Home > Projects > PROTEST LAB – ACT UP


“My favourite word? It’s act.’”
Ai WeiWei


Metal invites UK based artists to come together this autumn to investigate the role of art in the act of protest.

Nine selected artists will take part in an intensive research and development LAB to explore how art can continue to effectively respond to social, racial or political inequality and inform change. The LAB will explore the ability for all of society to participate in protest movements – and through which ask how artists might seek to document, memorialise or intervene with public direct action in an increasingly tribal society.

This four-day LAB is open to artists (from all artforms) who work with, or are curious to explore these themes with others. This LAB actively encourages participation from BAME artists, alongside those representing other protected characteristics, in order to enable the widest range of perspectives and opportunities for diverse collaboration.

This LAB, a continuation of a model practised by Metal for over 8 years, creates a forum for discussion and experimentation; a supportive and open space to think, enables mess and mistakes, and provides the opportunity to explore strategies for the foundation of new artworks.

As part of the LAB, we will present a series of sessions with guest speakers and mentors which aim to provoke, challenge pre-conceptions, bridge past influences with future possibilities, and above all fuel interest and support innovative new thinking.

The LAB will provide:
● A £400 bursary plus travel and accommodation
● Support and input from the Metal team, and connection to wider networks
● Time and space to develop new work relating to art & protest
● Working and social time with peers for discussion and exchange of ideas and practice
● The opportunity to further develop new work in partnership with Metal

Working with Creative Associate Sud Basu, the LAB is hosted and facilitated by Metal – and will take place at our Liverpool site in Edge Hill Station.

Sud Basu: Creative Associate

Sud is a Creative Producer and has worked in the cultural sector for over 15 years – supporting artists, commissioning and presenting work across art form and creating nationally significant cultural programmes. His career has spanned local Government, funding bodies, commercial agencies, presenting theatres as well as artist led companies – with senior roles at organisations such as the Greater London Authority, Arts Council England, London Legacy Development Corporation and The Place. Most recently Sud was a Commissioning Producer for 14-18 NOW – where he developed an award winning five year arts programme marking the centenary of the First World War.




Amina Atiq

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Amina Atiq is a Yemeni- Scouse writer, performance artist, workshop facilitator and activist. She has been featured on various artistic platforms such as BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio 6 music, BBC 4 Radio, The Independent, British Muslim TV @thewarehouse, Writing on the Wall, Skinny magazine, Whispering Dialogue, CAAT, Human Appeal and many more. Recent work involves co-writing a play with Ice Fire Theatre, which was premiered in the Liverpool Arab Arts Festival 2018. In collaboration with LAFF, she has partnered with Liverpool and Leeds University in delivering its first ever-national arts engagement project- funded by the British Academy. Amina was awarded the LJMU Citizenship award for her active and community engagement work and awarded the best North West volunteer by Human Appeal. She was long listed for the Jerwood Poetry Fellowship and awarded as a Young Associate for Curious Minds.


Emily Kiely

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Emily Kiely is a saxophonist, composer, spoken word artist and painter based in South Manchester. She is currently directing and composing for her band ‘Laga Runa’, an 8 piece genre-bending group merging the likes of jazz, hiphop, world music, and spoken word, with an upcoming gig at Band on the Wall. Emily graduated with a Music degree (BMus Hons) from the University of Manchester receiving a 2:1, with a first class in performance and composition. She recently took part in a course put on by Brighter Sound called ‘DISRUPT’ where Brighter Sound picked a group of instrumentalists, producers, rappers, and spoken word artists together for an immersive music making week and performance at the end which took place at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.



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Foxy is a multi-disciplinary artist and community inspirer from Glasgow, who uses her practice to help manage her health and disabilities. For almost 10 years she has been volunteering her time in anti-poverty work. This has allowed her to work with organisations like Scotland’s Poverty Truth Community and with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Frameworks Institute in England.

She is also a member of OnRoad Media’s project “Talking About Poverty; Poverty and the Media” and is a member of Glasgow Museums Access Panel, advocating for those in poverty, adults with ADHD and other marginalised groups within the community. Foxy will join the Scotland + Venice team as an exhibition assistant later in October, at the Venice Biennale, where the Scottish pavilion hosts Turner Prize Winner Charlotte Prodger’s newest work SaF05.


Jennifer Reid

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Jennifer is a freelance international artist and emerging ballad singer. She is the only artist exploring cheap nineteenth century street literature in this way internationally. As well as collaborating with Jeremy Deller at the Venice Biennale 2015, she has worked with Marinella Senatore in Venice and New York and worked with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. She has appeared on Sky Arts, BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV, Channel 4 and BBC Radio 2, 3, 4 and 6 singing ballads from the Manchester Central Library and Chetham’s Library collections. She is currently writing a manuscript on the similarities between Lancashire and Bangladeshi weaving songs.


Jeremy Goldstein

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Jeremy is a theatre-maker and HIV+ activist with ACT UP London.  In 2000, he founded London Artists Projects commissioning and producing shows with many celebrated artists winning awards including Evening Standard, Scotsman Fringe First, h.Club, London Cabaret and BBC Audio Drama. In 2012 he was named in Time Out as among the 100 most influential people in British culture for making political theatre accessible. His new internationally acclaimed performance event ’Truth to Power Cafe’ is currently touring in the UK.


Rachael House

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Rachael House is a British multi-disciplinary artist, based in London and Whitstable. Her work is currently part of Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender Resistance ACT3, which has toured from De La Warr Pavilion to Arnolfini in Bristol and she was guest artist at the “Feminism and Gender” exhibition at the New Hall Art Collection. She is a co-director, with Jo David, of the artist-run space Space Station Sixty-Five in south east London, which opened in 2002. Rachael produced an autobiographical comic called Red Hanky Panky in the 1990s, and still makes queerzines as part of her practice. Her work often takes the form of events. ‘Rachael House’s Feminist Disco- putting the ‘disco’ into ‘discourse’’, was commissioned by A Woman’s Place in November 2017, for University of Sussex, and has also taken place in art galleries, community centres and festivals, including Bent Fest queer punk festival. Her work has been recently been in Grace Grace Grace explore gen-age, published by LADA, 2019, Resistance, The LGBT Fight Against Fascism in WWII, Stacked Deck Press, 2018, The Art Of Feminism, Tate publication, 2019.


Rachael Young

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Rachael Young is an award-winning artist and writer based between London and Nottingham. She is part of 2018/19 ‘BBC Writers Room: London Voices’ and is a writer of the Royal Court’s Queer Upstairs: an evening of rehearsed readings of new short plays to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

Her interdisciplinary performance practice exists on the boundaries between live art, dance, contemporary theatre and socially engaged projects. Rachael’s most recent shows OUT and NIGHTCLUBBING have received critical acclaim; OUT won the 2017 South East Dance ‘A Space to Dance’ Brighton Fringe Award and was nominated for the ‘Total Theatre & The Place Award for Dance’ at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017.


Sonia Hughes

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I have been a theatre-maker for 20 years. Sometimes I write, sometimes I direct, sometimes I perform. I have a long standing artistic relationship with contemporary theatre-makers Quarantine with whom I made a number of shows including their award-winning show Susan & Darren, the epic Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring. and Wallflower.

In 2017 I wrote the opening event for Manchester International Festival, What is the City but the People? lead by Jeremy Deller. Other collaborations have been with choreographers Jo Fong, Frauke Requardt, Jane Mason and Darren Pritchard. Directors Mark Whitelaw, Max Webster, Mem Morrison, Sarah Frankcom (Royal Exchange) and Louise Lowe (ANU Productions).


Yasmin Begum

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Yasmin Begum is a 25 year old queer Welsh-Pakistani from the banks of the river Taff, Cardiff. Yasmin grew up as a squatter and community activist, active around areas like anti-fascism while making experimental films and zines in her free time. At 18, she attended School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London where she read Study of Religions. Her work unpacks conceptions of Welsh language, identity, race, sex and gender. In 2019, Yasmin self-organised a collective with close friends to explore the legacies of the Cardiff Race Riots using social media to explore global black and minority ethnic heritage and the legacies of the British Empire. She has written with BBC, Media Diversified, Gal Dem and presents videos with the Welsh language channel, S4C.





Dr Aidan McGarry

Dr Aidan McGarry is a Reader in International Politics at the Institute for Diplomacy and International Governance at Loughborough University, London. His research focuses on social movements, protest, political voice, and marginalised communities especially Roma but also LGBTIQ communities. He is the author of five books including Who Speaks for Roma? (Continuum, 2010), Romaphobia: The Last Acceptable Racism in Europe (Zed, 2017), and The Aesthetics of Global Protest: Visual Culture and Communication (Amsterdam University Press, 2019). His research has been published in leading international journals including Ethnopolitics, Social Movement Studies, Ethnic and Migration Studies, Critical Social Policy and Ethnicities. He was Principal Investigator of an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded international project ‘The Aesthetics of Protest: Visual Culture and Communication in Turkey’ which ran from 2016-2018. Aidan was previously a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, New York in 2013 and at Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, Italy in 2017. In 2018-2019, he was awarded a EURIAS Fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Amsterdam, where he started work on a book on political voice. He is a Marie Curie Fellow from 2018-2019, an award bestowed by the European Commission. He is queer, Irish, and lives in London. 

Hollie Mackenzie

Hollie Mackenzie is an artist, a PhD candidate in Social and Political Thought at the University of Kent, and a Lecturer in Art and Graphic Design at West Kent College. Her art works and publications explore a feminist philosophy of labial art-politics and critical pedagogy. Hollie has been awarded multiple art awards including the Royal British Society of Sculptors Bursary Award, the Broomhill National Sculpture Prize, and The Winter Pride UK Arts Award. She most recently received a teaching prize for her artistic and experimental pedagogy (2018). Her sculptures have also featured in The Catlin Guide and The State of Art: Sculpture and 3D volumes as well as The Sunday Times Magazine, Aesthetica Magazine, FAD Magazine, and The LGBTQ Arts Review. Awarded a Kent 50th Anniversary Scholarship to pursue a doctorate in 2014, Hollie has since been supervised by Dr Iain MacKenzie and Tate’s Director of Learning and Research, Anna Cutler. She was the lead artist for the MA in Politics, Art and Resistance (University of Kent) in the ‘Fairground’ at Tate Exchange, Tate Modern (2017). Hollie also collaborates with political theorist Dr Conor Heaney in ‘Learning, Exchange and Play’ (LEP), which explores and implements innovative forms of teaching with artistic encounters that encourage learning through collaboration, creativity and experimentation (2015-present).

Richard DeDomenici

Richard DeDomenici makes urban-absurdist interventions that strive to create the kind of uncertainty that leads to possibility.He’s the inventor of the the Carry-Ok wearable karaoke system, crochéted crypto-currency Knitcoin, office chair sport The Swivelympics, and radical Eurovision tribute Fux BizzDeDomenici’s 2015 adaptation of his inexplicably popular Redux Project for BBC4 was called ‘one of the smartest, strangest, subversive half hours of television I have ever seen’ by critic Matt Truman. He’s performed in over 30 countries and later this year will unveil his most ambitious commission yet for the Radical Independent Art Fund.

Dr Sian Rees

Dr Sian Rees is a lecturer and theatre-practitioner, currently based at the University for the Creative Arts. She completed her PhD in 2018, entitled ‘Theatricalizing Dissent: An Examination of the Methodology and Efficacy of Performance in Contemporary Political Protest’. Her research interests are in examining the efficacy of theatrical protest forms and embodiments of resistance within social movements. Her work aims to examine whether the merging of art, creativity and resistance makes activism more sustainable. She has also participated in artistic direct actions created by the Art Not Oil coalition, the People’s Assembly, and the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination. Notable previous projects include performing in Revolution Square (Bush Theatre) Stationhouse Opera (Roundhouse Studios) and a commissioned performance Make Tea, Not War (Brighton Fringe).


image credited to FOUR WORDS: JANUARY, curated by Alan Dunn, commissioner by Metal in collaboration with Ocean Outdoor, Liverpool Media Wall, January 2016, image shown – Julieann O’Malley, see

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