Artists Make Change is a 12-month research and development project, carried out by a-n Artists Council, designed to explore the role of the artist in society, and in particular to assess, and advocate for, how artists and art organisers can effectively work for change.

Following on from the set of Case Study presentations and facilitated group discussions, Artists Make Change has commissioned a series of artist-to-artist conversations in order to afford an opportunity to dig deeper into the subject.

a-n Artists Council members Rachel Dobbs and Glen Stoker invited one artist to choose their conversation partner(s) and set their own agendas, to create a conversation space to explore personal experience, and dig into shared concerns and the pressing issues challenging artists today.

In each of these in-depth, wide-ranging, evocative and provocative discussions, the sentiment is explored in a variety of ways – all urgent and contemporary – but offering different and differing perspectives of whether, how and why Artists Make Change.

The Conversations

Barby Asante and Languid Hands (Rabz Lansiquot and Imani Robinson)
In this vital, engaged and wide-ranging cross-generational discussion, Barby Asante and Languid Hands (Rabz Lansiquot and Imani Robinson) talked radical action, covering a series of urgent topics and themes; representation and diversity, the ‘hyper-visibility’ of Blackness, curatorial obligation, time for deep thinking and reappraisal, community building and care, violence and carcerality – a commitment to Black Liberation, and Black quiet/Black interiority.

Tony Heaton & Terry Smith
In this full, frank and engaging discussion, artists Tony Heaton and Terry Smith, cover amongst many topics: the importance of discussion in the arts, Venice, the expectations of curators and gallerists when working with artists with disabilities – the joy of provocation and the satisfaction of unticking rather than ticking boxes.

Jade Montserrat & Michelle Williams Gamaker
Artists Jade Montserrat and Michelle Williams Gamaker explore their friendship and collaborations – a shared interest in ‘Fictional Activism’ through their work exploring Sabu and Josephine Baker respectively, along with corresponding interests in language and writing, creating safe and supportive familial atmospheres in working environments and how to ensure art has a continued place – or even a central place – in education.

Demi Nhandra & Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan
Here, Demi Nandhra and Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan cover a range of topics; gate-keeping within the art world, the nature of care, calling out malpractice, where the support is for ’emerging’ artists, fetishising diversity and lots more.

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