Public Assets: small-scale arts orgainsations and the production of value

Organised by Common Practice, London

Building on previous work on value and sustainability in the UK’s small scale arts sector, Common Practice organised a one-day conference to discuss the ways in which small-scale arts organisations produce artistic value beyond measurability and quantification, provide spaces for public experience extra to the market, and in so doing contribute importantly to cultural wealth. In this way, small-scale arts organisations provide ample evidence of the necessity to build rather than diminish state funding for the arts as a core public asset.

Platform Theatre, Central Saint Martins.


Kodwo Eshun
Co-member of The Otolith Group and lecturer at Visual Culture, Goldsmiths, will talk about care for concepts and the nurture found in small scale arts organisations.

Jesús Carrillo
Talks about his experience as head of Cultural Programmes at Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid. In his presentation, Jesús will trace the multiple ways in which the museum has recently undergone a period of introspection and experimentation during a period of wider local and global social crisis.

Charlotte Higgins
Chief culture writer of the Guardian, will speak about small scale cultural organisations as public spaces that are not dominated or driven by commercial interests.

Maria Lind
Director of the Tensta Konsthall, describes the wide range of activities undertaken by the organisation, showing how it is shaped by the artists and theorists who come to work there as well as the area of Tensta itself and its community.

Andrea Phillips
Reader in Fine Art and Director of PhD programmes in Goldsmiths’ Art Department, introduces the conference – ‘Public Assets: small-scale arts organisations and the production of value’. In the context of widespread entrepreneurialism in the cultural environment today, Andrea will introduce the incongruity of the operations of cultural organisations; as bodies that support radical thinking but operate wholly within the market it seeks to question.

Lise Soskolne
Core Organiser of W.A.G.E (Working Artists and the Greater Economy). Lise's talk traces the role of the artist, non-profit, commercial gallery and foundation in the US art economy today; and advocates for a regulation of artists’ fees amongst the non-profits and institutions that subcontract artistic labour.

This event is organised in collaboration with Andrea Phillips and supported by the Contemporary Visual Arts Network.

About Common Practice
Common Practice, London, founded in 2009, is an advocacy group working for the recognition and fostering of the small-scale contemporary visual arts sector in London. The group aims to promote the value of the sector and its activities, act as a knowledge base and resource for members and affiliated organisations, and develop a dialogue with other visual art organisations on a local, national and international level. The group’s founding members are Afterall, Chisenhale Gallery, Electra, Gasworks, LUX, Matt’s Gallery, Mute Publishing, The Showroom, and Studio Voltaire – together representing a diverse range of activities including commissioning, production, publishing, research, exhibitions, residencies and artists’ studios.

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