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Commissioned Artists and Theatre Companies

John Bernard is a Coventry based Poet, Rapper & Writer who uses his artistry to inspire, influence and invigorate his listeners. He has featured on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb, BBC radio 5 live, BBC Contains Strong Language Festival, BBC 1xtra and has also performed alongside the BBC Symphony Orchestra at Birmingham Symphony Hall; as well as performing regularly around the UK. Distinctive delivery, commanding voice, an intricate lyricist his content is authentically raw and potent. He has undoubtedly carved a lane for himself infusing Spoken Word poetry, Alternative-Rap and Neo-Soul.

"I am very interested in using my art form of spoken word poetry to tackle the themes of mess and complexity in uncertain times because the complexities of uncertain times afford us the opportunity to adapt as we embrace the discomfort of not knowing what is to come. I think sometimes we can be so caught up in the notion of perfected planning that we forget about the uncertainty of life in general; there is always a message that comes out from the process of mess and that is the beauty of it all".

Julia O’Connell - Textile Artist, SLOW STITCH

Work includes Visible Maker project warp speed - Textile Society of America’s Symposium, Boston, U.S (2020), Self Portrait - Mother/Service/Voice - Ice Floe Press, Toronto, Canada (2021). Meanwhile - Shop Front Theatre, Small Scale City – Artspace Coventry, England (2021). Julia is an International Changemaker artist supported by Coventry City of Culture Trust and the British Council and has just returned from Marrakech, Morocco exploring natural dye production and sustainable garment manufacturing. In September 2022, she will join quilters from Gee’s Bend, Alabama for a retreat workshop in Mississippi, U.S.

Julia follows the Slow textile movement, creating works from sustainable materials including vintage and plant dyed linen and cotton fabrics and re-using gifted sewing ephemera. Her work includes narrative/found text and personal stories.

Julia is also the theatre producer for Theatre Absolute, an award-winning professional theatre company in Coventry. The company was awarded the Olwen Wymark Award for Theatre Writing in 2021.

Instagram: mamajulescov

“I’m interested in supporting delegates to use this time to work together to unravel the ‘mess and complexity’ of where we are now – as active global citizens who can progress our recent experiences into positive action for the common good.

I will be present each day in a safe, quiet space where delegates can come and take a moment to reflect and focus their thoughts from the conference panel discussions and workshops. Connecting to cloth through slow stitching is not only a form of mark making but a moment of meditation. Together we will patch small pieces of fabric with stitch to form a whole cloth – representing our unique time together."

Warwick Arts Centre's Julia Carruthers on Julia O’Connell:

"Julia has run workshops at Warwick Arts Centre both as part of our regular Workshop Wednesday series and previously during Change Festival here, an event which looked our environmental and climate crisis. The pressures and stressful details of your world drop away as you choose beautiful fabrics and threads, gather at a big table with others and try and remember when you last threaded a needle. These sessions are about taking time for yourself, living in a present moment and gentle conversations with others also slowly stitching nearby. Students’ shoulders drop and their expressions soften, as their eyes focus on lovely Liberty materials, rather than a glaring screen. Refreshments and music are also provided, as well as easy, practical tips from Julia. You take what you’ve started home and try to find more time to carry on with it there…no result/product/keyboard necessary…"