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Original performance, art, poetry, sculpture and installation. An exploration of space, creative relationships and self inquiry. Part exhibition, part guided art walk.


On 16 Sept 2018 What Is? Collective’s ‘What is…Earth?’ event was hosted in a secret location. Our events are ‘intimate and unexpected’. For this event the meeting point was announced 48 hours before to ticket buyers with only the invitation to ‘Witness the curvature of Hull from a secret location’.

What is Earth? asked artists to respond in their own way in pairs to the question. 

​We met up in a cafe at The University of Hull, with no idea of our destination. The amazing City of Culture volunteers greeted us with a warm welcome. In small groups we entered  the lifts. 

The lifts – Audio work – Michelle Dee, The overview effect.

This artwork immersed us in a dreamy audio monologue considering the overview effect (The feeling of insignificance we get from looking back at the earth from space). As we moved up through the building to the top floor, the lift took on a new identity as we were being launched into space. On arrival our audience were greeted with a glass of wine and a perfect panoramic view of stunning sunset from an unusually high vantage (Hull is very flat and this location is out of bounds to the public). Artist and Illustrator Gareth Sleightholme sketched the audience and then a brilliant monologue written and performed by Dave Windass – The Common Vegetable (Commissioned originally by Invisible dust).

A Common Vegetable is a wry tale of a fruitless romantic relationship that is an ode to the common vegetable, there was an impassioned scramble at the end as the audience were gifted the fruit and veg used during the performance (including a stunning Romanesco broccoli…Vegetable..or art?) Children drew faces on the marrows and carried them around like prizes.

We were then guided on to the next location from in the sky up high, to down below the round via back door of an old boiler house, through a workshop to the exhibition.

On entering the room, Jerome Whittingams giant closeup photos of worms created the feeling of being small and underground and in hibernation and an immersive digital installation companion piece, The audience was asked to listen closely to the mud, to hear audio art by Dave Windass.

Beautiful and profound artworks created in response to the theme by Sam Fowler including ‘You Are Here’. Sarah Mole (Moie) created paintings exploring Bees and extinction, comparing bees to precious jewels. Real honey bees provided by a beekeeper (in attendance now as an audience member) were used in its creation. There was a performance art by Michelle Dee, wearing a creation inspired by the theme.

The event ended with a digital piece created by Jen Skip Smith in collaboration with the audience and admin of the one Hull of a City facebook group. It was created from peoples reactions across Hull, to the question ‘What is…Earth?’

​The artwork:
Read more about the artwork in this article:

Huge thanks to the artists:
Dave Windass
Sarah Mole
Sam Fowler
Lee Harrison 
Michelle Dee
Jerome Whittingham
Jen Skip Smith
Gareth Sleightholme
Artifical Limb Unit
​Rich & ‘One Hull of a City’ facebook page followers
Anete Sooda

And to the partners and funders:
Heads Up Festival
Hull University
Absolutely Cultured City of Culture Volunteers


March 7th 2018 at Heads Up Festival, part of Battersea Arts Centre’s Collaborative Touring Network. The theme was ‘What is…Light?’

It started with a guided exploration of the Lowry-esque Wincolmlee industrial estate at night, with its amazing history, sharing artworks created by our artists on route and passing some of the graffiti by artists such as the renowned ‘Banksy’ before reaching our hidden venue and exhibition. The exact location of meeting place was be disclosed 48 hours before the event via email to ticket holders.

For the event cross discipline artists were paired. One creates, one responds. Both reflected on the chosen theme and go on their own journey of self-inquiry and reflection. Throughout the process they provide support to each other producing some beautiful work.

Geo located sound installation, Painting, Words, Typewriter art and light and sound installation by Moie & A.L.U. Paintings, interactive light based installations by Sam Fowler & Lee Harrison. Photographic exhibition by Jerome Whittingham. Sculpture by Buntress. Performance by Simon Button (the light guide), Michelle Dee (poetry), Adam and the Speakeasy musicians. Thanks to Diana, Consuela.

Thanks Cannon Paul and the Charterhouse residents, the Whalebone Pub for welcoming us.

Thanks to Hull City Arts, Heads Up Festival (Hull) and Battersea Arts Centre’s CTN for funding, programming and supporting this event.