Grizedale Arts

Grizedale Arts Blog

Saturday 2 March '13
(from Grizedale Arts Blog)

Radical Aesthetics Call

Open Pamphlet Call for Radical Aesthetics event organised by Loughborough University at The People's History Museum:

Art, Politics and the Pamphleteer

A RadicalAesthetics/RadicalArt (RaRa) event

People’s History Museum, Manchester,

FRIDAY June 14th 2013

Call for Participation

The RadicalAesthetics-RadicalArt (RaRa) project invites artists and scholars to prepare and submit a pamphlet for presentation at a one-day event, Art, Politics and the Pamphleteer. Instead of the traditional ‘paper’, submissions must essentially be for or against something – in essence a protest. The form that the protest takes is open to interpretation, for example print, paper, images, video, performance, public intervention. We invite you to address the idea and format of your provocation/declaration as imaginatively and radically as you wish.

How have artists used the trope of the radical pamphlet? How might it be utilized as a format?

Art, Politics and the Pamphleteer will explore the history and relevance of the pamphlet for contemporary art practice through presentations by speakers and performers. The one-day event will coincide with a small display of selected pamphlets from the PHM collection (curated by the RaRa organisers) together with a selection from our ‘call for pamphlets’. See below for more information.

Guidelines for proposals: Please send an abstract for your proposal (max 500 words) PLUS a brief bio (max 150 words) to and

Deadline for proposals: 30th MARCH 2013

Context: Radical Pamphlets, the People’s History Museum and RaRa

Radical Pamphlets

It is written because there is something that one wants to say now, and one believes there is no other way of getting a hearing. Pamphlets may turn on points of ethics or theology but they always have a clear political implication. A pamphlet may be written either for or against somebody or something, but in essence it is always a protest.

George Orwell (1948) in British Pamphleteers Volume 1, from the sixteenth century to the French Revolution

For Orwell, the pamphlet is a polemical provocation. Through the 20thc and beyond, artists have worked and acted provocatively and polemically with text, images and performance, publishing writings and producing pamphlets and manifestoes, including the Futurists (1909), Surrealists (1924), Fluxus (George Maciunas, 1963), First Things First (Ken Garland 1964), Mierle Laderman Ukeles (Manifesto for Maintenance Art 1969) and Stewart Home’s Neoist Manifestos (1987). More recently, in 2009, Monica Ross and fifteen others co-recited the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the Anniversary of The Peterloo Massacre at John Rylands Library
Manchester and the Freee Art Collective have performed their manifestoes in a range of public settings. The edited book (2011) by Danchev 100 Artists' Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists (Penguin Modern Classics) demonstrates it as subject of current interest.

The last decade has seen art’s increasing engagement with political and social issues, whereby in some instances artists’ activities have become indistinguishable from social activism (e.g. Wochenklauser) or other disciplinary functions (e.g. artist as ‘anthropologist’ as in Jeremy Deller’s Folk Archive).The art community’s current preoccupation with revolutionary movements and global politics is being addressed from different perspectives. The format and traditions of the ‘radical pamphlet’ may provide an alternative platform for artistic intervention and provocation.

People’s History Museum (PHM)

The People’s History Museum is a national research facility, archive and accredited public museum, which contains unique collections of documents and artefacts. The collection includes the British Labour Party and Communist Party of Great Britain papers, extensive amateur and documentary film holdings and the largest trade union and protest banner collection in the world. The Museum suits our particular brief of radicality in its focus on histories of radical collective action.

The project will extend invitation to a range of social groups in Manchester, for example: Manchester Social Centre, All FM Community Radio, Manchester Radical History Collective, Radical Routes network of co-operatives, Working Class Movement Library, Manchester, Centre for Research in Socio-Cultural Change, University of Manchester.

RadicalAesthetics-RadicalArt (RaRa)

The RadicalAesthetics-RadicalArt (RaRa) project was initiated in 2009 at Loughborough University (LU) under the auspices of the Politicized Practice Research Group (PPRG). The RaRa project and its associated book series (with I.B. Tauris) explores the meeting of contemporary art practice and interpretations of radicality to promote debate, confront convention and formulate alternative ways of thinking about art practice. Previous RaRa events have included ‘DIY cultures’ and Radical Footage: Film and Dissent at Nottingham Contemporary.

Gillian Whiteley/Jane Tormey

January 2012

Thursday 8 November '12
(from Grizedale Arts Blog)

The Criteria of Art Util

Tania and Fernando table talk

We had a recent visit here from useful artist Tania Bruguera who is working on a Museum of Useful Art for the Van Abbe Museum in October next year, part of the project The Uses of Art: the Legacy of 1848 and 1989 we have been developing with the Internationale group of European museums. We spent the weekend with Nick Aikens, a ginger curator of the Van Abbe Museum, refining the criteria of Useful Art or Art Util as she prefers to call it. Whilst here we hooked her up with the Fernando Garcia Dory, awarded last month with $25,000 and the gong for The Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change at the Creative Time Summit in New York. Fernando and Tania only ever communicate via Skype, the preferred medium of purposeful artists. Here you see them head to head in a feed back loop of social engagement. Fernando is currently working in London on Now I Gotta Reason, go use him.

To be arte útil it should:

1- Propose new uses for art within society

2- Challenge the field within which it operates (civic, legislative, pedagogical, scientific, economic etc)

3- Be ‘timing specific’, responding to the urgencies of the moment

4- Be implemented in the real and actually work!

5- Replace authors with initiators and spectators with users

6- Have practical, beneficial outcomes for its users

7- Pursue sustainability whilst adapting to changing conditions

8- Re-establish aesthetics as an ecosystem of transformative fields

Thursday 18 October '12
(from Grizedale Arts Blog)


Art Critic Louisa Buck enthusing about the best thing at the Frieze Art Fair this year.

Thursday 18 October '12
(from Grizedale Arts Blog)


Even more astonsihing than the Tim Marlow revelation is Alan Kane saying something positive about Grizedale Arts

Thursday 18 October '12
(from Grizedale Arts Blog)


Art historian and media legend Tim Marlow consumes a cake phallus from Bedwyr William's Curator Cadaver Cake at Grizedale Arts' Colosseum of the Consumed at Frieze Art Fair 2012.

Thursday 12 July '12
(from Grizedale Arts Blog)

The Only Way is Egremont

Jackie from CACS works up the Coniston slate

On June 28 resident artist Mat Do, he of the sharp atire and sharp Essex attitude, brought together the Art in Irton Group with the Coniston Art and Craft Society at the Coniston Institute. This is all part of his long term project working with Egremont's Florence Mine, a haemetite mine in West Cumbria which closed in 2008 and is being re-visioned with our help as a quasi Mechanics Institute for this post industrial community.

For over two years or so Mat has been working on a number of projects there includng a film with a group of amateur actors and looking at ways in which the mine can be re-activated through new projects that use the iron ore in new ways. One outcome has been a process to get the iron ore made into paint and pigment products that can be then used and disseminated to promote the town out and create products for export out of Egremont.

This has led to an interested group of local artists (The Art in Irton Group) setting up a co-operative to make products from the very rich Florence haemetite; one of which is artists quality paints. The group learnt the process themselves from books and a workshop arranged by Mat and given by professional artist and paint maker Pip Seymour.

In this last workshop the Irton group passed on their knowledge of paint making to the Coniston Art and Craft Society. Ih this workshop they demonstrated watercolour production from the Florence iron ore and produced a very rich, deep grey from the slate dust provided by Coniston Slate - an unsued by product of their engraving and polishing processes.

One ambition is that the paints can be made into household paint products that can used as domestic paints. Lord Egremont owner of Florence Mine and Petworth House, Sussex (and relation to the 3rd Earl who patronised Turner so profusely back in the day) is eager to work with Mat on a series of projects at Petworth including the use of the iron as an estate colour. See what he's doing there.

Wednesday 4 July '12
(from Grizedale Arts Blog)

Honest Shop

The new Honest Shop in the Coniston Institute has opened. Designed by An Endless Supply to provide homemade products without the inconvenience of human contact and a chip and pin machine. In the video AES's Harry Blackett and Robin Kirkham talk us throough the retail experience.

Friday 10 February '12
(from Grizedale Arts Blog)

The Spiral of Success

Currently enjoying the light airport novel by Maxine Berg: The Machinery Question and the Making of Political Economy 1815 - 1848. It includes this marvellous illustration by Burnett from 1826 to be hung in every Mechanics Institute in the land. It shows the King in the middle and spirals out through fifteen layers of revolution with the paupers in the workhouse at its tail: "the best informed and the most industrious will always, in their exertion to get forward, thrust out the more ignorant in the rear". Like an aspirational colon. Should be made into an app for for Art Facts. Nominations please for who's in the middle and who's left in a blue pastic doggy bag in a roadside hedge.

Friday 10 February '12
(from Grizedale Arts Blog)

Der Uberkunstfarmfactory

Art factories in the snow
The print studio is the hangar on the left and the tower was used to imprison peasant farmers who didn't pay enough tax.

This week travels bring me to a wintery (-12C) Breugelish Hildersheim in the middle of Germany to meet up Charles Esche and his team from the Van Abbe Museum and Prof. Thomas Lange of the University to discuss 1848, the usage of art, agriculture, the Zombie of modernism, cluelessness and edutainment (that word has, worryingly no spell check alert), among other things we are plotting to crowbar into an exhibition to change the world, or at least change how we see it .

The art school here is like the Mercedes version of Lawson Park’s Vauxhall Chevette. The arts school is built around a gargantuan 13th century mega farm-cum-fortress, surrounded by the most fertile soil in Germany. It’s very notable as you travel through this country by train that, in contrast to the UK, this is a land dedicated to productivity. Trackside in England reveals and a parade of retail hanger parks, malls, industrial wastelands, leisurelands and factories converted to go-kart tracks; a country given over to consumption. In Germany everyone seems to be at work, factory chimneys have smoke coming from them, the countryside is heavily farmed, not set aside and an engineering aesthetic pervades all, even at the Choco Leibniz factory.

Back at the art school we go to the student cafeteria which serves homemade café und kuchen. In fact it trumps pretty much any restaurant the Lake District has to offer and I gaze down at my 90 degree slice of subsidised patisserie and remember less fondly the Ginsters and scalding milky tea of the Goldsmiths’ refectory. But this is interrupted by a request from an art history student who is doing her thesis, startlingly, on Grizedale Arts and has heard that I am in town. “Are you sure?” I say. Apparently this website is read avidly in Europe, so we’d better get our act together. This is subsequently confirmed by Grizedale alumni and current Hildersheim artist professor Antje Schiffers who complains that we need to maintain the joke count on the site. Although, she says, we might be doing that but just not in a way she finds funny.

Monday 23 January '12
(from Grizedale Arts Blog)

Coniston plus Tate

Last week we hosted the directors of the Plus Tate group  - a network of the UK’s 18 most dynamic art organisations that includes Tate, the Hepworth Wakefield, Turner Contemporary, Ikon Gallery Birmingham, Whitworth Art Gallery, Baltic and Grizedale Arts itself.

The annual seminar organised by Tate was hosted by Grizedale Arts throughout Coniston using the Coniston Institute, St Andrews Church, Brantwood, the Waterhead Hotel, Coniston launch and our headquarters at Lawson Park farm.

On the Wednesday evening the main hall of the Coniston Institute provided the backdrop for a grand dinner of 34 people comprising the directors of the Plus Tate group and the local “villager elders” who have been consistently volunteering over the last year towards the restoration of the historic Institute.

The dispersed nature of the seminar, was used to demonstrate the concept of the Village as Institution using what might be termed the Civic Framework, people and all, as the site for the conference. This is turn works to build a collective, social resource rather than a simple venue hire or site visit – using the village like one might use a work of art.

Throughout the three days the delegates ate menus that were made entirely from local produce and artists projects including local venison, Lawson Park pork, St James’ and Ruskin Blue cheese, wild grouse, Kathrin Bohm’s sauerkraut and Lawson Park grown vegetables and so on. Particularly popular were the dessert contributions of trifle, chocolate cake and lemon meringue pie created especially for the Tate by the village.

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