Outset Partners

Melanie Manchot‘Stephen’, 2020–2023

The Outset Partners Grants 2020 awarded an Impact Grant to Liverpool Biennial, in support of artist Melanie Manchot’s first feature film, STEPHEN. The commission is a hybrid drama-documentary, presenting alternative and nuanced perspectives to re-think urgent social issues of addictions, loneliness and mental health, challenging many societies around the world. This headline film commission brings together the life of its Liverpudlian protagonist and recovering addict, Stephen Giddings, and the life of a historic gambling addict Thomas Goudie. 

The production will span over four years, beginning with a series of workshops held in Liverpool with people in recovery and culminating with pop-up screenings of the final film for vulnerable people exposed to addictions, with a focus on young and hard-to-reach audiences. 

The commission will unfold as a performative intervention during the 11th edition in 2021, a world premiere cinematic screening in Liverpool in 2022, and a sculptural installation of the work at the 12th Liverpool Biennial in 2023. STEPHEN is supported by new academic research in partnership with University of Liverpool, presenting critical alternative voices, contesting stereotyped language and vilification of this often-misunderstood social issue. 

“We are thrilled to receive this Outset Impact Grant in the early stages of this commission. Heightened by the radical uncertainty, that we are experiencing, the issues of social isolation and addiction gains further significance. It is to our excitement that with the generous support of the Art Fund, the film will join the Walker Art Gallery‚Äôs collection, part of the National Museums in Liverpool.”