Enter the world of Art Social, our flagship festival

21 August 2015

Art Social is The House of St Barnabas’ annual festival.  In September we will open our doors to the public and through a contemporary arts and events programme we will tell our story.  We shall endeavour to inspire the community around us to be more socially aware and join us in creating a fairer society.

So why Art Social and why a festival?

Art Social is intended to be a festival that unites people, free from status and ideals. The intention is to create a space that allows everyone the freedom to be spontaneous, inquisitive and playful. So often is the case that these necessary experiences are missing from the lives of the people we support.  If we can remove the barriers that exist within us we may have the opportunity to live a more meaningful life.

The theme of this year’s festival is inspired by the philosophy of Abraham Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs, a theory that portrays human needs in a pyramid shape, with physiological needs at the bottom and self-actualisation (self-expression through creativity) and self-esteem at the top. The philosophy resonates with us as a charity which strives to support people to reach their highest potential from the starting point of sustained employment in an environment that encourages discussion and curiosity.

This year there will be opportunities for the current participants and graduates of our Employment Academy to gain valuable work experience producing the Festival.  And through the work of artist Hester Reeve, there has been direct participation in the creation of her work, “A Life Voyagers Tea Service”.

During Art Social you can expect a week of creativity, discovery and curiosity.  The free public programme includes Hester’s giant tea-pot in Soho Square, “What One Can Be…” a programme of videos that address ideas about the human potential and the order of hierarchies in art and human needs, and the finale of the festival; a weekend full of workshops, talks, performance art, live music and special guest DJs.

I honestly believe the more we find ways to bring our community together, with a shared vision and with shared aspirations, we can create true social change.   Art Social is our way of bringing the elements of our work to life; employment, aspiration, creativity, discussion and empathy.   As one man once said “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”

Written by Nadra Shah, Director of Culture The House of St Barnabas


We invite you to enter The House of St Barnabas to be met with a cacophony of sights and sounds, of colours and conversations, an oasis of creativity in London’s Soho.
Come along and make something, discover a new way of thinking, and dance under the stars.
Book tickets for the weekend and pre-register to access the public programme by visiting bitly.com/artsocial2015
£10 day tickets / £15 weekend tickets / Under 16s free with an accompanying adult. Full concessions apply.
Access the installations and film programme is free of charge but you must book a time slot in advance.