Hayley Newman is interested in performance and performativity, documentary practices, humour, subjectivity and fiction. Over the past few years, she has worked both individually and collectively and has learnt as much about how collectives function as she has about how she functions as an individual. Her commitment to working creatively around the current economic, social and ecological crises forged 'The Gluts' (Hayley Newman, Gina Birch and Kaffe Matthews) and their eco-electro musical Café Carbon which they took to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009 and subsequently performed at Whitechapel Art Gallery, Camden Arts Centre, Café Oto and Modern Art Oxford in 2010. For Café Carbon they wrote songs about food and climate; cheap chicken, food-transportation, over-consumption, water, allotments, mechanization and the beginning of modernity were all on the menu.
Other work has included Milton Keynes Vertical Horizontal (MKVH, 2006), a public event in which volunteers were driven around the Milton Keynes road grid until their coach ran out of diesel; MKVH (the screenplay), published in 2008, was based on this journey. The book built on ideas around intersubjectivity, memory and narrative, commenting on peak oil with particular relation to the car-dependent culture of the new city of Milton Keynes.
In 2009, writer Andrea Mason and Newman inaugurated the self-help group Capitalists Anonymous (CA), a forum for people to come and confess their capitalist tendencies. Originally set up for bankers in the wake of the economic crash, CA was seen as a therapeutic intervention that took place on the steps of the Royal Exchange in the City of London.
Newman's pre-Occupy novella Common, written as 'Self-Appointed Artist-in-Residence' in the City of London over the summer of 2011, was published by Copy Press in 2013. In Common she wrote about the economic crisis from within, as it was happening on the streets of the Square Mile. Alongside fantastical imaginings and writings from the heart of the financial district, the book documents the crash in global markets caused by the downgrading of American debt, turbulence in the Eurozone and the protests/riots that started in London before spreading across Britain.
Newman recently completed Histoire Economique (2012-2014), frottage renderings of the fronts of banks in the City of London, and Domestique (2010-2012), a series of used dishcloths embroidered with faces which were exhibited at Castlefield Gallery in 2013. She was also closely involved with Liberate Tate, which used a series of unauthorised interventions in Tate Britain and Tate Modern to put pressure on the gallery not to renew its sponsorship deal with BP. Newman is currently engaged with a writing project Facadism (2012-present), an ongoing set of short stories about faces and building facades.