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The term artist-led organ­i­sa­tion encom­pass­es a diverse and com­plex range of artists’ activ­i­ties and philo­soph­i­cal stances, includ­ing stu­dio groups of all sizes, gallery spaces, groups con­cerned with com­mu­ni­ty action, oth­ers focused on cre­at­ing net­works or increas­ing mar­kets for their work, cam­paign­ing asso­ci­a­tions and prac­tice-led artists’ col­lec­tives that gen­er­ate col­lab­o­ra­tive art in pub­lic places.

This 16-page illus­trat­ed pub­li­ca­tion pro­duced in 1997 sum­maris­ing and con­tex­tu­al­is­ing a three-year study of the scope and val­ue of artist-led organ­i­sa­tions was cre­at­ed at a time when such ini­tia­tives were periph­er­al to the main­stream infra­struc­tures for gen­er­at­ing and pre­sent­ing the con­tem­po­rary visu­al arts.

Roles and rea­sons con­tains a con­tex­tu­al­is­ing and posi­tion­ing essay by researcher Susan Jones and short illus­trat­ed case stud­ies of Art­space Bris­tol (now Spike Island), Artsway, Space Explo­rations, Fine Rats Inter­na­tion­al, TEA, BN1, Storey Insti­tute, Lime Street Stu­dios, Ware­house Artists’ Stu­dios, Isis Arts, The Pio­neers and Artists work­ing to com­mis­sion. A guest essay from Ian Hunter, Projects Envi­ron­ment, dis­cuss­es artists’ ini­tia­tives with­in crit­i­cal, sit­u­at­ed prac­tices and social activism, cit­ing the work of Plat­form (Lon­don), Wochen Klausur (Aus­tria) and Ala Plas­ti­ca (Argenti­na).

This major self-ini­ti­at­ed research pro­gramme gained sup­port from the Calouste Gul­benkian Foun­da­tion, Arts Coun­cil of Eng­land, Arts Coun­cil of Wales, East Mid­lands Arts, East­ern Arts, Foun­da­tion for Sport and the Arts, Lon­don Arts Board, North West Arts, North­ern Arts, South­ern Arts and South East Arts

Con­tact susanjonesarts[at] to be sent a hard copy of Roles and Rea­sons at £6.50 (UK) by post. Comes with free pdf by email of Mea­sur­ing the expe­ri­ence: a study of the scope and val­ue of artist-led organ­i­sa­tions, 1996128pp.

Cov­er image: Mas­si­mo Bar­toli­ni, The Mouse in the House (Head No1), elec­tron­i­cal­ly con­trolled light source, wood and paint from High RIse, a Space Explo­rations project in 1996.

Roles and rea­sons is pub­lished by Susan Jones, orig­i­nal­ly dis­trib­uted by a‑n Pub­li­ca­tions, 1997.