Announcing the OSE Associate Programme Lead Artist for 2023-24

the vacuum cleaner, ‘For They Let In The Light’, 2022. Commissioned and produced by Chisenhale Gallery.

We are delighted to announce the OSE Lead Artist for 2023-24 is the vacuum cleaner!

The next cohort of Associate Artists will work in collaboration with Open School East and the vacuum cleaner in the context of The Beacon, an NHS community mental health space in Ramsgate, as part of the upcoming 2023-24 Associate Programme curriculum at Open School East.

We recently launched the next Open Call for the Associate Programme 2023-24 – you can find application details here:

the vacuum cleaner, ‘A Madlove Take Over’ 2019. Produced by Heart of Glass
the vacuum cleaner, ‘Balmy Army’, 2023.


the vacuum cleaner is the name of a UK based artist and activist who makes candid, provocative and playful work.

the vacuum cleaner wants to find better ways to go mad. Drawing on his own experience of mental health disability, he works with groups including young people, health professionals and vulnerable adults to challenge how mental health is understood, treated and experienced.

With roots in activism and radical art, the vacuum cleaner has created one-man interventions and large-scale actions as well as performance, installation and film. His work has been shown in galleries, theatres, hospitals and schools and has appeared on streets and in public spaces internationally.

Recent commissions and project partners include: Manchester International Festival/, Chisenhale Gallery, Wellcome Collection, National Gallery of Indonesia, Festspiele/Gessnerallee (Zurich), Mayor of London.

the vacuum cleaner is James. He works from his Margate studio with his dog, Doris. He co-founded the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination 2004 – 09. He received the Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Fund 2018 and Arts Council NPO from 2023.

Browse more of their projects at:

the vacuum cleaner, ‘2.8 Million Minds, 2023-Ongoing.
the vacuum cleaner, ‘OH MY GOSH, YOU’RE WELLCOME… KITTEN’, 2023. Installation photo Steven Pocock, Courtesy Wellcome Collection.