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Home > The Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2022 Music for Change: Finalists Announced

The Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2022 Music for Change: Finalists Announced

The Arts Foundation announce the four finalists of The Arts Foundation Futures Awards (AFFA) 2022 for Music for Change, supported by the PRS Foundation.

Max Barton & Jethro Cooke (Slowstepper), Eliza Shaddad, Love Ssega and Hanna Tuulikki have been selected from a long list of nominated artists as finalists for the £10,000 Arts Foundation Futures Award 2022 for Music for Change.

Exploring ecology, the environment and climate-related social issues, the Music for Change Award is a celebration of artists, musicians, composers, and experimental sound artists who have a track record focusing on the complex underlying themes related to the climate crisis.

The AFFA 2022 Music for Change Judges are: TV and Radio broadcaster, Edith Bowman; Folk Singer, Sam Lee; and Founder of Icebreaker One, Gavin Starks, who said:

 “Our climate crisis affects us all. It cuts deeply into our sense of place, our cultures, and our individual senses of responsibility and agency. As an existential threat, it carries echoes of the Cold War and instils fear, panic and grief on a global scale. We need to address and express our collective climate grief and our hopes. Our arts and music are critical tools through which we can each find a voice, connect and share. I was struck most deeply by the artists that sought to vocalise, express and develop utterances of this. I look to the exceptional AFFA 2022 Music for Changes Finalists, the superb applicants, and all those working in this space to help us all engage and navigate. We are still at the beginning of our climate journey – there is an urgent, pressing need to form cultural responses to the crisis of our generation.”


Edith Bowman added:

“It was an honour to be asked to be part of this amazing prize. What a fantastic level of talent and creativity that was thoroughly inspiring.  It’s not always easy to incorporate certain issues and important causes into music but our finalists have found a way to use their voice for the greater good.  Each finalist is very unique and I’m thrilled by the diversity of talent across the award, celebrating different cultures.”


The Finalists:

Slowstepper is an experimental music outfit founded by two composer / theatre-maker / activists, Max Barton and Jethro Cooke. The pair have been making music-theatre hybrid work since 2018 as the award-winning company Second Body. Max Barton is a composer, director and playwright based in Kent. Jethro Cooke is a composer, sound designer and theatre-maker based in Devon. During the pandemic, the duo collaborated on a concept album called ‘Terra’, inspired by Gaia theory and climate science. Each track is “sung” by a different organism, and the music is created using cutting edge sound and climate science. Other work-in-development by Slowstepper includes ‘The End of the World’, a concert that juxtaposes global apocalypse scenarios with personal stories about mortality and disability. Using a mixture of music, narration and visual storytelling Max and Jethro contemplate the various ways the human race could meet its end. Similarly, ‘The Animals’ explores how the language of the individual fail us when we talk about climate change, asking us- ‘What can bees, trees, slime moulds and arctic foxes teach us about responsibility and collaboration?’


Eliza Shaddad is a Cornwall-based musician and songwriter of Scottish-Sudanese origin. Her work centres around raw, emotive, confessional lyricism, guitar riffs and expansive production. In July 2021 Eliza released her new album The Woman You Want via Rosemundy Records/Wow and Flutter – the culmination of a year’s work, made at her home in Cornwall during the pandemic. The album is accompanied by symbolic artwork and four music videos directed by herself and long-time collaborator Jodie Canwell. The artwork takes inspiration from the natural world, longing for Spring, and roaming the Cornish beaches. From her debut single, Waters, Eliza’s work often contemplates our relationship with nature.  Eliza also recently participated in environmental projects, Weather – a climate change-focused multimedia opera, and Sea7 – an online Ocean Activist training camp. Having been dismayed by the recent and ongoing events in Darfur, Sudan – and the connections between the migrant crisis and climate change, Eliza, said she, “believes music can be a powerful forum to help communicate the stories of women whose lives have been deeply affected by the climate crisis and environmental change.”


Love Ssega is a British-Ugandan musician, performing artist and songwriter. He has built a varied career collaborating across art forms, while also speaking up for social, educational and environmental issues. His music and compositions, blending a vibrant mix of New Wave, 80s Hip-Hop, African polyrhythms and NYC Disco into smart modern Pop, have been played internationally from South London to LA and the Sydney Opera House. Love Ssega is also known as a founding member of Clean Bandit – co-producing “Mozart’s House” for the future Grammy winners – all whilst studying at Cambridge University doing a PhD in Chemical Engineering. Most recently he was invited by Brian Eno to join the founding committee of his environmental charity EarthPercent. Love Ssega’s overall music and artistic vision continues to evolve, more recently turning his attention to public-focussed art with a strong emphasis on climate justice and environmental activism. His last commission for Season For Change, “Airs of the South Circular”, used music to highlight how air pollution afflicts the Black community in South London and reached over 100,000 residents in Lewisham. Love Ssega also features in Music Declares Emergency’s campaigns “No Music On A Dead Planet” and “Turn Up The Volume.”


Hanna Tuulikki is a British-Finnish artist, composer and performer based in Scotland, specialising in working with the voice. Her multi-disciplinary projects blend textural tapestries of vocal composition with costumed choreography in live performance, moving image and audio-visual installation. In her practice, she investigates the ways in which the body communicates beyond and before words, to tell stories through imitation, vocalisation and gesture. Environmental concerns have been the focus of much of her work to date. With a place-responsive process, she considers how bodily relationships and folk histories are encoded within specific environments and ecologies. Her recent work engages with questions about what it means to live on a damaged planet, proposing contemporary, queer ritual as a means to process the trauma that comes with ecological awareness. Recent projects include: Under Forest Cover / Metsänpeiton Alla (2021), an audiovisual installation and site-specific performance exploring Finnish folklore, climate anxiety and ecological grief.


The Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2022 supports and celebrates artists for both their work to date and future development. The recipient of the £10,000 award for Music for Change will be announced along with awards in four other artforms (Animation, Materials Innovation, Theatre-Makers and Visual Arts) at a celebration event in late January 2022 – with all finalists receiving £1,000 awards towards their artistic practice.


Mary Jane Edwards, Interim Director of The Arts Foundation says,

“After the pandemic decimated the music industry, and the livelihoods of many independent and freelance musicians, we are really pleased to provide unconditional financial support to artists in this way. The recent work of global music artists such as Massive Attack and their world-leading research with The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, clearly demonstrates that artists not only have a role to play in addressing the climate impacts of their respective sectors, and beyond – but can, in fact, lead the way. We are greatly encouraged by the work of all the AFFA 2022 Music for Change artists and their action-focused practices.”


Joe Frankland CEO of PRS Foundation said,

We’re delighted to be partnering with the Arts Foundation to support this award, particularly at this moment in history, and champion those music creators whose work covers climate action, sustainability and other areas of social activism.  The power of music and its creators in bringing these issues and discussions to the forefront is so important and can inspire and encourage real change in individuals, communities, organisations and beyond.  Congratulations to each of the music creators shortlisted, we look forward to the awards ceremony in 2022.


To find out more about the artists and all AFFA 2022 finalists, please visit The Arts Foundation website: