With For About 2020

A slow conference for a fast evolving crisis.

Every Wednesday between 27 May and 17 June 2020 –  at 2.30pm GMT+1.

Heart of Glass’ 5th With For About conference responds to the additional challenges that Covid-19 creates for many marginalised people and communities, asking:

What creative solutions have marginalised people developed to survive before Covid-19?

What creative ways of being and organising are being made now in response to Covid-19?

How do we embed and share these solutions, ways of being and organising now and into the future?

Heart of Glass’ With For About 2020 conference is curated by ‘the vacuum cleaner’ in collaboration with Cecilia Wee and in partnership with Live Art Development Agency (UK). LADA’s work for With For About 2020 forms part of our Managing the Radical project.

With For About 2020 conference - intro from the curators

Video visual description. The two conference curators: James a middle aged White British man with a moustache and glasses on the left, and Cecilia a middle aged, East Asian British woman with glasses on the right. James has a red background, Cecilia has a blue background. They speak directly into the camera.

Join us every Wednesday between 20 May and 17 June 2020 for weekly presentations, performances and provocations that bring together a range of voices and experience from across the world.

Themes will be mixed together to allow a truly intersectional understanding of CARE WORK, CLASS, COLONIALISM, DISABILITY, ECOLOGY, FEMINISM, LAW, MENTAL HEALTH, MIGRATION, MUTUAL AID, INTERNATIONAL ORGANISING, LGBTQ+, RACISM, SOCIAL PRACTICE, SURVEILLANCE  – all under the framework of Justice and Rights based approaches.

We wilfully ask in facing this crisis, another ten years of austerity, ecological collapse, harsher borders, more racism and deeper ableism within deeply divided societies – how can artists, activists and organisations make vital change within our communities and beyond?

Featuring international artists, activists and academics:

AM Kanngieser (AUS) |  Banmanya Brian (Afrorack) (UGA) | Bella with Selina Thompson (GBR) | Cassie Thornton (CAN/USA) | Cathy Cross with Children from Lansbury Bridge and Broad Oak, St Helens (GBR) | Fox Irving (Women’s Working Class) (GBR) | Prof. Rita Giacaman and Dr Weeam Hammoudeh (PSE) with Dr Hanna Kienzler (GBR)| Jesse Presley Jones (IRL) | Johanna Hedva (USA/DEU) | Migrants in Culture (GBR) | Lois Weaver (GBR) | Martin O’Brien (GBR) | Navild Acosta and Fannie Sosa (Black Power Naps) (Nomadic) | Neil Bartlett (GBR) | Kat Salas and Matilda Bickers (STROLL PDX) with Roya Amirsoleymani (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art) (USA) | Touretteshero (GBR) | Cecilia Ashaley and Esenam Drah (GHA) with Dr Ursula Read (GBR) | Youngsook Choi (GBR) and more.

Curated and hosted by artist and mental activist ‘the vacuum cleaner’ and curator and agitator Cecilia Wee.

With For About 2020 Logo on Orange background. With For About 2020. Courtesy of Heart of Glass.
Artist Martin O’Brien a young white British person. Martin holds a breathing mask to his face. He looks tired, his hair is messy and his body is dirty. In the background there is an out of focus audience member. Image credit. Wellcome Collection Martin O'Brien. Photo by Wellcome Collection.



The programme for each weekly episode of the conference will be announced on our website and our social media. We also encourage you to register for the conference via Eventbrite to receive updates via email. You only need to register once over the 5 weeks to be kept up to date.

Click here to register via Eventbrite.


We are also still looking for projects and practice to include – so please do check out and share our open call, live until 8 June.

Click here to read an easy read version of the With For About 2020 Open Call.


In addition there will be space for conference attendees to respond in an attempt to share and build on their own ways of doing, organising and making. We aim to create a radical response to WTF is happening, and confront the increasingly distressing reality so many communities continue to face.


All pre-recorded presentations, provocations and performances will be subtitled. There will be some live presentations, please let us know if you require BSL for these.

The event will try to be as accessible as possible, though we acknowledge this will be challenging with the technology and resources available. Please communicate with us about your access requirements, however you define access. Whether that is around disability, white spaces, money, access to the internet, child care, institutional transphobia or other forms of exclusion. We are not perfect, and want to do better. Please contact us on [email protected].

This event is not suitable for under 16s.

Click here to read an easy read version of the With For About 2020 Open Call.

Click here to read our Safer Spaces Policy.


With For About 2020 is free to attend. If you wish to make a donation to support more freelance artists to participate, you can do so when registering on Eventbrite. Heart of Glass is a registered charity number 1179366.

We are asking for attendees working for institutions to pay £50 to participate. This fee will support more freelance artists to participate.

With For About

With For About is an annual gathering Heart of Glass has been experimenting with since their inception. As a format it could be described as a conference, but they’ve tried to resist some of the typical conventions of conference experiences, and tried instead to create a safe space to discuss and reflect on the fierce and urgent questions facing collaborative and social art today, and more broadly reflect on the role of art and artists in civil society.

This will be the fifth instalment of the With For About series – information about previous iterations can be found on Heart of Glass’ website here. With For About is not a Heart of Glass showcase, but a responsive moment of public critical reflection through which they explore some of the tensions and challenges in their work and in this field of practice, and learn in public.

With For About is made with love by Heart of Glass in partnership with Live Art Development Agency (GBR), Create IrelandGessnerallee (CHE), Sophiensaele (DEN) New Theatre Institute of Latvia  (as part of ACT: Art, Climate, Transition project co-financed by the Creative Europe programme), A Blade of Grass (USA), Stroll PDX with PICA (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art) (USA) and Migrants in Culture.

Special thanks to British Council Indonesia, Gill Lloyd, Carl Davies, Heather Almond, Pam Vision, Stephanie Lu and Madlove Ltd.

Funders: Arts Council EnglandPaul Hamlyn Foundation and Gessnerallee.

Banner image credit:

Youngsook Choi, Unapologetic Coughing (2020). Photo by Nurri Kim.

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