Recording of the ARC A&Q discussion

Last Wednesday night we held the A&Q discussion session to round off my Artspace Research Commission. Present were representatives of the Coventry Artspace community including artists, studio holders, directors and board members.

Jon Randle bought along recording equipment, so we are able to share this documentation of the 90 minute free-form conversation:

Topics covered include:
multiple histories,
interacting with spaces,
unsuspecting audiences,
looking up,
the (non)exchange of stories,
non art audiences,
online experiences,
audience feedback,
to tweet or not to tweet,
the things you get used to,
secret messages and secret lives and giving the secret things voices,
invisible people,
existing as different things at different times,
connecting with the monkey,
unexplored spaces,
almost hearing the sermons,
doing it again,
engendering happiness,
steel-capped boots and caring for the building,
eradicating smells,
glitter balls,
non visuals,
void spaces,
not realising the basement is derelict,
Specials cotton wool and not being beholden to it,
what could be done with the xxxxx space?,
allowing cultural squatters,
ownership and territories,
heritage graffiti,
slightly blinkered views
and whitewashing.

Thanks to everyone who took part for an interesting conversation and a chance to look at the building, the residency and its various outcomes from various different perspectives.

A&Q session for ARC: Hijack

As I mentioned at the start of my week on the Artspace Research Commission, I suspected that the process would (and should) raise as many questions as it answered.

I made my devices; installed them in selected locations; and we stepped back and watched people discover and interact with them.

But it feels like the job would be unfinished if we left it at that.

What did we notice? What did we learn? What might we try next time?
(Writing this I’m suddenly reminded of the standard structure we used for our lab reports when I was an engineering student!)

This coming Wednesday you are invited to come along to Artspace and interact with the installations with a critical eye before participating in a round table discussion to wrangle with observations, intentions and aspirations. All welcome. It’s free. There will be biscuits.

Answer and Question Night with Nikki Pugh

Wednesday September 19th
6:30pm (7pm start) at Coventry Artspace
16 Lower Holyhead Road, Coventry, CV1 3AU [map]

Nikki, Artspace and the building are inviting you to be part of this conversation in a night of lively discussion where anything might happen.
Refreshments and interactions from 6:30pm
Discussion starts at 7pm
More information or to RSVP

five wasted years

I only became aware of them around 2005, but I’ve gained enough of value from attending several different workshops organised by Midwest since then that I’m happy to spend most of today and tomorrow contributing to Up, Up and Away: “part of Midwest’s programme for demise”.

Having just spent about 10 hours with a fairly diverse collection of artists and getting a sense of how the Midwest programme has also benefited them, reading this on D’log this evening was, um, unexpected:

Midwest £62,064
[ supposedly a support organisation for artists in the West Midlands, which never really took off — but somehow hung on to funding for about five wasted years ]
The full cuts list

The post goes on to say:

Cuts to the useless Midwest were widely expected among artists.

As I understand it, back in 2002/2003 Midwest were told in no uncertain terms that they had to prove their worth within the first 18 months of operation in order to receive the remainder of their funding for the rest of the initial 3 year planned lifetime. Not only did they do this, but they then went on to extend the programme for about another 2 years. That second segment has now come to an end and, with things in Birmingham having changed a lot since Midwest’s conception, the organisers have decided that it is now appropriate to bring Midwest’s activities to an end.

This decision was made public to the members of the mailing list in early September last year, so, yes, in that sense, Midwest not getting any further funding in the next fiscal year was widely expected!

Comments are currently switched off on the D’log post and with no obvious means of direct communication via the site I thought I’d open up things here to find out more about why Midwest is apparently seen as useless by some artists. It’s fair enough that some people may hold that view, but I’m curious about how this can be built on for things to come in the future.

What was it about the programme that didn’t work for you and how would you have done it differently?

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