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Posts tagged “Brexit

Reflecting on UNITY’s Open Evening

On Friday myself and Sharon Mossbeck hosted the open evening for UNITY – our open -call exhibition at Exchange Place Studios, Sheffield, that looks at the theme of Unity following Britain’s decision to leave the EU. We’re still amazed by the turnout, which was 132 people.


A reflection of our hard work? Well, maybe. But then we always put hard work into our exhibitions, and we’ve never had an opening quite like this. Perhaps UNITY offered more than simply an exhibition. It provided artists with a space to vent, to place their thoughts towards our divided nation onto a piece of work as a means of meditation, or reflection, or a means to comprehend or reinforce their position among the complexities leaving the EU represents. It instigated a process of healing, of re-building bridges and of finding connections between people and communities.

This was not only reflected in the work received but also in the visitors that attended. They too want to bear witness to how creative action can be a strong moral, social and political force. They too want to feel re-united following divisive political events, and understand that art has the capacity to do that.

In short, it’s an exhibition that people wanted and needed. It inspired those that don’t normally consider themselves artists to take action. It re-ignited passion and it provided people with the opportunity to express their thoughts with meaning and relevance directly applicable to current events.

It was certainly a meditative process for me personally. I feel – and I’m sure Sharon does too – that we have created a positive force for good.

An Invitation to Unity

I would like to invite everyone to the opening evening of  UNITY on Friday 19th August 2016, from 6-8pm. 
UNITY is an exhibition celebrating togetherness following the recent EU referendum. The exhibition is a chance for people to come together in a positive way, and share their own interpretation of what unity means to them. It has been devised and curated by Michael Borkowsky and Sharon Mossbeck.

50 artists from around the UK have submitted work, making for an exciting and diverse exhibition. Refreshments available during the open evening and you will have the chance to meet many of the artists involved.

Entry is FREE, and you can find us at Exchange Place Studios, Exchange Street, Sheffield S2 5SZ

Other than the open evening, the exhibition runs from Thursday 18th August – Thursday 25th August 2016. Our opening times are: 10am – 4pm Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri; 11am – 4pm Thurs, Sat Sun

Any work sold in the exhibition will see 5% of the price going to South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation. For 30 years the foundation have been supporting community groups who help people facing hardship and disadvantage, and those working to improve the communities they live in.
I hope you can make it!

Unity First Aid Contents #1 – Smelling Salts

UNITY is an open-call exhibition devised and curated by myself and fellow artist Sharon Mossbeck. It uses art and creative action as a means to highlight the things that unite us and the things we have in common.

Unity runs from 18th – 25 August at Exchange Place Studios, Sheffield. An open-evening will run on Friday 19th August from 6-8pm. Refreshments are available and you will have a chance to meet several of the artists involved. All welcome.

My piece, simply entitled ‘First Aid’, is a re-imagining of the first aid kit. it’s contents are specifically designed to aid the healing process post-Brexit, which has divided a nation.

The first aid kit’s contents will promote recovery by provoking the inspiration, thought processes, and means of interpretation needed to instigate creativity and as such, help establish connections with other people and other communities. They will also prevent the divisive nature of Brexit from worsening by evoking shared memories, utilising aromatherapy and highlighting our collective history.

Here, I will share one of the First Aid Kit’s contents:

Unity First Aid Contents #1 – Smelling Salts. (lavender and sweet almond oil on cotton and rope)


An instant means of provoking inspiration, memory, thought and creative action.



The First Steps Toward Unity

For my exhibition piece for Unity I am going to utilise this first aid box.

My piece will provide individuals with immediate sources of inspiration, which they may use to trigger their own creative actions and establish connections with each other. Placing such objects in a first aid box also gives them immediate context –  symbolising the therapeutic properties of art and suggesting that art can position itself as a healing, bonding force in turbulent times.

For information about how you yourself can submit work to Unity – an open call exhibition devised by myself and Sharon Mossbeck, then click here.

Open Call – Unity

This deadline has now passed. Thank you to everyone who submitted work. The Open Evening for the exhibition will be on the 19th August from 6pm at Exchange Place Studios, Sheffield.

 An open call inviting people from all backgrounds to submit work for an exhibition on the theme of Unity.


Artists Michael Borkowsky and Sharon Mossbeck present Unity, an open call to all artists over all disciplines to submit work under the theme of unity.

Unity is a direct response to the EU referendum, which has seen a vote for Britain to leave the European Union. The immediate aftermath from this has seen a nation disordered, bewildered and divided.

We all hope the negotiations that take place over the coming two years will steady the uncertainties in the UK. However, in the short term we seek to look past our differences and turn to creative action – celebrating the virtues of unity, what unity means and what it can provide in times of uncertainty.

We are asking artists of all backgrounds, abilities and disciplines to submit work that adheres to the theme of unity. This may be interpreted in any way you wish, though bear in mind that the exhibition does have overarching notions towards Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

We are also looking to develop a programme of events during exhibition opening times. Therefore, if you can offer anything along the lines of performance, we’d love to hear from you.

In the spirit of unity, we intend for the exhibition to be welcoming and supportive of all work. With that in mind, we aim to include all work submitted in the exhibition, providing we deem it to fit within the theme of Unity and depending on the volume of submissions received.

The exhibition is an immediate reaction to the current political situation, and therefore submission dates and deadlines are tight. Work must be submitted by 7pm on Friday 29th July and successful artists will be notified by 1st August

The exhibition will be held at Exchange Place, Sheffield, from 18th – 25th August. The exhibition will be open every day from 10 – 4.

The Open Evening for Unity will be on the 19th August from 6-8pm. All invited.

A programme of events will be revealed in due course.

How to Submit

Artists may only submit one piece of work. If a piece of work is made up of separate components, (e.g, a painting made up of three separate canvases) then we will still deem it to be one piece of work.

To submit work, please email up to 3 images of the work you want to show to along with the following:

  • your name
  • title of the piece
  • dimensions of the piece
  • Price (if appropriate)
  • A statement of up to 100 words (if desired)

If you wish to submit work that is as yet incomplete then you may instead submit a statement of intent plus the intended dimensions of the work when it’s complete. The submission date remains the 29th July and we may refuse work that deviate from the stated dimensions, or work which we do not deem to fit within the theme of unity.

If the work you intend to submit is performance based, we will do our best to accommodate you in allotted times over the course of the exhibition.

People wanting to submit Audio/visual work must bring their own equipment (TV, tablet etc.). Unfortunately there will be a limit to how many piece of work of this nature we can accommodate. The exhibition will be manned at all times, but equipment will be left at your own risk. Artists may want to consider having their own insurance for their work.

If your work needs to be printed out then it is your responsibility to do so.

Hand in Dates

If your work is submission is successful, the exhibition hand in date is Tuesday 16th August. On this day we ask that you bring your work to Exchange Place Studios, Sheffield between 10 and 5pm.

Alternatively, you may post your work to Exchange Place Studios, Exchange St, Sheffield S2 5SZ by the 16h August. We cannot be held responsible for work that gets lost or damaged in the post.

If neither of the above options are appropriate, you may be able to arrange a mutually convenient time with us for you to hand us your work.

Collection Dates

After the exhibition, you may take your work back on either Friday 26th August, or between 29th – 31st August.

If you cannot manage any of these dates then you may arrange a more convenient time with us. We have no storage space but can retain your work until 30th September, after which work may be discarded. You may also make arrangements for us to post your work back to you, but this will be at a cost to you and will be at your own risk.

All work must be…

  • In keeping with the theme of Unity. We reserve the right to exclude any work considered to be inflammatory
  • Complete and presented as you wish it to be exhibited (e.g. framed if desired) when given to us on the hand in date
  • Ready to hang when given to us on the hand in date (e.g. attachments such as mirror backs should already be in place).

Donations and Sales

We would kindly ask that all artists with work admitted to the exhibition to donate a £1 fee to help towards the cost of hosting the exhibition, and to enable us to provide refreshments and an open evening.

We will take a 10% commission of all sales, 5% of which will go to charity.



Time for Brexit-Based Creative Action!

Right, enough of the Brexit hangover. Time for action!

Me and fellow artist Sharon Mossbeck are preparing an open call exhibition under the theme of UNITY. Exact times are TBC but it will be at Exchange Place Studios mid/late August. Everyone will be invited to submit work and pretty much all work will be included as long as the theme of UNITY is present. Whether you voted in or out, the fact is we are in this together, so lets seek constructive ways of uniting.

Brexit and the UK Artist

Like many, I have spent the majority of today coming to terms with Britain’s departure from the European Union and the divisions it has imposed both nationally and internationally. I have harboured feelings of shock, anger and sadness regarding what it means for the humble UK based contemporary artist but, although the dust is far from settled, I am now beginning to feel more reflective.

Funding and freedom of movement may become rather compromised over the upcoming years but art has a vigorous ability to adapt, be flexible and survive. And in the light of such limitations us UK artists must lead by example and unite – providing supportive platforms for each other as a progressive alternative to the divided nation that stands before us.  Art often illuminates alternative realities and, through the spirit of community and support from each other we artists could become pioneers of our future.