Steve Dutton discusses the outcomes of a-n’s Artist-led Bursaries, awarded to six artist-led groups in 2017 to explore how artists and artists’ groups adapt to navigate turbulent cultural and political landscapes.
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Formed in 2016 in the run up to the EU referendum, Keep It Complex: Make it Clear is a loose collective of London-based artists and cultural workers. Its members aim to challenge apathy and fear by providing people with ‘tools and ideas to get involved with everyday politics’. Lydia Ashman reflects on the ways in which the group use their skills and networks as artists to facilitate conversation in a divided world.
Rhubaba is a studio provider and a project space in Edinburgh. Led by a volunteer committee, it presents an interdisciplinary programme of exhibitions, workshops and events. Lydia Ashman speaks to committee member Ben Callaghan about Learnin’ Broke my 💔, Rhubaba’s research project on radical pedagogy and self-organisation, and the challenges and rewards of operating in an artist-led context.
The Sustainable Studio is a creative co-working space in a former munition factory in Cardiff. This profile includes a video, recorded at Assembly Cardiff, in which co-founder Sarah Valentin explains how a large warehouse space became a catalyst for working collaboratively and building creative relationships.
The Royal Standard is an artist-led gallery, studios and social workspace in Toxteth, Liverpool. This profile includes a video, recorded at Assembly Dundee, in which artistic directors Lucy Bretherton and Becky Peach introduce their roles and outline the challenges of sustaining a volunteer-run organisation for over a decade.
Generator Projects is an artist-led gallery in Dundee. This profile features a video interview, recorded at Assembly Dundee, in which Generator Projects’ chair and committee members introduce the organisation and discuss its aim of supporting emerging artists in the city.
Tin Roof is an artist-led collective that runs Dundee Ceramics Workshop. This profile includes an interview with artist and co-founder of Tin Roof, Joanna Helfer, recorded at Assembly Dundee, in which she describes her involvement with Dundee’s artist-led scene and her optimism for the future.
In 2017, Wysing Arts Centre restructured its residency programme to be more responsive to artists’ situations and to support a more diverse pool of practices. Drawing on a conversation that took place between Wysing’s director Donna Lynas and resident artist Tessa Norton at the ‘Pivotal Moments’ conference, Lydia Ashman explores how and why the programme has changed.
Based in Wakefield, visual arts development agency The Art House continually explores ways to work with artists who face barriers to their practice. Its residency programme supports artists at different stages of their career and is shaped around individuals’ needs. Lydia Ashman speaks to Programme Producer Simon Boase and artist Rosanne Robertson about the tailored support the organisation provides to artists.
AirSpace Gallery is a studio provider and gallery space in Stoke-on-Trent. This profile includes two videos, recorded at Assembly Birmingham, featuring AirSpace Gallery’s co-director Anna Francis introducing the organisation and explaining its deep commitment to being part of Stoke-on-Trent’s evolving post-industrial identity.
Founded in 2010, Grand Union is a studio provider and project space that supports artistic and curatorial development in Digbeth, Birmingham. This profile includes a video, recorded at Assembly Birmingham, in which director Cheryl Jones introduces the organisation and shares its current strategy for securing a permanent home.
Stryx is a studio, project and exhibition space which forms part of the flourishing artist-led ecology in Digbeth, Birmingham. This profile includes two videos, recorded at Assembly Birmingham, of founder and co-director Karolina Korupczynska introducing the organisation and discussing the challenges of delivering a sustainable project on limited resources.
Studio provider and project space Paradise Works was founded in April 2017. Straddling the Salford-Manchester border, the organisation hosts 30 artists and presents an artist-focused programme of exhibitions, residencies and events. This profile includes a video, recorded at a-n’s Assembly Salford, of founder Lucy Harvey introducing the organisation and discussing its aspirations to be a sustainable presence within the artist-led ecology.
Islington Mill in Salford is an evolving creative space, arts hub and community that provides studios, hosts residencies, and includes a peer-led art school and artist-run B&B. This profile includes two videos, recorded at Assembly Salford, of Islington Mill founder Bill Campbell introducing the organisation and discussing future plans.
Based in a former school in Nottingham, Primary supports artistic production through its studio provision, residencies and a public programme. This profile includes two videos, recorded at Assembly Salford, where director Niki Russell introduces the organisation and shares its lengthy journey to securing a space.
S1 Artspace in Sheffield is a member-led studio provider and exhibition space, running since 1995. This profile includes a video, recorded at Assembly Salford, of S1’s Stephen Escritt outlining the organisation’s plans for a major expansion at the Grade II* listed brutalist Park Hill estate.
Initiated in 2010 by two fine art graduates, The NewBridge Project in Newcastle upon Tyne provides studios, a gallery, project spaces and a member-led professional development programme. This profile includes two videos, recorded at Assembly Salford, of former director Charlotte Gregory introducing the organisation and discussing how during a period of expansion the project has stayed loyal to its member-led ethos
Founded in 1972, Acme Studios has grown to provide around 600 studios for London-based artists. This profile includes two videos, recorded at Assembly Salford, featuring Acme’s Head of Projects & Communications Jack Fortescue introducing the organisation and outlining its unwavering commitment to securing long-term, affordable artist studios.
Bristol-based live artist Liz Clarke has created a performance with her nine-month-old daughter and collaborated with her nine-year-old son to produce a work based on an idea he proposed. She speaks to Julie McCalden about being part of an art making family.
Stroud-based artist and mother Sharon Bennett discusses her work with the Women’s Art Activation System support network which she developed in collaboration with two other Stroud-based artists, taking part in Lenka Clayton’s Artist Residency in Motherhood, and opening the temporary ‘Mother House’ studio.
Originally from Germany, Glasgow-based painter Cornelius Quabeck first spent time in the city during a two-month artist residency in 2011. He talks to Dan Thompson about living and working in Düsseldorf, London and San Francisco, and the reasons that brought him back to Scotland in 2016.
Founded by a group of artists in south west London as a studio space in 1994, Studio Voltaire currently operates under a multiplicity of different guises. Art researchers Doggerland reflect on the organisation’s hybrid structure, and speak to its head of development and communications Niamh Conneely about the many different modes Studio Voltaire employs to support artists’ careers.
Based in Birmingham’s growing cultural quarter Digbeth, Recent Activity seeks to contribute to the area’s artist-led scene without replicating the activity of its more established spaces. Art researchers Doggerland speak to one of the organisation’s founders Andrew Gillespie about working within manageable parameters to offer “something a bit different” to the area.
Morgan Quaintance’ documentary explores Cubitt studios, Cubitt gallery and Cubitt education, taking a look at the history and present of the London-based organisation, its previous curators, artists and others who have been involved, as well as glimpsing into its possible future.
Kevin Hunt has created a new Artist-Led Hot 100 to celebrate some of the most exciting artist-led activity that has emerged during the past four years, since his original Hot 100 long-list was produced in Summer 2013. Focusing on projects that are “by artists, for artists”, the list highlights artist-led initiatives around the UK that are visibly active right now.