Bionic People: workshop with John Williams

Two-day filmmaking workshop for disabled artists and filmmakers, part of DadaFest and Shape/The Arts Catalyst's Specimens to Superhumans programme

Gary Thomas from Disability Arts Online, attended as reviewer/participant and made this short film about the workshop.

A two-day practical workshop with award-winning filmmaker John Williams to create short films that imaginatively address themes of disability, bioethics and prosthetics. This practical and inspiring two-day workshop is for disabled artists who already work with film/video and disabled emerging filmmakers who want to explore and extend their work in these media.

John Williams is a writer/director with over 10 years experience. His films combine live action, animation and visual effects, engagingly dealing with highly sensitive subjects, including mental health (‘Robots’), young children dealing with the death of a friend (‘Hibernation’) and a child’s complex feelings towards his robotic dialysis machine (‘Paraphernalia’).

Williams’ graduation film 'Robots' won over 10 international awards, and his films continue to win major awards across the globe, from the Young Director’s Award at the Cannes Lions to ‘Best Drama’ at the LA Short Film Festival for his short film ‘Paraphernalia’. His powerful film 'Hibernation', about two boys who try to bring their friend back to life, won over 20 international awards and has been screened in over a thousand cinemas worldwide. Williams recently directed 'Magic', starring Jane Horrocks, for Channel 4's Coming Up series, and has just completed his first feature script with Sound Films entitled 'Here on Earth' the story of one man's mission to the moon. He also works on pioneering music videos for the likes of Coldplay and Radiohead.


Bionic People is the final event in the Specimens to Superhumans series curated by The Arts Catalyst and Shape exploring contemporary issues around biomedical science, disability and ethics, and how these are explored, represented and critiqued in art.  Earlier events included Labyrinth of Living Exhibits at the Hunterian Museum with Aaron Williamson, Sinéad O'Donnell, Brian Catling and Katherine Araniello, Alternative Ways of Thinking at Cheltenham Science Festival with Simon Baron-CohenJon Adams, Gabriel Hardistry-Miller and Ben Connors and "All that happened to us..." at Roehampton University with Ann Dickie, Anna BergströmTrevor Mathison, Professor Raymond Lee, Dr Siobhan Strike and Dr Jin Luo.



John Williams videos

John Williams abstract



Wellcome Trust People Award and Arts Council England

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Near Earth: A Week of Space Creation

A week of Space Creation at the Roundhouse, London, with artists and scientists took 100 young people on a journey that explored space through digital photography, animation, sound and music, drama and the performing arts. Part of SPACE SOON.

Workshops were led by Semiconductor, Luke Jerram, Kate Tierney, Tony Hall, Trevor Mathison, Mat Fox, Marcus Ahlers, Hilary Westlake and Morag Wightman, with the input of scientists Chris Welch, Kevin Fong and Mark Lythgoe.

Part of the international art and space event Space Soon.

Space Animation

Led by Semiconductor - animation artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhadt - participants took snapshots produced from satelites orbiting the earth and explored how to create time-lapse digital animation sequences.

Space Digital Film & Photography

Led by arist Luke Jerram, participants explored the tricks of film and photography and learned how experts manipulate images from space. 

Space Radio

Led by artists Kate Tierney and Antony Hall, participants worked to decode and transmit sound from space.

Space Music 1 - Recorded

Led by musician Trevor Mathison, participants experimented with panning, overlaps, fades, dissolves, delay and reverbs to record their journey to space.

Space Music 2 - Live

Led by Mat Fox. Participants joined an out-of-this world band and created some cosmic sounds and recorded their own live sessions.

Exploring Energy

Led by Marcus Ahlers, participants collected electricity from sunlight, built hydrogen fuel cells and became energy technologists of the future.

Space Drama

Led by theatre maker ilary Westlake. Participants explored outer space themes using iconic music and images and created a striking theatrical performance.

Space Movement

Led by dancer Morag Wightman. Participants worked suspended off the floor and explored aerial dance with Morag Wightman, one of the very few dancers to experience zero gravity first hand, to create a new piece exploring gravity.

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