The trans person was too angry on Facebook

Jani here.

Just had a long term supporter of The Art House say he’s not supporting us any more because I was visibly angry at a TERF on one of our posts a few days back (and I was angry, very). Here is my reply, I doubt it will make any difference to him but maybe it will reach somebody else out there who is having some kind of feels about angry trans people:

I can understand how you feel but please take a moment to reflect that transphobia directly impacts two of our directors and many, many of our staff and volunteers. It is unreasonable to expect people under attack to be polite and nice. Trans people are hurting right now and what look like ‘innocent’ remarks to you are anything but – those attacking our community are very skilled at appearing reasonable (much as racists have learnt to hide behind politeness).

I did get very angry at the ridiculous backlash to that post (I hid most of the comments, there were quite a few more and I didn’t have the energy to tackle every one of them).

I have reflected on how I reacted. I don’t think I made our space unsafe for anyone who doesn’t make it unsafe for me or my staff. I’m sorry you can’t see that and I’m learning all the time how to fight these battles in the best way. A true ally honours the hurt and anger a community feel, you don’t abandon us the moment we don’t fit your ideas of ‘kindness’ toward those who are coming at us. That’s called tone policing and it isn’t supportive.

The reason JK Rowling is a particularly clever person for these groups to have recruited – and recruited her they most certainly have – is because she is a ‘nice white lady’ of the best kind. Many (including you) relate to her and will want to defend her. It seems to have worked in your case and probably in many others.

What you can’t see is that today the Times has leaked government plans to roll back trans rights, including laws to prevent trans women using women’s toilets. Can you imagine? JK Rowling has played a part in setting the stage for that and I can’t forgive her, I am furious, I don’t know how I can feel any other way.

(name redacted), you need to support LGBTQ+ people not only when we’re having a fun rainbow pride party, but when we are at the pointy end, the messy end, the bit where tempers flare and feelings run high. Pride started at Stonewall. It was a riot, they threw things, they were angry, I don’t think you would have liked it.

But that’s how we won the rights we have. It isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always Lady Gaga tributes and rainbow flags.

I’m glad you enjoyed Pride. Shame you can’t stick around for this next bit – because we intend to win and make a better world for absolutely everyone. Yourself included.

Posted in Behind the scenes, Community news & views, Our crew, Our philosophy

Sunday 31 May update #covid19 #lockdown

The Art House doors won’t be opening again until it is safe to open.

Our aim at the present moment is to empower and support people to #stayhome as much as possible by bringing meals, entertainment and connection from our house to yours.

We are exploring ways of running a food collection service in the future and of streaming live streaming gigs from our premises. We are part of a campaign to pedestrianise Above Bar Street so we could perhaps have tables outside with social distancing.

We do none of this without careful planning and thought and we will not be rushed. We do not want to play any part in a resurgence of this virus, so any steps towards reopening will be done with our crew (some of whom are medically vulnerable) and our community safety as the leading priority.

We long to reopen, we miss you all so much, when we reopen we want everyone to be alive and well to return to us – that means waiting for now. The virus is still out there, there is no vaccine, there is no reliable treatment, people are still dying and some people are very poorly.

Looking ahead, the feedback we have had on how online gigs and deliveries have reached people not usually able to access The Art House has really made us think about how we extend beyond our four walls (if we still have them) when all social distancing measures are no longer needed.

Our future planning will include live streams and food to go. We also want to keep the tiered pricing / pay it forward / pay as you feel aspect of our lockdown phase.

We want to let this pandemic change us in good ways to serve our community better. “Something good will come of this” – as our friend Henry Baroche sings.

You can support The Art House during this phase of our story by……

Ordering Art House To Go or paying forward some food for other people:

Coming to an online gig:

Joining our Patreon Community:

Watch Henry and friends here:

Posted in Behind the scenes, Community news & views, Fundraising, Future plans, Getting involved, Our crew, Our history, Outreach & community events

A little reminder that we aren’t just a café, that we exist as a place to promote grassroots art and positive social change and we’re always going to speak up on important issues, justice, oppression, the rise of the far right, climate change, racism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia and quite a lot else.

We are not party political (our crew members support a number of political parties and some support none of them), but we are not apolitical, because we believe that to be ‘neutral’ in the current climate is a political statement in itself.

To be silent is to say we agree things should stay as they are. We don’t.

We don’t think the current system is the best option for human health, happiness and security.

We don’t think the current system maximises human potential.

We don’t think the current system is viable for our planet’s overall health or for our own health, mental and physical.

We recognise that the current system unfairly privileges some and deliberately oppresses, harms and marginalises others. We believe this reality to be harmful to all members of society, but in particular to those most pushed to the edges.

We don’t think the current system is just or fair to non-human animals or to ecosystems.

We want things to change.

We exist to use art and coming together as a community around creativity and food to facilitate that change.

We’re not just about complaining about the current state of things but about modelling and exploring new ways of being.

We stand at an important crossroads in history and even a little place like ours has a part to play. Even a little place like ours has a duty to use our platform to share information, to encourage and support, to call out wrongdoing.

Even in the middle of this pandemic, we continue to push ourselves to operate in a more just, open and radical way. Even when it is hard (it is) and even when we get flack for doing so (we do).

Look folks. There are places you can just go and enjoy a coffee and not engage with larger social and environmental matters. We are not such a place. We’ve never been such a place.

We hope to be able to gather in person again soon, but for now we’re using our voice on social media to continue our mission, we’re bringing people together in online events and we’re bringing food to people in our community each week in the most accessible way we can manage.

If you want to be a part of us lighting up our little corner of the world, you can support us in a number of ways to help ensure we reopen at the end of lockdown:

Thanks for reading!

Gaffa the Goat (he’s not a real stuffed goat don’t worry) says hi and he misses you all
Posted in Behind the scenes, Community news & views, Fundraising, Future plans, Getting involved, Our philosophy, Sustainable living, Tutorials, advice, how-to | Tagged ,

ARTlotment update from Ziggy

Well one benefit to Lockdown has been that i’ve really been able to put some quality time into the plot this year – spending between 90 mins and 2 hours here 3 sometimes 4 times a week. My heart sings when i see the tulips and iris i planted last year pop up and bloom…ive kept a patch on the pond clear for pond skaters to maraud up and down on, the weeds are well managed, and there are so many strawbs 🙂

I must confess its been a bit of a task keeping the paths weed free (as per Allotment Rules) as my plot neighbour at no 8 is absent again this year (and the plot holder on 7 is nowhere in sight 😦 plus the plot holder on the plot directly at the end of mine.. i havent seen since last year… i am hoping its cos of shielding or self-isolation etc.

Anyhoo. A lovely packet of seeds arrived from Dobies today – containing such treasures as purple tomatillo, Borlotto beans, sweetcorn, salsify, rainbow chard, and brussels sprouts ‘rubine’ have helped me to refocus on what i can achieve and never mind what anyone else is or is not doing.

Off again tomorrow to finish sorting out the pathway at the end of the plot, and marking out where my plot ends. The extensive clearing John and I have done at the bottom end of the plot has resulted in at least another 6ft x 3ft patch of growing space, which is not to be sniffed at. 🙂

And Friday John has promised to fix the shed door 🙂 yay!

Posted in ARTlotment diaries, Behind the scenes, Sustainable living

Pandemic closure update – our house to your house

It feels like a few lifetimes ago we sent out an email to say that our fundraiser had been a success. To those who have supported us and helped us reach that goal – know that your funds have been put to immediate and excellent use to help us navigate the global crisis that impacted us and everyone else in March. Some people expressed sympathy that our closure came right after our successful fundraiser, but in most ways this was perfect timing for us,

Thanks to having the reserve we’d aimed for, we were able to close as soon as government advice said to people not to gather in pubs, even though we were not given the order to close for nearly a week after that.

Thanks to having the reserve, we were able to all quarantine for a full 14 days to ensure that none of us had become ill through working with the public – we are all fine by the way.

Thanks so having the reserve, we were able to plan this next stage with plenty of regard for our own mental health, the mental health of our paid crew and we’ve been able to offer our paid crew options for whilst we are closed. Some have opted to be furloughed, one has taken early retirement and two of our crew are going to work to help us to this next stage. We also will have somebody new working with us! We’ll reveal more later 🙂 

Thanks to the reserve, we have been able to wait. To wait to see what our community needed, to wait to see what we can provide. Without the fundraiser, we would have had to close immediately – now we are re-purposing and planning to offer something new for the future (well, we did say we wanted to!). 

This past month we have continued to run some of our programme online and will keep doing this, so please do check the events out below. Watch our Facebook page for updates, as this is where we are most active,

Next week, we move towards trialling a new service – providing meals and provisions to our community. An ‘Art House to go’ so to speak. Longer term we are looking to add crafty kits and other goodies to these deliveries.

Our plan is to do these differently from commercial takeaways – for starters, we do not wish to be open for takeout collection, and we ideally do not wish to use the gig economy (Uber eats, Deliveroo) for our deliveries, as this clashes with our values.

We are exploring tiered pricing and pay-as-you-feel or pay-it-forward options to allow those who are still earning to support the more vulnerable. We are looking to eliminate many allergens from our kitchen to support those with special dietary needs who are currently struggling to access food.

Bik and I have been in preparing the space, extending the kitchen into the upstairs area so that staff can work socially distanced and safely. 

Next week is all about trying this out and not overloading ourselves, which would compromise the long term viability and safety of what we’re planning. We’ll be in touch on Monday or Tuesday with a limited number of delivery slots, open initially to our Patrons, friends, volunteer crew, regulars and people who donated to the fundraiser. If you are one of these – keep an eye out for our emails! 

Please bear with us as we adjust to this new way of working, as we are sure you are adjusting to many new things at the moment.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, we hope that whether you are off work, working from home, home educating, caring, volunteering or a keyworker, you are staying well and safe. We want to support you any way we can.

Lots of love from Jani, Bik, Zigz, Devin and the crew
Posted in Community news & views, Events, Fundraising

We’re Zooming

Here’s the basic info for our Zoom events during quarantine:

Events will happen on Zoom so we can all show love by staying apart.

Hosted via The Art House Zoom account with one of our team providing tech support – if you can, please ‘buy a coffee at The Art House’ to support us during our closure:

How does this online thing work?

First of all, if you do not already have Zoom on your computer or phone, you will need to download it:

Once you have done this, you can join the party and wait for others to arrive. Be sure to switch on audio when you join!

Join Zoom Meeting using the ID in the individual event.

To learn more about how to join a Zoom meeting if you have never used this platform before, visit here:

(it is a very simple and smooth platform to use so you should be fine, please do look over this video before asking questions as they are probably covered here)

Get comfy, grab a drink, and join!

Dress code: quarantine chic (PJs) or dress up if you wish!

You can choose to join audio only and switch your camera off if you prefer.

Bring pets if you have them and anything you want to share – a joke, a poem, a song, or just show up exactly as you are and just be present.

For drop in/socials: You can stay as long as you like so drop in when you are ready and drop out when you’ve had enough.

OR for performances or talks:

The event starts at the time listed and doors will close 15 minutes from start to allow things to run smoothly.

Your mic will be automatically switched off when you join so you will need to turn it on, if watching a performance this option won’t be available.

Don’t worry about using this platform if it is new to you, we will help! These are extraordinary days so the main thing is we will all be together.

If you have any issues with the tech side, post in the Facebook event and somebody will assist you as soon as they can 🙂 they’ll be online ready to help from 15 mins before start.

Posted in Uncategorized

Fundraising and the current Covid-19 slump

WE DID IT! In February 2020 we raised an amazing £25000 to meet our shortfall for 2019-20 and save our venue, plus give us breathing room for making changes to our business model and secure our future.

A big part of that model will be community support just like the fundraiser – in the form of regular donations via PayPal or Patreon, in-person donations, fundraising gigs and other measures to raise the money it costs to open our venue.

This week highlighted how vulnerable and unsustainable our previous model of relying on café income to fund our space is, with a huge drop in customers due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This looks likely to impact us and many other venues for some time to come.

We will be holding an online art auction, a raffle and are looking at online events we could run to keep providing art and connection to our community whilst all of this is going on.

A lot is uncertain and evolving all the time.

What we do know is that, without the generosity of our community in February, we would be facing a serious crisis right now. Our hand-to-mouth existence would have meant we needed to make up a shortfall for this week alone and for weeks or months to come .

So, we continue to ask our community to support us in any way you can, be it a small one-off donation or a regular contribution.

If you want to help, please make a one-off donation with PayPal here

Join our Patreon community here.

Posted in Fundraising, Future plans, Getting involved

Covid-19 community response

We have seen a government level response to the threat, and also individual actions recommended but as yet there is not community level response. This Community Actions Response is to encourage people to look out for one another and support our communities through the challenges ahead.

Launched by Eden Project Communities with partners, the Community Action Response has been created because of the unprecedented challenge that Coronavirus presents for people in every neighbourhood in the UK. The organisations are calling for everyone to take steps that will help communities cope when the worst impacts of the virus hit.

Please use us as a hub in real life and online for info, sharing resources, etc – that’s what we are here for. Stay safe and well, loves ❤️

Posted in Uncategorized

What’s on March – May

Our latest what’s on guide is here!

Thanks to our community, what looked like a dire situation has turned into a positive future and we have planned a lot of lovely events for you – be sure to come 🙂

Click here for a printable what’s on calendar

Special events at a glance

Saturday 14 Mar,Hunting Hearts + Brasher, 7.30pm
Queer punk / Rock ‘n Roll / tickets from £5.05

Friday 20 Mar, Chimes & special guest The Bass Cadet, 7.30pm
Dubstep, trip-hop, D&B, tickets from £6

Saturday 21 Mar, Paul Mitchell, Corvus, Cliff Carr, 7.30pm
Equinox Folky Fundraiser, tickets from £5.70

Wednesday 18 Mar, The Art of the Final Farewell with Helen Corvus, 7.30pm
Special words when ordinary words won’t do
Creative funeral planning and death chat, tickets from £6

26 March, Jason Buck presents: Legends of Ancient Egypt, 7.30pm
Fundraiser for The Art House, tickets from £7.50

Wednesday 1 Apr, Foolin’ Around Comedy Open Mic, 7.30pm
Fundraiser for The Art House, tickets from £4.10

Friday 3 Apr, An Evening with Sophie Labelle, 7.30pm
Engaging chat with the creator of ‘Assigned Male’ comics, tickets from £5.50

Saturday 4 April Extinction Rebellion fundraising gig for The Art House, 7.30pm

Friday 10 Apr, BR James, 7.30pm
Soulful piano playing and vocal storytelling, tickets available online

Saturday 11 Apr, Spitdust & Teharli River, 7.30pm
Experimental folk, tickets available online

Wednesday 15 Apr, The Art of the Final Farewell with Helen Corvus, 7.30pm
Creative funeral planning and death chat, tickets from £6

Friday 17 Apr, Attila the Stockbroker, 7.30pm
Fundraiser for The Art House, tickets available online

Saturday 25 Apr, The Pearly Queen Cabaret, 7.30pm
Cabaret and bursleque, tickets available online 

Wednesday 6 May, Rob Gee presents: Death, a Romantic Comedy, 7.30pm
One-man show, tickets available online 

Wednesday 13 May, Daff Workshops – Dip Pen & Ink, 7pm
Art workshop in our first floor gallery, £15 booking advised

Thursday 28 May, Paul Richards: Harvey Greenfield is Running Late, 7.30pm
One-man show, tickets available online 

Regular events at a glance 


The cafe is closed on Tuesdays but available to hire for a minimum of 2 hours for meetings, workshops, performances and away days. Please drop us an email on to enquire


Le Café des Amis French language café 12.30 – 1.30pm every week, by donation
In informal, friendly language cafe held in our first floor gallery space.

Crafty café drop-in, 3 – 6pm every Wednesday, by donation
Join in with weekly themes or bring your own projects to work on, in our ground floor cafe space.

Book Club, 7.30 – 9pm, first Wednesday monthly, by donation
Share your love of reading and discuss the book of the month, on our first floor.

Poetry Stanza group, 7.30 – 9.30pm first Wednesday monthly, by donation
Bring 8 copies of your poem to discuss and get feedback, in our ground floor cafe.

Exposure Film Makers group, 8 – 10pm last Wednesday, by donation
Film makers, actors etc networking group, usually in our ground floor cafe.

Southampton Queer Collective monthly meet, 7 -10pm, last Wednesday
Friendly social for all LGBTQ+people and friends


Southampton Story Club, 7.30 – 10pm, first Thursday monthly, by donation
Storytellers and listeners welcome, on our first floor.

Caffi Gymreig Welsh Language Cafe, 11am – 12.30pm 2nd Thursday monthly
All levels welcome, small and friendly group held on our first floor.

Photography group, 7.30 – 9.30pm, third Thursday monthly, by donation
Share your love of photography and creative ideas for projects, usually in our ground floor cafe.


Gigs in the Gallery most Friday evenings – see website for details

Moving Voices poetry & song open mic, 7.30pm, last Friday monthly,
suggested donation £5/£3


Gigs in the Gallery most Saturday evenings – see website for details


Live acoustic music in our downstairs café most Sundays 1  – 3pm

Poetry, writing, drawing and other workshops on Sunday afternoons, various dates – see website for details

The licenced cafe is open during all events serving drinks & snacks, lunch and evening meals.

Posted in Community news & views, what's on

Bik here – fundraising update!

Just in case you hadn’t heard .. WE DID IT!!

When we set out just 4 weeks ago to raise £25,000 for The Art House we did so with hope, but also with the knowledge that such a sum was, in reality, probably not attainable in such a short space of time. And yet we had to get there if we were to have a chance to clear our dues and reorientate ourselves so we could continue doing what we do for the foreseeable.

About twenty minutes before the four directors got on stage last night to announce that we had raised £18,550, proving what an incredibly generous lot you all are, we received a message from a performer who stood, for the first time, in front of an audience with us, to say that they were going to donate the difference.

We were able to stand in front of a packed house to announce that we did it! We had hit the unattainable £25k just by asking for help! And then, as we promised if we hit target, we shaved Ziggy’s head 🙂

So thanks to you, for your kindness and selflessness for donating what you could, big or small. Every single penny will be used wisely and helps to get us fighting fit for the years ahead. It won’t be the last time we will need to ask for donations, as that’s part of our ‘business plan’ as it were, but such a large sum will give us the breathing space we need to carry on.

From me, Devin, Jani, Ziggy and all the crew and volunteers at The Art House, with thanks.

P.S. If you want to help sustain us on an on-going basis, you might like to join our Patreon community which donates a monthly amount to help cover such things as our room-hire costs for community groups that can’t always guarantee a minimum number of people, for example. Find out more here:

Posted in Community news & views, Fundraising, Future plans, Getting involved