Michael Clark:
Cosmic Dancer

Community View

Michael Clark in a publicity photograph for New Puritans, 1984. Photo: Richard Haughton

Michael Clark in a publicity photograph for New Puritans, 1984. Photo: Richard Haughton


Welcome to our online Community View for our community and school partners. We are inviting you to explore the Barbican Art Gallery exhibition, Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer. All the activities here have been made just for you, so please don’t share this page on social media.

Just like a visit to our Gallery, or one of our 'real life' Community Views, there’s lots to look at here. Explore at your own pace and have fun! Just note that the exhibition contains some works of an adult nature, so parental guidance is advised for under 14s.

Hello from the Barbican Ambassadors

This is a new way of working for us and we'd really welcome your feedback so we can continue to develop this kind of content for future projects. Please do share your thoughts with us in our feedback survey.

Join in...

We'd love to see your creative responses to the activities or any photos of you doing the activities. Email them to [email protected] - or you can post them on Twitter @BarbicanCentre #MichaelClark. We'll be looking out for your messages and will collect them all to create an online scrapbook of everyone 'together' at the Community View, so we can celebrate your creativity.

The Exhibition

Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer was the first major exhibition of dancer and choreographer Michael Clark. This exploration of Clark’s work establishes his radical presence in British cultural history. Looking back to his quick rise to success as a young choreographer in the 1980s, the exhibition presented an overview of Clark’s career up to now. It showcased his unique multi-disciplinary approach that includes a wide range of subcultural influences which challenge the norms of wider society. Film, photography, and material from Clark’s practice was shown alongside his legendary collaborations across visual arts, music, fashion and film.

New works included Charles Atlas revisiting the acclaimed film Hail the New Puritan (1986), which featured performance artist Leigh Bowery and post-punk group The Fall, as an immersive film installation, along with work by artists Sarah Lucas, Wolfgang Tillmans, Cerith Wyn Evans, Peter Doig, Silke Otto-Knapp, Duncan Campbell and more.

Exhibition Tour with Michael Clark and Les Child

Michael Clark and one of his oldest friends, Les Child, take us on an informal walk around the exhibition. They reminisce on London in the 80s, discuss their working process, and look forward to what the future might hold.

Inside Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer

Immerse yourself in the wondrous world of Michael Clark! Below is a slideshow of exhibition shots for you to spend a bit more time with some of the individual artworks and installations. Click on the images to see them full screen.

Credits: Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer, Installation View, Barbican Art Gallery, Photographs © Max Colson.

Item 1 of 12

Making Moves

Have a go at creating your own moves!

Watch these videos and have a go at three different activities created by Kate Coyne from Michael Clark Company. Each activity invites you to explore a different way of moving your body and being creative in response to everyday objects, like a bicycle chain or an album cover.

Bicycle Chain Spine



We’re inviting you all to film yourself having a go, and then to share the footage with us. We're going to collate your films along with other creative responses to be published on the Barbican’s website and social media channels in the new year.

Top tips for your videos:

  • Each of your filmed responses must be no longer than 60 seconds in duration
  • You can film on any device you have, including phones. Make sure your video format is landscape (horizontal) and .mov or .mp4
  • You don't need to edit your video – we will do this for the final film
  • Submit your films by Friday 26 February 2021
  • Email your films to [email protected] with the subject line, ‘Making Moves’. If your film files are too big to email, you can use WeTransfer to send the videos to us
  • We won't be able to include videos without signed consent forms for each person involved – so email your films over to us and we’ll send over a consent form for you to fill in .

For more information or advice on submitting your film, please email us at [email protected].

Cosmic Collage

Have a go at creating your own collage.

Follow the steps below as artist Mitchel Ceney from homeless charity Accumulate guides you to use bits and pieces you might find at home to create your unique artwork.

What you'll need:

Suggested materials - or whatever you can find at home

  • Coloured paper or Post-it Notes
  • Bubble wrap or cling film
  • Kitchen foil or shiny paper
  • Card
  • Fashion magazine, catalogue or newspaper
  • Sweet wrappers, cereal boxes or packets


  • Scissors
  • Pen or pencil
  • Glue or double-sided tape
  • Ruler (optional)
  • Craft knife and cutting surface (optional). Take care when using sharp tools!

Step 1

Cut strips from card or paper of two contrasting colours, such as black and white.

Cut hearts from coloured paper or Post-it notes

Step 2

Get a piece of card or cardboard to use as your background.

Use the glue stick to stick down the strips and hearts onto the card, creating a pattern if you wish.

Like this!

Step 3

Next, tear out some models from the magazine, newspaper or catalogue.

Stick them onto crumpled kitchen foil then cut out again with scissors.

The foil backing makes the models stand out in two ways.

Step 4

Arrange models with sweet wrappers and positive quotes from the newspapers.

Stick them onto the hearts and stripes background using the glue stick.

Step 5

Create a frame for your picture. For this, I’ve used coloured card and bubble wrap for a frame that really pops (LOL!).

To finish your artwork, you can also add other messages or words onto the frame.

Send us your artwork!

We'll share your creative cosmic collages in an online gallery next year.

  • Email the photo of your collage to [email protected] with the subject line ‘Cosmic Collage'
  • Please include your name and the name of your community group or school.
  • You can also post them on Twitter @BarbicanCentre #MichaelClark

Explore more Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer


Introduction to Michael Clark: To celebrate our exhibition Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer, writer Sarah Crompton looks backs at the career of dance legend Michael Clark, reflecting on his style and cult status.




We hope you enjoyed our Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer Community View

Remember you can share your moves and collages with us on Twitter @BarbicanCentre #MichaelClark. Or email them to [email protected]. We'd love to see how you've been engaging with the activities at home.

And we would love to hear your thoughts on our second online Community View. You can fill in our short survey below.

Our Community View Artists

Find out more about all the artists and organisations who have helped us create the activities for our online Community View. Here’s some more information about their work, and some links where you can find them on their website or on social media.

Making Moves by Kate Coyne from Michael Clark Company

Kate Coyne was a dancer in Michael Clark Company for over 15 years and is now its Associate Director. Having trained at The Royal Ballet School, she went on to dance for major UK contemporary dance companies including London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, DV8 and Jeremy James and Dancers. With an interest in dance in its many forms, her work in creative engagement programmes for Michael Clark Company highlights the different aspects of Clark’s work that make it so accessible to dance, art, fashion and music audiences.

Cosmic Collage by Mitchel Ceney from Accumulate

Mitchel is an artist who has been attending Accumulate workshops for almost a year. He loves drawing. Through an Accumulate scholarship, he is currently at Ravensbourne University London on the Access To Higher Education Course and hoping to go on to study Illustration to degree level next year. Mitchel enjoys telling stories through any medium and especially likes collage for its immediacy, vibrancy and accessibility, as ‘anyone can do it, using just about anything’.


The Accumulate charity is ‘An Art School for the Homeless’. They provide creative workshops to young, homeless people who are living in hostels or temporary accommodation in London to support their wellbeing, learning and creative development.

Accumulate are one of the Barbican’s Communities in Residence, running creative workshops in our Fountain Room.

Website / Instagram / Twitter

About Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning

Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning is a creative alliance pioneering new models for cultural learning across the art forms. Our mission is Creative Skills for Life and every year we deliver more than 40 programmes and events alongside 150 partners to over 29,000 participants.

Credit: Kate Coyne by Jake Walters

Credit: Kate Coyne by Jake Walters

Mitchel Ceney

Mitchel Ceney

A participant at an Accumulate workshop at the Barbican

A participant at an Accumulate workshop at the Barbican

With thanks

With thanks to Mitchel Ceney and Marice Cumber from Accumulate and Kate Coyne from Michael Clark Company for their creative activities, Nathan Twentyman (Community Engagement Apprentice) for voiceover on the Making Moves film, and Audrey Aidoo-Davies (Community Ambassador) for the Welcome video.

We are very grateful for the generosity of the supporters that make the Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning programme possible, including: The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust; Arts Council England; Austin & Hope Pilkington Trust; John S Cohen Foundation; Edge Foundation; Esmée Fairbairn Foundation; SHM Foundation; UBS; Wellcome.

We are also grateful for the support of the Barbican Patrons, contributors to the Barbican Fund, and all who donate when purchasing a ticket and visiting the Barbican.

List of Artists - Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer
Charles Atlas, Leigh Bowery, BodyMap, Duncan Campbell, Peter Doig, Cerith Wyn Evans, The Fall, Sophie Fiennes, Sarah Lucas, Silke Otto-Knapp, Elizabeth Peyton, Susan Stenger, Stevie Stewart, Wolfgang Tillmans, Trojan, and all the contributors to the archival film presentation.