A new fellowship programme supporting artists working at the intersection of art, spatial politics and community practice.
Support Structures for Support Structures is a fellowship programme initiated by Serpentine, that supports up to ten artists and collectives working at the intersection of art, spatial politics and community practice. The fellowship consists of an unrestricted grant of at least £10,000 to develop creative ideas. It will also invite grantees to join an interdisciplinary network for support, development workshops and mentoring.
Support Structures for Support Structures is conceived in collaboration with Sumayya Vally, the architect behind this year’s Serpentine Pavilion designed by Counterspace, and Serpentine’s Civic Projects programme. The initiative is grounded in the history and current work of the Civic and Education programme, which for over a decade, has been supporting artists to work with people and communities across London to respond to the complexities of social change.
Announced on the occasion of the 20th Pavilion designed by Vally’s studio Counterspace, this initiative creates a legacy for this unique commission and builds on Serpentine’s history of working with artists in communities across London as part of its Civic Projects programmes.
The fellowship recognises that many practitioners that work across art, spatial politics and community practice are often not supported by grant programmes or institutions in a sustainable way. Support Structures for Support Structures aims to bridge this gap by nurturing and supporting emerging and existing practitioners, and creating pathways for learning, exchange and contemplation amongst the fellowship cohort.
“My practice, and this Pavilion, is centred around amplifying and collaborating with multiple and diverse voices from many different histories; with an interest in themes of identity, community, belonging and gathering. The past year has drawn these themes sharply into focus. Through Support Structures for Support Structures, we are working to deepen the Pavilion’s intent and focus through a fellowship that helps nurture the practice of individuals and collectives that hold space for communities to gather across London. I am excited to work with Serpentine’s Civic Projects team to make this fellowship a lasting legacy for the 20th Serpentine Pavilion – to seed, support and grow different networks and bodies of knowledge in the arts.” – Sumayya Vally, 2021.
“Through the long term commissions of our Civic projects programme, we have witnessed how artists working collaboratively with people can have an impact on our city, from making injustices more visible, as well as demonstrating how art can play a role in movement spaces and community organising. Often t in his work is not so visible, and the labour and care that comes with the commitment to this way of working is not always accounted for or made possible by existing structures in the art world. Support Structures for Support Structures will provide a space to support artists who have been committed to doing the work of navigating informal and formal structures that hold our city together, whilst holding a radical politics of working collectively. We hope the fellowship can create a space to think together about how an art system can support these practices better. Through the workshops and conversations that will be held over the period of the fellowship we will look at how we can untangle systems of oppression in the art system and think about building new futures grounded in care and understanding of complex and interdisciplinary ways of working.” – Amal Khalaf, Civic Curator, 2021.
The fellowship will be awarded through a nomination process and a selection panel will select fellows in July 2021, consisting of: Sepake Angiama, Director, Iniva; Pooja Agrawal, CEO, Public Practice; Leopold Lambert, Editor in Chief, The Funambulist; Rita Keegan, Artist and Sumayya Vally, Counterspace. The panel will be chaired by Amal Khalaf, Civic Curator, Serpentine.