DIY+ 2017 – Toni Lewis & Demi Nandhra: A Seat At The Table

“I think that ‘A Seat at the Table,’ for me, is an invitation to allow folks to pull up a chair, get very close and have these hard uncomfortable truths be shared” – Solange


Project summary

A Seat at the Table is a weekend retreat inspired by Solange’s 2016 album of the same name. This DIY+ seeks to bring together ‘arts professionals’ who identify as one of the following: w.o.c. (women of colour)/cisgendered white male of any sexual orientation. Through a series of activities, that are collaborative (led by us, led by you, and led by those we invite into the space) including walks, confessionals, writing, play, shared meals and workshops; this DIY+ aims to stimulate honest, representative and unapologetic dialogue, bringing together each participant’s lived and working experiences, on the historical and contemporary relationships of race, culture and identity.

A Seat at The Table is an initial practical enquiry belonging to a larger body of a socially engaged work entitled: ‘The White Man Project’. The White Man Project is a continuous investigation about the ‘white middle class heterosexual man’, the perceived, real and theoretical; the binary. This project sees two women of colour unpicking stereotypes, looking at blame culture, employing radical vulnerability, reparation and healing, peeling back privilege, and diving into micro aggressions.

This DIY+ operates on two levels: The first, examining our own relationships as peers and colleagues working in the arts industry. The second, that this space allows the artist’s to refine the methodologies, ethics and potential of this investigation in a wider context.

How to apply

Applications are invited via the link below. The form asks for short statements on your practice, why you want to participate, and what you expect the benefits to be. Applicants are also asked to respond to the following quote: “It’s impossible to be a man in 2016”  (Noah, The Affair).

This retreat can support 8-10 participants (an even representation of women/men). Participants should be willing to engage in frank and open conversation, have an interest in socially engaged arts practice, ethical enquiry;  in collaboration, activism and radical ideas.

It is important to know that we intend to make this a safe space for all but due to the themes/nature of the work this may be tested. We will provide 3 meals a day, accommodation and help to cover costs of travel where possible. Please let us know if you have any access requirements. 


Dates, times and location

Dates: Fri 17 – Mon 20 Nov 2017
Times: Arrival on Fri afternoon and departure Mon morning
Location: Gloucestershire

The artists

Demi Nandhra & Toni Lewis are artists from Birmingham who individually and collaboratively raise projects that explore ideas of race, culture and identity and its relationship to health & wellbeing. Their approach to work is interdisciplinary with content leading form. They seek to make work that is evocative, sensitive, and confrontational; often about the pain of silent circumstances. Toni and Demi spend a lot of time discussing how to redistribute power, empower and engage non-arts communities in their practice. Their work is a celebration of culture and a guide for moving beyond sadness and creating tools to live. 

For questions about this project, please contact Toni.

DIY+ is kindly supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation. This project is facilitated by Fierce Festival.

DIY+ is a new initiative that has been created to facilitate more ambitious DIY projects than we have previously been able to support. These projects represent a step up from our regular DIY programme, either in terms of scale and scope, materials and resources, and/or which offer participant artists an increased or deeper level of engagement.


Banner image credit:

Solange ‘A Seat at the table’ 2016, Video Still (Solange Knowles, Carlota Guerrero, Arthur Jafa and Cami Starkman)


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