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]gmail.com 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, 1996, 128pp.
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.