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Paint Cans


This concert featured four new collaborative works created by pairs of composers and artists from different mediums. These pieces explore the relationship between music, dance, improvisation, poetry and visual art.

The participants of this project have worked together for 10 months during the COVID-19 pandemic to create these pieces, and have had to adapt their pieces for both a live and pre-recorded concert setting. Programme: Inside Out - Tom Sissons and Andy Blackwell Three Spaces - Desmond Clarke and Erica Mulkern Language between Unlike Beings - Ruth Lee and Thea Ayres Trails - Lynette Quek and Emma Blackburn

Cross-Medium Collaborations: Text


This event was live-streamed on youtube: you can watch it back here!

Cross-Medium Collaborations: HTML Embed


The composers and performers who worked together to create these masterpieces!

Tom pic.tiff


Tom studied composition at York under the supervision of Roger Marsh and Martin Suckling, graduating last year with an MA by Research in Music. His music has been played at events across the UK which include Bangor Music Festival and Delia Derbyshire Day, and by York-based groups Arc Project, AMOK and the Chimera Ensemble. Tom has spent the last twelve months writing pieces, songs and job applications with varying degrees of success, and walking a small rescue terrier called Poppy. Poppy’s likes and dislikes include tennis balls and staring at white goods (yes), and cereal boxes and mop buckets (no). After twelve months indoors, Tom’s interests are pretty much identical.

Andy Blackwell.jpg


Andy Blackwell is a drummer, percussionist, and cross-medium improviser from Leicester. He has recently graduated from the University of York with an MA by Research on improvised music and improv comedy, and is now just vibing.

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Desmond Clarke (b. 1989) is a composer, improviser and visual artist from the North of England. His work explores the relationships between physicality, systematisation and perception, and often focuses on the sensual (or sensory) experience of listening or performing.

His work has been widely performed and exhibited, and he has been lucky enough to collaborate with a number of world class musicians, including the Arditti Quartet, Cikada and Ensemble Intercontemporain.

Instagram: des_r_clarke


Erica Mulkern Headshot.jpg


Erica Mulkern MA is a professional dancer, teacher, choreographer and mentor based in West Yorkshire, UK. She is currently a dancer with Balbir Singh Dance Company and Northern Dance.

She trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance where she received a First Class Hons Degree and the Carolyn Woolridge Prize for highest performance marks. She also gained a Distinction in an MA in Contemporary Dance. Prior to this she completed the Foundation Course at NSCD with a Distinction.

During her time as a professional dancer she has worked with Black Box Dance Company in Denmark, Balbir Singh, Maxine Fell, Jana Bitterová, The Hexagon Collective, Dionysia Bouzioti, Tina Tarpgaard, Jason Mabana, Marie Brolin-Tani, Steph Giles, Joseph Reay-Reid, Jacob Stage, Melody Putu, Alexander Michael, Lila Naruse and Gerry Turvey. Other choreographers she has worked with include: Jos Baker, Laila Diallo, Vanessa Grasse, Lila Dance, Gemma Harrison and Gwen Rakotovao. 

Outside of dance Erica enjoys interacting with dogs, baking, reading and stroking other people's dogs.

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Ruth Lee is an award-winning composer and harpist, selected by the United Kingdom Harp Association as an Emerging Artist of 2020-2021, whose work often fuses folk and contemporary classical musical styles. Interested in mythology, nature and anthropology, she explores both acoustic and electro-acoustic soundworlds. Ruth recently performed her piece ‘Dyr’, winner of the Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award 2019, at the Virtual Edinburgh International Harp Festival and will be performing a recital featuring her own
compositions at the World Harp Congress 2022. Her other accolades include First Prize at The Future Blend Project, First Prize at the Wales Harp Composition Competition and Runner-Up at the East Coast Musician of the Year. She is a graduate of the University of York (First-Class BA Hons. Music 2019), where she was awarded The Wilfrid Mellers Prize for Music and a Concerto Award, culminating in the performance of Deborah Henson-Conant’s ‘Soñando en Español’ with the University of York Chamber Orchestra. Alongside her performance and compositional work, she works as a private tutor.

Thea Ayres.jpg


I am a poet from West Yorkshire. I write about animals, magic, mythology and trans feminism. I have been twice commended in the Foyle Young Poets competition, my poetry has been published in The Scribe and PUSH and I am a member of the Writing Squad, a community of young writers in the north of England. I volunteered, from 2018 to 2019, for Write Out Loud, helping to organise and promote spoken word and poetry events, and in 2020 graduated from the University of Leeds with an MA in Postcolonial, Literary and Cultural Studies.



Lynette Quek is an audiovisual maker from Singapore. Incarnations of her work include audiovisual installations, composition through sound manipulation, as well as cross-disciplinary performance with the computer. Her current work examines the synchronisation and interaction within audiovisuality, challenging the notion of loops with the heard/unheard, seen/unseen. This varies across the medium of video, performance, sculpture, installation, and expanding.

Emma Blackburn.jpg


Emma is a contemporary art history graduate and part-time freelance artist. Primarily working with drawing, painting and collaging, she loves the opportunity to collaborate with artists of different mediums.
As well as making visuals for the Arc Project, she has recently been selling original greeting cards and prints and improvising works alongside musicians in the Thinking Minds Project. Images and details of her work can be found on Instagram @emmablackburnart.

Cross-Medium Collaborations: Meet the Team
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