Dress Code

Dress Code was a collaborative exploration of Whitechapel Road, during the run up to the London 2012 Olympics.

Through pattern, colour, place, and fabric UHC worked with Liverpool Art Prize 2012 winner Robyn Woolston to create a series of new interpretations of the High Street.

Publication: Encouraging library users to create their own textiles history from pages of images and text extracts. These were stitched together by fashion designer Christopher Davies.

Bike: Inspired by a cyclist spotted on Whitechapel Road, who’s bike was adorned with dozens of improvised carrier bag panniers. UHC created their own version, with bags created by Manchester Metropolitan University students.

New temporary works emerged in green spaces: Robyn Woolston carried out an eight hour durational weaving performance between trees on common ground known locally as The Waste. An inflatable architectural form was hand painted with plant motifs in reference to Indian influenced Chintz textiles in Altab Ali Park.

Commissioned by Deborah Smith Projects for Tower Hamlets Council and presented as part of the High Street 2012 inititative.

Visit the Dress Code Blog


We are extInked

Launched in the summer of 2011, We are extInked was a national tour of the extInked project, consisting of a series of unique visual arts exhibitions in partnership with venues throughout the UK.

The tour documented the legacy of the project from its inception in 2009, through to the subsequent work of the ambassadors.

We are extInked brought together for the first time the original pen and ink drawings, documentary footage of the tattooing process, and the extraordinary photographic portraits of the ambassadors created on a rare 19th century camera by Anatomy Projects.

The primary focus was to showcase the work of the one hundred ambassadors providing audiences with a unique insight into the potential for art and socially engaged practice to explore and influence UK efforts to prevent species loss.

The exhibitions reached a wide public across the UK and inspired and encouraged audiences to protect the flora and fauna surrounding them.

The project and UK tour was presented in proud association with The Marine Conservation Society, Buglife, (The Invertebrate Conservation Trust) The People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Anatomy Projects and Leeds based tattoo artists Ink Vs Steel.

Supported by The National Lottery through Arts Council England and MIRIAD


This is Camp X-Ray

This is Camp X-Ray was a fully operational, life-size replica of the U.S. internment camp at Guantanamo Bay. The installation was created on land earmarked for regeneration in October 2003 and set out to challenge attitudes over the camp, by investigating experiences of incarceration and sensory deprivation.

Commissioned by UHC and artist Helen Knowles, This is Camp X-Ray was built and maintained using only mainstream media images as its source.

Recruited from the audience and online applicants, prisoners and guards performed their roles on site over nine days of the installation, bringing traffic to a standstill. The piece attracted national and international media coverage including articles in The Guardian, The Sun, The Washington Post and across TV news networks. The Observer’s arts review of 2003 cited the project as one of its performance highlights of the year.

UHC commissioned a video documentary of This is Camp X-Ray which includes an emotional interview with the sisters of Jamal Al-Harith, a Manchester resident who was released from Guantanamo Bay in 2004 after three years of imprisonment without charge.

Supported by Arts Council England.


Spring Shrouds

Spring Shrouds responded to a request from comedian Mark Thomas, to create temporary installation spaces from advertising hoardings in Manchester, on a busy rush hour morning.

This collaboration between artists and anti-consumerism campaigners saw UHC work with a small army of volunteers to create and install a handmade canvas shroud for every street-based advert shell in the city.

100 shrouds were produced and installed, each carrying the image of a tree and the legend ‘trees breathe adverts suck’.

The spring shroud intervention in the city happened on the morning of the 4th May 2007. The project succeeded in replacing the incessant chatter of advertising with a few precious moments of peace and beauty. The Spring Shrouds temporarily liberated space and created a brief vision of streets lined with trees, rather than metal hoardings.

Commissioned by Mark Thomas (comedian)


The Common Treasury of our Deeds and Actions

UHC designed and built a bespoke boardroom table for Knowle West Media Centre’s ground-breaking new eco building in Bristol.

Central to the project was an event organised by UHC on the winter solstice 2007 where users and long term supporters of the media centre and its new building were invited to share their stories and hopes for the project. The large solid ash table holds a series of glazed display chambers into which remnants of a talking stick and the solstice fire were placed.

The event is an example of UHC’s interaction with Urban Environmentalism, where social acts and networks form the basis for sustainable cities.

The Common Treasury of our Deeds and Action reminds us and its users that deeds rather than words are the heart of environmental action and social justice. The inscription around the table edge is quoted from the writings of the 17th Century Leveller Gerrard Winstanley and reads: ‘…and thoughts ran in me that words and writing were nothing and must die, for action is the life of all and if thou dost not act, thou dost nothing.’

Commissioned by Knowle West Media Centre