Introducing the Jamboree 2018 blog

The Jamboree team will be blogging here to share our preparations for Jamboree 2018 taking place on the 28th June – 1st July 2018.

What is Jamboree?

Artists LOW PROFILE invite visual artists, curators and programmers to become involved in co-delivering a programme of presentations, micro-exhibitions, activities and discussions to share practice at Jamboree 2018. The event will take place from the 28th June -1st July 2018 in a relaxed outdoor setting, on the Dartington Estate near Totnes, (Devon, UK) and will bring together 150 visual artists, curators & programmers from around the UK. LOW PROFILE hope that attendees will meet new people, find out about each other’s work, build new relationships and make connections that lead to new projects.

Who is the Jamboree team?

Project initiators:
Jamboree is devised by LOW PROFILE – artists Rachel Dobbs & Hannah Rose (nee Jones). They are the driving force behind the on-going Jamboree project. As artists, LOW PROFILE are committed to delivering ambitious artist-led activity in Plymouth & across the UK – including PL:ay festival (2007), Come to Ours (2011) and Jamboree (2015, 2018 – ongoing).

Event producer:
Vickie Fear is an independent producer and curator of contemporary art exhibitions, commissions and events, based in Plymouth. Vickie previously worked as the Assistant Curator at Plymouth Arts Centre. She is also a Visual Arts Plymouth Activator, PAC Home member and one of the organisers of Counter, the Plymouth art book fair. Vickie maintained an artist practice until 2015.

Communications producer:
Beth Emily Richards is an artist, researcher, and producer based in Plymouth, UK. She is involved with several artist-led curatorial projects, including Video Social Club and Sister Sister. Her broad research interest is critical iterative methods of art making, including reenactment practice, fan labour, and myth-making.

How can we find out more about Jamboree?
Follow our blog here!
Website: https://artistsjamboree.uk/
Twitter: @artistsjamboree
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/artistsjamboree/
Instagram: @artistsjamboree

With thanks to project partners a-n and Plymouth College of Art, and project supporters Plymouth Culture, Visual Arts South West, CVAN-NW, PAC Home, ESP, WARP, Somerset Art Works, Spike Associates, CG Associates.


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Thanks to Plymouth College of Art, PAC Home at Plymouth Arts Centre, Extra Special People at Eastside Projects, CG Associates at Castlefield Gallery, WARP at g39, Spike Associates at Spike Island, Visual Art South West, Somerset Art Works, and CVAN North West; the Jamboree team have been able to offer 32 artists and curators bursaries, covering the cost of tickets (including camping).

The artists and curators who have been awarded bursaries and those who have already purchased tickets are listed on the newly launched Jamboree participants directory, available at: https://artistsjamboree.uk/jamboree-directory.
The directory will continue to be updated and aims to become a useful resource for attendees to stay in touch & for others to find artists & curators based around the UK.

We’re sharing these fantastic practitioners’ work on our social media channels, follow us at:

Twitter: @artistsjamboree

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/artistsjamboree/

Instagram: @artistsjamboree

Image: ROKK ER MODIR by Jamboree 2018 bursary awardee Isobel Adderley


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In 2018, Jamboree has scaled up from 16 participants to 150. You have chosen the Dartington Estate as the new venue, can you tell us why?

In part, the Dartington Estate is just a really nice place to be – outdoors, in the rolling green countryside – a perfect place to get away from it all. Practically, it’s well connected by public transport and there is a great infrastructure there for camping, showing work, meeting, and hanging out. We looked at a few different sites around the area, but in other places we would have had to build a whole festival-style setup to use them, which was going to make the project too costly and logistically difficult for attendees.

Dartington also has a really rich history with 20th century experimental arts practice – until quite recently, it was the home of an internationally renowned art college, inspired by the 1950s Black Mountain College in North Carolina. People like John Cage spent time there, and apparently it was where what we now know as Arts Council England was dreamed up. It feels like an auspicious place to bring so many exciting people together to share what they are up to. People travel from around the world to visit the Estate (which is owned and operated by Dartington Hall Trust and is home to Schumacher College – a leading international centre for sustainable education), and so we thought it would give another reason for people to want to come to Jamboree.

Tell us about your partners and supporters.

We have continued to work with lots of the partners we worked with to make Jamboree #1 happen in 2015, and had more people come on board because they are interested in the project. This includes artists associate schemes from around England & Wales – PAC Home (Plymouth Arts Centre); WARP (g39, Cardiff); Extra Special People (Eastside Projects, Birmingham); CG Associates (Castlefield Gallery, Manchester); Spike Associates (Spike Island, Bristol) and Somerset Art Works, and the regional CVANs (Contemporary Visual Arts Networks), Visual Art South West (VASW) and CVAN NW.

a-n have been massively supportive to us throughout the planning of Jamboree – offering us mentoring, advocacy, financial support and help with evaluating the project as a potential model for artist-led professional development. We probably wouldn’t have embarked on such a large-scale version of the project without their initial encouragement and support and we are hugely grateful for this. For Jamboree 2018, we have also partnered up with Plymouth College of Art, to work on how learning from this type of artist-led model can feed into degree and post-grad education. We (LOW PROFILE) both individually work in jobs that are involved in improving and enhancing art education, so this felt like a really natural fit. While fundraising for the project, we also secured valuable support from Plymouth Culture and Arts Council England, who recognised the importance for better and more tailored opportunities for artists and curators to meet and get to know each other’s practice.

Who do you hope will attend & what do you hope participants will gain from attending?

We’re hoping that artists and curators from around the UK will make the trip to Jamboree, but we realise that for some it will be too long & expensive of a trip to make. At the moment, we’ve got people coming from the South West (Penzance through to Bristol), from Cardiff, Birmingham, London & the South East, Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. We’d love to reach more artists and curators based in the North East, the Midlands and the East of England, and those able to make the trip from Scotland & Northern Ireland. We recognise that artists’ resources are often stretched to the max and so we hope to find cost effective ways to reduce travel costs by helping to arrange car-pools & “two-together” type travel arrangements, as well as attempting to get some sponsorship from rail companies for travel bursaries.

We’re also hoping that Jamboree 2018 will attract artists and curators at a range of different career stages, as an opportunity to refresh and renew professional connections with others and find out more about what is going on across the regions. It should be a good mix of work and pleasure, relaxing and taking stock, a chance to stop and recharge alongside being a useful way to meet new people, they would never have heard of otherwise. We hope that participants might find future collaborators, end up showing work together, visit each other’s studios/homes/cities, or make (or receive) invitations to show work somewhere they never expected.

Is there an element of the programme you are most excited about?

It sounds a bit cliched, but all of it really!! We can’t wait to discuss topics with others while roaming around the countryside on the Walks & Talks (inspired in part by the Cornwall Workshop & Penzance Convention’s Field Trips), or take part in the Communal Making sessions (where artists explore an element of their practice that benefits from participation with other attendees – inspired by situations like the workshops & jams at Supernormal festival). It’s going to be great to hear about lots of other artists’ projects in the 20:20 Talks and see what people bring along for the Artists & Curators Miniatures display and Camp Shop… plus the camping, film watching and hanging out in the sunshine – hopefully guaranteed!!

To find out more about Jamboree see:

artistsjamboree.uk

twitter.com/artistsjamboree

instagram.com/artistsjamboree

facebook.com/artistsjamboree


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Artist duo LOW PROFILE discuss the impetus for and ideas behind Jamboree

As artists with quite a few years of experience behind us, who have chosen to base our lives and arts practice outside of an established visual art “hub”, we sometimes feel quite out on a limb… Lots more things have started to happen over the last five years or so in Plymouth (where we live and work), but due to a range of social and practical factors (including the cost of travel, distances involved and balancing the the time taken to regularly go and meet peers outside of our region with other commitments – like other jobs, families and relationships) we sometimes struggle to meet other artists and curators and our network has felt very localised at times.

Although online platforms and communication make it easier in many ways to find out about other artists’ work and see documentation of exhibitions and events, our desire to bring people together in one place – to meet face-to-face in an intensive environment to get to know each other and each other’s ­­practice – reflects positive experiences we had in earlier parts of our career as part of the UK’s live art scene. Showing work at live art festivals meant traveling to events that brought practitioners together on an equal footing, to hang out, form friendships and share experiences, alongside the activity of showing your own, and seeing each other’s, work.

Jamboree is partly a response to those experiences – wanting to find new ways for visual artists and curators to meet new people and to share practice, in a supportive and critically engaged environment. Staying in one place together (with 150 other people who work in the arts) for a few days means that there will be plenty of time to relax and meet each other in an informal way which will hopefully (alongside the Jamboree programme itself) help people build new relationships.

 

Tell us about Jamboree 2015. How did it inform Jamboree 2018?

The first iteration of Jamboree took the form of a residential workshop hosted at Plymouth Arts Centre (Nov 2015) over 3 days, with 16 artist participants (selected from 6 artist run associate schemes from across the UK) and guest curator Martin Clark (who was then the director at Bergen Kunsthall & Artistic Director of Art Sheffield).

We set this up as a very DIY, low-budget way to bring artists from around the UK to where we lived, so we could meet new people, and so that they could meet each other. We wanted to test ways that we could proactively change something about the issues we were facing (feeling cut off/localised from a national network) and to see what benefit this would have for others too.

After the workshop, the Jamboree participants went on to build on their new connections, insights and understanding in a range of different ways, including initiating field-trips, studio visits, meet-ups, exhibitions, new opportunities & residencies. Based on our experiences of being part of workshops/events where this type of generative artist-led activity had formed out of being part of something together, we had a hunch that Jamboree might become a platform for these types of outcomes, but it was great to see that it really worked in this way.

For us as artists, however, we ended up in more of a ‘facilitator’ role, rather than being able to slot into the programme as participants. This was probably due to us wanting to shape / guide the experience quite heavily and trying to work out what would/wouldn’t work in terms of a structure for the workshop.

To keep costs as low as possible artists had to camp in the art centre studio space, which wasn’t very glamorous/comfortable and we were really aware of this. When a-n offered us support to develop the Jamboree project further, we decided that we’d like to design the event so that we could take part more fully as participants and practitioners (rather than facilitators). We also wanted to work out a situation that would be more attractive to artists and curators at a range of career stages, from early career through to more established practitioners. This has all really informed our decision-making process around the shape for Jamboree 2018 – a long-weekend away, camping with other artists & curators, introducing their work to each other in a range of relaxed ways, getting to know each other and potentially forming new professional relationships.

 

For more information about Jamboree 2015, take a look at some of the reports from participants in a-n blogposts: https://www.a-n.co.uk/blogs/jamboree

 

To find out more about Jamboree see:

artistsjamboree.uk
https://artistsjamboree.uk/tickets
 
twitter.com/artistsjamboree
instagram.com/artistsjamboree
facebook.com/artistsjamboree


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