In partnership with Submerge Festival, CTRL (Creative Technology Research Labs) is a new development programme for artists based in Greater Manchester looking to learn and develop skills in creative technology performance, immersive experience making, and digital creation tools.
Taking place from January to July 2023, CTRL will support 14 artists who are under-represented in the sector to learn from inspirational creative technology artists, gain new skills and knowledge, connect with local and national artists and organisations, and start to develop ideas for the creation of new creative technology performances and immersive experiences.
Through CTRL we want to invest in the digital and creative technology artists of the future, identifying, inspiring and building relationships with a new cohort of creatives based in Greater Manchester who are interested in developing innovative new live experiences using creative tech.
From January – July, the CTRL cohort will take part in:
– 6 practical workshops exploring immersive storytelling, spatialised sound, eXtended reality, projection, light, gaming, robotics, and AI led by inspirational artists such as BRiGHTBLACK, Limbik Theatre and Rebecca Smith Urban Projections
– 3 curated panel talks on creative technology and the arts
– Visits to leading digital studios / galleries across the country
– 3 online mentoring sessions with an established artist/company of their choice
CTRL has been generously supported by Arts Council England
MEET OUR CTRL COHORT
Amy Townsend-Lowcock is a multimedia artist and designer based in Manchester. Her work incorporates elements of theatre, video art, documentary filmmaking and projection. She is interested in using creative technology to uncover hidden histories and inspire empathy across different cultures.
Amy co-wrote and performed in ‘Handle with Care’ at Contact Theatre in July 2022. She also designed ‘DISPVPT: Fright Night’, following a six-week placement at the Royal Exchange Theatre. Her performance work, ‘My Fruits’, be seen at HOME’s 2023 PUSH Festival and her short film, ‘Lily Kwok’s Chicken Curry’, at Manchester Museum.
As an emerging artist, she is interested in creating work that is accessible, decolonising and inclusive.
Andee Collard is a visual artist based in Bolton. He is interested in making art everyday and has several ongoing projects.
Andee’s current practice uses CNC machines to make analogue paintings and drawings. His practice is a hybrid approach that combines aspects of painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, design, coding, engineering, writing, performance and education. The mash up and the cross pollination of ideas and techniques is important to him. He works across media, processes and genres.
Andee is interested in exposing the creative process and is exploring methods to share this with the public. He co-runs Bolton Contemporary, a socially engaged CIC.
Cally Statham, better known as the stage name PLUS44KALIGULA, is an English electronic music producer, composer, songwriter and performance artist from Oldham, UK.
Initially inspired by her dad’s glam rock record collection, and her grans love of classical and old time music, Cally’s later discoveries of Bowies Thin White Duke, electronic music, and artists such as Scott Walker have made for a dark and dramatic music and performance style, blending teen pop structures into howling choirs of biblical angels, lamenting on the bleak, and the brilliance of human of nature.
Chloe Malandra is a multidisciplinary freelance Artist and co-founder of Malandra Jacks, a theatre and creative company from North Manchester.
Chloe is a theatre, film and installation maker. She uses digital storytelling across her work to amplify the voices of the communities and young people she works with.
Chloe’s practice is ever expanding, she is currently exploring new skills in projection mapping, creating music using loop pedal and is studying level 2 BSL.
Instagram: @chloe_malandra // @malandra_jacks
Twitter: @ChloeMalandra / @malandrajacks
Heather Alice is a Manchester born and based artist with a degree in Theatre and Performance. As an artist Heather makes multilayered, intermedial and autobiographical theatre that is relevant and relatable to women.
Heather’s work is rooted in contemporary movement and dance but encompasses poetry, comedy and recorded media. Heather loves creating technical, clean and aesthetically interesting performances; blending raw and dark topics with a hyper feminine, fabulous exterior. Balancing personal and emotional moments with inspiring and empowering messages.
Heather is passionate about women’s health and being a voice for neurodivergent struggles, and hopes to explore immersive theatre in the near future and venture into creating sensory performances.
Holly Rush is a Northwest based Dance Artist, specialising in Cross-Art Collaboration. Holly’s creative practice focuses on storytelling, shaping alternative landscapes for audiences to experience. Holly’s work has led to collaborations with numerous artists from varying creative backgrounds, expanding skills in shaping imaginative, cross-collaborative work.
Holly’s practice has been focused on developing inclusive and engaging projects for a range of audiences. Holly has found story-telling an inspiring tool for creation, enabling people to learn and be inspired by characters, tales and shared lessons.
John Wong loves Chinese ancient fortune-telling algorithms & cultures. He treats I-Ching (Book of Changes) as an ancient form of big data & pattern analysis. His work is always questioning the idea of trust, self-identity & realities, modern superstition over the intersection of Chinese traditional cultures & new technology. And how it relates to the idea of balance & imbalance, oneness & unlikeness, decentralization & personalization.
RUSHI is an award-winning algorithmic interactive installation art, exhibited at Microwave International New Media Arts Festival 2018, ISEA 2019 at Gwangju, SIGGRAPH 2019’s Art Gallery at Los Angeles, and awarded the Best in Show of Art Gallery. RUCHU AR was selected by “Peer to Peer UK/HK” online exhibition 2020.
Melissa Boyle is a performance artist making work that explores identity, social-commentary, and the powers of storytelling through performance. She is heavily influenced by popular culture and her work is often messy, comical, and playful and makes space for discussions surrounding feminist issues such as, women’s healthcare, AI Sex Dolls and the fragmentation of identity felt by women.
Melissa uses a variety of mediums from digitally augmented autobiographical performance to video art and live performance to make work that challenges audiences by addressing topics that are often uncomfortable to talk about.
Niki Colclough is an artist working on social practice, exploring how art can address societal issues, with a focus on care, wellbeing and the environment. In 2021 Niki trained as a Shinrin Yoku (forest bathing) leader and has since been incorporating these techniques into her arts practice.
Niki has previously been commissioned to make work with contemporary art galleries including; The Lowry (Young Leaders), The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, Up Projects, Flat Time House and Camden Arts Centre. Niki currently leads the module ‘Approaches to Engagement’ on the MA Socially Engaged Art Practice at the University of Salford.
Nikta Mohammadi is an Iranian artist and producer based in West Yorkshire, working across moving image, performance, sound and text. Her practice is rooted in her dreams. It examines the relationship between personal and political, outside and inside, private and public, documentary and fiction.
Currently, she is building a body of work that investigates British rural landscape, incorporating literature, myths and rituals from Iran and Britain with an interdisciplinary formal approach. Through this body of work, she wants to reflect on her fragmented living experience as an outsider. Previously she has worked with The Tetley, Institute of Contemporary Arts and Tate among others.
Image credit: Phil Tragen
Scarlett-Rose is a Mancunian poet, performer, live artist, actor, writer, musician, producer, director and facilitator. Their work is interested in exploring liminal and dueled spaces.
Themes and Topics: Neurodiversity, Alt-Queerness, “Workingclassness”, Ecology.
Skills: performance poetry, live art, gig theatre, clowning.
2022 – Theatre (Assistant Director, Co-Writer, Assistant Producer) – ‘While We Were Waiting… something changed’ – CYC X GOB SQUAD – Contact
2021 – Theatre (Writer, Performer, Director, Producer) – ‘Don’t Give Me Roses, Give Me Broccoli Florets!’ – Arrival Festival
2019 – Theatre (Writer, Performer) – Alphabus – Young Identity – MIF
2017 – Theatre (Writer, Performer) – HATCH – Young identity – Contact
Shawn J Stephen
Shawn J Stephen is a freelance visual artist who is based in Manchester and specialises in photography, film and sound. Shawn aims to collaboratively represent lived experiences using creative and multimodal methods of engagement. These are skills that Shawn learned during Master’s in Visual Anthropology from the University of Manchester that have been incorporated into Shawn’s practice since.
Shawn has also developed an interest in working with 3D technology (photogrammetry, 3D printing, augmented reality, spatialised sound, etc) and is exploring ways to integrate these methods into immersive and experiential projects that cover a broad range of lived experiences.
Facebook: Shawn Stephen
Tania Camara is a solo performance artist based in Manchester currently working in different mediums: devised theatre, dance, live art, video, voice-work and music.
Tania’s artistic focus is to create work that generates conversations about race relations in Britain to tell untold stories and bring marginalised lived experiences to the forefront.
Tania brings together stories from Cape Verde, Britain, Portugal, Guinea Bissau, and is inspired by her MA in Artist Research at the University of Amsterdam into the traditional dance/music genre Batuku as social performance and its place in the Cape Verdean Revolution as a form of holistic healing.
Image credit: Phil Tragen
Valentina Achieng' Vettore
Valentina Achieng’ Vettore is a recent graduate from the Manchester School of Theatre. Valentina is excited to start developing ideas and works for a wider audience outside of Grosvenor East.
Thematically, Valentina’s work is interested in parental relationships, race, as well as horror as a genre and its representation of marginalised communities.
Valentina is also very keen on exploring audience interactivity, whether it may be through artefacts in immersive installations or exploring the relationship and social contract between performer and audience, which became of even more interest to during the pandemic when we no longer inhabited the same physical space.