What is ALAS

What we do

We are an art studio that crosses between public art, social art, events and exhibitions.

No project of ours looks the same. A commitment to social engagement and site-specific work has led the studio to design and deliver a range of works such as outdoor performances, sound installations, audio walks, circus performances and immersive theatre.

Our name is a hybrid term of applied and live art: applied art is a practice that is often executed outside purpose-built institutions with the intention to benefit a target audience. Live art is a series of artistic actions created collaboratively between an artist and participants. (An extensive definition of live art is offered by The Live Art Development Agency). Applied Live Art was coined by R.M. Sánchez-Camus as part of his doctoral dissertation on site-responsive and socially engaged practice.

‘Applied Live Art’ describes a creative practice which has a social component as its primary focus. Our studio offers a platform for a dialogue between artist and participants or audience. We explore the role of co-authorship, co-design, and co-production. Our socially based work shifts the spotlight from the artist as sole creator and primary subject to the participants. 

Who we are

ALAS is founded and directed by artist, organiser and creative consultant RM Sánchez-Camus (Marcelo).

Sánchez-Camus’ work explores interaction, public spectacles, social systems, the body politic and urban imagination. Their practice can be understood in four layers that complement each other: collaborative making, psychogeographic explorations, visual arts and social practice. More can be found out about Marcelo’s projects on his website.

We are a team consisting of the artistic director Marcelo, Studio Producer Rebecca Thomson, Workshop facilitator  Georgie Hubbarde, and organisational strategy consultant Tee Bolitho. Visit our ALAS Studio Artists page for more information. 

For every project or commission, we work with other artists and organisations. Over the years, we have collaborated with Freedom Festival, IN SITU European Outdoor Arts network, Tate Exchange London, Artangel, People United and Portugal Prints. We have produced exhibitions in UK galleries including the Wellcome Collection, the Horniman Museum and the Museum of London. For a full list of our extended family, please see our network of collaborators page.

Our history

1999-2002: Sánchez-Camus co-founds the Coalition of Creative Artists (COCA) 

2000: Sánchez-Camus co-founds the Secret Garden Council, transforming an abandoned lot in NYC into a performing greenspace.

2002-2005: Sánchez-Camus co-founds Blank Collective, a troupe of artists who combined inter-disciplinary talents to create multi-media events in NYC.

2006-2011: Sánchez-Camus co-founds Lotos Collective, a live art and immersive theatre company in London.

2011: RM Sánchez-Camus publishes ‘Applied Live Art: Co-authorship in Socially Engaged and Site-Responsive Performance Practice’ – a PhD dissertation that also acts as the manifesto for ALAS.

2014: Sánchez-Camus joins and co-leads Community Geeks, a peer support network for community developers, responsible for the event Hack the Barbican in 2013.

2017: Sanchez-Camus co-founds the Social Art Network.

2018: The Social Art Summit takes place in Sheffield, the first national UK review of socially engaged practice.

2020: ALAS moves to Praxis Studios, London N16.

2020: Axisweb’s Social ARTery and Social Art Library are founded, two new online platforms dedicated to building a legacy around social practice, with Sánchez-Camus as the creative consultant

2021: Sánchez-Camus appointed Lead Artist on Social Art For Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (SAFEDI) AHRC fellowship with Manchester Metropolitan University.

2021: The ALAS project From Birth till Death: Scrolled Life Stories at the Horniman Museum & Gardens is shortlisted for the 2021 Museum + Heritage Exhibition of the Year award.

2021: The ALAS project Inner Rooms Inner Minds is acquired into the permanent collection of the Museum of London.

2022: The ALAS project Woolwich Speaks is shortlisted for the Community Engagement Award in the Pineapples Awards.

2022: ALAS is artist-in-residency for Gloucester High Street Heritage Action Zone Project.

2022: ALAS leads Social Art Network London, a mutual aid network for social art organisations in the capital.

2022: ALAS moves to House of Annetta, Brick Lane, London.

Every year we write a Year in Review newsletter to reflect on the studio’s work and beyond. You can read them all here, and also sign up to receive them in your very own mailbox here.