Introducing CATALYST – a programme from our Curator in Residence Saziso Phiri

Date published: 18 Dec 2020

Posted by: Joe Pick

We are excited to announce CATALYST – a new programme from our first Curator in Residence Saziso Phiri.

Saziso has designed CATALYST in response to our Black Lives Matter commitments and a series of discussions that followed, led by Bo Olawoye. It will be a catalyst for change at City Arts. We aim to create a long-term culture of investing in, listening to and amplifying marginalized voices. We will do this by working with artists that reflect the diversity of our city.

As part of CATALYST, artists Honey Williams and Richard Chung are in residence at City Arts. Starting January, you can look forward to a new three-part exhibition. There will be artist talks, open studios and a new podcast series. Plus, you’ll have the chance join some fantastic creative workshops. Everything has been designed with COVID-safety procedures in place.

Read more about the programme below.

Meet Curator in Residence Saziso Phiri

Saziso Phiri is the founder of The Anti Gallery, a creative platform that is breaking the mould of the traditional art galleries and exhibitions. The gallery specialises in showcasing art from emerging artists in alternative spaces. Phiri is passionate about bringing light to early-career artists and changing the dated approach of the artist to the gallery process.

Len Gordon, Artplugged

Since launching The Anti Gallery, Saziso has produced and co-pronounced over 30 events. They include exhibitions, film screenings, artist residencies, workshops and artist talks.

Saziso Phiri

Saziso is also freelance curator and cultural producer. She works on festivals and biennials throughout the UK and overseas. They include the Migration Matters Festival, FORMAT, Nuart Festival, Frequency Festival. She has worked with NearNow, Sadlers Wells and Nottingham Contemporary. Saziso is the Curator for UK New Artists 2021.

Saziso is a founding member of SHEAfriq – a collective of black women creatives in Nottingham.

Artists in Residence

Artists Honey Williams and Richard Chung are in residence at City Arts until March 2021. An artist’s residency offers artists the chance to work outside of their usual environment. By making this change, they can be inspired to reflect on what they do, experiment and create new art.

Protestor with loud speaker, wearing Black Lives Matter top. Black & White Photograph.
© Richard Chung, 2020

Honey and Richard are being supported by a grant from City Arts. Their residency will give them time and space to develop their personal artistic practices. The artists will also collaborate on new artwork. City Arts is providing studio space, access to outdoor space for street art and access to equipment and materials. During the residency they will receive mentorship and reviews of their art portfolio.

Both artists are contributing work to BLACK, a three-part exhibition series. The final part of the series will showcase artwork created during the residency.

About Honey Williams

Honey Williams

Honey Williams is a creative powerhouse. She is a singer-songwriter, a visual artist and designer.

In 2019, Honey was invited by the British Council to travel to Kingston, Jamaica. She was lead artist for ‘Paint Up Yuh Creative Space’. The project worked with the local artistic community to create a mural honouring the Windrush Generation. Honey was one of 50 artists, selected from 700 applications, to exhibit at New Art Exchange’s 2019 NAE Open. She won the Public Choice Award for her piece ‘Big Black Truth’.

About Richard Chung

Richard Chung is a Nottingham-based image-maker. He works predominantly with traditional film photography. In a world where millions of images are uploaded to the internet every day, the rituals, uncertainty and processes of film photography are all important to Richard’s work.

Chung is interested in photography as a way of creating spaces of affirmation, empowerment, resistance, and community. His recent work responds to the continuing threat to the lives of Black people and people of colour in the UK. Richard is a contributing photographer for LeftLion Magazine. He has exhibited at Off-Centre Photography Festival and New Art Exchange.

BLACK – A Three-Part Exhibition Series

Work by Honey Williams and Richard Chung
Curated by Saziso Phiri

BLACK is an exhibition of existing and brand-new artworks by our artists in residence. It is divided into three parts: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. The work will include illustration, archived conversation, and photography. Combined, the exhibitions will present a timeline that documents anti-black racism.


8 January – 30 January POSTPONED

An exhibition of art created by Honey Williams before Summer 2020. Honey’s art looks themes including: decolonisation, marginalised beauty, identity, race, history, gender, love, fashion, sexuality and fatphobia.

I'm Tired - Illustration of a Black woman with social media icons in her hair
© Honey Williams, 2017


12 February – 5 March POSTPONED

Photographs of the Summer 2020 Black Lives Matter protests by Richard Chung. Using film photography, Richard has been capturing anti-racist protests across the UK.

Protestor speaking on street as others walk part. Black & White Photograph.
© Richard Chung, 2020


Dates to be confirmed

Collection of studio and outdoor works created by Richard Chung and Williams during their three-month residency at City Arts.

Community Conversations Podcast

In January, we will be launching a new 6-part podcast series. It will be hosted by arts and culture journalist Rachel Imogen Willcocks.

Rachel will dive into conversation with black and mixed-race black members of Nottingham’s creative community. Discussions will explore the guests’ creative processes, the 2020 anti-racism protests and mental health. The podcasts will also look at entrepreneurship, and the guests’ experiences of navigating the pandemic.

Guests include:

  • MELONYX – a Nottingham based duo making modern black-British Soul music
  • Jeremy Prince – a Rave, Drum’n’Bass and House DJ and co-organiser of Nottingham Carnvial
  • Norma Gregory – a historian, broadcaster, heritage consultant and arts curator
  • Nathaniel Wilson – founder of Mimm & Nottingham Street Food Club
  • Michaela Spencer – poet and founder of Truth Mental Health
  • Ramario Chevoy – a model, stylist, dance teacher and influencer

About Rachel Imogen Willcocks

Rachel Willcocks

Rachel Willcocks is a passionate freelance arts and culture writer. She is fascinated with thought-provoking and meaningful stories, that capture under-represented narratives.

Rachel is joint arts editor at LeftLion. She has been contributing writer for Black Ballad. Alongside writing, Rachel has a wealth of volunteer experience within the cultural sector. She currently works as an arts marketer at New Art Exchange.