European artists unite at Central Library

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From Liverpool to Helsinki – find out more about the talented artists we’ve chosen for our first ever Both Sides Now International Commission.

European artists unite at Central Library
14th February 2019

From Liverpool to Helsinki – find out more about the talented artists we’ve chosen for our first ever Both Sides Now International Commission.

We’re delighted to announce Laura Campbell (UK) and Mari Sainio (Finland) as the selected artists for our first ever Both Sides Now International Commission.

Over the next month Laura and Mari will meet for the first time, and collaborate to create a set of original music based on the themes of unity, community and connectedness.

As part of the commission they’ll also receive mentoring from Manchester multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, singer and producer LoneLady.

Their work will be premiered at Manchester’s iconic Central Library at a special (and timely) event on Thu 21 Mar 2019, which will include an in-conversation with the two artists, and LoneLady. Together they’ll discuss their creative processes, the inspiration behind their new work and why international collaboration is more important than ever.

Following the UK premiere, Laura and Mari will go on to perform at a European festival in summer 2019.

After applying for the commission via a public call out in December 2018, Liverpool-based writer and musician Laura Campbell, and Mari Sainio, a composer and producer from Helsinki, were chosen by a panel made up of Brighter Sound and Manchester City Council’s Library staff.

“In the current climate, it feels more important than ever for us to be supporting this cross-European collaboration. It has been both brilliant and fascinating to work with Manchester’s librarians to choose the final artists. Laura and Mari presented a combination of originality, skill, awareness, and a passion for collaborative working. It’s great to be able to support these talented female musicians through this commission. I hope it strengthens their international connections and broadens their horizons.”
Debra King, Brighter Sound

Part of Both Sides Now – our groundbreaking initiative to support gender equality in music – this commission is part of a series of projects taking place across Manchester’s libraries. In partnership with Manchester City Council, we’ve also been working with communities at libraries in Longsight, Wythenshawe and Harpurhey to deliver ‘Creative Spaces’ music workshops and events to empower young women from across the city.

Free tickets for the event on Thu 21 Mar are now available. Find out more and book here.

Animation by Abby Edwards.

Meet the artists

Laura Campbell is a Liverpool based writer and musician from Westhoughton. She has recently been creating sound and music compositions for installation and film as a member of Friend Or Foe, a collective of artists experimenting with film, light, sound and music for live performances. She was part of 90’s electronic band Mulu and in 2018 completed a Masters in Sound For the Moving Image at Glasgow School Of Art. 

“The Both Sides Now International Commission is a really exciting, fantastic and unique opportunity for me. It will develop me as an artist through an exchange of musical knowledge, ideas and experience, giving me the opportunity to perform in the amazing Manchester Central Library and tour the work to other international festivals opening up opportunities to experience and perform to new audiences.”


Mari Sainio is a Finnish composer and music producer. A native of Helsinki, Mari Sainio combines classical music elements with cinematic melodies and electronic soundscapes with what could be termed as a ‘post-rock pathos’.

Graduating as a Master of Composition for Screen from London’s Royal College of Music in 2015, Sainio has been working as a composer since 2010, making music for theatre, film, TV and orchestra. Commissions include projects with Finnish broadcasting company YLE, Icelandic production company NyArk Media, the Baltic Sea Philharmonic and Imogen Heap. Sainio’s works have been performed in prestigious venues such as The National Gallery (London), Music House (Helsinki) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (London).

In the summer 2017 Mari’s debut EP, Tales, was released to critical and popular acclaim on the Finnish Ranka Kustannus label. Her debut album, Minus 25, was also released by Ranka Kustannus in August 2018. 

“This project is a great opportunity for me to collaborate with another great musician and also get new aspects and ideas for my own composition work. I hope to push my musical boundaries during this project. I’m really looking forward the performance in the Central Library.”


About LoneLady

Julie Campbell, A.K.A LoneLady, is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, singer and producer from Manchester, England. Inspired by British post-punk and electronic music, LoneLady has released two critically-acclaimed albums on Warp Records.

LoneLady has toured UK and Europe with festival highlights including Iceland Airwaves, Barcelona BAM and Glastonbury. All 4 singles were A-playlisted on BBC6 Music with live radio sessions recorded for Lauren Laverne and Marc Riley. In 2015 she received a Sky Arts Nomination for Best Breakthrough Artist and ‘Hinterland’ appeared in many Best Album Of 2015 lists.

Taking the urban environment as inspiration, LoneLady also creates immersive events and installations such as ‘Shutters Down!’ – an occasional clubnight appearing in unusual locations and ‘Scrub Transmissions’, a series of sound installations embedded into the fabric of the landscape.

In 2016 LoneLady was invited to become a member of Somerset House Studios, a new experimental workspace in the centre of London. In the ‘Rifle Range’, an 18th century former shooting gallery, LoneLady built a new analogue studio from scratch. Here, she wrote the bulk of her new album, which she is currently finishing.

“It is necessary to unpick the thinking that creates stereotypes and barriers around girls’ and womens’ creative, intellectual and technical capacities in music. 

Being creative has always been as natural for me as breathing, and as a Northern solo female artist who has always sought to forge an independent authentic voice, this initiative holds a lot of personal resonance. 

I am delighted to support Both Sides Now in its quest to challenge and redress gender and North-South inequalities, and rescue from invisibility all the potential and creativity of under-represented and marginalised artists.”  

Find out more about Both Sides Now.