Junctures Commissions deliberation

junctures Selection B&B (1 of 1)

junctures Selection (red)

junctures Selection (blue)

Deliberation time for our Junctures Commissions panel…Thanks for all the thought provoking presentations @ Toynbee Hall, London. Decision coming soon. #juncturescommissions

Junctures Commissions Shortlisted Applicants

We are very pleased to announce our shortlisted applicants for Junctures Commissions:

* Rob Young & Professor Bernie Carter
* Zoi Dimitriou &Takehiko Kariya
* Flora Bradwell & Chris Ilankovan
* Daniela Contreras López & Edison Cájas González
* Andrew Stooke & Wenjing Wang
* Anna Brownsted & Dr. Emily Stevenson, John Mead and Will Heasman
* Ellie Harrison & Xina Gooding Broderick

Fantastic applications! We will announce the final three commissions very shortly. Thank you also to all other applicants…

Junctures Commissions

Call Out

As recipients of the Arts Council Elevate fund, 30 Bird is delighted to offer three commissions to artists who are interested or already engaged in transcultural interdisciplinary performance.

We are seeking pairs or groups of collaborators from different disciplines with an idea for a live performance event. The call out is open to applications from any field but must include an artist and a practitioner from any other discipline (live sciences, landscape gardening, medicine, gastronomy, social sciences, education, architecture etc). Applications are welcome from the UK and from artists based outside the UK.

Working closely with 30 Bird, the successful teams will be offered a £2K commission, a week’s residency and the opportunity to research and develop an idea to be showcased at Junctures, an interdisciplinary event at the Cambridge Junction in March 2018.

Application is now closed. Thank you to all applicants!
Applications are currently being reviewed by a selection panel chaired by 30 Bird artistic director Mehrdad Seyf. Shortlisted applicants will be contacted soon and invited to do a presentation to the panel in early July.

Click here to watch Mehrdad talk about the commissions call out.

Click here to see video transcript.


We would love to hear from artists and their collaborators who:
• Demonstrate a passion for interdisciplinary work as process and outcome
• provide engaging, innovative and alternative ideas
• Demonstrate a commitment to work of a high standard
• Demonstrate a commitment to diversity and transcultural practice

What do we mean by interdisciplinary and transcultural?

By interdisciplinary performance we refer to work that emerges out of a dialogue between artists and practitioners from other disciplines, with both parties prepared to step outside their comfort zones in order to discover new contents and new forms.
The transcultural aspect of the call out puts emphasis on diversity, questioning binaries such as “black and white”, “disabled- non-disabled”, “developed – developing world” to mention a few. Instead we champion diversity in the context of work that is prepared to step outside those binaries and challenge disciplines that relegate “unfamiliar and uncomfortable” contents to a minority status.

Click here to watch a short film about Home in the Service of Science the most recent 30 Bird project in collaboration with public works, as part of an artistic residence at The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology.


Home in the Service of Science at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology.  Photo: Neil Grant

LMB Scientist Danielle Mirsh: Fly Aromatics                                                                                                                                                       30 Bird and public work’s Home in the Service of Science   
Photo: Neil Grant




Junctures Commissions

Video Transcript

My name is Mehrdad Seyf, I am artistic director of 30 Bird and we are delighted to be able to offer three commissions to artists who are interested or already working in an interdisciplinary and trans-cultural context.

30 Bird is an interdisciplinary performance company based at Cambridge Junction. We have been one of the companies who’ve received the Elevate Fund, which is enabling us to offer these three commissions.

So what do we mean by interdisciplinary work? To begin with, interdisciplinary is not just about disciplines within the arts, it also includes disciplines outside the arts; sciences, social sciences, mathematics, law, anthropology, anything at all that’s outside the arts. The whole process and outcome of interdisciplinary work is based on a dialogue between the artist and interdisciplinary practitioners. It’s about people stepping out of their comfort zones and discovering new forms of performance out of this dialogue. We are not interested in people for example working with anthropologist and ending up creating a play, that’s not interdisciplinary for us. It needs to be something new something different. We kind of pride ourselves at 30 Bird that all our projects are always very different from each other, they are new.

The other aspect of this call out is trans-cultural or inter-cultural practice. Diversity has always been very very important to 30 Bird but what do we mean by that? First of all people who have new contents or have contents from different backgrounds, which don’t necessarily fit into given disciplines tend to be marginalised or categorised into these binaries; black or white or developed world and third world, and this applies to other categories as well, where it’s gender, whether it’s disability. And we’d like to work with artists, who are prepared to step outside these binaries so to speak, and, in collaboration with practitioners from other disciplines, are prepared to challenge these established forms, established disciplines and come up with new forms, new ways of performance.

The commission offers a grant of £2K, plus a one week residency at The Cambridge Junction and the opportunity to share some of the artists’ findings at an interdisciplinary event called Junctures, curated by 30 Bird at the Cambridge Junction in March 2018.

We look forward to reading your ideas and your applications. Please get in touch if you have any further questions.

Thank you

Laboratory of Encounters

Press Release / Public Announcement

Appointment of 30 Bird and public works as Artists-in-Residence at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Left to right: Mehrdad Seyf (30 Bird) Sir Hugh Pelham (Director of LMB) Torange Khonsari (public works)
Image: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is pleased to announce the appointment of 30 Bird and public works as LMB Artists-in-Residence starting in April 2015. They are a collaborative team made up of a Cambridge based performance company led by Mehrdad Seyf (30 Bird) and a participatory art and architecture practice led by Torange Kohnsari (public works). They are ground breaking artists who will engage with members of the LMB with the aim to inspire new perspectives and understanding of the LMB’s research, both amongst LMB staff, and the general public. The residency is scheduled to run over 12months.

Mehrdad and Torange were selected by the LMB’s Public Art Steering Panel, made up of LMB staff and external advisors, who were impressed by their enthusiasm about the LMB’s science and their diverse and engaging response to the brief. The LMB is one of the world’s leading research institutes, whose scientists are studying biology on a tiny scale to understand fundamental biological processes and diseases.
“We were attracted to this residency because it provided us with the opportunity to bring together art and science in an innovative and interesting way challenging the more traditional notions of public art”, said Mehrdad Seyf.

He added “The research at the LMB involves work at the minutest detail, with the aim of extracting information that influences life on earth on an epic scale. It is the marriage of these two, the minute and the epic, the scientific research deep within organisms and its physical and social consequences that make the research at the LMB work so exciting to us.”

The LMB residency is the first in a new Artist-in-Residence programme that forms part of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC) Public Art Programme. The Programme is led and funded by property developers Countryside Properties and Liberty Property Trust under the s106 agreement with Cambridge City Council to deliver public art across the CBC expansion land. The Programme is curated and co-ordinated on the developers’ behalf by cultural agency, Futurecity.
“The ambition for the CBC Public Art Programme is to embed the very best creative arts practice throughout the expanding campus. A combination of public realm projects alongside artist-in-residence commissions will demonstrate the impact and value created through collaboration between the art, design, science and healthcare”, said Andy Robinson, director at Futurecity.
Further information:

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology. Image: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Background information on the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology

The Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is one of the birthplaces of modern molecular biology and one of the world’s leading research institutes. LMB scientists are working to advance the understanding of biological processes at the molecular level – with the goal of using this information to understand the workings of complex systems, such as the immune system and the brain, and solve key problems in human health and disease such as cancer, asthma and Alzheimer’s disease.

Discoveries and inventions developed at the LMB, for example DNA sequencing and methods to determine the structure of proteins, have revolutionised all areas of biology. LMB scientists are also encouraged to exploit their discoveries – through patents, licensing and business start-ups – helping to advance medical research and improve the UK’s economic competitiveness. To date, work carried out by LMB scientists has attracted 10 Nobel prizes, dozens of Royal Society awards and numerous other scientific honours.

Biographies of the artists:

30 Bird is an award winning performance company based in Cambridge. Each one of their projects is unique – no one project taking the same form as another – and often using the detail of autobiographical stories to explore global issues pertinent to contemporary society. Their roots lie in visual theatre with the company’s early work presented at venues such as the Riverside Studios, Lyric Hammersmith, Birmingham Rep, The Traverse Edinburgh, Cambridge Junction and Warwick Arts Centre. In recent years their practice has shifted to creating outdoor, site-specific, multi-disciplinary and interactive performance projects that create unique experiences for audiences. They create multi-disciplinary performance projects, often designed for non-theatrical spaces and toured nationally and internationally to theatres, festivals, cinemas and sometimes across whole cities. They want audiences to have a direct relationship with their work; to engage, to participate and to be surprised.

public works are an art and architecture practice working within and towards public space. All public works projects address the question how the public realm is shaped by its various users and how existing dynamics can inform further proposals. Their focus is the production and extension of a particular public space through participation and collaborations. Projects span across different scales and address the relation between the informal and formal aspects of a site.
Their work produces social, architectural and discursive spaces. Outputs include socio-spatial and physical structures, public events and publications.

About Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC)
The Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC) is the name given to the cluster of biomedical, clinical, research and treatment organisations centred around Addenbrooke’s Hospital on the Southern fringe of the city of Cambridge. By 2020 it will be one of the largest and most internationally respected centres for patient care, biomedical research and education in the world. CBC is already home to a number of internationally renowned treatment, teaching and research organisations including the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC LMB), Cancer Research UK and Addenbrooke’s and Rosie Hospitals. This concentration of clinical and biomedical expertise is now set to expand considerably with planning consent having recently been granted for up to 215,000 square metres of new biomedical research, development and clinical expansion space on a 70 acre site adjoining the existing hospital, research and development facilities. The expansion is providing new accommodation for the MRC’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Papworth Hospital, and AstraZeneca.

About the CBC Public Art Programme
The CBC Public Art Programme is delivering two major public art projects as a fully integrated part of the CBC development. The first is a landmark art commission to design the campus’ new focal point 20,000sq.m. Circus and Piazza public realm. The second is a campus wide Artist-in-Residence programme that will commission artists from a range of disciplines to work within and across campus organisations to engage patients, staff and wider public audiences in the campus’ ground breaking work.

About Countryside Properties & Liberty Property Trust
The development of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus is being undertaken through a joint venture between Countryside Properties PLC, and Liberty Property Trust, in conjunction with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

About Futurecity
Futurecity is a cultural placemaking agency. They have worked with Countryside Properties PLC, Liberty Property Trust and CBC organisations since 2009 to develop and implement the CBC Public Art Programme. Futurecity devise cultural strategies, broker cultural partnerships and deliver art projects from inception to completion through collaborative relationships between clients, artists and other disciplines. They champion artists who are changing the way art is presented within the built environment and public realm. Current projects range from the recently unveiled 78 metre Richard Wilson sculpture ‘Slipstream’ for Heathrow Terminal 2: Queens Terminal, to an arts programme for the new Cancer Centre at Guys Hospital, London.

In 2010 Futurecity opened a Cambridge office to support a bespoke approach to commissioning public art and cultural projects, working with Cambridge’s unique offers across the arts, culture, science and technology. Leading and emerging artists are integrating major public projects into the fabric and life of new workplace, healthcare and residential schemes, offering a range of engagement opportunities for residents, workers and visitors.


Junctures logo AW HR

Call out for theatre/performance practitioners and scientists

JUNCTURES: UK Iran Cultural Exchange – A day of debate & provocations exploring innovation & collaboration across the Arts and Sciences.

Produced by 30 Bird in partnership with the British Council Iran and in collaboration with ZENDEH.

Cambridge Junction, Wednesday March 25 2015 10:00 – 20:00

We are looking for six artists and six scientists to present a Pecha Kucha about their work in response to the provocation:
How to foster experimentation, collaboration & innovation across disciplines and cultures?
Pecha Kucha (chit chat) is a presentation format in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total).


As relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the UK improve, cultural collaborations can strengthen mutual understanding and trust between the two countries.

JUNCTURES brings together practitioners and experts from the arts and sciences to explore and inspire new models of working which enable experimentation, collaboration and innovation. Through dialogue and showcasing we will share knowledge, ideas and contacts to strengthen partnerships across sectors and across geographies.


• Spotlights collaboration as a model of sustainability and resilience
• Highlights examples of best practice
• Presents examples of cross cultural and cross sectorial exchange
• Is framed within the context of the Creative Case for Diversity

The day includes two Pecha Kucha sessions consisting of six presentations – three by artists, three by scientists. These are followed by a full days programme including a panel discussion on International Exchange, networking and the Long Table conversation (including Iranian dinner) “Working across cultures and across disciplines – can we find a common language?”

Expressions of interest should include:
• a short statement no longer than 500 words on how the applicant plans to address the provocation
• a short biography, no longer than 500 words, of the applicants work history
• external links to publications, reviews or footage of performances or lectures
• name, address ,email, website (if applicable) and telephone number of applicant

Selected candidates will receive a small stipend and travel expenses. Where necessary accommodation will be provided, though this will be limited to those travelling longer distances. All Pecha Kucha presenters are expected to stay and participate in the full day’s activities.

We are committed to ensuring the Pecha Kucha presentations are open and accessible to everyone. If you experience of anticipate any barriers within the application process, or require any help to make an application, please contact us as soon as possible.

Please send your application to: info@30bird.org, mentioning: JUNCTURES: Pecha Kucha

Deadline for submission: 5pm Tuesday 13th January 2015


30 Bird is resident company at Cambridge Junction

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Domestic Labour Auditions

Thank you for all your submissions, we were quite overwhelmed by the number of applicants and the variety and quality of their expressions of interest.We will be creating our shortlist in the next couple of days and contact the selected performers/artists. Apologies to those who are left out but once again thank you for your thought provoking submissions.

30 Bird Team

Seeking Female Performer: Domestic Labour: A Study in Love

Domestic Labour: A Study in Love

Audition notice

Regional tour and Edinburgh Fringe Festival run of
Domestic Labour; A Study in Love
by Mehrdad Seyf, 30 Bird

Commissioned by The Bush and following completion of Research & Development during 2013 Domestic Labour: A Study in Love will embark on a short regional tour before heading to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2014. We are currently looking for one female performer or performer/artist to join co-devisors Nicki Hobday and Chris. Dugrenier.

Description: female 25-35, experience of devising work or creating own work, versatile all rounder. Build not important. Good sense of rhythm and musicality.

Fee: £420 weekly for full weeks plus allowances, otherwise nightly performance fee (subject to confirmation of funding).

Show description:

Domestic Labour: A Study in Love is a witty investigation of gender roles, love and the very domestic battle over who does the washing up.

A love story; a love story about the mundane and the monumental, the personal and the political, the dust behind the bed and the Iranian baby boom.

A love story told through the nitty gritty of daily life – the rituals of cleaning revealing stories about past girlfriends, marriage, Islamic law and Brigitte Bardot – as the ‘man’ and his absent wife negotiate the power games of equality. Darkly humourous and visually rich Domestic Labour highlights the absurd details of our daily lives and their resonance within our wider world.

We are currently looking for one female performer or performer/artist to join 30 Bird’s co-devisors Nicki Hobday and Chris Dugrenier from March-June and 21 July to 24 August 2014.

Deadline for expressions of interest: Fri 24th January 2014.

Meetings/ Auditions: w/c 3 February

Working period: Devising & Tour 26 March – Middle June (end date tbc) Edinburgh: 21 July to 24 August

Statement explaining interest, including CV and photo to:
Louise Higgins
Project/Company Manager Louise@30bird.org 01223 403362

(please note we work in the office part-time, if you do not get an immediate response please send us an email with your contact details).

NB. Expressions of interest will only be accepted by email

Deadline for expressions of interest: Fri 24th January 2014

Please note if you do not hear from us then we are sorry you have not been shortlisted on this occasion.

Launch of The Factory

30 Bird and architects public works worked with pupils at St Matthew’s Primary School in the city’s Norfolk St to design The Factory. This is the first of five structures to be built by this unique partnership of performance makers, pupils and architects. Titled MUD it is a key part of a long-term project linked to the redevelopment of the school premises. The structures are designed to be outdoor play structures and also to house arts and cultural events open to the public – playgrounds for imagination, fun and creativity that are open to all.

Over an 18 month period 30 Bird and public works worked closely with pupils, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents and the surrounding community, capturing their stories and triggering their imaginations. The children actively participated in the architectural design process.

When asked about the project, a St Matthew’s pupil said “We’ve never done anything like this before. I wish we could do more”

The Factory will launch on Wednesday 27 November at 7.15pm with music from the school choir and Mawson Street Community Orchestra.

Mania Akbari’s 20 Fingers

20 Fingers
Written and Directed by Mania Akbari
Produced by Bijan Daneshmand
With Mania Akbari and Bijan Daneshmand
BFI Mania Akbari Retrospective

After seeing Mania Akbari’s 20 Fingers at the BFI, who are presenting a retrospective of her impressive and innovative work, I joined friends and acquaintances in the bar. I was introduced to a budding novelist on a visit from the US who asked me in a frank manner: “So is it like that?” “Like what?” “Well as an Iranian man, is it like that?” I came up with my customary reply: “Why do you assume I’m a man?” She laughed. “And why do you think I represent Iranian-Man?”

In case you don’t know me, I am a man and Iranian born, but I always find it difficult to respond to generalisations like that. Surely we know that being a man or a woman is more complex than having a penis or a vagina in-between your legs and cultural reductionism is not my game. I grew up supporting Team Melli (Iranian National football team), watching Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game on British TV and going to a French school. What kind of an Iranian does that make me? I thought of what Mania Akbari stated eloquently in her post-screening interview with Geoff Andrew, somewhat lost in translation to those who do not speak Farsi. To paraphrase, she said that her work is not particularly about men or about women, but about what takes place in-between.

The film starts with a back shot of Mania and Bijan sat in a car driving to an unknown destination. It’s night time. Mania speaks of games she played with her male cousin when they were children – Doctors and nurses, mummy and daddy – all with hints of childhood sexual frivolities. She speaks with an innocent nostalgic tone. Bijan asks precise questions: “How old were you when you did that? How old was your cousin? How long did it go on for? When did you stop?” He speaks with an interested if slightly nervous tone. Mania is baffled but obliging, she provides all the answers, water off a duck’s back. Occasionally she asks: “Where are we going?” Bijan answers: “Just a little bit further, there is a beautiful spot I want to show you.” It’s dark, the headlights are on, we can barely see the couple’s heads. Bijan stops the car. He turns off the headlights. The screen goes black. We hear Mania’s voice: “What are you doing? Are you crazy? Bijan?” she speaks with a gentle if surprised tone. “I had to check for myself”, says Bijan. “What shall I tell my mother, my sister? “ “I had to find out for myself.” He speaks with an affectionate tone.

In our mind, we can see Bijan’s hands exploring the film character Mania’s vagina, looking for the hymen, tearing it, feeling the blood and then perhaps penetrating it. “Are you crazy?” says Mania. She does not seem to stop him.

The in-between is beautifully established in this first sequence. The young couple’s fundamental relationship lies between a desire to roam freely and sexual exploration on the one hand , and a determination to preserve purity, to keep intimacy and sexuality within a private sphere, even at the expense of illegal sexual entry. Is it rape? Or is it an initiation of the relationship for years to come? Mania Akbari, however, does not make general statements about society. These are traits that come from the very specific situation of the fictional Mania and Bijan. It is repeated in various contexts. Riding a motorcycle in Tehran a few years later, with their toddler daughter precariously placed between them, they debate having another child. He wants one, she doesn’t. They talk, argue, shout. She jumps off the motorcycle and grabs a taxi. He follows them. She eventually gets out of the taxi and rejoins her partner on the bike, swearing at him whilst holding on to his waist. Later still whilst having a ride on a train, she tells him that she slept with a female friend. He throws her out of the train compartment into the corridor.

Still from Mania Akbari's 20 fingers with Mania Akbari and Bijan Daneshmand

Still from Mania Akbari’s 20 fingers with Mania Akbari and Bijan Daneshmand

Throughout the film there is one constant. They remain together. They remain lovers. Mania Akbari explores different contexts at different times in the chronology of their relationship – the car, the motorcycle, the telecabine above the snow, the train, the car again – to show what preserves, fuels and protects the relationship. She provokes, he reacts, he provokes, she reacts.

Still from Mania Akbari's 20 Fingers with Mania Akbari and Bijan Daneshmand

Still from Mania Akbari’s 20 Fingers with Mania Akbari and Bijan Daneshmand

In the very last scene, we see the couple on a small boat, on a lake, alone. Bijan says: “I really enjoyed myself. I had a good time. “ She confirms the sentiment. There is no one else, just the water, clean, pure, still. And then, the screen goes black, we hear the sound of the water and Bijan saying: “I feel good”, and we see in our mind, the manual search for purity, the tearing of the hymen, water and blood. In a masterstroke, Mania Akbari sends us home with the complex signs that construct the relationship between the two characters.

I say my goodbyes to the budding novelist, wishing her luck with her novel-waiting-to-be-published. As a parting shot I say: “If anything, I identify myself with the fictional Mania”. I turn to look for the real Mania in the bar.

Mehrdad Seyf