Heart of Glass: Open Space: How can we begin to take care of ourselves while working with, for and about others?

Heart of Glass: Open Space: How can we begin to take care of ourselves while working with, for and about others?
Heart of Glass: Open Space: How can we begin to take care of ourselves while working with, for and about others?

Venue: Heart of Glass
Dates: 02/05/2019
Times: 10:00 - 16:00

As austerity increasingly impacts on the communities we work with and funding cuts have made the precarity of artists’ lives becomes more and more of a reality, how can we begin to take care of ourselves while working with and for others?

Recent reports note the impact ‘low pay, a lack of work-life balance, limited opportunities for career development and the ongoing pressure to do more with less’ is having on the ‘cultural workforce’,  especially artists and freelance workers. A situation that is leading to an ‘increasingly high’ risk of burnout.

The precarious nature of freelance work, a lack of on-going support and the emotional and physical toll of working with communities facing incredible hardship often compounds these effects on individual artists. Especially when collaborative and social arts practice is increasingly being asked to replace the social structure of our society.

How, in difficult times for artists and communities, might we:

  • begin to work in solidarity across disciplines and sectors to achieve the kinds of conditions that make our work have real impact?
  • resist short-term funding, the cultural equivalent of zero hours contracts and insist arts and cultural organisations recognise the time it takes to build up trust and make meaningful and truly collaborative work?
  • find the right balance between empathy and self-care?

As cuts to funding begin to impact even more severely on communities and artists working with them, we invite you to join us for Open Space to explore notions of care.

The session is for anyone who is artistically engaged in social and collaborative arts practice; it will be facilitated by Chrissie Tiller (Creative Consultant and Practitioner) and Emma Fry (Criticality Producer, Heart of Glass), with a provocation by artist Sheila Ghelani. Please find full biographies below.


This is a Pay What You Can event. Please donate an amount of your choice when registering for a ticket here.


Heart of Glass, Old Beecham’s Building, Water Street, St Helens, WA10 1PP

Accessible ramp, parking and toilets available. Directions and parking recommendations will be sent out to attendees prior to the event.

Support with costs of travel and/or childcare available

Please get in touch if you need support with the cost of travel and/or childcare.

Facilitator Biographies 

Chrissie Tiller 

Chrissie Tiller is a passionate writer, thinker, teacher, and practitioner with a lifetime’s history of working through collaborative and social practice: particularly in cross-cultural and trans-national contexts and with places undergoing social, economic and political change.  Her recent think piece for Creative People and Places, Power Up, explores the current state of collaborative arts practice: including examining notions of privilege, cultural capital, politics, personal values and ethics in bringing about cultural democracy and social justice.

Sheila Ghelani

Sheila’s work spans performance, installation, participatory event and moving image. She is very interested in hybridity (informed by her own mixed heritage) and the practice of medicine and care. In the summer of 2017 she worked in St Helens with residents of Parr Mount Court and Heald Farm Court to make Getting To Know You  a project which resulted in 260 china teacups (decorated with a pattern designed by the residents) being gifted to everyone in each of the schemes, and a set of three posters. She is currently sharing Common Salt, her performance made in collaboration with artist Sue Palmer, in museums, galleries, libraries and arts spaces across the UK.