FIELDWORK International Summer School 2021

13–15 August 2021

Hospitalfield International Summer School

Now What: A Living Newspaper

Organised with artists Bik Van der Pol

FIELDWORK – Now What: A Living Newspaper Summer School
4pm on Friday 13 August until 9pm on Sunday 15 August

FIELDWORK International Summer School returned to Hospitalfield on site through a participatory programme of workshops, talks and performances focussing on The Living Newspaper. We invited participants to camp and eat with us on site, joining an experimental programme of collective learning.

The Living Newspaper, ran in the USA from 1935 – 1939, as part of the federally funded arts program established under the Works Progress Administration under President Roosevelt’s New Deal. This was the white heat of the depression after the Wall Street crash in 1929 and this approach to theatrical performance rejected the conventions of Broadway Theatre, and instead encouraged social justice through the telling of stories of the day. With its roots in earlier European theatre, the programmes that emerged were ambitiously scripted productions which focussed on contemporary conditions such as housing, labour, disease and social stigma. The Federal Theatre Project was disbanded by the US Government in 1939 after it was deemed too political by the Un-American Activities Committee.

The programme brought us together to focus on all the parts of the Living Newspaper production process; writing, costume and prop making, performance, videography and reflection.

The Programme organised with Bik Van der Pol included contributions from Ania Nowak, Morgan Quaintance, Anna Orton & Alison Brown and Laura Haynes.

Summer School Programme

The FIELDWORK Summer school: a 2.5 day discursive, residential summer school at Hospitalfield in Arbroath on the East Coast of Scotland. Participants stay at Hospitalfield, camping in the grounds, for a programme of presentations, workshops, discussions and outings. All meals are provided, catered for by Hospitalfield’s Kitchen.

Designed as an experience that brings people together to think about a central theme or question. The programme is connected with visual art practice and theory including how this intersects with other disciplines. Each year we invite an artist, organiser or curator to programme the Summer School.

In 2021, we continued our conversation with artists Bik Van der Pol that begun with the 2020 FIELDWORK International Summer School Now What? during which we sought to ask, think and talk through ‘muteness’ and being silenced. Now we take further our experiments with The Living Newspaper as a model to enact moving forward, and to ask the question, how will we each want to live together after this disruption in the world?

We held three online Study Groups in March and April in order to learn together about the model of the Living Newspaper and how it might be adopted by artists. After beginning online earlier this year, we acknowledge an international group of participants through a mix of online and in person programming.

The 2021 Summer School at Hospitalfield invited participants to collectively devise, make and perform versions of Living Newspapers inspired by contemporary news stories. We used the living newspaper model to speculate on our possible futures starting with details from the news, with humour and flamboyance, acknowledging ourselves and our bodies in relation to each other. We were at Hospitalfield and at the Signal Tower Museum Courtyard in Arbroath, making and rehearsing in public. We took a thematic starting point revealed through the Study Groups of “climate or jobs?” (suggested by Study Group participant Ursula Troche) and returned to ideas of democracy.

The Programme included a keynote presentation from choreographer and performance artist Ania Nowak, costume making workshops led by costumer/set designer Anna Orton and costume designer Alison Brown, filming and editing workshops led by artists Bik Van der Pol and a presentation and discussion with artist and writer Morgan Quaintance.

In the lead up to the Summer School we hosted an online two-part writing workshop titled Scoring A Living Newspaper led by writer and editor Laura Haynes. The intention of the workshop was to create scripts and scores to be used in the Summer School.


Image of Ania Nowak- Performer in the exhibition Too Many Stories To Fit Into So Small A Box. By Bik Van der Pol. Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art. 2019/20. Photo: Pat Mic.


Friday 13 August

4pm Arrivals for camping in the Paddock

5:30-6:30pm Registration in the Archway

6:30pm Welcoming of Participants by Hospitalfield Director Lucy Byatt in front of the Studios

6:45pm Introduction by Bik Van der Pol

7:05pm Keynote by artist Ania Nowak

8:15-9pm Dinner

9pm Walk to Mortuary Chapel in Arbroath Cemetery


Saturday 14 August

8:30-9:30am Breakfast inside/outside the Studios

9:45-10:30am Contextualisation by Bik Van der Pol and Discussion of ‘Scores’

10:30am – 4pm Costume making workshops led by Anna Orton and Alison Brown at the Signal Tower Museum Courtyard in Arbroath (lunch, hot drinks and nibbles provided by Hospitalfield)

5pm Tour of Hospitalfield House and Visit to exhibition of The Judges III by Christina Mackie in the Picture Gallery.

5:30-7:30pm Presentation and discussion by artist and writer Morgan Quaintance

7:30-8.45pm Dinner in the Walled Garden at Hospitalfield followed by drinks and discussion


Sunday 15 August

8:30-9:30am Breakfast inside/outside the Studios

10am-12pm Development and rehearsal of performances and short films in groups.

12-1pm Lunch outside the Studios

1-3pm Performances within the Summer School context

3-4pm Collective editing on captured film content

4-5pm Tea and cake with discussion in groups

5-6pm Coming back together to review materials

6-7pm Dinner

7pm Closing speeches plus toasts


Monday 16 August

8-10am De-camping for those who have stayed, tea/coffee available in the Studio.


*The schedule may change in the days leading up to and during the summer school.


Tickets prices included camping accommodation and full board meals throughout your stay at Hospitalfield.

£75 Ticket
Full price tickets available for participants.

£25 Ticket
There are 15 of these tickets available for participants for whom the full price ticket may be a barrier.

Travel Bursaries
We are able to offer up to five Travel bursaries of up to £50 for those wishing to travel to Hospitalfield within the UK. Please enquire via email to

Online Programme
Free to attend. More information will be given on how to attend online elements of the Programme.

Catch up on the Study Groups

The three first study groups took a performative format and invited participants to use the (zoom) model to imagine and rehearse for the possible futures that lie ahead. Each Study Group invited a contribution from an academic or artist to demonstrate ways that artists and writers may interpret ‘the news’ in theatrical, artistic or performed work. The contributors included writer and scholar Rania Karoula, and artists Simon Bedwell and Liz Magic Laser. Participants were invited to ‘bring the news’ through short and easy exercises during the study groups on which stories were enacted in a contemporary ‘living newspaper’.

Study Group #1
Led by Rania Karoula


Study Group #2
Led by Simon Bedwell


Study Group #3
Led by Liz Magic Laser

The workshop led by Liz Magic Laser invited participants to take part in a movement and introspective exercise collectively over zoom. Participants were invited to select an image from that day’s news featuring a body in the image as well as the text surrounding the image. Participants were invited to move and position themselves like the bodies in the image, holding poses for lengths of time. The group then reflected on their own positions in relation to the people in the images.

Liz Magic Laser redesigned the workshop for the PDF publication Dance Your Home.


The Living Newspaper

The Living Newspaper was part of the Federal Theatre Project – a US state funded arts initiative which ‘gave voice’ to contemporary issues emerging from the news that impacted everyday life for many Americans in the 1930s through mass employment of actors, writers, dramaturgs, technicians and directors.

The Living Newspaper ran from 1935 – 1939 within The Federal Theatre Project as part of President Franklin D Roosevelt’s wide-reaching New Deal in the USA striving to rebuild the economy out of the Great Depression. The nation-wide programme worked with large casts and technical teams on large scale productions across the USA, arguably de-centring theatre from big cities and big names. The Living Newspapers were scripted productions which re-told and performed major stories of the day around housing, labour, disease and social stigma. The Federal Theatre Project was disbanded by the Government in 1939 after it was deemed too political by the Un-American Activities Committee.

Image: Triple-A Plowed Under. Scene twenty-three. Projection of the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence on a screen against coinciding shadows of the Founding Fathers, judges, politicians, and nameless farmers. Directed by Joseph Losey. New York, 1936

Bik Van der Pol Biography

Since 1995, Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol work together as Bik Van der Pol.

They work and live in Rotterdam (NL). Through their practice they aim to articulate and understand how art can produce a public sphere and space for speculation and imagination through which ‘publicness’ is not only defined but also created. By setting up the conditions for encounter they develop a process of working that allows for continuous reconfigurations of places, histories and publics. Their practice is site-specific with dialogue as a mode of transfer; a “passing through”, understood in its etymological meaning of “a speech across or between two or more people, out of which may emerge new understandings”. In fact, they consider the element of “passing through” as vital. It is temporal, and implies action and the development of new forms of discourse. Their work is both instigator and result of this method.

Bik Van der Pol are one of the initiators of the School of Missing Studies that started in 2003 as an initiative of artists and architects who recognized “the missing” as a matter of urgency.
Investigating what culture(s) laid the foundations for the loss we are experiencing from modernization and how this loss can talk back to us as a potential site of learning, they believe we must be calling for a space to turn existing knowledge against itself to affect our capacity to see things otherwise, to trust that seeing, to re-set one’s own and set new terms.
Bik Van der Pol came to Hospitalfield in 2015 as part of the Talking About Influence Summer School programmed by artist Pavel Buchler.


Captions:Accumulate, Collect, Show. Bik Van der Pol. 31st Bienal Sao Paulo 2014

Ania Nowak

Ania Nowak’s expanded choreographic practice approaches vulnerability and desire as ways towards reimagining what bodies and language can do. She develops formats such as live and video performance, performative exhibition and text. Nowak’s overall inquiry is into the political dimension of the body material and its immaterial aspects -affects, feelings and intuition- to think of new, embodied practices of care and companionship. She is especially interested in the latter when taking into account the unstable, transnational character of our lives and work in the Western world today; experiences of sexuality, sickness and grief, as well as, ethics of pleasure in times of climate and political urgency. Nowak’s works have been presented at HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Sophiensaele and Berlinische Galerie in Berlin; Nowy Teatr, Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw; the Baltic Triennial at CAC Vilnius, BWA Wrocław, Art Institute Basel, ICK Amsterdam and M HKA Antwerp a.o. In 2021 she is Artist-in-Residence at Ankara Queer Art in Turkey and Q21 MuseumsQuartier in Vienna. Nowak lives and works in Berlin.


Image of Ania Nowak- Performer in the exhibition Too Many Stories To Fit Into So Small A Box. By Bik Van der Pol. Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art. 2019/20. Photo: Pat Mic.

Morgan Quaintance

Limpid Lives: making politics public through lyrical performance

In this presentation and discussion Morgan Quaintance will explore plain speech as an impactful and affective device used to deliver complex information through song and performance. If one of the purposes of the living newspaper is to empower audiences by facilitating the acquisition of knowledge, then the potential democratic transparency and inclusivity of lyrical music (i.e. accessible to those who cannot read) is arguably one of the most effective tools available to those working within or expanding out from the New Deal format. Using Dalit activism, performance poetry, Senegalese Hip Hop, and the Industrial Workers of the World as source materials we’ll be encouraged to think through the possibilities of lyrical performance, and potentially try some of our own.


Morgan Quaintance is a London-based artist and writer.

His moving image work has been shown and exhibited widely at festivals and institutions including: MOMA, New York; Mcevoy Foundaton for the Arts, San Francisco; Konsthall C, Sweden; David Dale, Glasgow; European Media Art Festival, Germany; Alchemy Film and Arts Festival, Scotland; Images Festival, Toronto; International Film Festival Rotterdam; and Third Horizon Film Festival, Miami.

He is the recipient of the 2021 Jean Vigo Prize for Best Director at Punto de Vista, Spain, for the film Surviving You, Always; the 2020 Best Experimental Film award at Curtas Vila Do Conje, Portugal , and the 2020 New Vision Award at CPH:DOX, both for the film South (2020).

Over the past ten years, his critically incisive writings on contemporary art, aesthetics and their socio-political contexts, have featured in publications including Art Monthly, the Wire, and the Guardian, and helped shape the landscape of discourse and debate in the UK.

Alison Brown

Alison Brown has worked as a Costume designer and maker for over 25 years on productions that have toured throughout the world. She studied Printed Textiles at Edinburgh College of Art returning latterly as a Lecturer in the Perfromance Costume Department.
She has worked extensively with companies such as Barrowland Ballet, Catherine Wheels, Lung Ha Theatre Company, National Theatre Scotland, Rob Heaslip, Scottish Dance Theatre, The Macrobert Arts Centre and The Royal Lyceum. Her particular interests lie in dance and prop costume.

Image of recent work by Alison Brown for Strawboys by Rob Heaslip.

Anna Orton

Anna Orton is a designer for performance – Theatre, Dance, Opera and Exhibition. Before training as a theatre designer, Anna trained in visual art, and has a decade of experience in exhibiting, performing and curating. This background continues to influence her unique approach and vision. 

Her recent work includes  the multi-award winning production of Handel’s  Messiah directed by Tom Morris which premiered at Bristol Old Vic and was followed by a national cinema and on-line streaming release.   She has designed for many prestigious UK companies including the National Theatre of Scotland,  Scottish Opera, Live Theatre Newcastle,  English Touring Theatre, Citizens Theatre, Pitlochry Theatre Festival and the Watermill Theatre amongst others. 

She was recipient of the OLD VIC 12 Designer Affiliation in 2019 and has an MA in Theatre Design from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Images courtesy of Anna Orton:
1. Concept collage for The Tzar has his Photograph Taken, Kurt Weill, Scottish Opera.
2. Make More Noise, devised, Bristol Old Vic.
3. “I am dead” one is; Scene Stealer, Choreographer Tamsyn Russell, Dance Base, Edinburgh.

Practical Information


The events will take place throughout Hospitalfield House, grounds, in Arbroath Town & the surrounding landscape. Please bring clothes suitable for outside and good walking shoes. Please bring warm socks as for some indoor activity in the house we will have our shoes off.

Arbroath has a bit of a micro-climate so often dry and sunny but there is a chance of rain of course and the temperature will go down to 8 degrees at night so please come prepared with plenty of warm things for a good sleep.

The programme starts at 4pm on Friday 13 August, when participants can arrive to set up tents and runs to the evening of Sunday 15 August. Participants have the option to stay over on Sunday 15 August and de-camp on the morning of Monday 16 August.


Arbroath rail station is on the main line north from London / Glasgow/ Edinburgh to Aberdeen. Hospitalfield House is 25 minutes walk from the rail station (5 minute taxi ride).

The 39 bus runs from Dundee city centre to the end of our driveway (40 mins).
Our address is Hospitalfield House, Westway, Arbroath, DD11 2NH.
There is some space for car parking at the front of the house.


We are offering camping spaces in Hospitalfield’s beautiful grassy greens.
Please bring your own tent.
A torch will be helpful but it’s light most of the time in August!
There are normal toilets and washing facilities available in the house & studios.
An outdoor shower will be installed. Natural soaps and shampoo will be provided.
Please bring towels.
We understand that some people will want to stay in local B&Bs which we can help by recommending places.

Hospitalfield’s chef will be providing delicious food for FIELDWORK.
We love working with local produce. A lot of the food will be vegetarian.
Please tell us in advance if you have any specific allergies so we can try to accommodate you.
There are shops nearby if you want to bring drinks to the meals.

Hospitalfield follows the latest Scottish Government Guidelines around Covid-19. Scotland is currently in Level 0. More Info

During the ticket purchasing process you will be asked to provide details for Test & Protect. While at Hospitalfield we will ask you to follow 1m social distancing and wear masks in indoor spaces. There will be capacity limits set based on current guidelines and we will be organising a lot of activity to happen outside.

In addition we are encouraging all attendees to the FIELDWORK Summer School to participate in the UK-wide twice weekly asymptomatic testings schemes (even if you have both vaccines).

More information on testing can be found here:  

Hospitalfield House: 01241 656 124
Reid’s Taxi: 01241 873 212 Abbey Taxi: 01241 877 777

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