YORK collective Navigators Art’s Dream Time exhibition at City Screen Picturehouse, York, takes inspiration from dreams, visions, surrealism and the mysteries and fantasies of the subconscious mind.
Part One is on show in the upstairs gallery from this week, joined by Part Two from March 19 in the café bar, where the official opening event with drinks will be held from 7.30pm to 9.30pm that night.
Dream Time’s mixed-media show features painting by Steve Beadle and Peter Roman; collage, prints and drawing by Richard Kitchen; photography and painting by Nick Walters and textiles by Katie Lewis.
Navigators Art co-founder Richard Kitchen says: “We’re pleased to return to City Screen after our Moving Pictures show there this time last year.
“Since then, the group has quadrupled in number to cover our three-month residency at the StreetLife Hub, in Coney Street, and now includes musicians and other performers.”
Richard adds: “Not all of us are involved in this show as we have several other events to look forward to this year. A couple of us have individual exhibitions coming up too. There’s a limit to how much work anyone can make!
“All the artists taking part have interpreted the Dream Time theme in different ways and through different media.”
Navigators Art & Performance is a 16-piece collective of York artists, writers, musicians and performers with a wide range of age, experience and practice. Founded in 2019, the collective’s mission is to work with community groups and projects, to enhance and creatively interpret their activities for as wide an audience as possible.
In 2022, Navigators Art curated the art for York Theatre Royal’s Takeover Festival, then took over the basement of the government-funded StreetLife Hub project for the Coney Street Jam exhibition from October 2022 to January 2023.
“We’ve just finished exhibiting our Moving Pictures 2 show at Helmsley Arts Centre, and we’ll be part of York Festival of Ideas in June, presenting art and performance events at York Explore Library and other venues,” says Richard.
“We’re always seeking interesting venues in which to show and sell work by our members to the public. Our shows feature drawing, painting, collage, projection, sculpture, 3D constructions, photography, prints, textiles and sound installations, as well as words by our writers and music by our resident composer, Dylan Thompson.
“Our artists have had work featured in exhibitions and publications both online and actual, and several have been selected for York Open Studios.”
Navigators Art has mentored several emerging young artists too. “We encourage enquiries from potential collaborators, particularly those who are less established or underrepresented, and who have no regular platform for displaying work,” says Richard, who can be contacted via email@example.com.
Navigators Art presents Dream Time at City Screen Picturehouse, St Martin’s Courtyard, Coney Street, York, until April 21. The exhibition is open daily from approximately 11am until the end of the day’s last film screening.
BILLED as “York’s largest cultural event of the year”, the 12th edition of the six-day Aesthetica Short Film Festival combines 300 film screenings, social events, workshops and industry-led masterclasses at 15 venues across the city from November 1 to 6.
1. Opening Night Ceremony, City Screen Picturehouse, York, November 1, 6.30pm
THIS launch event for the 12th ASFF presents a special screening of outstanding, inspiring and thought-provoking works from the 2022 Official Selection. The Opening Night Ceremony, curated by festival director Cherie Federico, introduces audiences to the breadth of the programme with a screening that captures a taste of what to expect over the course of the festival.
2. Official Selection screenings
EXPERIENCE a vast range of film screenings with the Official Selection programme. This curated set of 300 films provides something for everyone, with the genres including comedy, drama, animation, documentary, family friendly, thriller and more, alongside feature-length documentaries and narratives. See the filmmakers of the future here.
3. Virtual Reality Labs
HELD daily from November 1 to 6 at City Screen Picturehouse, the Virtual Reality Labs offer opportunities to experience immersive storytelling. Explore new worlds and discover 360-degree cinema, held alongside panel discussions on the latest technologies at York Explore library.
Do not worry if you will be joining the festival virtually: you can purchase an Aesthetica cardboard headset to experience expanded realities at home.
4. Family Friendly screenings and workshops
THE whole family can experience the best in independent cinema at Family Friendly film screenings, including comedies, engaging dramas and fun-filled animations.
New to the festival this year, children can attend workshops with creative professionals, where they can learn to direct, edit and make their own films. These workshops, designed to harness creativity and boost confidence, will offer young people a chance to tell and share their stories.
5. The Listening Pitch film premieres and live hardware performance, November 5, 6.30pm
AESTHETICA and Audible have teamed up to run The Listening Pitch, which aims to discover original stories that demonstrate how listening lets us understand different points of view. The premiere of three winning films will be complemented by the 2021 winner, Blind As A Beat. Drinks will be provided on arrival; the premieres will be followed by a live hardware performance.
6. Fringe Exhibition, StreetLife project hub, Coney Street, York, throughout the festival
HEAD to the StreetLife hub to experience the transformative power of art. A free exhibition, Unite. Create. Transform, brings together ten award-winning artists, whose work invites viewers to explore, discover and engage with the contemporary world. Look out for a new commission too.
7. Sounds You’ve Never Heard Before, Bedern Hall
AUDIBLE, Aesthetica and London College of Communication have commissioned a new work by one of the UK’s most exciting sound artists: Jin Chia Ching Ho. Using five-channel Genelec speakers, this installation presents the audio of five natural materials: metal, wood, water, fire and earth.
Jin was asked to consider how we understand sound in a world that has changed the way people listen, creating a one-hour experience that invites you to sit back, lie on the cushions provided and listen deeply.
8. Pitching Sessions
IF you are developing a new short or feature project, or looking for advice to develop your next big idea, you had to apply for a one-on-one Pitching Session by October 14 to be invited to receive invaluable feedback on your work.
These sessions are an opportunity to talk to top industry professionals and develop your ideas, with representatives from BBC Film, Film Four, StudioCanal and Guardian Documentaries, among others, taking part.
9. Hey, Sunshine Party, November 2, from 8pm
THE Hey, Sunshine Party, the festival’s first party, offers a throwback to the 1970s and 1980s in the perfect opportunity to grab a free gin and tonic, experience classics by The Stranglers, Blondie, David Bowie, Kate Bush, Abba and more, make new connections and ease into the week ahead.
10. Closing Awards Ceremony, November 6
DRAWING the in-person festival to a close, the Awards Ceremony welcomes filmmakers, delegates and audiences to watch the live prize-giving unfurl. Prizes are awarded for the best film in each genre, as well as the Audience Choice, Best of Fest and Special Guest awards. Take part in the celebration, to be followed by a drinks reception.
Did you know?
AESTHETICA Short Film Festival may take place in-person from November 1 to 6, but the event does not end there. A large selection of recorded screenings, events and virtual masterclasses will be available on the ASFF digital platform until November 30.
“So join in, be part of the largest cultural event in York this year and enjoy the best of independent new cinema,” says director Cherie Federico.
To book tickets, go to: asff.co.uk
To download the 2022 programme, go to: https://issuu.com/aesthetica_magazine/docs/aesthetica_short_film_festival_2022?fr=sMDgyODUyNTQxNzU
POLITICAL fireworks, street art indoors, beer and bratwurst, a Velvet Underground pioneer and the history of ghosts spark up Charles Hutchinson’s interest.
Premiere of the week: Guy Fawkes, York Theatre Royal, Friday to November 12
WAR-WEARY, treasonous son of York Guy Fawkes vows to restore a Catholic monarch to the English throne, whatever the cost. In the private room of an upmarket tavern, a clandestine of meeting of misfits takes place between this dark dissident, a Poundshop Machiavelli, a portly boob, a clumsy princess, a preposterous toff and a shoddy ham as they plot the most audacious crime ever attempted on British soil.
David Reed, from comedy trio The Penny Dreadfuls, plays York’s traitorous trigger man in his long-awaited combustible comedy-drama with its devilishly dangerous mix of Blackadder and Upstart Crow. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Exhibition of the week: Navigators Art, Coney St Jam: An Art Intervention, StreetLife project hub, Coney Street, York, until November 19
YORK collective Navigators Art draw inspiration from the city’s rich heritage and vibrant creative communities to explore ways to revitalise and diversify Coney Street. On show is painting, drawing, collage, textile and 3D work, complemented by photography, projections, music and poetry.
Taking part are: Steve Beadle; Michael Dawson; Alfie Fox; Alan Gillott; Oz Hardwick; Richard Kitchen; Katie Lewis; Tim Morrison; Peter Roman; Amy Elena Thompson; Dylan Thompson and Nick Walters.
Collaboration of the week: Woman To Woman (Beverley Craven, Judie Tzuke, Julia Fordham & Rumer), York Barbican, tonight, 6.30pm
NOT a rumour, definitely true, Beverley Craven, Judie Tzuke and Julia Fordham have invited Rumer to join them for the latest Woman To Woman tour.
In this collaboration between the four female singer-songwriters, they present hit singles and album tracks, such as Promise Me, Happy Ever After, Welcome To The Cruise, Slow, Holding On, (Love Moves In) Mysterious Ways, Aretha and Stay With Me Till Dawn.
“We cannot wait to share a stage together, create beautiful vocal harmonies with each other and collaborate on some possible new material,” they say. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Comedy gig of the week: Helen Bauer, Madam Good Tit, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tonight, 8pm
SELF-AWARE stand-up Helen Bauer is on the road with her Edinburgh Fringe show about self-confidence, self-esteem and self-care. “It’s the year of ‘the self’ and I’m trying to be the change I want you to see,” says Helen, who grew up in Hampshire blandness and honed her comedic craft in Berlin.
Expect adult themes and language, including natural disasters and eating disorders, forewarns Theatre@41, as York awaits the co-host of two podcasts, Trusty Hogs with Catherine Bohart and Daddy Look At Me with Rosie Jones. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Festival of the week: Yorktoberfest Beer Festival, Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse, today and next Saturday, 1pm to 5pm, 7pm to 11pm; Friday, 7pm to 11pm. Doors open: evenings, 6.30pm; daytime, 12.30pm.
FOLLOWING up last year’s debut, Yorktoberfest returns in party mood for beer, bratwurst, bumper cars and all things Bavarian. This beer festival mirrors the first Oktoberfest staged in 1810 in Munich, where the citizens were encouraged to eat, drink and be merry at the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and his princess bride.
Step inside a giant marquee to discover the rustic Bavarian Bar and Dog Haus, full of bratwurst, currywurst, schnitzel, apple strudel and pretzels; live music by the Bavarian Strollers oompah band and vocal drag queen entertainment by York’s own Velma Celli. Dodgems and a twister add funfair thrills. Box office: yorktoberfest.co.uk.
THE gig of the week, John Cale, York Barbican, Monday, 8pm
VELVET Underground icon John Cale’s only Yorkshire gig of his rearranged 2022 tour has moved from July 19 to Monday on his first British itinerary in a decade.
The Welsh multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer, who turned 80 in March, will be performing songs from a career that began in classical and avant-garde music before he formed The Velvet Underground with Lou Reed in New York in 1965.
Over six pioneering decades, Cale has released 16 solo studio albums, while also collaborating with Brian Eno, Patti Smith, The Stooges, Squeeze, Happy Mondays, Siouxsie And The Banshees, Super Furry Animals and Manic Street Preachers. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
From ghost walk to ghost talk: Doctor Dorian Deathly: A Night Of Face Melting Horror (or The Complete History Of Ghosts), Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Wednesday to October 31, 8.30pm
VISIT York Tourism Awards winner Doctor Dorian Deathly, spookologist and ghost botherer, celebrates Halloween season with six nights of ghost stories, paranormal sciences, theatrical trickery, horror, original music and perhaps the odd unexpected guest (with the emphasis on ‘odd’?).
“Together we will huddle around the stage and explore spine-chilling tales of hauntings, both local and further afield, dissemble horrors captured on film and follow the ghost story through from the origins to the Victorian classics and modern- day frights,” says Deathly, whose face-melting macabre amusements are suitable for age 13 upwards. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Harmonies of the week: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, supported by Muntu Valdo, Grand Opera House, York, October 29, 7.30pm
SOUTH African singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s York concert marks Black History Month on their first British tour for many years.
When Paul Simon incorporated their harmonies into his ground-breaking 1986 album Graceland, that landmark recording was seminal in introducing world music to mainstream audiences.
Founded by the late Joseph Shabalala, the Grammy Award winners have since recorded with Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Barnsley folk singer Kate Rusby. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/york.
AESTHETICA Short Film Festival returns for 300 films in 15 venues over six days in York in its 12th edition from November 1 to 6.
The BAFTA-Qualifying event will have a hybrid format, combining the live festival with a selection of screenings, masterclasses and events on the digital platform until November 30.
New for 2022 will be York Days, a discount scheme with the chance to save 50 per cent on prices on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday programmes. “This is our local push,” says director Cherie Federico. “We believe that film is for everyone, and now you can join in York’s very own film festival.
“Each year, we transform the city into a cinematic playground, showcasing the world’s best film, providing a platform for the very new directors and short films to reach audiences. York is the place where the filmmakers of the future are discovered. As a city, we play a major role in supporting new talent.”
Comedies, dramas, thrillers, animation, family-friendly films and documentaries all feature among the 300 films – from around 4,000 entries – in a festival “where you can engage with global stories”, enjoy film premieres, workshops, the Virtual Reality Lab, installations and the festival Fringe.
“The success of our eight Film Club nights in the York Theatre Royal Studio from April to July gave me the idea to do York Days because it showed there’s an appetite for independent cinema in York,” says Cherie.
“York Days is your opportunity to attend the festival, soak up as many films as you can, and join in our award-winning masterclasses and workshops. This festival is for you and we want you to join in with your friends and family.”
Picking her recommendations for York Days, Cherie suggests seeing films aplenty from the Official Selection; attending a masterclass or workshop; experiencing Virtual Reality in the VR Lab at City Screen Picturehouse, and visiting the StreetLife project hub, in Coney Street, to view the ASFF exhibition, Unite. Create. Transform. For children, she advises attending Family Friendly screenings and signing up for children’s filmmaking workshops.
“We’re running four three-hour children’s workshops on how to direct your own film, divided into two age groups, seven to ten and 11 to 14, with places for 80 children from York to participate, free of charge, as I want to encourage young people to make films,” says Cherie.
Looking ahead to the 2022 festival overall, Cherie says: “I think this year is going to be very, very busy. For example, for our 60 masterclasses and workshops, people are travelling from across the world because they’re world-class, featuring leading representatives from the film industry’s top organisations.”
The 2022 Official Selectiion has been curated into six broader categories: Life As We Know It; The Bigger Picture; We’ll Cross That Bridge When We Come To It; How Do You Do?; Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken and The Present Was Their Idea Of The Future.
“I find with these themes, it’s not about being complex but accessible,” says Cherie. “The power of films is that they’re reflective of daily lives but cinema is transformative because it can introduce you to different cultures, languages, customs, but at the same time it’s about encapsulating human experiences.
“That’s really powerful because it enables you to understand things that you have in common rather than the things that you don’t. This festival celebrates the highs, the lows, the joy, the pain, what it means right now to be on Planet Earth, which is extraordinary because it reminds us of the humanity that binds us together. We take the world’s temperature with this festival.”
Within the six overarching themes are a selection of ten fitting films that span the festival’s 12 genres, complemented by feature-length narratives, documentaries and Virtual Reality experiences.
Alongside, ASFF runs Guest Programmes from around the world, including Queer East’s spotlight on LGBTQ+ cinema from East and Southeast Asia; the Scottish Documentary Institute highlighting East African and Pakistan Stories, and this year’s country in focus, Norway. Look out too for the New Wave strand, showcasing graduate filmmakers.
The masterclasses and panel sessions with industry leaders take in such topics as sustainability and diversity, the ethics of cinema and human rights. Representatives from BBC Film, Sky, Film4, Canon and Ubisoft discuss every stage of film production, the latest film technologies, cinematography, film scoring, scripting, editing and directing.
New too for 2022 is the ASFF Fringe, whose highlights include the aforementioned Unite. Create. Transform group exhibition by ten award-winning contemporary artists, not least Aesthetica Art Prize finalists, at StreetLife, and the ASFF’s £5,000 commission of an immersive sound installation by Jin Chia Ching Ho, Sounds We Have Never Heard Before, presented in partnership with Audible, to be enjoyed on giant pillows at Bedern Hall.
For the Fringe, York Dungeon will be providing walking tours of the city (as well as running one of the festival workshops on make-up for the screen). “A walking tour at a film festival might seem a bit off-piste, but why not!” says Cherie.
To book festival tickets, whether for In-Person, Virtual or Hybrid packages, go to: asff.co.uk/tickets. Tickets for York Days can be booked at asff.co.uk/yorkdays or in person from November 1 at City Screen.
TWELVE artists from York collective Navigators Art are opening their mixed-media exhibition at StreetLife’s project hub in Coney Street, York, this evening (17/10/2022).
Drawing inspiration from the city’s rich heritage and vibrant creative communities, the project explores new ways to revitalise and diversify Coney Street, York’s premium shopping street but one blighted with multiple empty premises.
In a creative response to Coney Street’s past, present and future, Navigators Art have made new work for StreetLife, designed to enhance and interpret its research, under the title Coney St Jam: An Art Intervention.
On show from today to November 19 will be painting, drawing, collage, photography, textiles, projections, music, poetry and 3D work. Entry to the exhibition space is accessible by one set of stairs.
Taking part are: Steve Beadle, figurative painting and drawing; Michael Dawson, mixed-media painting; Alfie Fox, creative photography; Alan Gillott, architectural and scenic photography; Oz Hardwick, creative photography, and Richard Kitchen, collage, abstract drawing, prints and poetry.
So too are: Katie Lewis, textiles; Tim Morrison, painting and constructions; Peter Roman, figurative painting; Amy Elena Thompson, prints and tattoos; Dylan Thompson, composer, and Nick Walters, painting, video and sculpture.
Here, CharlesHutchPress puts questions to Navigators Art co-founder, artist and poet Richard Kitchen.
How did the exhibition come about?
“I heard talk of this project rather belatedly in April this year. After our Moving Pictures show at City Screen and providing art for York Theatre Royal’s Takeover Festival, I was looking for a community project the group could really get to grips with and actively support.
“I rather cheekily offered our services to the StreetLife project leaders and, after a bit of convincing, they agreed to let us devise an exhibition for them.”
What relationship have you established with StreetLife?
“A very good one. They were a bit wary at first, as we hadn’t been part of the initial set-up, but we convinced them we were genuinely interested in the project and wanted to interpret and enhance their research and findings creatively for a wider audience. That’s one of our missions as Navigators Art. This isn’t just another art exhibition!
“They’ve been really helpful with practical arrangements, allocated us a budget and agreed to let us put on an evening of live performance in aid of the homeless to mark the end of the show on November 19. That’s going to be very exciting.”
In turn, what relationship have you established with project participants University of York, City of York Council, Make It York, My City Centre, York Civic Trust, York Music Venues Network and Thin Ice Press?
“The project leaders are all from the university, so we’ve got to know them, and also Bethan [cultural development manager Bethan Gibb-Reid] at Make It York. We’re not directly involved with the other agents as such, but we’re all part of the same enterprise and hopefully we can continue to develop existing relationships and make new ones.
“Collaboration is what we’re all about, now and in the future. Making project-specific and even site-specific work has been a very positive creative challenge, from which we’ve all learnt something, and we’re looking forward to further opportunities.”
How do you foresee the future of Coney Street?
“It’s in an interesting state of flux. I can’t speak for the StreetLife project itself or even fellow artists, but personally I regret that a future seems securable only through the involvement of giant property developers.
“I wish a more grassroots solution could be sought and found. But the Helmsley Group’s plans are on show to all at the StreetLife hub in Coney Street and there are public feedback forms by way of consultation.
“It looks positive enough, with provision for new green spaces and so on; I just hope it’s not all about financial interest at the expense of those who live here, or about economics over culture and wellbeing. Naturally, I’d love to see a cheap, Bohemian cultural quarter there, but I doubt that’s top of the agenda!
“Whatever the plans, serious thought needs to be given to social issues such as the question of accessibility. If the street is to be traffic-free, it also has to be accessible to all. The present system of bollards means that some people are unable to use the street at all. That doesn’t make sense.”
How much should the past of Coney Street feed into its future?
“Its past was very much involved with the river, and future plans include developing the river area as a public space and retying lost connections between the river and the street in general. The thriving, lively street of yore is a model for what it may become again. And no future is sustainable without a foundation in history.
“The past can be celebrated and kept alive. It doesn’t have to be enshrined as a museum piece; certainly not one that people have to pay to enjoy! That’s something artists can offer.
Who should be taking the lead in envisioning the future? Looking at that list of who’s involved already, how do you establish joined-up thinking?
“That’s a question for them rather than us, I think. We’re only putting up some pictures! But all walks of life and all sectors should be having an equal say. I don’t think any of those groups is acting independently of the others. There is consultation, including with the developers.”
Where do the arts and art fit into that future?
“The arts are essential to public, cultural and personal wellbeing, despite efforts to ignore, undermine, underfund and generally devalue them to a shocking and highly unintelligent extent. The arts should be central to every decision-making process in government and to education at every level.
“In the times we’re living through, we need creative solutions on a gigantic scale and we need the sheer energy of the arts to help us survive and adapt. Those things aren’t going to be provided by bureaucracy or petty squabbling between political parties.
“I’d say give artists the kudos they deserve and let us help to turn things around. Pay us. Give us space to work in: let us use those empty buildings! Art isn’t just about old monuments. There are many living artists in York who could successfully take on social responsibilities because of the nature of what they do. We’re an asset to the city and should be valued and promoted as such.
“Make Coney Street a flagship enclave for creatives and independent small retailers and an affordable, inspiring resource for the public to enjoy. That’s something we provided when we were based at Piccadilly [Piccadilly Pop Up] and we came to realise more and more how much that environment meant to people and benefited them. Offer that on a much wider scale and we’ll see real change for the better in society.”
What else is coming up for Navigators Art? Are you any closer to finding a new home?
“From January to March next year, some of us will be exhibiting at Helmsley Arts Centre, and we’ll be at City Screen again in March and April. We may be involved with Archaeology York’s Roman dig next year too.
“We’re eager to take on future community projects and commissions. We’re all artists in our own right but collectively we’re about much more than making and selling. We want to make a difference to the city and its people.
“We’ve grown from being just Steve Beadle and myself in 2020 to a trio last spring with Tim Morrison, and now we’re 12, including writers and musicians, as well as visual artists. The group is fluid, though, and we won’t all be involved in every venture. Some will come and go, others will join.
“Many of us have jobs and families and we’ve all worked on this show voluntarily, but I think we can continue to match the size of the group to the size of the project. Clearly, we’re not going to find one home for all and that’s fine. It would be wonderful to have a studio identity but we don’t have the funds for it at the moment.
“Others are welcome to join us any time. Steve and I want to develop the other strand of Navigators Art’s mission statement, which we started at Piccadilly Pop Up last year: to mentor young and under-represented emerging artists. Not everyone at Piccadilly shared that vision but I think we’re better prepared to do it now.
“Apart from anything else, we’d like to shake things up a bit culturally for ourselves. The initial longlist for Coney St Jam artists was quite diverse, but for health-related and other reasons we’ve ended up with a bunch of mostly white males. We’re working on that!”
Coney St Jam: An Art Intervention by Navigators Art, at StreetLife Project Hub, 29-31 Coney Street, York, opening tonight, 6pm to 8pm; then 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, except Wednesdays; 11am to 4pm, Sundays.Free entry.
A live performance event on November 19, from 7pm to 10pm, will mark the end of the show.
What is StreetLife?
FUNDED by the UK Government Community Renewal Fund, StreetLife explores new ways to revitalise and diversify Coney Street, drawing inspiration from York’s history, heritage and creative communities and involving businesses, the public and other stakeholders in shaping the future of the high street.
The project is led by the University of York, in partnership with City of York Council, including Make It York/My City Centre, York Civic Trust, York Music Venues Network and creative practitioners, such as Thin Ice Press.