People United partnered with Joining Hands, Joining Hearts in this co-commission with artists Sarah Cole and Annis Joslin exploring the theme of ‘self-identity’.
Joining Hands, Joining Hearts is a support group for victims and survivors of sexual and domestic abuse whose aim is to help disempowered and isolated women through emotional and practical support.
Over six months Sarah and Annis worked with women from the support group to create a collection of six short videos titled Messy Business, tackling the wide range of emotions of their challenging lived experience. Messy Business is creative provocation designed to encourage ongoing conversations about domestic violence.
Reflecting on the project, Sarah Cole and Annis Joslin said...
We’d like to thank the women who participated on Messy Business, who have possibly brought more to us than we have to them. Their work and our memory of them will stay with us for a very long time.
In December 2018, the films were shown at a private celebratory screening in Sittingbourne, attended by the women’s families and friends. Messy Business was subsequently screened at Brighton’s Cine City Festival and the Social Arts Summit in Sheffield. The films were also selected for the Courage Film Festival in Berlin, where they were semi-finalists. Messy Business was also presented as part of Sarah and Annis’s ‘Making Space’ residency at Fabrica, Brighton in 2019.
People United continues to work with and support Sarah and Annis, who are currently creating STATIC, an immersive visual encounter exploring isolation, domestic abuse, childhood, memory, and love.
Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Arts Council England