Community Arts: What kind of organisations do we need to develop to work with communities?

1.11.2015, Talks

What kind of organisations do we need to develop to work with communities and how does this affect how we reimagine galleries and museums? 

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.

Nato Thompson, Anna Colin, Anna Cutler and Sally Tallant reflect on what kind of organisations we need to develop to work with communities and what effect this has on how we reimagine galleries and museums.

Nato Thompson is Chief Curator at Creative Time, having joined in January 2007. Since then, Thompson has organised such major projects as The Creative Time Summit (2009-2015), Kara Walker’s A Subtlety (2014), Living as Form (2011), Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures (2012), Paul Ramirez Jonas’s Key to the City (2010), Jeremy Deller’s It is What it is (2009, with New Museum curators Laura Hoptman and Amy Mackie), Democracy in America: The National Campaign (2008), and Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans (2007), amongst others. Previously, he worked as Curator at MASS MoCA, where he completed numerous large-scale exhibitions, including The Interventionists: Art in the Social Sphere (2004), with a catalogue distributed by MIT Press. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including Bookforum, Frieze, Artforum, Third Text, and Huffington Post. In 2005, he received the Art Journal Award for distinguished writing. For Independent Curators International, Thompson curated the exhibition Experimental Geography, with a book available from Melville House Publishing. His book Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the 21st Century was published in 2015.

Anna Colin is an independent curator based in London. She co-founded and co-directs Open School East, works as associate curator at Fondation Galeries Lafayette in Paris, and is co-curator, with Lydia Yee, of British Art Show 8 (touring to Leeds, Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton in 2015-16). Anna has curated exhibitions and projects in spaces including the Whitechapel Gallery, London; Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool; Le Quartier, contemporary art centre of Quimper; La Synagogue de Delme, Delme; la Maison populaire, Montreuil; Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Turin; CIC Cairo; and The Women's Library, London. She was co-director of Bétonsalon, Paris from 2011-12, and curator at Gasworks, London, from 2007-10.

Anna Cutler is Director of Learning at Tate. Over 25 years she has worked across national and international cultural and educational settings. Cutler began work as a theatre director, then as an academic and producer. Her interest in learning has been at the core of all she has undertaken and it is the purpose, exploration and improvement of learning projects and programmes within cultural practice that she continues to test and trial. After four years as Creative Director, Creative Partnerships Kent, Anna joined Tate as Head of Learning at Tate Modern. In November 2009, she was appointed Tate's first Director of Learning. Anna believes in values-led practice and has high aspiration and unfettered optimism. She has published many articles and chapters, and sits on a range of boards involved in international art and learning networks.

Sally Tallant is the Director of Liverpool Biennial – The UK Biennial of Contemporary Art. From 2001-11 she was Head of Programmes at the Serpentine Gallery, London where she was responsible for the development and delivery of an integrated programme of Exhibitions, Architecture, Education and Public Programmes. She has curated exhibitions in a wide range of contexts including the Hayward Gallery, Serpentine Gallery, Hospitals, Schools as well as public commissions. She has developed commissioning programmes for artists in a range of contexts and developed long term projects including The Edgware Road Project, Skills Exchange and Disassembly. She has also curated performances, sound events, film programmes and conferences. She is a regular contributor to conferences nationally and internationally. She is a Trustee of Metal, Advisory Board Member of Open Arts Archive (Open University), a Board Member of the International Biennial Association, and a member of the London Regional Council for the Arts Council of England.