Artist development workshops overview... Liverpool, Warrington & Manchester

Federation House, Manchester
Event at Federation House

I've attended a whole load of artist development workshops and seminars over the past month that it seems only right that I report back on my findings.

Manchester and Liverpool has a great network of experimental galleries and artist organisations, so lucky me has had a real bonanza of choice recently. Plus I've also had the fantastic opportunity of having a one-on-one portfolio session with Castlefield Gallery curator, Matthew Pendergast. This enabled me to clarify the direction of my work, cut away the driftwood and focus on looking at other artist's work/artist exhibitions. Another informative talk was at Warrington's main arts centre, the Pyramid (where my studio is based) and I garnered interesting information about the current state of contemporary art in relation to modern art history.

I won't drone on too much about each workshop and keep it short and simple, focusing on the key facts so it will be of use...

'Self-organisation for Artists'

With Castlefield Gallery and Model Liverpool

Kwong Lee, CG:

Setting up art dedicated pop-up spaces are useful to show your work and get it known to other curators, gallerists, press, etc. Can potentially secure Arts Council funding. Location is crucial.

Important to get leases fully checked, don't forget about business rates, recognise where there are any limitations and noting any break clauses. Castlefield Gallery now use a broker to secure any pop-up premises as it is time consuming picking up the phone to numerous agents. Knowing a landlord/developing a personal contact is the best way to get into an empty property.

Catharine Braithwaite, Lethal Comms:

Regarding press and pr every artist needs to make sure there's a story. Individual, tailored approaches to journalists tend to succeed better than a scattergun approach. To promote any events a press release is key and then you can invite any local media contacts. A catchy headline is vital (and email subject title) along with a brilliant first paragraph. Always end with your contact details and information about any images available.

Kevin Hunt, Model:

They are trying out different "models" of artist activity in the Liverpool area. Model is Arts Council
funded and provide a temporary space for experimental artwork and installations. They originally started as the three partners felt there was no critical art stimulation in Liverpool.

Mark Devereaux Projects

Federation House, Manchester
Remco de Blaaij:
Curator of the CCA in Glasgow gave a special talk about working internationally in Central America. Considerations were language barriers, different country backgrounds/history and then looking at the artistic activity within each country. This included any parallels within society, e.g. people discarded by history/government; indigenous people marginalised in any way; any tensions (religion, politics); interests and then  look to naturally occurring boundaries (local or global).

Contemporary Arts Talk

Warrington Arts Festival, Pyramid Centre
Anna Harnden:
Former curator at the British Museum, Anna gave a brief overview of modern art history through to current day contemporary art. Key points I picked up were that contemporary art lets people debate the views and ideas it presents. There is no right or wrong. What hidden connotations are there? She is personally interested in 'Process Art' which is all about pushing the physical elements of material so the outcome of a visually stunning piece is just a by-product. A commitment to concept and realisation is paramount. Art needs to last. Quality and skill is key.

Tomorrow I will post about a Symposium I attended today at the Tate Liverpool on French architect, Claude Parent, whose installation of vertical ramps, different walkways and viewing points is a completely opposite way to the usual curated museum exhibition.


Please take note that your art may flourish from reading this blog :)


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