DIY 13: 2016 - Rhiannon Armstrong ‘DIY Public Selfcare System’


DIY Public Selfcare System gathers together artists with lived experience of long term disabling conditions to explore acts of self care we have to perform in public, and consider repurposing these acts as performance

Project summary

As the government dismantles our public health and welfare systems, the future looks like “no money, no care": it looks like chronic illness for all those not at the very top of the pile. To survive without access to public healthcare, everyone is going to have to learn to perform public acts of self care.

  • We will gather as a community of artists who are experts at the durational performance of thriving in a world that is geared against our survival.
  • We will share insight with one another drawn from our diverse creative approaches and experiences: on self care in general; on the poetics, politics and aesthetics of our actions; on how to take up space.
  • We will engage in a playful process of repurposing and appropriating our necessary actions of self care as performance gestures; looking towards the creation of performance works for public spaces.


We welcome artists of all ages and at all stages: young artists just beginning to make work as well as older or more experienced artists; those who are perhaps experiencing disabling conditions for the first time; those with perspectives on how disabling conditions are affected by other intersections.

We welcome you to engage in a challenging, playful, collaborative and professional creative process convened by an artist who specialises in making intimate and interactive works with unfiltered audiences in mind.

The application requires answers to the following questions (as written or audio responses):

  • Tell us a bit about yourself and your artistic practice. (max 300 words or 3 mins audio)
  • Why do you want to be part of DIY Public Selfcare System this August? (max 300 words or 3 mins audio)
  • What public act of self care might you be interested in exploring as creative stimulus and why? This doesn’t commit you to anything specific, but it helps us get to know you and the way you think. (max 300 words or 3 mins audio)
  • Please provide web links to anything you think we should see (ideally these would include specific works of yours or projects you have been involved in, but it can also be the work of others, or things that you are thinking of as a result of contemplating this project). Please specify what it is and why you want to draw our attention to it. (max 5 links).

We welcome applications from those based beyond and within Liverpool: DadaFest will do their best to help find or organise accommodation if you need it.


All the information on this page is also available in an audio format, and audio applications are accepted too. Listen to audio information about this DIY here.

We are committed to doing what we can to ensure that no participant is stopped from attending, especially by the very lived experience that we seek to value. DadaFest are providing a small amount of cash and a larger amount of time to assist with the practicalities of accessing the workshop.

Please note that all applications must be done via the online form, rather than being emailed direct to DIY artists.

Dates, times and location

Dates: Tue 9 - Sat 13 August 2016
Times: DIY Public Selfcare System is a 5-day process, comprised of: 2 consecutive days of group work, 1 day for rest/recovery or guided individual work, then 2 more consecutive days of group work. We are working to a model of 4hrs of 'intensive' work per day.
Location: The Bluecoat, Liverpool
This DIY is supported by DaDaFest

The artist

Rhiannon Armstrong is an interdisciplinary artist with expertise in participatory frameworks, known for making emotionally sensitive and critically astute work. Previous performance works in public settings include ‘Atonement’ and ‘Can I Help You?’, and the upcoming ‘Public Selfcare System’ at Tempting Failure, which inspired this DIY project. Her one-to-one performance, archive and online art work 'The International Archive of Things Left Unsaid' is being recognised as a model of excellence and innovation: as a performance work in a digital medium, and as a public space online that functions with an ethos of care.

Rhiannon has substantial experience facilitating artists and non-artists in various forms of creative expression, including delivering workshops internationally on the subject of collaboration, co-creation, and unfiltered audiences, and facilitating and developing work within the artistic practices of other artists: she particularly enjoys referring to Bobby Baker, Chris Goode & Co, Coney, Joshua Sofaer, Kings of England, Rachel Mars and the Tricycle Theatre as “my esteemed colleagues”. 

Part of DIY 13: 2016 Project List


The Bluecoat
School Lane
Liverpool L1 3BX