A new app designed to help artists develop a sustainable archive has been created by the independent charity the Art360 Foundation.

Produced with the support of the artists’ rights management organisation DACS, the Art360 app has been endorsed by artists including Sonia Boyce, Rose English and Grayson Perry.

Perry, who in August made an appeal for help finding his early ‘lost’ artworks for a forthcoming retrospective, said in support of the app: “If you are planning on becoming a famous, successful artist, archive everything because you’ll never know what will come in handy – from the grandest masterwork to the smallest postcard.”

In making the app, which is now available for free from iTunes and Google Play, the Art360 Foundation drew on its own research into how UK artists and estates manage archives. Among its findings were that 81% of artists have never worked with a conservator or archivist and that 71% were not aware of the conservation status of their archive.

The Foundation describes the app as a ‘motivational tool for artists of all disciplines and at any career stage’. It breaks the process of archiving into stages, offering a step-by-step guide on the effective management of physical and digital assets.

It also includes advice on how to maintain and protect these assets, with checklists and videos with professional archivists to guide the user.

Mark Waugh, director of Art360 Foundation, said: “Archiving can be a daunting prospect and we hope this app will encourage artists and estates to take their first steps, or offer valuable support for those who have already started.

“A well-managed archive allows artists to preserve artworks and materials, as well as allowing artists and estates to shape the narrative of their work or collections. Good archiving processes also provide insights into artistic practice for curators, art historians and cultural institutions.”

Gilane Tawadros, chief executive at DACS, added: “At a time when public funding for the arts and cultural conservation is facing significant cuts, we believe it is vital to provide practical support to all artists and estates, so they can sustain their work.

“We want to demystify the process of archiving; empowering artists to shape the stories about their art, and their cultural contribution. Usually, this role falls to academics and cultural institutions. We believe in challenging this dynamic, by giving artists the tools to transform their legacy themselves.”

The Art360 app will be formally launched tonight at the Royal Academy of Arts, London where Boyce and English will share their thoughts on archiving. They will be joined by the Royal Academy’s president, Christopher Le Brun, who will give an opening address.

Boyce, whose Black Artists and Modernism research project has highlighted the importance of archives in relation to identity and cultural memory, said: “Archives play an essential role in how future generations understand the work of British artists and their contribution to our wider culture.

“By supporting and encouraging artists to manage their archives effectively, Art360 Foundation is playing an invaluable role in safeguarding Britain’s shared cultural memory.”

The Art360 App is launched Monday 15 October at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.
The app is available to download now at www.art360foundation.org.uk/art360-app

1. Studio of David Batchelor, 2017. David Batchelor – David Bickerstaff. All rights reserved, Art360 Foundation. Courtesy: Art360 Foundation
2. Art360 app. Courtesy: Art360 Foundation

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