Preview: 29th March, 6 – 8pm
Artist Talk: 27th April, 1-3pm, Click here for more information
Artlink is playing host to Conversations Series II as part of its national tour. This project, led by Venture Arts in partnership with Castlefield Gallery and the Whitworth, is a collaborative residency that brought together three learning-disabled artists who are part of the Venture Arts supported studios to work alongside the three visual artists. The group developed shared ideas, created new work, and reflected on the labels placed upon us by society. This residency built on the success of OutsiderXchanges from 2015-16.
The selected artists; Joe Beedles, James Desser, Amy Ellison, Frances Heap, Andrew Johnstone, and John Powell-Jones spent time with the Whitworth team and the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, having time and access to explore the collection, its ethics and its display. This collection was used as a starting point to see what ideas and visual responses developed during the collaborative residency. Castlefield Gallery provided the artists taking part with mentoring and support at key stages over the course of the residency period. Disabled artist Tanya Raabe-Webber worked with the group to ground the work within the disability arts movement. The artists were be given access to free studio space in Hulme, Manchester, for five months (October 2018 – February 2019), coming together as a group for 1 day per week to share the space. A space at the Whitworth Art Gallery was also available for the residency artists to meet in periodically throughout the project.
The new works created will be exhibited at Artlink alongside iconic pieces from the Whitworth’s Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, one of the most significant public collections of Outsider Art in the UK, including work by Judith Scott and Henry Darger. Six students from the University of Salford have also been documenting the residency throughout using photography, film, and drawing, and their resulting works will be shown alongside the residency artists’ works at Artlink, too.
Work from the Conversations Series II residency programme will be shared with the public across several platforms and in venues across the UK from March 2019 and will be displayed at Artlink Hull from March – June 2019.
VENTURE ARTS are a progressive visual arts charity based in Hulme, Manchester, who have been working with learning disabled people since 1985. They work alongside learning-disabled artists to create and show new contemporary visual art work. Venture Arts vision is to see learning disabled people play a valued and valuable role within arts and culture as artists, critics, audiences, advocates and workers. www.venturearts.org
CASTLEFIELD GALLERY is an artist focused organisation established by artists in 1984. Castlefield Gallery delivers a programme of exhibitions, projects and events from its main gallery in Manchester, whilst also commissioning, curating and producing off-site and public art, national and international artist residencies, and exchange programmes. The gallery exports art and culture developed and produced in the region through exchange, to enable meaningful relationships between artists nationally and internationally to flourish over extended periods of time. Castlefield Gallery Associates is a 200+ strong artist, curator and writer membership group whom access artistic, skills and career development support. www.castlefieldgallery.co.uk
THE WHITWORTH is a gallery that is historic and contemporary, academic and playful. Founded in 1889 as the first English gallery in a park. Part of the University of Manchester, the Whitworth is a gallery that is a place of research and academic collaboration, and whose education and learning teams have generated new approaches to working with non-traditional arts audiences. Since 2010 the Whitworth has housed the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection. www.whitworth.manchester.ac.uk
Feature image ‘Clay Heads’, stoneware clay, by Joe Beedles, James Desser, Amy Ellison, Frances Heap, Andrew Johnstone and John Powell-Jones,2019′.