WS11: Leeds – 12 Mar 2015

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Where: Studio Reet So, The Calls, East Street Arts Studio
When: 12.03.2015
Participants: 15
Co-organised together with: Lucy Courtney-Clegg & Alice Withers from Reet So and Jake Tollady


“Bring along a piece of work, a reference or something else of someone whose practice you like. These pieces of practice will be the starting point for the workshop. Think of three keywords for the piece you’re bringing along.”


• responsive, connecting sustainable
• playful, disturbing, critical
• illustration, discussion, Mexico
• co-operative, saw mill, coppicing
• satirical, surreal, wild
• ideas, aesthetics, timeless
• art, activism, social justice
• experimental, inquiry, reactive
• interactive, coy, playful
• plaster, performance, playful
• freethinking, research-driven
• gentle, honest, bizarre similarities
• abstract, colour field, paint
• guerrilla, subversive
• fun, community, non-profit, regeneration
• traditional, large format, anthropological

Practices we discussed
Office for subversive architecture – architectural collective
El Grand Chamaco – illustration
Maurizio Cattelan – wild art
Guy Debord – philosopher, artist, activist
Glithero – design collective – design collective
Julian Germain – photographer
Platform London – artist, activists, researchers
The Decorators – design collective
Peter Halley – painter
Rachel MacLean – digital film
Ettore Moni – photographer
Blackbark – woodland co-op
Daniel Eatock & Wim Crouwel – graphic designers
Truth is concrete – book
Metahaven – design & research collective
Jeanne van Heeswijk – socially engaged artist

Questions prompted through the discussion of these practices

• How to deal with the nomadic nature of socially-engaged design? How to deal with the fact that one needs to constantly move from one community to the next?
• What is the social impact of the work you do?
• How do you come up with the formula for your work?
• What is your process? Also in terms of research?
• How do you take markets into the future?
• Does it matter what label you put onto you and your work?

• What did you actually do when you finished university? How did you deal with the difficulties? Can you tell us about the shit bit?
• What kind of research and development is involved in producing your outcomes? What tools do you use in this process?
• Do you feel guilty to be funded through public money? Or should we simply stop feeling guilty as also other sectors are hugely subsidised?

• How do you make money?
• Just wanting to ask everyday questions to get at the real life stories!

• Did you know anyone like you before you started doing your work?
• Do you ever also just respond to briefs?
• Do you ever stop research? When do you know when to stop researching and start to make work?
• Do you at times think so much about something that you feel you don’t need to make it?
• Is being an artist inherently political? If it is, why do we need a handbook?
• What desires do your projects spur in participants?
• Do you ever have an agenda you just want to see through?
• What was hard? Where did you have to struggle?
• What role did money play in setting up your project/practice?

• Working analogue in times of the digital: how do you make a living when all images are available for free on-line?
• What if you ask the same question to people sustaining their practice within the same industry but with a very different approach?
• How do you manage roles and times within your collective?
• How do you manage the seasonal aspect of your work and the interaction with the non-human?
• How do you build up the confidence to see things through?
• How to stop being scared?
• How to create an economic system for yourself that sustains itself without being growth oriented?
• Where do your ambitions come from?