London-based artist Liz Atkin creates work both in response to and as way of coping with compulsive skin picking. Alistair Gentry finds out more about her art practice, and the advocacy and education work she undertakes to help others understand and deal with this and other body-focused repetitive behaviour conditions.
Profile - a-n The Artists Information Company
Since the early 1970s, Bobby Baker has been producing art that documents and subverts her experiences of everyday life, drawing on motherhood, domestic labour, and mental illness and recovery. Speaking to Lydia Ashman, Baker reflects on the challenges she faced as a woman and an artist, her successes and why she’s ‘proudest of keeping going’.
The Bethlem Gallery in Bromley provides a professional platform for artists who have experienced mental health difficulties. Alistair Gentry speaks to the gallery’s director Beth Elliot about the organisation and how it fosters a supportive artist-focussed environment.
Hospital Rooms is an arts and mental health charity that believes in the enduring power of the arts to instill value, dignity and wellbeing in people. Alistair Gentry speaks to Curator Niamh White about how the project enables access to art and culture for people using secure and locked mental health services.
In 2017, New Contemporaries, an annual exhibition of emerging artists from UK art schools, opened up its application to include artists from alternative learning programmes. Director Kirsty Ogg discusses this decision, the changing climate for emerging artists in the UK, and what artists really need to develop and challenge their practice. Interview by Michaela Nettell.
Turps Art School was founded in 2012 as a medium-specific art school providing year-long studio and distance learning programmes for painters. Co-founder Marcus Harvey talks to Michaela Nettell about the ideas and values behind the school.
School of the Damned is a free year-long alternative, and unaccredited, art school. Each year a new student group comes on board and collectively devises and develops their programme of learning. Laura Davidson finds out more from members of the founding cohort, Class of 2014, and the Class of 2018 graduating students.
Underpinning is the project of Aberdeen-based artist Kirsty Russell. This profile includes a video interview, recorded at Assembly Aberdeen, in which Russell introduces her practice, which often involves ‘creating spaces where there’s room for other people and ideas.’
D2 is a DIY event space in Aberdeen with a focus on experimental music, performance and immersive club experiences. This profile includes a video interview recorded at Assembly Aberdeen with D2 member Jack Ryan, who highlights the importance of building relationships and sharing skills.
A+E is a Glasgow-based multi-disciplinary collective who work at the intersection of art and ecology. This profile includes a video interview, recorded at Assembly Aberdeen, with A+E members Lucy Watkins, Maria Sledmere and Finn Arschavir, who introduce their practice and describe the benefits of working with others to find new perspectives.
Dundee-based project Dain’ Hings was initiated by Duncan of Jordanstone fine art students Jek McAllister and Saskia Singer as a way to invite fellow artists to ‘just dae hings’ This profile includes a video interview, recorded at Assembly Aberdeen, in which they explain how they got started using readily-available resources, including their local pub.
Gaada Projects works in venues across Shetland, offering platforms and support to local communities. This profile includes a video interview, recorded at Assembly Aberdeen, with Gaada’s co-directors Daniel Clark and Amy Gear, who outline the challenges and opportunities of setting up an artist-led initiative in a remote, rural location.
Naoko Mabon, who works under the name Wagon, is an Aberdeen-based freelance curator. This profile includes a video interview recorded at Assembly Aberdeen in which Mabon introduces her work and offers advice to artists thinking about setting up their own initiative.
Artist Jane Simpson, who runs Swansea gallery GS Artists, describes the challenge of maintaining relevance as an artist-led initiative and her optimism for the future. In a video interview recorded at a-n’s Assembly Swansea event in May 2019, which was programmed in collaboration with Simpson and explored the difficulties and advantages of running artist-led projects in the city.
With a background in gallery education and working with communities, and in research, Cardiff-based artist Thomas Goddard introduces his practice and describes the necessity and benefits of working with other people.
Artists Jason & Becky introduce their socially-engaged practice, outline the advantages of working together, and discuss their PhD research which focuses on collaborative practice.
John Byrne introduces the aims of Arte Util, an international body that promotes ways for art to work effectively in ordinary life. Recorded at a-n’s Assembly Swansea event in May 2019.
Roger Lougher shares his experience of running artist-led project Rhôd in rural Carmarthenshire. Recorded at a-n’s Assembly Swansea event in May 2019.
Karen Mackinnon, curator at Swansea’s Glynn Vivian Gallery, introduces her work and talks about the importance of art having a social purpose. Includes a video interview recorded at a-n’s Assembly Swansea event in May 2019.
Members of Aberdeen artist-led project Tendency Towards – Yvette Bathgate, Jessica Barrie and Jake Shepherd – describe the challenges and opportunities of working in a place that “people pass through on their way somewhere else”. Includes a video interview recorded at a-n’s Assembly Swansea event in May 2019.
Swansea-based artist Owen Griffiths introduces his socially-engaged practice in a video interview recorded at a-n’s Assembly Swansea event in May 2019.
Founded in 2010 by a group of London-based artists, AltMFA is a free, nomadic, alternative art school whose fluid content and structure morphs around the needs of its members. Lydia Ashman speaks to co-founder Louise Ashcroft about the project and why radical inclusivity and a little bit of anarchism are essential to its existence.
Hack & Host in Hull was established in 2015 by three local arts workers as a public forum for structured conversations about contemporary art. Lydia Ashman reflects on how the project has been impacted by Hull City of Culture 2017 and speaks to associated artist, Clare Holdstock, about Hack & Host’s ongoing appetite for debates about art and politics.
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.
Market Gallery has been part of Glasgow’s artist-led ecology since 2000. The gallery is led by a volunteer committee and operates from a shop unit in the working-class neighbourhood of Dennistoun, where it presents a varied programme of exhibitions, events and residencies. Lydia Ashman talks to artist and committee member Catalina Barroso-Luque about how the gallery is responding to a reduction of resources through its programme and structure.