@ Castlefield Gallery

2/11/19 - 24/11/19

Curated by Shy Bairns

Fanspeak features artists whose work appropriates

fan-like production, emulating the content, objects

and homages produced by fans of movies, music,

sports, celebrities, and TV shows. Working with

sculpture, painting and video, the artists interrogate

pop and sub-cultural references in order to disrupt

our relationship with them. The exhibition brings

together an exciting group of artists working with

relevant and timely subject matter.

Fan Speak (noun): slang or jargon present in

fandom, particularly the acronyms, in-jokes

and obscure terms used among readers and

writers of science fiction fanzines.

In the worlds of Fandom, the message boards of obscure websites overflow with heightened emotions on subjects that have little value to the uninitiated. Fandom sees its creators dissecting their obsessions, becoming over-attached as they over-analyse them, ultimately mixing adoration with critique. The nature of this dedicated study enables fans to deconstruct the thing they love and rebuild it. They learn more about it, comparing it to their reality, and then rewriting it, inserting themselves into a fan-fiction hybrid. The artists in this exhibition explore this phenomenon with sensitivity, intelligence and humour. Including Lydia Blakeley’s paintings of aspirational luxury which move from the banal to the uncanny, Kurdwin Ayub’s uncomfortable homemade homages to actors and singers, Maya Ben David’s sexualized Pokémorphs, and Graham Dolphin’s sculptural remakes of public memorials made by fans of dead icons.

Festival of the Not

@ Star and Shadow, Newcastle Upon Tyne

17/01/19 - 20/01/19

Working with a group of students at Sunderland University, over the course of CIRCA project’s three day festival we produced a large collaborative publication and a number of individual smaller zines.

We first produced a collaborative publication based around opposites. What is not an artist? What is not an exhibition? What is not a printer? What is the opposite of these things? Do these opposites exist? As a group we drew and wrote responses, compiling them into a visual thesaurus of antonyms. 


After considering the undoing of practice, we then focused on the community and coming together side of the festival, by producing a number of zines based on out favourite unlikely collaborators. These zines covered a range of topics; from multiracial families, to Elon Musk and Grimes. 


All publications were distributed throughout the festival for free.

@ Liverpool John Moores

& The Bluecoat, Liverpool

14/07/18 - 09/09/18


South London Gallery

4/12/18 - 24/02/19

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 

An ongoing interactive site in the exhibition, with material to allow the audience to interact with the exhibition and leave their thoughts, compliments, and critique. We collect work from the space frequently to turn into zines, which we then return to the space to be collected by the public. 

The House That 

Heals The Soul 


Art Weekender

@ The Tetley, Leeds

24/02/18 + 17/03/18

Two workshops focusing on different types of collecting; physical and digital. Working to draw lines between public libraries and private libraries, we asked participants to bring their collections with them and together made two collaborative zines about the different types, titled 'I Collected Gloves Had 40+ Pairs' and 'I Make YouTube Playlists of Vine Compilation Videos'.

@ Dundas House, Middlesbrough

19/05/17 - 21/05/17

Set in shopping centre Dundas House, we worked with the public and attendees of Middlesbrough Art Weekender to make a collaborative zine about the event. Guest artists Meghan Grayson Darby, Sophie Gornall and Kieran Blakey were also invited to do mini residencies and contribute to the zine. 

Where's Your Coat, 

You're Going To Be Cold 

@ Caustic Coastal, Salford


Artists exhibited: 

Tulani Hlalo, Katie Tomlinson, Samuel Blackwood, Sheyda Porter, Meghan Graydon Darby, Charlotte Cullen, Jack Rientoul, Liam Fallon, George Gibson, Eleanor Haswell

Accompanied by online exhibition with isthisit?



Sheyda Porter, Scarlett Hirst, Jack Rientoul, Jessica Andrews, Beth Mellett, Meghan Graydon Darby, Tulani Hlalo, Liam Fallon, Saffa Khan, Chris Priestman, Joseph Cotgrave, George Gibson, Eleanor Haswell


+ soundtrack from Jennifer Walton

Commissioned by Jerwood Arts for their exhibition Collaborate!, Shy Bairns Fill The Void: Developing Our Creative Practice looks at the often hidden process of  artistic progression and makes it visible within the exhibition itself. Located in the heart of the gallery, the installation is centred around a new publication which documents the process of the group working together on various small development projects including learning new skills from each other, peers, and fellow practitioners across the UK. The title of the work references Arts Council England’s development fund – Developing Your Creative Practice – and we aim to highlight the importance of artistic practices outside of exhibitions and finalised work: of community, fun and support in art making, and of artists as perpetually unskilled learners.

Shy Bairns, Shy Bairns Fill The Void: Developing Our Creative Practice, 2019. Commissioned for Jerwood Collaborate! Photo: Anna Arca

@ Jerwood Arts, London

2/10/19 - 15/12/19



Based in Manchester, UK

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Jerwood Arts, London

2nd Oct - 15th Dec


Castlefield Gallery, Manchester

1st Nov - 24th Nov


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