Common Threads

23 Jun – 14 Aug 2021

Curated by Michelle Carlile, Ali Eisa and Lucy Keany

Book Tickets


Rivington Place
London, EC2A 3BA


To maintain social distancing, visitors are asked to book a free, timed ticket in advance.



Wed and Fri: 11am - 6pm
Thu: 11am - 9pm
Sat: 12pm - 6pm


Based in Hackney, Submit to Love Studios is home to a collective of self-taught artists. They have developed a set of unique practices and interests, refined over more than a decade. All of the artists have survived brain injuries – some use this to inform their work, while others take inspiration from the world around them.

This exhibition features new work by 23 Studio artists, using Autograph’s collection of photography as inspiration for textile works. Photographs charting the contribution of diverse cultures to Britain over two centuries have been reimagined by the Studio as elaborate embroideries, appliqué and fabric prints. The artists have also used the collection as inspiration for self-portraiture, reflecting on personal histories.

Inspired by the collective’s lived experience of brain injury, Common Threads explores ideas of heritage, talent and otherness – and the many ways underrepresented stories can be told. In keeping with the Studio’s collective ethos, a number of these works have been created collaboratively. For many of the artists this is the first use of textile and embroidery in their practice.

You'll see works by Studio artists Tony Allen, Tony Brooks, Dolores Crump, Affiong Day, Errol Drysdal, Keith Emmanuel, Jason Ferry, Ken Hazeldine, Calvin Hill, Mike Hoyle, Sam Jevon, Sandra Lott, Theresa Malcolm, Billy Mann, Marcus Mann, Yoki Mekuria, Tirzah Mileham, Chris Miller, Brian Searle, Alex Sherlock, Trevor Small, Evaldas Sorocinskis, Diana Takyi, Mark Taylor and Cecil Waldron.

Submit to Love Studios’ work appears alongside a selection of portraits of the artists by photographer Leon Foggitt, and a short film by Posy Dixon.


Leon Foggitt, Yoki Mekuria

Trevor Small and Tirzah Mileham, Living One, 2020

Sam Jevon, In Charge , 2020

Submit To Love Studios collaboration, The Little Prince, 2020

Brian Searle, Unidentified Sitter, 2020

Leon Foggitt, Tirzah Mileham


Submit To Love Studios is just down the road from Autograph at Headway East London, a local charity supporting people affected by brain injury. We’ve been working with them for four years exchanging images and ideas, and thinking about how the cultural sector can be more accessible to artists with disabilities and community studios. 

The works the Studio artists have created for Common Threads were inspired by images in Autograph’s collection of photography, shared with the Studio over a series of workshops in 2019. The collective works collaboratively in an open studio environment, and spent more than six months creating the artworks for the exhibition. 


Set against a backdrop of austerity and increased hardship towards disabled people, Autograph spent two years collaborating with groups and artists exploring identity through experiences of disability and neurodiversity.

There are 11.3 million people in the UK who live with a disability and recent UN report concluded that a decade of austerity policies introduced by the UK government amount to “systematic violations” of the rights of people with disabilities. By centering the experiences, identities and creative work of neurodiverse people at our gallery, we hope to address some of the barriers disabled people face to participate in cultural and civic life as urgent issues of representation and human rights.

This exhibition developed out of the UK-wide EXPLORERS Project, led by Project Art Works. EXPLORERS was informed and led by neurodiverse communities, placing them at the heart of social, civic and cultural activity.


Autograph’s gallery is reopening on 23 June, with new measures in place to help ensure a safe visit for everyone. You can expect a friendly and inclusive atmosphere, carefully managed visitor numbers to ensure social distancing, and new safety measures put in place. We can't wait to welcome you back.


Please book a free, timed ticket before your visit. Your ticket provides entry to our current exhibitions: Sharif Persaud: Have You Ever Had (23 June - 28 August) and Common Threads (23 June - 14 August).


Tickets have a specific start time, but you can stay as long as you like. While each person has a different pace when looking at artworks, we recommend allowing 45-60 minutes for your visit.


The safety of our visitors, staff, artists and community is Autograph’s highest priority. During your visit you can expect carefully managed visitor numbers to ensure social distancing, and new safety measures put in place throughout. 


Autograph is an accessible venue that welcomes people with all types of disabilities. Our building has a step-free entrance at street level, and a lift to all floors. Unisex, accessible toilets are located on all floors.


We look forward to welcoming you to Autograph. Before your visit, please have a look at our Visit Us page. There, you'll find detailed information about how we're keeping everyone safe, accessibility and facilities at Autograph, and what to expect on the day of your visit. 



The Artists at Submit To Love Studios
View Leon Foggit's portraits on our blog

Did You Hear? 
Headway East London volunteer Zara Joan Miller reviews our exhibition of Sharif Persaud's work

Hospitals, Piers, Masks and Sneezing
Submit to Love Studios artist Chris Miller responds to Persaud's painting Untitled


Can you spare a few moments? Autograph is carrying out a survey to better understand who our digital audiences are. The survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete. Anything you tell us will be kept confidential, is anonymous and will only be used for research purposes.

The information you provide will be held by Autograph and The Audience Agency, who are running the survey on our behalf. In compliance with GDPR, your data will be stored securely and will only be used for the purposes it was given.

You can take the survey here. Thank you!


Part of the EXPLORERS project, delivered by Project Art Works, a three-year programme of art and conversation working with 12 national art organisations. The EXPLORERS programme is informed and led by neurodiverse communities, placing them at the heart of social, civic and cultural activity. Based in Hastings, Project Art Works is the UK’s leading artist led organisation working with children, young people and adults who have complex support needs.


Supported using public funding by Arts Council England
Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Also supported by Project Artworks
Also supported by Explorers Project
Also supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation
Also supported by Esmee Fairbairn

Headway East London logo
Submit to Love Studios logo

Images, from top: 1) Brian Searle, Unidentified Sitter [detail], 2020. Courtesy Submit To Love Studios / Headway East London.

Exhibition preview images: 2, 7) Courtesy Submit To Love Studios / Headway East London / Leon Foggitt. 3 - 6) Courtesy Submit To Love Studios / Headway East London. 

Slideshow images: 8-12) Courtesy Submit To Love Studios / Headway East London.

Other page images: 13) Rivington Place, home of Autograph. Photograph by Zoë Maxwell.