'Getting To Know You' with Heart of Glass

This summer Sheila has been invited by Heart of Glass to work with the residents of two Helena Partnership sheltered housing schemes, encouraging them to reach out and get to know each other.

Each week Sheila will work with residents to make out-of-the-ordinary gestures, creating a stir that reaches out to their community and invites others to step over the thresholds within the scheme.

The opening workshops saw participants create individual floral invitations, which were hand delivered to each of the properties within the scheme.

The mysterious hand printed invitations dropped through letterboxes with a note offering everyone in the scheme the chance to ‘Join Us’ – on a specific date, but with no location offered. This created a talking point, whereby participants and staff were able to share more detail about the forthcoming event.

Newcomers to the project then came out to join early participants and see a cellist and violinist perform – including the song ‘Getting to Know You’.

The growing group of residents from Parr Mount Court and Heald Farm Court will continue to work with Sheila to create new ways of getting to know their neighbours and explore the thresholds and boundaries that exist in their communities.

The project will continue throughout August and into early September. If you would like any more information please contact

Photo of invitations made by residents of Heald Farm Court

Photo of invitations made by residents of Heald Farm Court



Nature Wander - On Reflection

Sheila is making a nature wander for Wellcome Collection in July. She is showing it twice:

Nature Wander - On Reflection

Wellcome Collection
Wednesday 19 & Saturday 29 July, 15.00-16.30
Event info

Hold a black mirror carefully in the palm of your hand and scry, look, listen and think about who you are in relation to the world around you on this walk led by interdisciplinary artist Sheila Ghelani. Sketch like a landscape painter, look like a tourist. What do you see and what remains just off to the side - hidden, over-looked, forgotten, un-noticed? You will learn about the history and use of the 'Claude Glass' by artists, sight-seers and physicians-of-old whilst also considering what this small yet beguiling instrument might illuminate about our collective future.

Photo credit: Lucy Cash

Photo credit: Lucy Cash



Common Salt pilot at b-side

Sheila and Sue Palmer are sharing their Common Salt pilot this week at b-side's Outpost on Portland in Dorset. Further details below:


A new artwork that unfolds in two parts:
a performance
a treasured artefact

A collaborative project by artists Sue Palmer & Sheila Ghelani

b-side's Outpost, Portland, Dorset
Thursday 6 July
6pm & 8pm
Free tickets available here

Following a recent residency on Portland in May 2017 artists Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer are back at b-side's Outpost, and invite you to attend a pilot version of the first part of Common Salt - an intimate performance which takes place around a table.

Common Salt explores the colonial, geographical history of England and India taking audience members on an expansive and emotional time-travel, from the first Enclosure Act in Dorset in the 1600s to 21st century narratives of trade, race and culture. It will activate insights into our shared past.

Sitting somewhere between a ‘show and tell’ and evidence table, this first part of the work lays out objects and unfolds forgotten narratives and maps, all accompanied by specially written text and original Shruti box laments.



ARC Spring Party

Sheila is back at ARC in Switzerland in a fortnight for their yearly spring party. She will be using the opportunity to gather feedback and thoughts on a checklist of care she has been writing for herself... In return guests will be recipients of a 'caring act'.  

Details below:


3 JUNE 2017

12:00 - 18:00 - Ongoing

Free entry

During our Spring party you can get to know several artists and practitioners who have been in residency over the past year, discover their work, participate in their projects, take part in their experiments, listen to their songs and have a drink with them.

Come and celebrate with us!

With installations, experiments, workshops, films, music, a workshop for children, performances, food, drinks, …

With Julien Babel, Giacomo Cardoni, Eduardo Cassina & Dominika Hadelova, Ciné-club Croy, CKÖ, Eclecta, Carole Frossard, Sheila Ghelani, Arielle Grasser, Asli Hatipoglu & Anastasia Starostenko, Louis Jucker, Lavinia Raccanello, Tim Shaw & Jacek Smolicki, Vreni Spiesser, Gosie Vervloessem, Julien Vuilleumier, and many others.

In collaboration with the Espace dAM

There's a free shuttle service between the station of Croy-Romainmôtier and Arc!



Residency at b-side project space

Sheila and artist Sue Palmer are in residence during May at the b-side project space Outpost, developing a new piece of work - Common Salt.

They began collaborating on the idea for Common Salt late in 2013. The work has been developed from research into the colonial and geographical history of England and India exploring the knotty complexity of lucre, enclosures and borders and the economic and social history of trade. 

As part of their residency at Outpost, Sue and Sheila will talk about their work and their current collaboration. The work will be shared at a public performance in July.

4th May, 7:00pm - 8:00pm


77, Fortuneswell

Tickets: FREE

Booking recommended as limited space:

 Artists Talk: Sue Palmer and Sheila Ghelani




SULPHUR - performances in March & April 2017

A chemical element. A part of you. A hellish tale. A foretelling.

Blue Flame… I burn with a blue flame.
I’m a yellow rock that burns with a blue flame.
Devilish and pungent. I spew from the earth.
I’m the core of the earth and I burn with a blue flame.

Sheila Ghelani gazes unfalteringly through both a microscope and a telescope to find stories that enlighten, entertain and challenge us. Sulphur, is a beguiling, playfully poetic and choreographic ensemble performance that considers the history and mythology of this most diabolical element. Together with the text, which ranges from the ancient to the futuristic, featuring contemporary performers Dora Jejey, Heather Uprichard and Jo Hellier, the piece also combines stunning video by John Hunter, sharp lighting design by Martin Langthorne and an experimental sound score by Ross Flight. Sulphur is the first in the series of a quartet of works Sheila is making under the title Elemental that will also include pieces looking at Atmospheric Forces, Breath and Flow.

Thursday 23 March, 8.30pm at Cambridge Junction, as part of Cambridge Science Festival 8.30pm
Cambridge Junction Tickets £8/£10: I Box Office: 01223 511 511
Part of a double bill of science inspired performance with Caroline Wright's Breath Control.
Tuesday 4 April, 7.30pm
Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts Tickets £12/£10: I Box Office: 01273 678822

Written & Directed by: Sheila Ghelani
Devised with & Performed by: Dora Jejey, Heather Uprichard, Jo Hellier
Dramaturg: Lou Cope
Lighting Design: Martin Langthorne
Video Design: John Hunter
Sound Design: Ross Flight
Costume Design: Lucille Acevedo-Jones
Produced by: Sally Rose

Commissioned by Cambridge Junction and Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. Research into Elemental was supported by a Wellcome Trust Research Bursary. Supported via South East Dance and Jerwood Charitable Foundation Dramaturg in Residence programme. With support from Battersea Arts Centre, Arc Artist Residency and Birkbeck Centre for Contemporary Theatre.

Supported using public funds by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Photo Credit: John Hunter, at RULER

Photo Credit: John Hunter, at RULER



Nurse Knows Best, TSOTF London 18-19 February 2017

Sheila Ghelani + guests

Broken hearts are sewn up and troubled spirits soothed.' The Guardian

Nurse Knows Best invites you to take a quick pit stop - to lie back, relax and think about how you treat yourself. It's really quite nice. You'll play patient, we'll play nurse. We've got some thoughts and some flowers, some advice and some smiles. Some treats and some sponges. Some sprays and some wiles. Don't you worry about a thing. Now just slip these off and rest your weary heart down... Let’s start with your self it needs some attention.

Guest Performers: Dora Jejey, Ellie Stamp, Lizzie Sells

Wellcome Collection
Sat 18 - Sun 19 Feb:11am - 6pm, every 15mins
FREE – drop in
Ages 12+
This event will be British Sign Language interpreted between 2-3pm on Sat 18 Feb by Rose Marie Lennon. To book an access place for this session please email or call 020 7611 2222.

The Sick of the Fringe takes place 17 - 19 February 2017
A celebration of the body - its problems and potential, at many locations (Wellcome Collection, CPT, The Place, Conway Hall) across London with many incredible artists and speakers, much of the programme is free to attend.
Find them on Facebook @tsotf and Twitter: @TSOTFringe

Photo Credit: Alma Haser

Photo Credit: Alma Haser



Sulphur - Call for performers

Sulphur - Call for performers

I am looking for x3 performers who identify as female, for my new piece of work Sulphur. 

Sulphur will involve performing a text written by me, and some simple performative actions which will be devised together as a group. 

The work, as the title suggests, explores the chemical element Sulphur, metaphorically and literally, and is also a kind of love story between humans and the element.

The text is still in development, but you can expect it to be both poetic and choreographic. 

Timeline / fees

The piece will involve 2-3 weeks paid work at £550 per week between January and March 2017. Plus a performance fee of £250 each time the work is shown. x2 venues are booked thus far in March and April 2017. You will also receive travel, accommodation and per diems.

Anyone interested in being involved should let me know by emailing over a short expression of interest (100-200 words, or a short video) explaining why they’d like to be involved and a short biography, or list of experience. If you are multi-lingual or can play a musical instrument/sing details of this would also be useful to know - but this is certainly not essential to be involved. Please also include any online links to previous works too.

Please send via email to: 

Deadline for expressions of interest: Friday 18 November, 5pm


Following the call out I will invite a selection of performers (up to 7) along to a paid workshop on Tuesday 29 or Wednesday 30 November 10.00-16.00, where we will explore the text and the ideas in the work. The aim of this will be to offer something which feels useful to the process of developing Sulphur but also relevant to the group and their future practices. 

Each person attending the workshop will receive an honorarium of £75, and travel expenses to London (if based outside of London). 

The workshop will be a chance to find out which combinations of people work and sound best together, a way of testing and hopefully establishing a temporary performance collective. Also to find out if you like working with me - more chemistry!

Following the workshop I will then contract the combination of people that seems most appropriate to undertake the final process together this time, however the aim is to also build new connections more broadly and to work with those not selected for Sulphur at a future date.

Image shows on-stage video experiment for Sulphur by John Hunter at ACCA 

Image shows on-stage video experiment for Sulphur by John Hunter at ACCA 



Duckie - The Palace of Varieties

Sheila is part-time assistant showgirl to Robin Whitmore on The Palace of Varieties at various times this Autumn (sharing the role with 'artiste extraordinaire' Lucille Power). 

More info below:

Palace of Varieties

Duckie in association with Magic Me at Waterside in Peckham

Fridays at 3pm* for 10 weeks (14 Oct – 16 Dec 2016)

The Palace of Varieties in Camberwell was demolished in 1956, but it is still fondly remembered by a number of the residents of nearby residential care home for older folks Waterside. Built in 1899, the Palace of Varieties thrived as a music hall featuring shows by the likes of Dan Leno and Vesta Tilley, before becoming an early cinema, a repertory theatre and even hosting burlesque ‘girlie’ shows in the 1950s.

Duckie is a local cabaret outfit based at south London’s infamous Royal Vauxhall Tavern who are passionate about local heritage and the history popular entertainment. In Autumn 2016, Duckie’s multi-media showbiz maestro Robin Whitmore will be Artist-in-Residence at Waterside for 10 weeks recalling the halcyon days of local variety in a series of Friday afternoon matinee balls and shows.

Robin will be assisted by creative showgirls Lucille Power and Sheila Ghelani, and host performances by a number of special guests including soprano Jennifer Coleman, dynamic vaudeville duo Wrench & Franks and London’s finest flappers The Bees Knees.

Each week they will use a different theme - including show business, flowers, and the seaside - to explore the legacy of local variety entertainment using performance, film, games, music, food, painting and other creative arts activities. The focus of this participatory arts project will be on using the imagination and self-expression, and sharing pleasurable sensory experiences.

The Duckie gang will be joined by local teenagers from SE15, a group of volunteers and even local dogs in a project that will excite the memories and imaginations of Waterside’s residents, many of whom are in their eighties and nineties and have lived in the area for their whole lives.

Magic Me is an arts company that works intergenerationally with older people and has expertise in dementia and Alzheimer’s and in combatting loneliness and isolation in our communities.

Waterside Care Home is managed by Anchor Homes.

This project is funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Sister projects in this season produced by Magic Me include works from PunchdrunkLois Weaver & Upswing, see more here.

Robin Whitmore is a longtime Duckie associate artist, you can find more on his practice here

Waterside, 40 Sumner Road Peckham, London, SE15 6LA

If you would like to visit Duckie’s Palace of Varieties on one of the Friday afternoons please contact Duckie on 020 7737 4043 or email

* Duckie are based at Waterside every Thursday and Friday creating the material.  The matinee balls are on Fridays usually at 3pm, but sometimes they will start at 2pm and there will be a couple of evening sessions.



ARC Residency

Sheila is currently in residence at Arc in Romanmoitier in Switzerland. This is the second time she has visited the space. Previously she showed Covet Me Care For Me in Maison des Moins at the Arc Opening Party...  This time whilst there Sheila is aiming to finish a first complete draft of the text for Sulphur... She will also give a talk on Thursday evening 13th Oct (7pm-11pm) with Nina Willimann and Mayumi Arai (also currently in residence).

View from the train on the way to Arc

View from the train on the way to Arc



Now! Now! In more than one place

In October Ramble 1 cine-poem On Considering the (English) Hedge is part of Now! Now! In more than one place:

Preview: Thursday 6 October, 2pm-6pm

Open: 7-15 October 2016 (closed Sunday, 9 October)

Cookhouse and Triangle Space (opening hours 10am-6pm)

Chelsea College of Arts, UAL

16 John Islip Street

London SW1P 4JU

Now! Now! In more than one place, is a display that accompanies the London conference Now & Then… Here & There: Black Artists & Modernism at Chelsea College of Arts and Tate Britain. This major conference (6-8 October 2016) will address the understated connections and points of contention between Black-British artists’ practice and their work’s relationship to modernist histories.

An urge to re-assess the legacies of Black-British artistic practice within a wider discourse of critical themes since the twentieth century, bridges both the conference and the display.

As the title might suggest, Now! Now! In more than one place takes up contradictory positions: as a refrain – in a musical sense, as well as to limit (set a boundary) and scold; or, as an insistence on immediacy and presence.

A combination of works, including painting, photography, drawing, print, video installation, sculpture and publications are brought together spanning the second half of the twentieth century to the present. Spatial and temporal relationships unfold with themes that address a sense of place, or invite us to re-think representations of the body and identities beyond the binaries often cited in relation to race, sexuality and gender. The works also ask us to sustain our attention across several, sometimes fractured, somatic/perambulatory states.

The Now! Now! In more than one place display has been supported by the UAL Chair in Black Art & Design project fund. The accompanying publication has been produced in association with Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts).

Filming hedges with straybird in 2013

Filming hedges with straybird in 2013



We picked you up, carried you...

Sheila is sharing new work, speaking on a panel and leading a workshop in Brussels 21 -24 September as part of Signal #5 - Art Facing Terror

TALK - WED 21.09 - 10:00 > 13:00 Violence
How do we think about violence, which is now part of our daily lives, but which is also exercised against the Stranger at the borders of Europe (sometimes in the head of the citizens themselves), "to protect us"? What does this violence change in our perception, in the essence of the city - especially about its anonymity? What is our responsibility as artistes or cultural operators in this situation?
Enlightener: Laurent Licata (B)
Speakers : Tom Sellar (US), Sheila Ghelani (UK)

WORKSHOP - WED 21.09.16 - 14.00 > 17.30 Taking Care, Holding others, with the Red Cross
The concept of “care” manifests a lot in Sheila Ghelani’s practice, sometimes leading her towards working alongside the caring professions in hospitals and day centres. For this workshop, Sheila invites Belgian Red Cross workers to discuss how they think about and use the word “care” within their organisation and how they “hold” others. There will be some practical exercises on holding/taking the weight of one another and some discussion about these. The Red Cross will also share some First Aid for emergency situations.

MOBILE PERFORMANCE - SAT 24.09.16 Around Dansaert, Molenbeek, Canal, Sainte-Catherine.
We picked you up, carried you like a feather, like a shell - Helen Troy, retired nurse
Within her work Sheila Ghelani is very interested in the practice of medicine and care. In Brussels she was drawn towards the Red Cross, learning that it was some of its workers who took care of victims after the recent attacks on the city. On considering the different kinds of support such organisations and people provide in times of need (physical, psychological and social), and inspired by the book on nursing "Tenderly, lift me" by Jeanne Bryner, Sheila imagined walks or moments in which passers-by are invited to be carried or carry others on a chair, palanquin or stretcher in the city… a chance to physically experience taking the weight of another, or sense the feeling of being held aloft, a symbolic act of care, made visible in public. The performance also gently nods towards the complex history of the Palanquin and Sedan Chair, which takes in the battlefield, colonialism, royalty and tourism.

Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London

Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London