AND Echoes: Cat Shaw

Wed 14 Oct 2020

AND Echoes: Reflecting on festivals and events gone by, and celebrating the brilliant individuals who make these extraordinary moments happen. In the sixth of our series of blogs we hear from AND’s former Assistant Producer Cat Shaw, remembering her favourite projects as she herself departs from AND shores.

I have been on many adventures whilst working with AND, but there are two projects that stick in my mind. Coming from a performance, community engagement and site specific art background prior to working with AND,  I am particularly drawn to projects that have some form of engagement and play at the heart of them.

Heavy Metal Detector (Steve Maher)

Heavy Metal Detector is a cross-between a walk, workshop and performance. Using customised metal detectors that have been hacked to play pre-recorded Heavy Metal music, the artist leads a number of tours responding to a chosen site. Every time a piece of metal is located under the ground a selection of locally-sourced hard rock and metal songs play through the headphones. 

Heavy Metal Detector was part of the Dis-location programme strand at AND Festival 2017.

Metal detecting is a hobby, an amateur offshoot of archaeology whose technology has origins in the Finnish lumber industry; its aficionados (detectorists) spend their time seeking hidden treasures and lost secrets. The core principle behind the use of metal detectors as a hobby is to uncover what is just beneath the surface. But this project does not seek to engage with mainstream or influential musicians, it seeks to work with local metal bands where the intimacy of living in these cities shape and influence their music and the work itself. 

Play is at the heart of this project and it’s something I find intriguing. You start your journey through this experience by collecting a conventional-looking metal detector, however when you look closer a Raspberry Pi and headphones are attached. You then set off on a mission to locate ‘metal’ and once you do – you are transported through to a heavy metal dimension of local bands.

The Hive (Ikbal Lubys & Tony Maryana)

Resembling a suspended organic hive structure, The Hive is a larger-than-life resonator, with vibrating chimes for visitors to interact with, creating new compositions. This bespoke, sculptural musical instrument is made from parts of Gamelan bars, from a percussive Indonesian ensemble using gongs and xylophone-type instruments. 

For me, The Hive is all about community old and new – the music communities linked to the Gamelan history, and the new communities The Hive creates between the participants who engage with the work. It is so magical to watch passers-by walk past the enigmatic structure, they become intrigued and they then hear the sounds of gongs and gamelan bars, and their minds come alive and are entranced by it. 

The Hive thrives on the liveness and connectedness of strangers, and the second beauty of it is how it connects communities through collaboration – it takes people out of their comfort zone, to talk to strangers, to work as a team, to collaborate, and to create a jam of sounds.

Cat has worked with AND since 2016, initially as a freelance producer touring Love Motel for Insects (Brandon Ballengée)  to Kendal Calling.  Cat became AND’s Programme Assistant in 2017 and produced Heavy Metal Detector (Steve Maher), The Real Smiling Rock (Lindsay Lawson), Caving Tours and A 360 Walk in Fukishima (Don’t Follow the Wind) for AND Festival 2017. She then worked on the subsequent touring of My Wall is Your Filter Bubble , Heavy Metal Detector (Steve Maher) and The Hive (Ikbal Lubys & Tony Maryana) In 2018/19 she worked on the The New Networked Normal a Creative Europe Co-operation project. In 2020, Cat became Assistant Producer for AND Festival 2020, working on a multitude of projects for the now postponed 2020 Festival.  Cat finished working with AND in September 2020 to train as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner.

She has previously worked with Word of Warning, Derelict, Two Destination Language, Geraldine Pilgrim and The Other Way Works.

In her ‘other life’ she volunteers for North West Ambulance Service as a Community First Responder in Central Manchester and Lancashire. When she is not saving lives, she is walking her puppy BrÖnte or watching tv dramas, especially Line of Duty!


Heavy Metal Detector was delivered in partnership with Site Gallery’s Society of Explorers for AND Festival 2017, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and toured to Junction Arts, Bolsover, Arts by the Sea, Bournemouth and Lakes Alive, Cumbria.

The Hive by Ikbal Lubys & Tony Maryana in collaboration with Laurie Crombie. Commissioned and produced by Abandon Normal Devices. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England and British Council, Indonesia. Since 2017, it has travelled across the UK, and was presented in Indonesia in 2018 as part of The Other Festival as part of UK/ID.

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