Assembly 2019 kicked off in Swansea with a day-long event across three of the city’s art spaces. Programmed in collaboration with Swansea-based artist Jane Simpson, Assembly Swansea explored the difficulties and advantages of running artist-led projects in the city.

Swansea is a city at the end of a train line, the exit off the motorway you pass on the road to a holiday in West Wales. When the city you are based in isn’t a ‘destination’, how can artists reach audiences, maintain relevance and remain engaged and connected? Described by Simpson as ‘brimming with talent’, Swansea is home to a community of resourceful and creative people – but it also faces economic and geographical challenges.

Simpson devised a day that addresses these issues and proposed to ground the event with research from a pre-Assembly questionnaire. The day concluded with a tangible outcome for the benefit of the city’s art scene.

Assembly Swansea videos on a-n’s YouTube channel

Assembly Swansea brings together views from a number of contributors including artist Owen Griffiths, curator Karen Mackinnon, artists Jason & Becky and artist Thomas Goddard.

Cardiff-based artist Thomas Goddard introduces his practice and describes the necessity and benefits of working with other people.

Artist Jane Simpson, who runs Swansea gallery GS Artists, describes the challenge of maintaining relevance as an artist-led initiative and her optimism for the future

Members of Aberdeen artist-led project Tendency Towards describe the challenges and opportunities of working in a place that ‘people pass through on their way somewhere else’.

Swansea-based artist Owen Griffiths introduces his socially-engaged practice.

Karen Mackinnon, curator at Swansea’s Glynn Vivian Gallery, introduces her work and talks about the importance of art having a social purpose.

John Byrne introduces the aims of Arte Util, an international body that promotes ways for art to work effectively in ordinary life.

Collaborative artists Jason & Becky introduce their socially-engaged practice and outline the advantages of working together.

Roger Lougher shares his experience of running artist-led project Rhôd in rural Carmarthenshire.