The Sunday Skool for Misfits, Experimenters, and Dissenters is a new free art skool devoted to performance, and created for outsiders, subversives, transgressors and nonconformists. It has been established by Skool mistresses Martin O'Brien, Shabnam Shabazi, and Joseph Morgan Schofield. The idea evolved from a desire to create free art education systems based on processes of mentorship and support. The Sunday Skool is dedicated to a politics of dissent and experimentation. We want to reach those that are less privileged and those traditionally denied access to the arts. The Skool is dedicated to creating a space for all, especially those often excluded because of race, class, disability, gender and sexuality.

This open call is for participants for the first iteration of The Sunday Skool. It is a twelve-week long course for artists and creatives working in performance and live art, and other experimental practices on the edge or in between forms. It is designed for those in the early stages of their practice (any age), those with experience in other art forms but who are beginning to work with performance, and those who are struggling to maintain a practice during the lockdown restrictions.

The Sunday Skool will take place online, using zoom, and is open to people anywhere in the world. Sessions will be delivered in English.

The participants will undertake workshops led by Skool mistresses and guest artists, talks, lectures and discussions by creatives and scholars, peer-led crit sessions, individual mentor sessions with the Skool mistresses, and a final showing of work in progress or projects in process. The course will run every Sunday from 18th April to 4th July (12 weeks). Participating artists will be expected to be available 10.00 – 16.00. (GMT) every Sunday for the duration of the course.  

The Sunday Skool is supported by the Arts Council England and the Wellcome Trust, and hosted by VSSL studio.

Skool Mistresses

Martin O’Brien

Martin O’Brien is an artist, theorist, teacher, and zombie. His performance, writing and video art explores what it means to be born with a life shortening disease, politically and philosophically. Martin has cystic fibrosis and all of his work and writing is an act of resistance, a celebration of sickness and an attempt to keep breathing. He is best known for his long durational solo performances, and his collaborations with the pioneering body artist, Sheree Rose. His work has been written about in books and articles, including the major book about his work ‘Survival of the Sickest: The Art of Martin O'Brien’. He has shown work throughout the UK, Europe, US, and Canada. Martin is lecturer in performance at Queen Mary University of London.

Martin O’Brien, photo courtesy of The Wellcome Collection

Shabnam Shabazi

Shabnam Shabazi is an interdisciplinary ‘artivist’, a maker and enabler of creative projects, working across a range of art forms through  a solo and collaborative arts practice. In her solo practice she works with objects, video, digital media, text, performance and installation. Collaboratively working with artists and non-artists in different communities spotlighting them and enabling their interests. Participation and creating platforms giving voice to uncomfortable issues are central to Shabnam’s practice, animated by the interstices and intersections between art forms and cultures. Exploring notions of site-specific, subverting use of existing spaces and committed to a ’without walls’ approach.  Her signature theme is ‘home’. Ongoing research explores the idea of ‘body as house’; the ‘artistic practice of exorcism’, and ‘art as a guarantee of sanity’.

Shabnam Shabazi, Photo by Guido Mencari.

Joseph Morgan Schofield

Joseph Morgan Schofield is a performance artist and writer. Articulating their practice as ‘queer ritual action’, their work, which foregrounds the immediacy of the sweating, bleeding, wanting, sensate body, is broadly concerned with  desire, particularly in relation to ecology and futurity. They offer performance as a technology of divination; a place of mourning, yearning, processing and communing. Understanding acts of gathering and communing as central to their practice, Joseph’s work incorporates curating, producing, facilitating, mentoring and teaching. They are the co-founder of VSSL studio (London, UK) and the Assistant Director of ]performance s p a c e[ (Folkestone, UK). Joseph has performed throughout the UK and Europe.

devotion : seduction, Venice International Performance Art Week 2020. Photo by Fenia Kotsopoulou.

Guest Mistresses

Ansuman Biswas was born in Calcutta and lives in the UK. He has an international practice incorporating, and often hybridizing, music, film, live art, science, installation, writing and theatre. This inter-disciplinarity is founded on a base of contemplative training.

His recent work has included directing Shakespeare in America, designing underwater sculptures in the Red Sea, living with wandering minstrels in India, being employed as an ornamental hermit in the English countryside, touring with Björk, spending two days blindfolded in an unknown place, travelling with shamans in the Gobi Desert, collaborating with neuroscientists in Arizona, living for a week with absolutely nothing but what spectators chose to give him, co-ordinating grassroots activists in Soweto, being sealed in a box for ten days with no food or light, making a musical in a maximum security prison, being a soloist with a symphony orchestra, bathing strangers, running seminars on democracy for monks in a Burmese monastery, making a radio telescope sing and dance, being locked in a Gothic Tower alone for forty days and nights, flying on a real magic carpet, and stopping time.
Franko B (born in Milan in 1960) is an Italian visual artist based in London, where he has lived since 1979. Franko’s practice includes performance, video, photography, painting, installation, and sculpture.

He has performed and exhibited  at the ICA, London in 1996 and 2008, the South London Gallery in 1999 and 2004, the Centre of Attention in 2000, Tate Modern in 2002, the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham in 2005, Arnolfini, Bristol in 2007, The Bluecoat Centre, Liverpool in 2008, CENDEAC, Murcia, Spain in 2007 and The Crawford Municipal Gallery in Cork, Ireland in 2005. He has exhibited work internationally in Zagreb, Mexico City, Milan, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Copenhagen, Madrid, Vienna, Brussels, Warsaw, Dublin and Siena.

Franko has also lectured extensively as a visiting lecturer at a number of art schools, and in 2016 he was appointed Professor of Sculpture at Accademia Albertina in Turin.

His work is the subject of diverse monographs, most recently I Still Love (Motta/Il Sole 24 Ore, Milan, 2010), Because of Love (LADA, London, 2018), and I’M HERE  (published by my fucking self, London 2020).

An archive of materials related to his work is held as part of the University of Bristol's Theatre Collection.

Kira O’Reilly is an Irish Helsinki based artist, her practice both willfully interdisciplinary and entirely undisciplined stems from a visual art background. It employs performance, biotechnical practices, writing and experimental media with which to consider speculative reconfigurations of The Body in its most expanded sense. She makes, writes, teaches, mentors and collaborates with humans of various types, technologies and non-humans of numerous divergences.

Since 1998 she has exhibited widely in contexts from visual art, performance art and live art, to interfaces of art, science and technology, and dance. She presents at conferences and symposia on performance and live art, science, art and technology. She lectures in visual art, drama and dance departments, and in renegade skools. Fellowships include SymbioticA, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, the Department of Drama, Queen Mary University of London, and as the Randall International Chair in sculpture/dimensional studies in the School of Art and Design, Alfred University, New York

The monograph Kira O’Reilly: Untitled (Bodies) edited by Harriet Curtis and Martin Hargreaves was published in autumn 2017. She co-edited Art As We Don’t Know It , published in 2020.

Open Call

Key Dates

Participants Notified: Thursday 18 March
Skool begins: Sunday 18 April
Skool’s out for summer: Sunday 4 July

Application Process

To apply for a place in The Sunday Skool for Misfits, Experimenters, and Dissenters, please write (up to 2000 characters) or record an audio/video statement (max 5 minutes) which answers these questions:

·  What are you pre-occupied with creatively?

·  Why do you want to take part in The Sunday Skool?

In answering these questions we invite creative, poetic or matter of fact answers, and encourage you to think about your way of approaching art, creativity and collaboration.

There is also the option to include up to two links to your work online - these could be links to websites, social media, or to google drive folders.

Open call goes live: Thursday 4 February

Open call closes: Thursday 11 March, 23.59

Access & ‘Braver space’

The Sunday Skool will take place on Zoom and we will use automatic live captioning as provided by Rev.

We have a limited amount of money available to contribute towards expenses incurred while accessing The Sunday Skool. This pot of money will be offered on an opt-in basis, aimed at those participants who self-identify as in need.  We will discuss the allocation of this money with those who opt-in.

We will discuss the holding of ‘braver space’ and any access needs with participants in advance of the programme starting, remaining committed and open to evolving conversations around access throughout.


If you have any questions about The Sunday Skool or the application process, please email Joseph:

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