art. culture. people. party.
SOCIAL CONVENTION is a new brand platform that reimagines the performing arts centre as a digital-first community with room for experimentation, shoppable art objects and merch, parties and pop ups, full theatrical productions, and ongoing artistic series.
Basically, part performing arts centre, part content platform, part member’s club.
"Traditional” arts and culture offerings are not keeping up with market demands or customer needs. Meanwhile, the experience economy is booming, but has not developed a pipeline of work to match the depth and quality of arts and culture. Adding the current and future impacts of the pandemic and the clear inability of the status quo to address the longstanding inequity of BIPOC leaders, artists, and audiences, we believe there is a NEED for radical focus on audience experience, centering diverse voices, and queering cultural spaces.
We are Nat and Cim. With over 30 years slinging art and throwing parties, we share an artistically uncompromising and entrepreneurial approach, along with a wickedly fun streak. We’ve been building this company together over nights and weekends for the past two years whilst working full time in other jobs, bootstrapping development and events from small pots of project funding and our own pockets. BUT NOW IS THE MOMENT. Both of us have quit our full time jobs to launch Phase 2, but we NEED YOUR HELP.
Performing arts is in crisis with the global pandemic, but we aren’t asking you for money to keep doing the same old stuff.
We started SOCIAL CONVENTION to create the kind of performing arts centre we would build in our dreams, what a multi-arts space really COULD be if we thought about it differently:
Digital-first: exclusive, original creative content with physical experiences in cities across the world
Experience-first: interactive and personalised, fun and easy from instagram to afterparty
Agile & global: Who needs big listed buildings? Creativity lives everywhere, and we make it with you, wherever you might be
Intersectional, redistributed, and de-institutionalised: agency in MANY hands not just a FEW with a structure that evolves and is designed to be structurally inclusive.
We have set an ALL OR NOTHING target of £10k which is the minimum we need to jumpstart the platform. We also a stretch goal of £20k that will help us go further, faster, and get the word out to more folks around the world while making more experiences and supporting more artists. Luckily, we also have some INCREDIBLE rewards - from seriously cute merch, to gorgeous prints (from Nan Goldin and Yinko Shinobare!), to ridiculously fun parties!
Social Convention’s main three strands include:
LABS: Digital open studios give artists the space to experiment, make, and mess up - and you’re invited to play, watch, and co-create while also potentially germinating the seeds of our next big project.
FACTORY: Ongoing digital content made with you and for you, including original series developed with all kinds of artists, interactive workshops, and podcast and youtube series about arts and culture where we’ll have a few glasses of wine, interview artists and makers, and take you behind the scenes on larger projects.
FLOOR: The part where we get to hang out and get a little sweaty. Parties, pop ups, performances, and major productions - from URL to IRL. Big feels and big joy with a global fam.
COLLECTION 1 (Summer-Autumn 2020) will include 8 artists in LAB residencies, including:
- Queer artist and immersive performance director Leonie Gasson
- Iranian-born painter, animator, and curator Parham Ghalamdar
- Electrodub producer Dirty Freud in collaboration with ethnomusicologist and Chinese zither virtuoso Dr. Shu Jiang
- Gender divergent drag legend Cheddar Gorgeous
- Contemporary rave dance-makers Howl Collective, Brinks Dance Company, and composer LS Marley
- Multimedia artist and installation maker Thomas Buckley
- Emerging performance artist Victoria Callinan
- Interdisciplinary artist Sian Fan
- Our Newsletter: a monthly juicy newsletter with interviews, creative challenges for you to engage more deeply with the world at home, behind the scenes madness, and so much more.
- Chatting S(tuff) with Artists: a podcast about art, culture, what on earth artists get up to all day. We’ll interview artists, makers, and allsorts, we’ll play games, we’ll get really heated about the things we adore and the things we LOATHE.
- Doing S(tuff) with Artists: creative workshops getting sticky and having a laugh with all kinds of artists and makers: we send you the kit in the mail, you just login and have a brilliant time.
- Video Narsties: A new web series from punk horror drag superstar Baby Lame.
- Our Shop: art objects, prints, streetwear inspired merch, party gear & more made in collab with artists and designers.
LABS COHORT 1
We’ve been co-workers and friends for 6 years, both (unbeknownst to the other) dissatisfied by the way performing arts organisations continued to peddle underwhelming experiences and rigid, homogeneous, institutionalised approaches to making work and running venues.
SOCIAL CONVENTION was conceived after a passionate, champagne-fueled rant in a piano bar in San Francisco, and, just under a year later, born over pints in the heart of South East London. We began life as a production company developing original multi-artform performances, experiences, and parties; setting them in experiential spaces that encourage the cathartic, the communal, and the transformative.
In 2019 we sold out houses at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club and The Underbelly Festival bringing over BLUNDERLAND, Brooklyn’s most notorious variety show. Alongside immersive studio Call & Response, we produced a 3-night spatialized sound festival from 7 different artists including Invisibles frontman and Jessie Ware producer Dave Okumu. We currently have 3 major productions in development, including two top-secret adaptations and an original immersive opera based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
But despite our desire to do things differently we were still operating like a typical production company. Finding funding project to project, locked into industry-standard development processes, and unable to truly connect, every day, with the audiences we wanted to make work WITH and FOR. When COVID-19 hit, we saw an opportunity to pivot and launch the next iteration of our business in exactly the way we dreamed it.
After receiving an Emergency Response Grant from Arts Council England, we decided to take the leap and launch PHASE 2 of Social Convention - a global community of folks who want to DE-INSTITUTIONALISE arts and culture and REDISTRIBUTE power into the hands of artists and audiences.
Our first Collection for Summer / Autumn 2020 will deliver 8 digital artist residencies, a new podcast, a series of creative workshops, an original web series, and a whole lot more. We already have 75% of the cash to deliver this programme and directly support over 20 creatives through 26+ weeks of PAID WORK.
BUT, we need a minimum of £10,000 more to get us over the line to build, programme, and distribute COLLECTION 1.
We need equipment, support from editors, designers, and developers, administrative and production support, and a marketing budget to get the word out. Most importantly, more money will go directly into paying more artists to create new work, talks, and workshops that in turn builds a thriving community for art, laughs, beauty, and rebuilding arts and culture the way it should be.
Anything above that will go directly towards our BIG BIG future plans, which include:
- SUPPORTING MORE ARTISTS: in experimenting and making new work directly through cash money. We ONLY provide paid opportunities - this is vitally important for all artists during this global pandemic, but particularly BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ Deaf & Disabled, underrepresented, and emerging artists.
- LAUNCHING THE SOCIAL CLUB: our digital and physical membership that offers exclusive events, talks, subscription boxes and experiences - and guess what? We’re designing it WITH you so you can tell us what you want.
- POP UP NEAR YOU: we will be popping up in a city near you in an ambitious scheme to grow the global crew, throw immersive parties AND support local artists and businesses through paid collaborations
- MEMBER HUB: Open a physical Member Hub in 2021 with space for wild parties and intimate performances that will also host a Digital Production Studio where we can produce our work AND offer space and training for young people and underrepresented creatives.
HOW YOU CAN HELP!
If you've read this far - WE LOVE YA! There are many ways you can help:
- Give as generously as you can: This is our big ask. Things are really real, this thing is happening, and we truly need your support!!
- SHARE WIDELY AND OFTEN: This isn't a project that is only of interest to our friends. Anyone you know who cares about a world with more big feelings, more great art, more creativity, and more community can join us in making it a reality.
- Join our community: Follow us on Instagram and sign up to our mailing list, and invite your friends to do the same. Let's get this party started!!!
MANIFESTO TOTE - designed by SCL CVN Creative Director Piama Habibullah
A big, sturdy, GORGE tote that will look extremely cool on the tube or at the farmer's market, designed exclusively for this campaign.
Allllll the things to party into the night! Disco Dust is premium fashion glitter that sparkles from the catwalks of London and Milan fashion week to the drag queens and dance floors of East London. These biodegradable glitters are plant based from hardwoods mainly eucalyptus, they are made in the UK, they are vegan, cruelty free and 40% softer than regular plastic glitters, what's not to love?!! We'll also be sourcing cocktails from Nio Cocktails - expertly crafted cocktails, made sustainably to fit through your mailbox.
Signed art print from South London editorial photographer Theo McInnes.
These gorgeous images were taken at Social Convention's collab with BLUNDERLAND VARIETY SHOW at the infamous Bethnal Green Working Man's Club and the Underbelly Festival Speigeltent. Have a legendary bit of London sweat and fabulousness on your wall with this limited edition, signed print from our fave photog Theo McInnes (see more of his work HERE).
Choose from 3 prints:
SPOTLIGHT (feat. the brilliant Harry Clayton Wright)