Community Arts: How can we bring the legacy of community arts into the present?

1.11.2015, Talks

How can we bring the legacy of community arts into the present?

Liverpool Biennial's annual conference Community Arts? Learning from the Legacy of Artists' Social Initiatives was held at the Black-E on Sunday 1 November 2015. The daylong event brought together distinguished thinkers and practitioners from the field of community arts to discuss the legacy of such practices in the light of a renewed interest in socially engaged art.

Loraine Leeson, Sophie Hope, Ania Bas, Ed Webb-Ingall and Andrea Phillips discuss explore how we can bring the legacy of community arts into the present

Loraine Leeson is a visual artist particularly known for her 1980s cultural campaigning in support of the communities of London’s Docklands, and subsequent collaborative and participatory work in East London. In 2011 she was Fulbright Scholar in Residence at University of Washington and is currently Senior Research Fellow at University of Westminster. She teaches Art Practice and the Community at Middlesex University and is developing Masters courses in this field for 2016. Loraine is Director of the arts charity cSPACE, and her recent work with teenagers has attracted a Media Trust Inspiring Voices award and Olympic Inspire Mark, while her public artwork The Catch that involved 300 primary school children was voted a London 2012 Landmark. Current projects include Active Energy, supporting older people in the development of tidal power along the River Thames, and Lambeth Floating Marsh, working with scientists to address issues of biodiversity in urban rivers.

Sophie Hope's practice-based research investigates the uncertain relationships between art and society. Her current projects include hosting dinners about art and politics in the year 1984 (; exploring physical relationships to immaterial labour (; and mapping understandings of socially engaged art. She works at Birkbeck, University of London in the Film, Media and Cultural Studies Department.

Ania Bas, through her practice, creates situations that support dialogue and exchange, and explore frameworks of participation. She is interested in the ways that narratives shape understanding, mythology and knowledge of places and people. Her work is presented through text, events, walks, performances, useful object and publications. Recent projects include The Walking Reading Group (2013-15) and Show Me How (2015), commissioned by Radar, Loughborough. Bas was artist in residence at the New Art Gallery, Walsall (2009), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2009-201-), Yorkshire Artspace, Sheffield (2012) and was an Open School East associate (2013-14).

Ed Webb-Ingall is a filmmaker and writer with an interest in exploring histories, practices and forms of collectivity and collaboration. His research explores how the portability of video technology contributed to its application within social contexts. He asks how concepts of mobility and access intersect with political platforms of community-based activism and forms of representation. He is currently carrying out a two-year residency at The Showroom, London, and developing a curriculum with Open School East for 2016. He is also a TECHNE PhD candidate at Royal Holloway University, England, where his research focuses on the history and practice of community video in the UK between 1968 and 1981. In 2016 he will work on a collaborative video project on the impact of Section 28, in partnership with Studio Voltaire, London and the British Film Institute.

Andrea Phillips is PARSE Professor of Art and Head of Research at the Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg. Andrea lectures and writes about the economic and social construction of publics within contemporary art, the manipulation of forms of participation and the potential of forms of political, architectural and social reorganisation within artistic and curatorial culture. Recent publications include: ‘In Service: art, value, merit and the making of publics’ in Public Servants (MIT/New Museum, 2015); 'Making the Public' in (ed.) Robin Mackay, When Site Lost the Plot (Urbanomic, 2015); 'Contemporary Art and Transactional Behaviour' (with A Wheatley and A McGuiness) in (eds.) Gilane Tawadros and Russell Martin, The New Economy of Art (DACS, 2014); 'Remaking the Arts Centre' in (ed.) Binna Choi, Cluster: Other Cultural Offers (CASCO, 2014); and 'Art as Property' in (ed.) A. Dimitrakaki, Economy: Art and the Subject after Postmodernism (Liverpool University Press, 2015)