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By: Jean McEwan
An artist initiated research project investigating concepts of gift and generosity.
# 36 [2 April 2013]
Black Monday, Black April.
A two pronged, vicious attack on the welfare state yesterday :The Health and Social Care Act , pushing the final nail in the coffin in the NHS through privatisation. A London GP writes 'People will die as a result of these changes" http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/3...
The latest round of benefit cuts, including the Bedroom Tax, pushing the poorest people in Britain into further poverty. The slashing of the Citizens Advice Bureau's budget so people have nowhere to turn to for support or information on their rights,.
Like many thousands, over the weekend I've been feeling sick to my stomach with rage, anxiety and impotence. It's a living nightmare. This government, utterly contemptuous of it's own people, stripping us of our rights and services for profit.
What is happening to us? How can we let this happen? What power do we have to stop this?
I've been thinking - what real use is my art? Collective blogging, potluck lunches, gift economy projects, skills exchanges, darkroom collectives - it's all very well, but it's not enough. Wouldn't my energy be better spent on direct action? Should I abandon my art activities and just get activist - campaigning protesting, trying to make some concrete change?
Easter Sunday out for a walk with X and the dog, I talked about my despair.
He said, do doctors and teachers question heir profession, or their vocation in times of social and economic upheaval? Do they think about leaving their jobs and going to work in a soup kitchen?
Well, why are you? Why do artists? Is art only relevant in times of stability?
I believe in the power of art. I believe it is essential to life. From individual experience it has transformed me and saved me countless times over.
But when it comes down to my own work, I question my actions, and the value and validity the relevance of what I'm doing. Isn't it a vanity? Isn't it a luxury?
X said, look at the Atelier Populaire. Look at Daumier's 'Rue Transnonain' - for the
the radical history and potential of art.
I thought about the upcoming popup zine shop our Loosely Bound zine collective has booked for May in Bradford, and the potential of using this opportunity for a wider purpose than selling our zines. Zines are a democratic unmediated means of self expression. Zines as a form of all self-publishing, gives people voice, agency. We could use the space as a hub for collaborations, talks, workshops, posters, zines, pamphlets, broadsides, information - a space for resistance and empowerment. Is it naiive to imagine, to strive for a contemporary Atelier Populaire?
Can we make this happen? Will it make any difference?
# 35 [29 March 2013]
The sun was out today, at last, when I woke this morning after a week of snow and dirty skies in West Yorkshire. The ice is slowly melting, as the song goes.
I took the dog straight out for an early walk and as I walked, reflected on the last few days of planning, reading and thinking about using my a-n Re:view bursary.
For the bursary I identified three artists I respect working in Bradford and Leeds, across a spread of practices within broadly defined ‘socially engaged’ contexts both within and out with institutional frameworks:
Caroline Hick: Artist, curator and Fellow in Visual Arts at the University of Bradford,
Andy Abbott: Artist, musician and writer and Fellow in Music at the University of Bradford.
Sarah Spanton: Artist, director of Waymarking; former director of New Work Yorkshire; founder member of Leeds Creative Timebank.
Caroline Hick and Andy Abbott are collaborating on the upcoming exhibition ’Fieldworks: Co-researching Self-organised Culture’ : http://www.brad.ac.uk/gallery/whats-on/spring-summ...
These are practitioners who I know and have worked with in various capacities in the past but whom I would not otherwise have the opportunity for structured and formal discussion about my work. I'm very grateful to a-n for the bursary which will enable me to do this.
I hope to gain from the experience of these practitioners to develop my knowledge of methodologies in participatory and collaborative working and co-research which I then can apply to my own projects; and to critically discuss ethics and politics of participation (including power, ownership, access, hierarchy, authorship) which will help me to identify the socio-political contexts I want to locate my practice (e.g. co-operative or critical in relation to market and state institutions ).
My first sessions are going to be with Andy Abbott in April, who I want to talk to among other things, about art, activism and DIY culture, aesthetics, ethics and the politics of participation - so this week I've been doing a bit of thinking and reading around these areas, mostly the following essays:
Claire Bishop’s essay ‘The Social Turn and Its Discontents’ downloadable here: mafineartcontemporarypractice.files.wordpress.com/2010/.../claire-bishop.pdf
'Francis Alys: When Faith Moves Mountains' an essay on his work by Jean Fisher
and" Lessons in Futility: Francis Alÿs and the Legacy of May '68" Grant Kester.
(downloadable here) www.grantkester.net/resources/Third+Text.pdf
As I walked this morning I thought about some of the ideas posited in the essays, particularly the arguments and counter arguments of Bishop and Kester around ethics and aesthetics of social practices and the nature of subjectivity. Is there, as Kester suggests, a
"privileging of dissensus over consensus, rupture and immediacy over continuity and duration, and distance over proximity, intimacy, or integration." ?
I came home and waiting for porridge to cook, stumbled on Twitter across a link to Polly Toynbee's column "Benefit cuts: Monday will be the day that defines this government" - a deeply depressing read about the government's savage cuts that will push thousands of the UK's poorest people into destitution.
"...disability living allowance starts converting into personal independence payment with a target to remove 500,000 people in new Atos medical tests.... jobcentre staff are under orders to find any sanction to knock people off benefits. New obstacles are strewn in their path: people must apply for their benefits online from computers they don't possess; many of these claimants are semi-literate. When in dire straits, there will be no more crisis loans, only a card for buying food, with not a penny for bus fares. Trussell Trust food banks expect a great surge of the hungry, so they ask everyone to donate the price of an Easter egg...On Monday the budget of Citizens Advice for such cases falls from £22m to £3m. The few emergency cases still covered – families facing instant eviction – can only use a phone service, not face-to-face legal help. Law centres will close. There will be no help on school exclusions, landlord or employer harassment, or failure to pay wages."
Immediately none of the stuff about the nature of subjectivity or the ethics of participation seems to matter, or be relevant. How can art change this desperate situation? A friend tweeted me:"Its up to artists to dream a better alternative" But how?
The only response I can feel now is despair.
# 34 [20 March 2013]
This morning brings confirmation of the inclusion of our gift circle proposal in the upcoming conference 'Just Do(ing) It, Again: The Politics of DIY and Self-Organised Culture' which is a 'day of presentations, workshops, films and discussion about DIY culture and its social, political and economic resonances' on
Saturday May 11th, 2013 at 1 in 12 Club, Bradford. (http://www.brad.ac.uk/music/whats-on-workshops/)
The context to the event is as follows:
"The first Just Do(ing) It conference happened in May 2011 at S1 Artspace, Sheffield. This second get-together aims to share experiences of, and critically reflect on, alternative, underground and marginal cultural practices with a particular focus on art, music and education. The event will take place at the legendary 1 in 12 Club in Bradford, one of Europe’s longest-running anarchist social centres. Over its three floors there will be a series of presentations, case studies, workshops, discussions and films with themes including ‘DIY, self-organisation and autonomy’. ‘punk and its discontents’, ‘collective case studies’, ‘the gift and poetry as radical gestures’, ‘artistic interventions’, ‘reclaiming labour and artisan production’ and more"
I'm looking forward to working with Ivan and Georgia Mack to run the gift circle for the first time (We'll be doing it under the identifier of 'Wur' which takes our blog collectivity out into the real world, a good feeling) and I think the Symposium will be an interesting audience/group of participants to trial it to, and with. My hope would be for people to experience it at the event and then take it, use it and adapt it within their own communities and networks. The intrinsic simplicity, flexibility and democracy of the gift circle seems to me an ideal means of sharing skills and resources unencumbered by structure or hierarchy http://wiki.gifteconomy.org/Gift_Circle and, following some Twitter conversations about creative time banks this morning, has confirmed to me as I walk the dog, that these are our core values that will underpin any gift economy activity that we do, summed up perfectly by Ivan in a follow up comment to his Twitter gift blogost
"An environment (the gift circle) with as simple a structure as possible, means that all parties have to negotiate their own exchanges. They have to make their own judgements of value and discuss those with others. Other systems we have studied to facilitate moneyless exchange seem to have defaulted to hierarchies, structures, and third party brokering, and remain couched in the terminology of financial transactions (eg. timebank). With any systemic change it’s as important to change the semantics and terms of reference as much as it is to try to change the underlying thinking. We also believe that third party brokering of transactions absolves participants of having to relearn the crucial skills of exchange negotiation, doesn’t help to bring people together in communities, and retains the placing of relative values on services or time. The external placing of relative value on exchange is close to a continuation of monetary thinking under a softer guise"
This morning also brings an act of generosity from fellow a-n blogger Marion Michell( http://www.a-n.co.uk/artists_talking/projects/sing...) in the form of a lovely card and beautiful coin cosies. I sent Marion a copy of Issue 1 of my zine Reciprocity (http://jeanieszines.bigcartel.com/product/reciproc...) back in December as part of a seasonal give away and Marion has sent me these lovely things in return. I'm so touched, as I love Marion's work and writing. It's a good reminder of how supportive and reciprocal the a-n artist talking community is, and what a good thing it has been for me to be part of it.
Finally this morning brings an email bearing good news - my application for an a-n Re;view bursary (http://www.a-n.co.uk/knowledge_bank/article/304701...) been successful.
I am so delighted. This means I have the opportunity to gain formal and structured feedback on these and other projects from experienced practitioners - its going to be so valuable, particularly right now when there is so much going on in the way of projects, conversations, ideas, and collaborations. Thank you a-n!
# 33 [19 March 2013]
Today's post is a catch up on skills exchange/gift economy activities. There has been a lot happening in this area over the last couple of weeks, and I want to capture the process and order before it disappears. It feels important to document this stuff - i.e. the mechanics of how actions, conversations, collaborations come about - because it reveals that these things are organic, dependent on open-ness, goodwill, risk and basically just trying things out.
The last time I posted on this was the meeting I had with Bradford creatives Ivan and Georgia Mack, a few weeks back - an exploratory conversation around shared interest in sharing and gift economy projects. We talked about gift circles as a flexible, real world way of sharing skills and resources, but also about experimenting with Twitter hashtags to explore the social media possibilities. Here's an excerpt from Ivan's blogpost on Wur Blog http://wurblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/twitter-gi...
It’s important systems of gift giving are grounded in real world interactions between people in the same place as they help to build a sense of community. We wanted our gift circle to be
b:not web based but ‘real’
d:minimum administration and hackable
e:no values placed on gifts
Plans are afoot to make this happen in the real world by meeting and talking and sharing, but we also realised that we might as well experiment with co-opting existing media to this end. The only risk is that nothing happens and we move on. With this in mind we propose the following tweet structure and hashtag for bradford skills exchange.
OFFER: (insert skill here) #BDskillx
NEED: (insert need) #BDskillx
The hashtag has so far has limited uptake in people using it to actually exchange skills, but what has happened is that is has generated interest and conversation on twitter from people within our creative networks which has led to the beginnings of a 'real world' collective.
I recently did a skills exchange with Bradford based photographer Adam Simons in which Adam gave me a refresher session in manual camera use in return for some advice about exhibiting (blogged here on Wur http://wurblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/pints-and-...)
Last Thursday on Twitter, Adam, Ivan and I were talking about the best place to get film developed - this then sparked a discussion with other Bradford creatives joining in - about the possibility of setting up a collective dark room- which we could all run and use together. The enthusiasm and excitement for this idea was palpable, so we decided to fix a date for a meeting as soon as possible.
So six of us (@simon cantrill, @impgalleryanne, @bpmonkey, @SkylightSwift and @adamsimonstweet and @jeanmcewan ) met last night for an early evening drink to talk through the possibilities.
We all agreed that what we want a is sustainable model , a darkroom which we can run as a collective which is permanent, accessible and affordable. We talked about various options for spaces within and outside Bradford city centre, and some possible sources of equipment. We agreed that we would begin as a collective of six , set up a space, and then look at how we might grow - in terms of other members, and workshops and other projects. We're going to meet again soon to make some decisions about space and to get this thing off the ground as soon as possible. Exciting.
# 32 [17 March 2013]
It's been a busy couple of weeks with various projects progressing - lots of meetings, events and communications going on, andin the middle of it, the death of my laptop (r.i.p G4 ibook) so I haven't had much time or opportunity to post for a while. I've found I've missed it - blogging here helps me organise my thoughts, reflect on my work and the process of writing always offers some new insight. Now feels like an exciting time, but also a little overwelming with all the ideas and projects and conversations... I feel like I need some time to reflect, take stock of all these different activities and try to find the connections between them. Some time for thinking, and space to consider methodology, and the direction and focus of my practice.
I'm going to try to post here this week on each of my projects to aid this reflective process.
So to start with, the collaborative blog is now up and running. It officially launched on March 1st and has six posts already which I am delighted about. I called it "Wur blog". "Wur" in Scots means two things: "we are" and "our". I had been struggling to find a name for the blog, and one day reading Eisenstein's 'Sacred Economics' came across a discussion of WIR, the Swizz complementary currency system. A WIR/WUR rhyme took hold of my brain -since my Nana's death Scots words are constantly lodging themselves in my head. The word seems a good fit - communicating the sense of collectivity, community and shared ownership that I would like all contributors to the blog to feel. I'm delighted to have almost 20 people as authors on the blog- who are a cross of artists and non-artists, with varying approaches and ideas to and about gift and reciprocity. It's so exciting to have different voices (including a-n bloggers Kate Murdoch, Alinah Azedeh, Louise Atkinson Lee Gascoyne and Stuart Mayes) and to have the opportunity to bring these together in conversation. Already, just a few weeks into the blog, this is already happening. This is working just as I wanted it to- a democratic open sharing of ideas - I think of it as co-research. Please join the conversation! The blog can be found at http://wurblog.wordpress.com
# 31 [26 February 2013]
An great meeting yesterday with fellow creatives Ivan and Georgia Mack yesterday to talk about possible gift economy projects over a fantastic lunch at The Treehouse Cafe in Bradford (http://www.treehousecafe.org/ where all food is locally sourced, organic and home-made - a great place to support)
We talked around the possibilities for various projects including Freeshops, skills exchanges and gift circles. From the oustet we agreed that we dont want is to do an online project which may replicate exisiting exchange projects such as Craigslist and Freeconomy and suck up all our time in administering. We want to do a real world project, local to Bradford which involves real time conversations and physical presence, and building of community. We talked about creative exchanges as a starting point, perhaps among people we know within Bradford's arts community and potential diffculties of getting people to commit their time and come to events. Georgia suggested linking in to existing networks and communities and perhaps a flexible approach that wasn't tied to a particular space or venue. We came to the conclusion that we just need to try out some stuff and see how it works without being too precious about it. Part of the experience is seeing what comes up, learning on the way: R and D as Ivan put it.
We talked a bit about gift circles which I had come across via Mark Boyle's book 'The Moneyless Manifesto'. Gift circles are a really simple idea, involving meeting the needs of a group of people at any given time via gifts (of time or resources or skills). This article by Charles Eisenstein explains it really well http://www.shareable.net/blog/charles-eisenstein-g...
The beauty is the simplicity of the idea and they can happen anywhere and with any group of people, and also and there isn't the adminstrative burden of creating and maintaining a structure. We got excited about the possibilities of using this model in a variety of contexts and environments (art and non art) began to identify some upcoming events/projects in Bradford that we could link into. More soon.
# 30 [24 February 2013]
... continued from last post:
A week in reciprocity, part two:
7. Vantage Art Prize (..continued).. There was a huge breadth of work, including live art, sculpture, painting, video, print and photography, shown on three floors of an unused office building. My personal highlight was ‘What is Left? (http://www.arconline.co.uk/whats-on/visual-arts/th...) a participatory photography project being made by Leeds based performance artist Ellie Harrison, Manchester-based artist Roshana Rubin Mayhew and 50 members of the public. Working with individuals, community groups and bereavement charities, Ellie and Roshana are generating 50 portraits, corresponding texts and audio recordings exploring experiences of grief and mourning. Some of these portraits with audio were shown as part of Vantage. This project is part of a wider work called The Grief Series, a sequence of seven projects by Ellie using a seven stage Grief Model from popular psychology as a starting point. (http://griefseries.co.uk/ ) I experienced one piece (Ellie’s own) and found the audio of her talking about her mother hugely affecting. I found the work generous in its honesty and very cathartic to experience as it has moved me on in my own process of mourning.
8. Ongoing reading of Charles Eisenstein’s ‘Sacred Economics: Money, Gift and Society in the Age of Transition’ (read it here online for free http://sacred-economics.com/). I found out about this book via Alinah Azedeh’s excellent a-n blog ‘Burning The Books’ http://www.a-n.co.uk/artists_talking/projects/sing... and I’m so glad, as it has made me think, learn and re-asses my relationship to and knowledge of money. It’s been mind-altering. Here’s a quote from Chapter 14 ‘Relearning Gift Culture’
“To fully receive is to willingly put yourself in a position of obligation, either to the giver or to society at large. Gratitude and obligation go hand in hand, they are two sides of the same coin. Obligation is obligation to do what? It is to give without ‘compensation’. Gratitude is what? It is the desire to give, again without compensation, borne of the realisation of having received. In the age of the separate self, we have split the two, but originally they are one: obligation is a desire that comes from within and is only secondarily enforced from without. Clearly then, reluctance to receive is actually reluctance to give. We think that we are being noble, self-sacrificing, or unselfish if we prefer to give rather than to receive. We are being nothing of the sort. The generous person gives and receives with an equally open hand”
9. Progress on the multi-author blog on generosity/reciprocity is going well. The majority of people I have asked to contribute have said yes, either to being a regular author, or to guest posting. People have been really positive about the idea, which has been so encouraging, in particular fellow a-n blogger Kate Murdoch (http://www.a-n.co.uk/artists_talking/projects/single/1689794) who has been really generous from the outset with her time and support of all my reciprocity doings. I feel very fortunate to have made such good connections on a-n with artists such as Kate whose work I greatly respect and which feeds my own. The plan is to launch the blog on Friday 1st March.. more to follow!
10. A stunning A1 edition, sent to me from artist Alex Hetherington from 'Modern Edinburgh Film School', a research and production project which includes curated screenings, film essays, a group show and participatory forms, a published zine Edinburgh Homosexual, texts and editions: A Party for Young Artists. I am a great fan of Alex’s work (http://alexhetherington.tumblr.com/) and I have had the pleasure of showing his work at a number of projects/exhibitions I have curated over the past 6 years or so. Although we have only met once briefly in real life in all my communications with him I have found him to be one of the most reciprocal and generous artists I have encountered. And his work is stunning. Lucky, lucky, lucky me.
'Modern Edinburgh Film School Wallpaper' prints are available from:
# 29 [24 February 2013]
A week in reciprocity, part one:
1. “Slavery never ended in the nineteenth century, it was merely re-branded and marketed to us in a different packet. The monetary economy doesn’t serve us, we serve it” Mark Boyle, The Moneyless Manifesto”.I got this book from the library and read it this week. It details the author’s decision to live without money, the philosophy he developed on the way and how he went about it. It is a thought-provoking, eye opening look at living without (or being less dependent on) money which is totally non-pious and also pretty entertaining. It’s making me think a lot and given me ideas for possible projects. You can read the book for free here.http://www.moneylessmanifesto.org/
2. Our friend, public artist Martin Heron (http://www.axisweb.org/seCVPG.aspx?ARTISTID=4855) came to stay last weekend. Martin lives in France but works in the UK, currently on a collaborative public project with a residential community in Hull. We had a very interesting chat about the politics of participation, touching on ideas of permission, authority, and hierarchy. It’s given me much to think about.
3. I did a daily mini zine exchange project with my nephew Oisin, age 10, when he visited us for a few days over half term with his dad and sister. We each made four zines. We agreed that we wanted to continue the project so we are going to make a zine each week and send it to each other for the next 5 weeks. Fun.
4. A letter arrived from Cruse Bereavement Care, thanking me for my donation of £75 and asking me to fill in an evaluation form for the one to one sessions counselling sessions I had recently with them. (This is a free service, provided by a trained voluntary counsellor ) These sessions were invaluable to me at a time when I was feeling overwhelmed by the losses of my grandmother and a close friend who both died last summer. I am so grateful to Cruse for their support http://www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk/
5. An email from fellow a-n blogger Stuart Mayes (http://www.a-n.co.uk/artists_talking/projects/single/377860). Stuart emailed me directly to answer a question I had asked him via the comments section of his blog about the ‘Art and Social Context course’ he did at Dartington College of Arts. In his email Stuart explained the ethos and philosophy of the course. Since I started blogging on a-n last year, Stuart has shown me a lot of generosity, taking the time to encourage and support my work and my blogs. I really appreciate this.
6. Studio day, working with some photographs from my Nana’s archive. I am just about to start the process of scanning and sharing the archive with my extended family who are scattered across Scotland, England and Australia. Hopefully this will also involve sharing stories and memories and making a booklet to distribute among all the family. I’ve also applied for a photographic residency in Glasgow to collaborate with family there in response to the archive. Fingers crossed. This week I emailed a couple of my cousins in Australia and one in Manchester about sharing the archive. I haven’t been in touch with them for a while but all were really positive. I’m excited about what this project might bring us all.
7. Vantage art Prize, Thursday 21st February: a new cross arts prize, by and for Leeds artists, curated by live artist Adam Young for Departure Arts Foundation (http://new.a-n.co.uk/news/single/vantage-art-prize...) 45 artists living and/or working in Leeds were shorlisted, including me, for my text work ‘Recipe For Reciprocity’ which I showed as two A1 posters. The vibe of the night was very supportive and celebratory. – a great sense of excitement and goodwill abounded. Adam is just great - very proactive in artist-led activity in Leeds and full of energy and good humour. I chatted with artist and a-n blogger Alice Bradshaw about value and money (http://www.a-n.co.uk/artists_talking/projects/sing...) who told me about a book on the gift economy she had been reading and thought I might be interested in – she tweeted me the link next day: ‘The Social Life of Things’ ed. Arjun Appaduri (http://t.co/nLeieNAgAi ) Thanks Alice!
Continued next post..
# 28 [18 February 2013]
Inaugural ‘Art Coven’ meet up last week in Leeds with artist Louise Atkinson (http://louiseatkinsonblog.blogspot.co.uk/) Debi Holbrook (http://debiholbrookartist.wordpress.com) Helen Harrop (http://letcreativitybegin.co.uk) and Emma Bolland (http://youwillhearmecall.wordpress.com) -getting together to talk loosely about ideas of gift/exchange/value/reciprocity
Three happy and lively hours spent talking, listening, laughing.
Here's is a very partial snapshot of stuff we talked about. There were so many ideas and conversations flying it was impossible to keep track of everything (so apologies to the others for stuff I’ve missed out) but here are some of the things that have stuck in my mind:
Value and worth of artworks (Helen) Pricing work. Ambivalence for some of us around the market: comfort/discomfort with naming a price for an artwork. Is it easier to put a price on your time as an artist than a piece of work ?(depends who is paying) Attachment to artworks we make- not wanting to let them go (Lou)
Grizedale Arts Honesty Shop http://www.grizedale.org/ Selling locally produced produce, crafts and baking... Pay what you want. The shop contains artworks and other donated items objects become re-contextualised/aestheticised as a consequence of the nature of the space. The local community are involved and support it. (Emma)
Debi: exchange/ gift economy going on informally in her neighbourhood in Leeds.. thinking documenting this via blog..
Thinking about the possibility of running a temporary popup free shop in one of Fabric Bradford`'s temporary shops http://www.fabricculture.co.uk/blog/fabric-takes-m... (Jean) discussion about how this would work.. How would people use/engage with it? do you impose rules on how much stuff you can take? Can people donate? How clear should this be made? Like the idea of no rules.. an experiment.. but giving stuff away is difficult.
Everyone is an artist.??? professional vs amateur..
Giving attention: (Simone Weil: “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,”)
Idea of project offering attention. (eg offering to meet for coffee) What, if any limits do you put on this? Is putting any kind of limit ungenerous? Discussion about sharing/oversharing -
http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/08/why-we-overs... (link via Lou)
Talking about the framing and documenting of relational/participatory art projects. The artists documents, controls, frames the experience? Then owns the experience and calls it art? Power, hierarchies. Is it art or isn't it? Keep it ephemeral?Our experiences are always filtered through our own perceptions (Helen) each person will have a a completely different experience of an encounter - so documenting is problematic.
'The relationship economist ' applying economic principles to love http://m.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/feb/09/r... (link via Lou)
Alain Badiou's 'In Praise of Love' ( Emma) about the commodification of love
Finishing with a quote from a David Whyte poem Helen tweeted me after the meeting
"Innocence is what we allow/ to be gifted back to us/ once we've given ourselves away."
A great, thought provoking, social meeting – we all clicked – looking forward to the next gathering.
# 27 [10 February 2013]
A couple of discoveries today:
"Ways of Knowing" an experimental year long project "exploring the different registers, values and subjectivities of collaborative research"
I found out about the project because I follow one of the participants, Sheffield University academic Kate Pahl on twitter. (http://twitter.com/KatePahl) I came across Kate's work via enthnographer Irna Qureshi who works with Kate. I'm extremely interested in collaborative research practices so discovering this project at this stage when it is just beginning is great timing for me.
Secondly a pretty fine blog article on participatory art, “Beuys’ Concept of Social Sculpture and Relational Art Practices Today", discussing the work of Joseph Beuys, Jeremey Deller and Thomas Hirschhorn
I'm also thinking about a possible popup project for one of Fabric (http://www.fabricculture.co.uk/) empty shop spaces in Bradford. Fabric have recently aquired seven new spaces in the city centre and are offering people the opportunity to run events/popup projects in them. An exchange project? A free shop? Reading Eisenstein discussing historical examples of alternative currencies such as the Worgl experiment in Austria http://www.lietaer.com/2010/03/the-worgl-experimen... and the WIR in Switzerland http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WIR_Bank is getting my brain whirring.
Jean McEwan is a visual artist based near Haworth, West Yorkshire. Her outputs have included installation, experimental film, documentary, performance to camera, and audio-visual performance, and artist books and zines. She has exhibited her work in the UK and internationally. Collaboration is a key part of her practice and she is frequently involved in participatory and artist-run projects.