Harriet Gillett (b.1995 East Yorkshire) is an artist living and working in London. She received her MA in Fine Art at City and Guilds art school in 2022 after studying a BA in English Literature at Edinburgh University (2017). Recent exhibitions include group shows at Brooke Benington, Roman Road, Delphian x Saatchi and duos with Soho Revue and New Normal Projects. She was shortlisted for the Ingram prize in 2020 and is one of the 2023 New Contemporaries. In 2024 she will undertake the Palazzo Monti Residency.

Efrat Merin is an artist working across multiple mediums, offering a queer retelling of mythical narratives. In 2020 she had her first solo show ‘Dream. Figure’ at Maya Gallery, Tel Aviv. In 2022, she graduated from Turps Studio Programme in London, was awarded the Darbyshire Award for Emerging Art, took up an artist residency at Frans Masereel Centrum, Belgium, and participated in group shows across the UK. In 2023 she had a solo show ‘Anima Mundi’ at Darbyshire Ltd, London, participated in a residency and had a solo show at van GoghHuis, Zundert, and was selected for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2023. Her work has been featured in many publications, among them Floorrr Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, and ArtMaze Mag.

Hailing from Central Saint Martins, Alannah Cyan has formed her practice through tender, fantastical and self-reflective works across the disciplines of painting, video, sound and photography. Raised in Switzerland and Ireland, the intersections of home, nature, and identity come together to form a dreamlike perspective. Grounding this perspective in queerness, she has matured her practice to focus on erotic photography. In an appreciation for queered bodies in this field – and a need to contribute to their visibility – she has a sensibility towards the powerful, sensual nude, presented in contexts that invite a curiosity beyond their erotic value. With this, she aims to push boundaries in the field, inviting artist and audience alike to see erotica anew.

Anne McCloy completed her MFA at Goldsmiths in 2023 and is exhibiting at Camden Arts Center as part of New Contemporaries 2023. Her interdisciplinary practice involves drawing,painting, poetry, performance and film and currently examines narratives around personal and collective experiences of Irish womanhood in the context of the political, the social and the mythic, and considers creative outputs as tools of resistance, revolution and transformation. In Mobilise the Poets (2022) McCloy transmutes photojournalist Clive Limpkin’s iconic photo of Bernadette Devlin in the Battle of the Bogside, Derry, 1969, imbuing the image with a new and vital shamanic energy.  Anne McCloy has taught extensively as an Associate Lecturer at Central Saint Martins and University of the Arts London.

Emma Sheehy creates imaginative spaces that are escapist, funny and folkloric. Often drawing on mythologies and medieval-inspired imagery, she builds up a collection of creatures to play with time and again, using this research as a means of understanding the past.

Joshua Woolford is a transdisciplinary artist working between performance, painting, sculpture, sound, video, and installation. Woolford’s work is rooted in extensive cultural research, drawing from literature, music, and art, as well as personal experiences of being a member of the queer Black Afro-Caribbean diaspora living in London. Through their practice, Woolford acknowledges and confronts experiences of violence, aggression, and misalignment through abstract forms and sounds, verbal language and the body. They embrace reflection, transition and movement as powerful and disruptive states that actively challenge prevailing narratives. By engaging with these themes, Woolford strives to dismantle established norms and provoke critical dialogue with others about the wider socio-political landscape. Ultimately forging a deeper understanding of their own identity and their hopes for the future. Woolford graduated Cum Laude from the Design Academy Eindhoven (Media and Culture), and more recently with an MA from the Royal College of Art (Contemporary Art Practice). They are the 2023 Research and Interpretation Artist in Residence at Tate and a New Contemporaries 2023 Artist. Notable exhibitions include live performances at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, as well as exhibiting and performing in multiple institutions across London, including HOME by Ronan Mckenzie, Soho House, Somerset House, Black Cultural Archives, the V&A and Tate Britain.

Luke Anthony Rooney is a visual artist and designer with a background in Fashion Design. Luke showed season seasonal collections on schedule at London Fashion Week before re-directing his practice into a Fine Art context. Luke’s research and practice investigates how textiles can be used to create protest and embody resilience. Luke’s research has taken them to Americas Deep South of Alabama and Mississippi to work with the Gees Bend quiltmakers and the Arizona desert to work with Native American communities.

“I decided to join the TF sessions because I wanted to meet new people and have a space to create art facilities and resources I wouldn’t normally have access to. I think it has been a really enriching experience and I feel as though I’ve benefitted from it a lot.” Transformative Futures 2022-2023 participant

Term One - November/December 2023

Saturday 4 November: Welcome session
Led by the CAC Learning Team this session will outline the Transformative Futures programme and invite participants to collaborate on a shared vision for the year ahead. 

Saturday 11 November : Soft Cut Outs (Part 1) with Daniel Rey
A session to create soft sculptures in colourful old fabric, with structures made of plastic pipes. Through cutting, gluing and assembling silhouettes, the session aims to create artwork that is collaborative, generating a sense of community.

Saturday 18 November: Ghost Hunting with Joe Moss
Exploring ghosts as a phenomena Joe will look at how fictions haunt us in our every day lives. Participants will investigate this idea and hunt for ghosts at Camden Art Centre documenting them through video.

Saturday 25 November: Soft Cut Outs (Part 2) with Daniel Rey
Daniel leads a two part session creative a collaborative artwork aiming to generate a sense of community through working together. Through cutting, gluing and assembling participants will build a collective structure made of fabric, plastic pipes.

Saturday 2 December: Making in the Hybrid (Part 1) with Elena Onwochei-Garcia
Elena leads a session looking at Hybridity in our exhibitions through the process of blind drawing. Participants will disrupt and re-configure what they have seen through collage, evolve a personal vocabulary of images and explore composition.

Saturday 9 December: Ghost Busting with Joe Moss
Drawing on themes explored in the Ghost Hunting session the group will take on the role of a ghost busting company. Participants will respond to a collection of machines, using them to exorcise old ghosts and establishing new myths in their place.

Saturday 16 December: Making in the Hybrid (Part 2) with Elena Onwochei-Garcia
Elena leads a session looking at Hybridity in our exhibitions through drawing and collage. Using references from art history including Paula Rego and Max Beckman participants will build their own hybrid compositions made from a range of material sources.

Please note – some workshops are in two parts but each session will function independently, regardless of previous attendance. New attendees are welcome for all sessions.

The Artists - Term One

Daniel Rey (b. 1990) is a Venezuelan artist whose work seeks to deconstruct fixed ideas of masculinity by questioning our understanding of cultural norms in patriarchal societies. Rey employs his practice to explore notions of identity, architecture, and the crucial relationship between space and bodies.

His practice is wide ranging, comprising installation, performance, painting and drawing. With a background in architecture, he uses the processes and elements of construction to desmantle fixed categories of identities in order to gain visibility to the marginalised communities he belongs to.

Daniel Rey is part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2023, the exhibition will run at Camden Art Centre 19 January – 31 March 2024.

Joe Moss is a contemporary artist working across media. Moss’ output ranges from solo presentations to radio production to collaborative exhibition-making. Selected for the New Contemporaries award 2023, Moss’ recent projects include Supersublime at Giant Gallery, UK; Model Village at NN Contemporary and Eastcheap Projects, UK; and The London Bronze Foundry Fellowship. The collaborative project An Heart, made with Digital Anthropologist Jane Davies, is held in the Museum of Data. Joe Moss attended the Conditions Studio Programme between 2019 and 2022 and is currently enrolled on the Slade MFA programme.

Joe Moss is is part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2023, the exhibition will run at Camden Art Centre 19 January – 31 March 2024.

Elena Njoabuzia Onwochei-Garcia (Spanish-British), figurative painter and installation artist, recently completed her MFA at the Glasgow School of Art. Onwochei-Garcia was selected as a Bloomberg New Contemporary (2023) and was awarded the RSA John Kinross Scholarship and the Leverhulme Master of Fine Art Bursary. Her recent exhibitions include UK New Artist (Saatchi Gallery, 2023), Addendum (No.20 Arts Gallery, London) , Short Lapses (Saltspace, 2023), Royal British Society of Artists Rising Stars of 2022 (ROSL, 2022), Painting our Past: The African Diaspora in England (Corbridge Museum and The Africa Centre in London, 2021).

Elena Onwochei-Garcia is part of Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2023, the exhibition will run at Camden Art Centre 19 January – 31 March 2024.

“I’m so grateful to have found this opportunity to create art and meet new people” Transformative Futures 2022-2023 participant