ixia: public art think tank

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Critical Spaces: helping artists to develop a critical discourse

Date uploaded: June 19, 2013

By Hannah Hull in partnership with ixia public art think tank, Critical Spaces allows artists to mutually develop a more critical approach to the relationship between art and social issues. This artist-led initiative is currently being piloted in Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham and London, where interested local artists have signed up to meet every two months. To date, over 230 artists have signed up to the initiative nationally. The sessions are informal and their structure and content is self-generated by the group members in response to their specific interests and concerns. The artists come together to engage in dialogue around their work in a playful and critical way, improving and strengthening practice via collective voice.

The meetings are intentionally lo-fi to eliminate the need for specialist equipment or facilities, and to empower a DIY approach to generating critical discourse and support. The sessions are founded on the belief that it is important for artists to develop and define the value of artistic practice on their own terms. A recurring feature of these pilot sessions is that, upon meeting, very few of the artists already know each other, confirming the relative isolation of artists who work outside of traditional art spaces. Even those who regard themselves as well-networked have been surprised by the wealth of unfamiliar artists working in their local area.

There is still time to join the pilot groups in Birmingham, Bristol and Newcastle, and to register your interest for the imminent launch of a London-based group. Socially-engaged artists (site-specific, situationist, public, community, outreach, etc) can sign up here: http://criticalspaces.wordpress.com/

For more information about Critical Spaces, click here to read Tim Clark’s article in a-n, Creating space for dialogue and support.

Click here for more information and to register your interest.