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: