DIY: 2019 – Jenny Gaskell: Have you tried screaming your heart out and pretending to be Cher?

Creating a connection practice based on karaoke and daydreaming and oversharing and shared chips

Deadline for applications: 2pm, Thursday 20 June
This DIY is supported by Lancaster Arts

Project summary

This residency looks at all the things we do which make us feel awe for the world and the people in it – the things which make us have moments of ‘I feel so connected to everything!’ or ‘I know exactly what you mean!!’ or ‘I love you so much my chest hurts!!!’  We’ll look towards making the foundations of a personal practice to help us live in the world with connection and empathy and resilience.

Western culture is buzzing its tits off about wellbeing practice at the moment (have you tried morning power poses? Have you tried colouring in?) which is great for individual health but as the world tries to divide us up, where’s the practice which helps us remember that everyone and everything is bound together?  In a culture sceptical of religious doctrine, it feels like we’ve thrown the empathetic baby out with the dogmatic bathwater.

This residency will draw upon the everyday things we do to make ourselves feel connected and help us work out how this can be respected as something we require to make ourselves feel okay and present and alive. Instead of following pseudo health gurus (have you tried steam cleaning your vagina?) or appropriating from faith practices we don’t subscribe to, can we say ‘it’s actually quite an important part of my connection practice to scream my heart out and pretend to be Cher in sweaty karaoke hotboxes, while friends throw their arms in the air and scream back because they love me and they feel it too’. Is there spirituality in daydreaming out of bus windows and is there a bonding ritual in sharing chips. Can we consider these things sacred?

How to apply

This is a workshop for anyone who uses connection/collaboration/exchange in their practice or spends time supporting/ holding space for people.  It’s for people who bring something of themselves to their art and their life and use this to connect with others.  It’s for open hearted people who might be in danger of burnout if they don’t find space to fuel up again, and get back what they’re giving out.

Dates, times and location

Dates: Thursday 19 September – Sunday 22nd September 2019, 11am – 5pm
Location: Lancaster Arts, Lancaster

The artists

I’m Jenny Gaskell. I make projects which are a combination of performing, producing, participation and pratting about. I’m interested in connection, art that happens in everyday places and creating scenarios for people to take agency.  I’ve made projects in parks, parties, trams and cafes, and right now I’m co-designing a bedroom for Art B&B in Blackpool.  My work has been supported by Leftcoast, Contact, Lancaster Arts, People’s History Museum and MIF. I used to work extensively as a theatre producer, until two years ago when I took an 18 month sabbatical to become the leader of secular congregation which celebrates life (it wasn’t a cult). I also once became a YouTube snooker presenter with a series that got shortlisted for a BBC3 commission, so you know, it takes all sorts. I’m currently supported by a yearlong residency with Islington Mill Art Academy. jennygaskell.com

For questions about this DIY, please contact the artist.

Banner image credit:

Image credit: Layla Sailor

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