To deny the true self is to deny the best within us. To find more happiness in life means to live in harmony with one’s true self. Dr Shahram Heshmat


Self-identity refers to how we define ourselves and can form the basis of our self-esteem and self value. Our self-identity can change in response to other people and changing social environments, shaping our perceptions of who we are and where we belong. Exploring our identity can help us to learn, grow as individuals and look beyond everyday assumptions to create new opinions and perspectives, giving us a better understanding of ourselves and others.

People United are proud to be co-commissioning with the community group Joining Hands Joining Hearts in 2018. Joining Hands, Joining Hearts is a support group for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic abuse who aim to help disempowered and isolated women through emotional and practical support. They meet weekly to talk, take part in all sorts of activities and to support each other. There is a lot of laughter.

Our mess is now our message and we want to help break the chain of domestic abuse.  Keeley, founder of Joining Hands, Joining Hearts


Sarah Cole and Annis Joslin will work with Joining Hands, Joining Hearts to explore self-identity; what that means for those who are victims and survivors of domestic abuse; and how their experiences might encourage and contribute to a positive sense of self in others. To culminate in an artwork that can be shared digitally with a diverse and large number of people in the wider community and beyond.

We are delighted to have been selected for this commission with People United and Joining Hands, Joining Hearts. Over the next six months we are keen to get to know everyone and begin to experiment with, and test, our ideas and shared ambitions. We will be thinking about how we define, understand and learn to accept ourselves, and how we can communicate these experiences so that the work can reach a wider audience in a meaningful, playful and challenging way.
Sarah Cole and Annis Joslin


If you would like to find out more or to see if you can get involved please email [email protected]. To keep up to date with information about this commission and other People United projects please sign up to our newsletter here.

Funded & supported by:

The Artist: Sarah Cole and Annis Joslin

Sarah Cole is an artist whose practice involves collaborative research into lived experience. She works across media, using video, drawing, sound, installation and performance, with a socially engaged methodology that puts exchange and encounter at the heart of her enquiry.

Sarah’s practice explores the politics of care, in terms of pedagogy, performance and play. Outcomes have included In-Kind (2014), made with long-term carers, Smother (2010) an Artangel commission with very young mothers, and Nest (2008) a three-year residency in a primary school in Basildon. Sarah is a Senior Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, where she teaches on the BA Fine Art XD Pathway.

Annis Joslin is an artist and filmmaker whose practice, rooted in the social, connects with and listens for the hidden voices in our communities. She seeks out projects that give agency to individual and group lived experience in a special, considered, participatory process to create lens based work for multiple platforms and situations. She is regularly commissioned to make films and documentaries for arts, heritage and educational organisations as well as being artist/facilitator in many educational and community settings. Her work has been exhibited and screened at home and abroad with commissions and projects with institutions including The British Museum, The Royal College of Physicians, The Women’s Library, London, Royal Pavilion and Museums, Photoworks, Brighton, Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, The National Trust, Glyndebourne Opera, Project Art Works and The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.