Kahoon Projects


Kahoon Projects is a collaborative project that provides a platform for contemporary artists from working-class backgrounds, and through which to develop the contemporary understanding of the term ‘working-class’. The project provides space for open discussion about this difficult topic, promoting ideas and voices of artists who are from diverse working-class communities from across the UK and beyond. It furthermore provides opportunity for artists’ career development in an industry that severely lacks class diversity, and all contributors to Kahoon Projects were paid according to Arts Council England’s guidance for fair pay in the creative industries.

The project is led by Alex Bickley Trott (Oxford Brookes University) and Roland Fischer-Vousden (SET), and in 2019 was based around a series of artist residencies, with accompanying community outreach events, and performance, poetry, music and film nights.

Residents were selected through an open call, and were paired together in order to collaboratively develop an original body of work for exhibition at SET, Alscot Road, Bermondsey. The first exhibition, Do the Twist, was developed collaboratively by Maria de la O Garrido and Shonagh Short. The second, Word of Mouth, presented original work by Morgan Tipping and Mitchell Vowles.

Resident artists were further supported by academic and industry mentors, helping to further develop the work and its underlying theory, and also to provide support and industry networks following the residencies. Mentors included: Michael Dean (Turner Prize nominee); Stephanie Straine (currently Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh); Aaron Williamson (internationally renowned performance artist, disability activist, and currently research fellow at Oxford Brookes); and Nick Lee (Director of the Peckham Pelican, and Lecturer in the Department of Media Arts at RHUL).

Kahoon Projects exemplifies the commitment of SET and Oxford Brookes University (School of Arts) to supporting emerging artists from diverse backgrounds. Named after the painter, Robert Colquhoun, Kahoon Projects creates a space for artistic exploration of the concept of social class, and considers the ways that an artist’s background and social experiences influence their artwork.

SET is an artist-led charity that repurposes disused spaces into SET centres, in which it builds communities of artists and develops its broad arts and educational programme, SETprojects. SET offers affordable artist workspace to local artists who, in taking on workspace, become Associate Members of SET and co-curate SETprojects. SET offers some of the most affordable workspaces in London and functions as a platform for new and underrepresented practices. It was founded in 2016 by writer Roland Fischer-Vousden, artist Joshua Field and musician Oliver Tobin.