Serpentine Gallery Projects build dynamic relationships between art, artists and people.
Projects and events vary in scale, duration and location, and challenge expectations of where art can be encountered and by whom.
The Serpentine Gallery’s Edgware Road Project links local and international artists with people living and working in this London neighbourhood. The project base is the Centre for Possible Studies, home to screenings, events and an ongoing project archive.
Amal Khalaf, Curator, Projects
+44 (0)20 7298 7548 firstname.lastname@example.org
Urban Transformation and the Politics of Care
Skills Exchange is part of the acclaimed Serpentine Gallery Education Programme and brings together artists, care workers and elderly people to generate new works of art and to create new dynamics of social exchange. Starting with the idea that people in the later stages of life possess vital skills, insights and experiences that should be shared, Skills Exchange aims to utilise and give voice to an often marginalised section of society to aid our understanding of the past, present and future.
Each Skills Exchange project is based on an extended artistic residency in a London community, through which participants are invited to engage with the creative process to challenge stereotypes and social norms. Projects are timed to take place during periods of imminent change, whether the relocation of a care home, the transformation of a neighbourhood or a point of transition in the cycle of life, as these are the times when elderly people are more often marginalised and excluded.
Projects are presented in the local community and at the Sackler Centre of Arts Education at the Serpentine Gallery to engage a broader public audience in the processes of discussion, proposition and response. A research team from Goldsmiths Community and Urban Research Unit accompanies each project and will issue a report, Modalities of Exchange, in May 2012.
Skills Exchange projects
- Åbäke & Markus Miessen with Westmead Care Home - Barby Asante with Inspire, Southwark - Marcus Coates with St. John's Hospice Beatrice Gibson with Camden Homes For Older People - Tom Hunter with Age Concern, Hackney.
There are currently 9.7 million people aged 65 and over in the UK and, by 2020, there will be 12.5 million, or one in five people, aged 65 and over (Government Actuary's Department, 2005). Of those aged 60 and over, 2.3 million older people live in homes that do not meet minimum housing standards and many face intense forms of segregation and isolation. While it is common to suggest that art may be 'good' for those facing isolation and poverty, Skills Exchange recognises that among an aging population there are also many key skills and experiences from which other social sectors can learn. This is extremely important at a moment when younger generations are uncertain about their future.
Skills Exchange attempts to produce opportunities for exchange between artists, elderly people and younger people in the name of broader social change. It suggests that the isolation of older people, who are increasingly segregated by processes of privatisation and development, is unhealthy for all social groups. Such processes often focus on artists and younger people as part of a futuristic 'creative' urban class, while older members of the community are not considered. Skills Exchange brings together artists, elderly people and young people to ask what are the possibilities? What forms of participation, articulation and resistance can be derived from such collaborations?
These questions also apply to the institutions that provide elderly care, such as hospices, social programmes and care homes. With the closure of day centres and activity programmes and the tendering of private contracts, care workers increasingly describe the difficulty in their attempts to produce nurturing environments and create more equitable dynamics between the carer and the cared for. Under intense budgetary constraints, old patterns set in. Artistic processes can interrupt the everyday procedures, asking workers, carers and artists to orient themselves differently. Conversely, as the cultural sphere becomes more market driven, care workers and those living in care question the participating artists, pushing them beyond their own patterns of production. Such questions have challenged elitism, the ethics of care and participation, and practices of collective accountability in the aesthetic process.
Embedded within each Skills Exchange collaboration is a reflective research process. Researchers from Goldsmiths Centre for Urban and Community Research participate actively in understanding the value of the work undertaken in relation to the broader issues of change as they manifest in urban environments. A report, Modalities of Exchange, produced by the researchers and their project collaborators will be launched on Wednesday 23 May 2012 at the Carers' Congress. The report explores urban transformation and the politics of care and relays the findings of three years' of artistic and social research from Skills Exchange.
The book Art + Care: A Future, designed by Abäke, brings together contextual essays and project components. The publication was launched on 28 September 2013.
Parallel Lines is an online publication which tackles the complexities and challenges of the visual arts and architecture sector in its relations to issues of access and diversity. This pilot edition, guest-edited by artist Aaron Williamson, invites leading artists, academics and curators to consider the notion of 'disability arts'. Entitled In the Ghetto, it assesses the difficulties and politics of this terrain.
Williamson says: 'In the UK, the same small group of disability artists show work relating to their familiar experiences without receiving much outside critical debate or appreciation. This is the disability art ghetto. This edition of Parallel Lines does not question the value of disability as a lived experience, but instead asks whether it is possible to discuss the quality of disability art.'
Parallel Lines is produced by the London Access and Diversity Peer Learning Network and is supported and initiated by Arts Council England.
- Dr Aaron Williamson, Artist and Guest Editor
- Dr Colin Cameron, Northumbria University
- Professor Lennard J. Davis, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Ine Gevers, Curator, Writer and Activist
- Joseph Grigely, Artist and Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
- Georgina Kleege, Writer, University of California, Berkeley
- Juliet Robson, Artist
- Yinka Shonibare MBE, Artist
Parallel Lines is produced by the London Access and Diversity Peer Learning Network and is supported and initiated by Arts Council England. The Access and Diversity Peer Learning Network brought together senior representatives from Arts Council England's regularly funded visual arts and architecture organisations to share experiences, discuss issues with their peers, and find collective solutions to common needs. The Network explored how these organisations could work together to identify and implement new ideas and best practice in issues of access and diversity.
Facilitated by the Serpentine Gallery, members of the network included representatives from: Acme Studios; Action Space; Architecture Foundation; Art in the open / An Open House resource; Artangel; Artquest; The Arts Catalyst; Camden Arts Centre; Chisenhale Gallery; Cubitt; Emergency Exit Arts; Engage; Four Corners; ICA; Iniva; Live Art Development Agency; London Print Studio; London Printmakers; Motiroti; New Work Network; no.w.here; Open House; Paddington Arts; The Photographer's Gallery; Royal College of Art; SHAPE; South London Gallery; Space Studios; Triangle Arts Trust / Gasworks; VocalEyes and Whitechapel Gallery.
Explore the online publication for yourself.