One of the activities chosen prior to setting off on the a-n / Castlefield Budapest Artist Delegation 2018 is a suggested reading exchange. Everyone who will be part of the delegation has chosen a text, or in my case a video, that at least one other person will study ready for discussion on the train journey.
I have chosen three pieces from the reading list:
- Letter from Budapest, The Castle and the City, Maya and Ruben Fowkes, Art Monthly No. 412
- Journey by Moonlight, Antal Szerb
- Selling out or buying in?: Looking at artists + their merch as an act of self-support, Human Poney, aqnb.com
I may come back to these texts in more detail later but today I am focusing on one small extract from the Art Monthly article that resonates with an aspect of why I submitted for the delegation:
‘Neo-avant-garde practices are indeed the main agenda for these galleries, with ACB, Kisterem and Vintage now regularly organising collaborative presentations on the international stage, putting aside competitiveness to promote Hungarian art abroad.’
This quote encompasses some key themes I have been thinking about in relation to strategies that may help improve the standing of contemporary art in Cumbria. Within Budapest there has been an increase in artist led activity, seeking to help sustain their practices, create new networks and continue to promote Hungarian contemporary art practice. This delegation offers an opportunity to consider the impact of such artist led activity and what we could learn from it at home.
In a county as geographically complex and sparsely populated as Cumbria I wonder if there is a lot that could be gleaned from examining cross organisational collaborations such as those that ACB, Kisterem and Vintage are embarking on. There is already a lot going on in Cumbria, however, it appears (to me at least) that a lot of arts organisations and individuals work in silo and do not talk to one another, resulting in duplication of work and effort. Aided by discussion, perhaps it would be possible to share the load to everyone’s benefit, work out who does what best and allow each group to focus on their area of expertise within the art world in Cumbria. With sharing there also comes opportunities to structure a more diverse programme of arts, with events that are scheduled and promoted in a collaborative way.
We, in the Northern North West, should be working together to put Cumbrian contemporary art practice on the map. Over the course of the delegation I will be thinking about where my actions at home fit in to all of this, what I can do to be more collaborative and more generally how expertise can be shared to the benefit of others.