Call for participation


Do you have a skill you want to share?
Do you have a story to tell?
Do you enjoy welcoming people into your home?
Have you ever wanted to deliver a workshop?

Workshops in People’s Homes will be a public programme of workshops that will take place around Cumbria in Spring 2016. Members of the public will work with artist Joshua Sofaer to develop a workshop in their own home through both group and one-to-one sessions. They will then deliver their workshop to a paying audience in their own home.

We would like to hear from all kinds of people, of all ages, who live in all kinds of homes and who have all kinds of different suggestions for a workshop. Maybe you’d like the opportunity to share your skill at a dying traditional art, an invention you’ve made, or a long kept secret family recipe. It could be funny and irreverent, or serious and precise, its up to each person to decide how to develop their workshop.

You don’t need any previous experience. All you need is enthusiasm and a willingness to take part. Even if you don’t have a clear idea for a workshop right now, we’d love to hear from you if you’re keen to be involved.

You can register your interest by filling in this form.

You can also email us:
or call, text or leave a voicemail on
07903 661 398

There is no charge for participating in Workshops in People’s Homes. Every person involved will have a small materials budget and will receive 60% of ticket takings for their workshop.

Participation will be through selection based on house visits during autumn and winter 2015.

Participants will have to be available on the following Saturday afternoons during the preparation period:

Session 1 2pm – 5pm, Saturday 20 February
Session 2 2pm – 5pm, Saturday 5 March
Session 3 2pm – 5pm, Saturday 19 March
Session 4 2pm – 5pm, Saturday 9 April

Participants will then need to be available for a one-to-one session lasting about 3 hours, at a mutually convenient time during March or April 2016.

During this preparation period participants will also be encouraged to support the trial tours of other participants.

The public programme of workshops will take place during May 2016 at times to suit.

Workshops in People’s Homes is a unique chance to develop your public communication and performance skills and to explore different ways of engaging an audience in a professional context.


Workshops in People’s Homes

Q: Iʼm interested! How do I let you know?
A: Get in touch! Email; call or text 07903 661398 (leave a message if we don’t answer); enter your details on the Online Form. If you run a group – formal or informal – we’d be happy to come and present the project at your next meeting.

Q: How will you select the people to work with?
A: We will travel around Cumbria visiting people who have expressed an interest in the project and discuss with them how they might want to be involved. We will then invite between 10 and 12 people to join the project. We will select a range of different approaches so that the public programme is as broad as possible.

Q: I do not have an idea yet / I have several ideas …do I have to decide exactly what I want to do at this stage?
A: No. Some people may have a firm idea of what they want to do. Others will not. At this stage we are looking for people who are enthusiastic about the process.

Q: What are all the dates I would need to be available for?
A: We are asking people who join the whole project to commit to the following group sessions in 2016:

Session 1 2.30pm – 5.30pm, Saturday 20 February
Session 2 2.30pm – 5.30pm, Saturday 5 March
Session 3 2.30pm – 5.30pm, Saturday 19 March
Session 4 2.30pm – 5.30pm, Saturday 9 April

Participants will then need to be available for a one-to-one session, lasting about 3 hours, at a mutually convenient time during April 2016. During this preparation period participants will also be encouraged to support the trial workshops of other participants.

The public workshops will take place in the month of May 2016. The exact dates and times will be confirmed later.

Q: When will I hear if I have been selected to take part?
A: We will have notified participants in by mid-January 2016.

Q: What will happen at the group sessions?
A: In the group sessions we will develop ideas for our individual workshops both thematically and practically, testing our ideas with other members of the project. We will explore different ways of thinking about what workshops can achieve and how best to develop participant engagement. We will also act as test participants for each other.

Q: Where will the group sessions take place?
A: The venues for the group sessions are still to be confirmed. This will happen once we have a better idea of the geographic spread of participants, so as to be most convenient for the group of people we are working with.

Q: Who is running this project?
A: Workshops in Peopleʼs Homes is conceived and directed by Joshua Sofaer. He is an artist who works with forms of participation and engagement. He has done all kinds of projects around the world including directing an opera in Sweden, building a giant archive of 250,000 visitorsʼ rubbish in the Science Museum in the UK, and creating a new Night Market Theatre in Taiwan. In 2009 he developed Tours of Peopleʼs Homes in Newcastle. Workshops in Peopleʼs Homes follows on from that project.

Workshops in Peopleʼs Homes is produced by Abandon Normal Devices. This project began in the build up to AND Festival 2015 with the first Public Forum event taking place during the festival at Grizedale on Saturday 19 September.

Abandon Normal Devices (AND) is a catalyst for new approaches to art-making and digital invention, commissioning ground breaking projects which challenge the definitions of art and moving image. Inviting artists to hijack the imagination, by developing projects, which abandon traditional settings and partnerships. AND brings together an eclectic mix of academics, filmmakers, scientists and anarchists to actively push the boundaries of audience experience and arts production. With a distinct emphasis on creative enquiry and provocations, AND creates a space where artists can reflect on and play with the impact of new technologies. The AND portfolio consists of film happenings, exhibitions, performances, online projects, residencies, public realm interventions and a roaming biennial festival.

Q: Do we have to pay any money to participate?
A: No. You will be responsible for getting to and from the group sessions, which will take place in Penrith. We have a small budget to support those coming the furthest to enable them to participate.

We intend to charge for the public workshops, and as the workshop facilitator you will receive 60% of the ticket income, which means you will receive a small income for the facilitation of your workshop.

Q: Iʼm worried about letting strangers into my home. Can you reassure me about this?
A: The number of participants you invite to your workshop will depend on the space in your home and what you plan to do with them. For example, it could be a workshop for a single person (and maybe you would repeat it several times so that more people can have the experience) or perhaps a group of 15 in your garden. We will provide a member of staff who will advise and support you in managing visitors to your home during your workshops.

Workshops in People’s Homes is commissioned by Abandon Normal Devices.