People United co-commissioned – with the community group Joining Hands,Joining Hearts –  artists Sarah Cole and Annis Joslin to work on a project exploring Self-Identity. 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. The group 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


Over the last six-months Sarah and Annis have worked alongside the women through fun, tears and joy and in response to their experience, Sarah and Annis created a collection of six short videos titled ‘Messy Business.’ In December 2018 the project was shown at a private screening in Sittingbourne. We are incredibly proud of the journeys the participants and the artists have been on and the amazing work they have created and although the commission has come to a close, the project will live on in various guises in the coming year. Watch this space!

You can read Sarah and Annis’s project round up 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.