‘Calling-in’ les petroleuses – an improvised performance by Polimprov July 3 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

This multimedia performance by collaborative artist-improvisers, Gillian Whiteley and Geoff Bright, forms the final phase of the current exhibition at MayDay Rooms. It reactivates the names of women activists in the 1871 Paris Commune – les petroleuses – in an entanglement of instrumental invention, field recordings and exhibition audio materials. It will also include an optional element of audience participation, co-producing a dynamic performance ‘re-sonating’ and ‘re-verb-orating’ the political significance of these women’s lives. As the event will launch Gillian and Geoff’s latest project Polimprov, a discussion will follow on the possibilities of deep political listening and experimental improvisation as an inherently anti-capitalist practice.

Free event – drinks and nibbles – all welcome!

Sign up here: https://events.maydayrooms.org/e/29/calling-in-les-petroleuses-an-improvised-performance-by-polimprov

Re-sonating Women of the Paris Commune: Communing print, politics and improvisation exhibition, MayDay Rooms London, 6 June – 3 July 2024

MayDay Rooms, Fleet Street, London

Exhibition from 6th June to 3rd July

Opening 7pm Thursday 6 June/Closing performance event  Polimprov  (Gill Whiteley and Geoff Bright) 7pm Wednesday 3 July

MayDay Rooms is open Wed – Fri  11am-6pm so check their website for times

Gillian has investigated historical and contemporary forms of ‘art activism’, through research, writing and curatorial projects for almost thirty years. Her work considers ‘indisciplinary’ subversive practices that challenge forms of political power, disrupt the hegemony of capitalism and pre-figure or enact other possible worlds.  Improvisation is fundamental to her practice alongside the reuse and revaluing of discarded materials.  The process of ‘re-sonation’ opens up the limitations of dominant forms of celebration and creatively reactivates singularities lost in archival processes.

Working with handprinted letterpress, salvaged packaging, discarded books, old maps and other found printed and paper ephemera, the exhibition features a series of ‘pocket pamphlets’, notebooks, mini-posters and other printed items that highlight the politics, ethics and aesthetics of working with ‘rubbish’. With a new series of pamphlets, it focuses on Resonating Women of the Paris Commune a ten week online project in 2021 (the Commune’s 150th anniversary year) that celebrated les petroleuses. Each week featured a dedicated letterpress print to ‘name’ a woman communard, provided research and a short freely improvised sonic piece. The exhibition closes with a freely improvised live performance and discussion on improvisation as a generative politicised practice from collaborative duo, Polimprov (Gillian Whiteley and Geoff Bright).

Other work shown includes Ten Anarchist Women, pamphlet series with quotes from women anarchists of the 20thc and Words by Gerard Winstanley, Digger and True Leveller, pamphlet series featuring quotes from his 17thc writings. These and other printed booklets, pamphlets, posters and cards will be available for sale, 50% proceeds to Mayday Rooms.

Other info/bios

Gillian is a multi-media artist-improviser creating ludic and sonic dissent with performance drawing, printmaking, musical instruments and objects. Collaborations include Isolation Improv Drawings, Les Petroleuses Publications include Junk: Art and the Politics of Trash (2011) and Art, Politics and the Pamphleteer (2021). She is Honorary Fellow at Loughborough University and co-editor of the RadicalAesthetics-RadicalArt book series for Bloomsbury.

Geoff Bright is an independent researcher, improviser and live art performer. A former Research Fellow at Manchester Met University, his published work is at the intersection of philosophy, social theory and cultural studies and reflects on the relationship of anti-capitalist politics and improvisation Performance projects include Dividual Machine, Oppositional Defiance Disorder,J[a]B[a]W, Proposition 5, The Bottom End and Treignac Projet, France (2019).

Sharing a kindred political sensibility, Gillian and Geoff have worked together in various collaborations with other artists and musicians including Gated Community, Magna: Node, Flow, Mass, Alchemy/Schmalchemy. As [the gathering…the chewing], they work in multi-media improvisation, creating and curating collaborative videos, installations and performances: a recent series of videos includes Daily into the Blue  (2021) as part of  Here, There, Everywhere at AC Institute, New York. They are currently co-curating, Workground/Playtime< >Playground/Worktime, an improvised sonic/visual/movement project linking two specific post-industrial sites in Sheffield. Their latest platform, Polimprov, attempts to enact the countercultural militancy of free improvisation.

Notes & Sounds Uni Arms Monday 29 Jan 2024 8pm

Notes&Sounds presents

@ The University Arms, 197 Brook Hill, Sheffield, S3 7GH

Monday 29th January 8pm. Suggested donation £5


Alistair Zaldua – electric violin James Coote – drum kit

James Coote and Alistair Zaldua established duet improvisation over the course of 2023 and concentrate on exploring the possibilities hidden in a reduced palette of sounds.

James Coote plays an experimental drum set-up that includes a diverse array of objects, and Alistair Zaldua plays the 5-stringed electric violin.



Gillian Whiteley – viola, accordion, hurdy-gurdy, voice/Geoff Bright – soprano & bass saxophones, voice/John Jasnoch – 12 string& fretless guitars, mandolin

J[a]B[a]W is a free improvisation outfit featuring eclectic, hybrid instrumentation and vocalisation, creating an organic mash-up veering from delicate abstraction through insistent sonic curiosity to insistent rhythmic material.

bricolagekitchen prints’n’paper 

bricolagekitchen prints’n’paper is a Sheffield-based artist, pamphleteer and printmaker with a back story in the city’s metal industries (and grandfather in the ‘rag’n’bone’ and ‘scrap-tatting’ trade.) My practice focuses on the re-use and re-invention of discarded and devalued materials.

As bricolagekitchen prints’n’paper, I salvage packaging, discarded books, public works handbooks, battered maps and architectural blueprints as a basis for Adana and letterpress handprinted pamphlets, notebooks, and mini-posters which highlight the politics, ethics and aesthetics of working with ‘rubbish’. I fabricate in the heart of the scrap trade, in Attercliffe in Sheffield, at a studio in CADS Eagle Foundry Works, formerly the palatial offices for steel manufacturers Castmaster Rolls.

Salvage series  includes a range of printed items featuring 19thc Sheffield dialect words for rubbish and scrapkelterment, joram, mullock, and tag-rag. Mini-posters are handprinted letterpress on Adana on found and salvaged packaging paper, early 20thc maps and French public works handbooks with photomontaged motifs cutout from discarded classic texts.

See my related publications such as Junk: Art and Politics of Trash (2011) and co-edited (with Jane Tormey) Art, Politics and the Pamphleteer(2021).

Contact me at gmwhiteley@btinternet.com if you would like any items. Note: 50% of funds received by bricolagekitchen for artworks will go to social movements archive Sparrows’ Nest, Nottingham.

YOWL at Dubrek in Derby Saturday 18th Feb 2023

Listen here to Dubrek audio clip

DUBREK Derby, 67, Bridge Street  DE1 3LB  Saturday February 18th  £5 on the door – doors open 7.30pm

YOWL Gill Whiteley – piano, viola, hurdy-gurdy, voice, Geoff Bright – bass, tenor, and soprano saxophones, voice,  Walt Shaw – percussion, electronics , voice,  Lyn Hodnett – voice, cello, trumpet, objects

“Free improv collective YOWL cook sonic collisions across an accelerating event-space from whispered zero right through to the scream of libidinal wrench.

Expect a weird conjunct of wind, voices, strings, percussion and full-on animal bodies pushing towards a maximal threshold of intensity.”

Geoff, Gill, Lyn and Walt have worked together in different collaborations in duos, trios, & larger groups for many years, but this particular quartet is new and is being brought to Derby from Sheffield, Wales and Burton-on-Trent

There will also be an exciting set from William McGiven. Will is a free form DJ on SoulandJazz.com. His sets always surprise, shock, amaze and innovate

Helling Nelly at University Arms Sheffield Monday 26th September 2022

@ The University Arms, 197 Brook Hill, Sheffield, S3 7GH
Monday 26th September, 8pm. £5

Lyn Hodnett, Helen Papaioannou & Gill Whiteley
Prepare for a spontaneous kinetic performance as Helling Nelly play with an array of objects, materials and instruments, including trumpet, cello, baritone sax, hurdy-gurdy, chapel harmonium, scissors, tape, cardboard boxes and sculptural trails of paper. Warning: things could get messy!

Dean Honer & Will Goddard
Electronics, tapes and guitar
Spontaneous explorations of new idioms possibly
1st outing of this Sheffield saxophone duo. Parping, quacking & skronking aplenty