Cara Tolmie

London-based artist Cara Tolmie (born 1984, Glasgow) works from within the intersections of performance, music and moving image. Her works probe the site-specific conditions of performance-making by finding ways to vocalise and place her body that access the political and poetic capabilities of physical, written and musical languages.

Recent performances, such as Till It Feels Alright (2015) and Incongruous Diva (2016) look more specifically at the affective economies that attach themselves to the role of ‘The Singer’. These works ask questions about whose emotions the singing voice acts as a locus for and tests ways that the performing body can disrupt the flows of value that profit from this voice.

Collective practice is an intrinsic component of her ongoing work. She collaborates regularly on projects with Paul Abbott, Kimberley O’Neill / France-Lise McGurn and Patrick Staff and has contributed to many other collective endeavours in performance-making, pedagogical and expanded research practice. She is also part of the editorial collective for Cesura//Acesso, a journal for music, poetics and experimental politics.

Tolmie has exhibited widely across the UK including at Spike Island, Bristol, Tate Modern, London and Tramway, Glasgow. Several of her performances have attracted international regard including contributions at the Dutch Art Institute, the University of the Arts, Helsinki and KUDA in Novi Sad. She has been commissioned to make a new performance for Block Universe Festival, 2017 in London and will publish her first solo vinyl project Incongruous Diva with a (“uh”) books in Winter 2016.

Cara Tolmie | The artists who surround me work extremely hard. They do so out of love and because it’s worth it. However the majority of their labour, unless they are able to sell their work, is unpaid. We have reconciled ourselves with the fact that financial precariousness is an everyday state for artists, but there comes a point when one’s body begins to fight back and beg for something more sustainable. The Paul Hamlyn Award is the only unconditional fund for artists that can also support the outgoings that we all continually fret over - rent, food, bills etc. I am deeply humbled to have been given this, mostly because I know how much stress it will alleviate over the next three years. I just hope that I can use it to benefit those around me too and open up some joyful possibilities whilst I am a recipient.