An absolute must-see. The exhibition was incredible – very powerful and moving, with so many talented people showcasing work that was very personal to them. I have found art therapy to be very therapeutic as well as emotive, and it was amazing to see such incredible artistry which reflected the impact that brain injuries have on a person and their lives.
Over ten days in the summer of 2023, members from a Haggerston-based charity supporting people affected by brain injury, Headway East London, will take over the Barbican’s iconic Curve gallery to stage differently various, a multifaceted exhibition and a rich public programme that together will create an immersive installation and a space to learn, create, and discuss.
Sister Stitch (detail) Collaborative embroidery project differently various, Barbican Centre, 2023 Courtesy of Headway East London
Replicating Headway East London’s centre within the 90-metre space of The Curve, differently various will showcase artworks as diverse as Headway’s eclectic community of members, celebrating the complexity and creativity of people living with brain injury. The space will provide an opportunity to explore the charity’s invaluable work, learn about brain injury, and take in an astonishing collection of neurodiverse art.
An extensive public programme will run as part of the exhibition. There will be tours, talks, and workshops, as well as relaxed performances of music, creating spaces for sharing perspectives, challenging received understanding, and asking questions.
A full programme of events and ticketing details can be found on their website.
Handful of Clay Sat 29 Jul & Sun 6 Aug, 12-2pm The Curve Free admission
Members from Headway East London lead a clay-making workshop inspired by the exhibition. Members of the Submit to Love studio will be on hand to assist, offering guidance through the process of turning a handful of clay into a miniature terracotta sculpture. The session will use air dry clay which does not need firing, so that participants can take their pieces home after the event.
“So you say you can’t draw.”
Sun 30 July, 1-2 pm Fountain Room Free but ticketed
Headway East London member and Submit to Love artist Chris Miller leads a workshop centred on (re)discovering the pleasures of creativity. There will be a talk from Miller on his own artistic practice, followed by drawing exercises and group discussions. No previous drawing experience is required.
Meet the Artists: Jason Ferry and Brian Searle Sun 30 Jul, 5-6 pm The Curve Free but ticketed
A relaxed and informal opportunity to meet Headway East London members and artists, Jason Ferry and Brian Searle, with a Q&A facilitated by Submit to Love studio lead Michelle Carlile. Jason and Brian will introduce their work, discuss their artistic practice, and explore the importance of creative collaboration.
Drop in and Draw Mon 31 Jul, 12-2 pm The Curve Free admission – drop in A chance to experience the Submit to Love studio’s chaos, creativity, and colour. Members from Headway East London will be in the space making art, and visitors are invited to sit with the group and make their own work, drawing inspiration from the artists and installations surrounding them.
Music Jam Tue 1 Aug 1-2 pm & Sat 5 Aug 4.30-5.30 pm The Curve Free admission – drop in A freestyle, spontaneous jam session in the style of Headway East London’s much-loved day service music groups. Grab an instrument, use your voice, and clap your hands – no experience or musical ability is required.
Let’s Move: An exploration of movement and dance Wed 2 Aug, 12-1 pm Fountain Room Free but ticketed
A relaxed and welcoming dance session led by the Headway East London team. The session will start with a brief introduction and a short video of a recent dance project from one of Headway’s dance collaborations. There will be gentle stretches and body awareness exercises, followed by an opportunity for improvisation and partner work and, later, an optional moment to share the results of the session with the group.
Spice Mix Workshop Wed 2 Aug, 1-2 pm The Curve Free but ticketed
The celebrated Headway East London kitchen crew led a workshop about herbs and spices and the connection between food and experience, culture, and childhood. All are welcome to make a unique spice mix or follow a recipe and brew one of the famous Headway blends. The session will be a chance to share food memories, make cultural connections, and exchange favourite recipes.
A special evening exploring the hidden experience of brain injury through the films of Posy Dixon and Zara Joan Miller, featuring members of Headway East London, a charity supporting people affected by brain injury.
Guests will have the opportunity to watch BAFTA-nominated director Posy Dickson‘s film Chaos/Quest, filmed whilst an artist-in-residence at Submit to Love Studios in 2020, and hear from film-maker Zara Joan Miller about the inspiration behind her documentary short, Portrait of Tony, and their collaboration behind the film.
The screening will include a Q&A with the filmmakers and members featured in the films, sharing their experience of making the films together and representing the hidden worlds of brain injury through film.
Collaborative Stitch Workshop Thu 3 Aug, 12-1 pm The Curve Free admission – drop in
Audiences are invited to add their own stitches to Headway East London’s collaborative embroidery projects, with the chance to meet some of the Sew Bros and Sister Stitch artists in the space. Open to all. No sewing experience is required.
Music Works Thu 3 Aug, 12-12 pm Fountain Room Free but ticketed Nordoff & Robbins Music Therapist Oliver Kluczewski leads an improvisational music session with the aim of making new music in a fun and supportive atmosphere. There will be opportunities to play a variety of instruments, sing familiar songs and learn something new. No musical talents or experience are required.
Sensory Tasting & Conversation Fri 4 Aug, 12-1 pm
The Curve Free but ticketed
This interactive session will look at the ways in which people’s responses to food may be affected after a brain injury. Participants will explore textures, tastes, and smells alongside Headway East London members who have experienced changes in their relationship to food, perceptions of taste, or changes in their diets due to difficulty swallowing.
Queen of Wonky Drawing Workshop Sat 5 Aug, 12-2 pm The Curve Free admission – drop in
A family-friendly drop-in workshop led by acclaimed Submit to Love artist and self-proclaimed Queen of Wonky Sam Jevon. An opportunity to explore mark-making and drawing techniques and embrace our inner wonkiness in the process. No previous drawing experience is required.
Exhibition Tour Sat 29 July & Wed 2 Aug, 5-6 pm The Curve Free but ticketed
Yokabet Mekuria and Billy Mann lead this exclusive tour of the exhibition, members of Headway East London, with Jennifer Lauren and Lisa Slominski from Art et al., who led the curatorial advisory for differently various. The members will give their unique perspectives on the show. Offering a behind-the-scenes insight into the process of bringing together this pioneering exhibition.
Sensory Tour Tue 1 Aug, 12-1 pm & Fri 4 Aug, 1-2 pm The Curve Free but ticketed
A guided sensory journey through differently various.This tour will offer opportunities to interact with and experience the exhibition through a range of senses in a welcoming and inclusive space for those with complex support needs and their carers. The tour will bring elements of the artwork to life using smell, touch, sound, and movement.
BSL Tour Wed 2 Aug, 6.30 pm The Curve Free but ticketed
A British Sign Language tour of differently various led by John Wilson, illuminating key artworks and points of interest in the exhibition.