We are an open, global artists’ collective.
Thursday Society is the first open, inclusive and global artists’ collective. We’re making creative community, support and education freely available to all.
Thursday Society was founded on the belief that supportive communities are essential for creativity. That more of us can be creative if we widen access to communities that encourage self-belief and give structure. At Thursday Society we aim to build those communities together.
How Thursday Society started
Thursday Society was founded in 2021 by artist and educator Bay Backner. Bay saw the need for an open artists’ collective while researching her book on inclusive creativity. She based the society on ideas of open collaboration, and the learnings from the womens’ arts collective she began in Valencia in 2018. Many of the women from that collective became founder members of Thursday Society.
Meet our founder members
Thursday Society’s first members and collaborators. With sincere thanks for your ideas, experience and enthusiasm.
Theorist, author of hybrid texts, art enthusiast and experimental visual artist.
Dr. Louise Atkinson
Multi-disciplinary visual artist and researcher, based in Leeds, UK.
Zoe Marie Bullingham
Novelist, poet and screenwriter. Stories cultivate dreams, which cultivate stories: it’s an infinite symbiosis and why I write.
Interior Designer based in Yorkshire, UK and mum of four.
Self-taught abstract artist. My work is very versatile and I love exploring texture and colour.
Activist, collaborator and writer.
Artist, writer and curator commited to inclusivity in the arts through her collective painting “ReCreations”. She also paints under the name of Marie Julou.
British artist who paints realist portraits of fictional characters from the world of film, television and music.
Why the name Thursday Society?
Before Covid-19, Thursday was the day that many artists and creatives got together for their city’s art walks and gallery events. Cities like London, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Seattle and San Francisco all had First Thursday events, in which galleries would be open into the evening. In Valencia, Bay organised a group of over 1,000 women who would visit openings on Thursday nights.
This all changed in 2020 with pandemic restrictions. Many artists found themselves isolated, especially those of us just starting our practices.
Bay then came across The First Thursday Society (Ichimoku-kay) while researching historical artists’ collectives. This group, founded in Japan in 1939, helped revive Japanese printmaking despite the difficulties of World War II. Artists met each month to share ideas and companionship, supporting each other to create while resources were scarce.
Bay’s idea was to create a First Thursday-inspired society to help support creativity post-pandemic. We’d be ‘the second First Thursday Society’ after the Japanese printmakers, so for simplicity we became Thursday Society.
More about Bay
Bay Backner is an artist, activist and creativity educator. Bay’s own creative path took her from a working-class background to an Oxford degree in physics, then from open source technology to painting for international art galleries.
Bay is a fully-qualified teacher and is certified by The Smithsonian Institution in teaching critical thinking through art. She is currently the resident artist and creativity teacher at a leading independent school, and teaches creative confidence from her painting studio in Valencia, Spain. Bay initially qualified as a teacher through the social change program, Teach First, and is committed to opening creative education to all.
Photograph by Rosie Mayell