Eating, speaking, drinking, thinking and some ideas for a new art institution

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Diagram; Rosalie Schweiker

What happens when artists take on the role of consultant? Over the past few months Spacex has been working with artist Rosalie Schweiker who was commissioned to facilitate a process that has allowed the organisation to think about it’s future and share ideas with the communities that are also interested in our  plans.

Spacex has always supported artists to take risks in developing their practice and we felt it was important to involve artists in redefining ways in which we could continue to do this. Some Ideas for a New Art Institution was the first of our collaborations with artists that suggest and test new ways of working for Spacex.

Rosalie’s 10 point proposal for a ‘new art institution’ was drawn up after conversations with the Spacex team and other locally based artists.

Some Ideas for a New Art Institution

  • The new art institution is a new pattern of behaviour
  • The new art institution does not have an audience it has users
  • The new art institution is run by a committee of people who co-inhabit roles as fundraisers, administrators, archivists, hosts, cleaners, organisers, educators and artists.
  • The new art institution has a goldfish,which is involved in the day to day decision making
  • The new art institution fights inequality. It openly debates issues of class, race and gender
  • The new art institution is a feminist art institution. It does not harvest content, but gives structural support to enable the production and enjoyment of art
  • The new art institution is a welcoming, intergenerational meeting place
  • The new art institution knows that form follows budget. It does not do more than it can afford. It does not exploit it’s staff and users with the promise of exposure
  • The new art institution is supported by public funds and subscriptions
  • The new art institution is not in London

This document has been tested and debated in a number of ways. Schweiker says of her work “I think what I do is I create situations and contexts in which things happen that wouldn’t usually happen. I create structures in which people can meet that haven’t met before and have exchanges that they wouldn’t usually have.” Some of these situations have included hosting meals, meetings and workshops. A pub-crawl with Blind Ditch’s Paula Crutchlow and John Sealy from Fabian’s Film were part of the closing series of events that also included the final Confidence Gap workshop for women led by Josie Sutcliffe.

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This project has been open ended, challenging and very different to the more usual exhibition format we have been used to so a big thanks to everyone who has taken part. We will be commissioning resourses that share some ideas and reflections from Some Ideas for a New Art Institution in the near future.