Together we are stronger - Students and artists respond to BAS9
‘Tactics for Togetherness: Artworking in the regions (together we are stronger)’, the British Art Show 9 (BAS9) Symposium was built around the interrogation of issues and opportunities for artists in the south west of England through the lens of the British Art Show 9 (BAS9). Creative practitioners, students, graduates, curators, academics and members of the public responded to the local theme of ‘Tactics for Togetherness’ and Visual Arts South West’s (VASW) regional ‘Together We Will’ campaign.
Highlights of the symposium included a keynote speech from BAS9 curator Hammad Nasar, a Senior Research Fellow working with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art; BAS9 artist Abigail Reynolds in conversation with Plymouth-based artist and curator of MIRROR, Hannah Rose; BAS9 artist Hanna Tuulikki in conversation with Head of Research and Learning at the Paul Mellon Centre, Sria Chatterjee; plus short presentations and discussion forums to consider current creative contexts in the south west with representatives from VASW, Flock South West CIC, The Box and KARST among others. The symposium used propositions, provocations and case studies from Plymouth and its surrounding regions, to propose positive future actions.
BA (Hons) Illustration students Blue Baylis-Mcdonagh, Sam Holland and Danielle Glover, from Arts University Plymouth and the University of Plymouth, acted as visual scribes throughout the debates and discussions, supported by graduate Amii James. Together they created graphic representations that helped participants to reflect on what was being said and recorded the outcomes for use after the event.
Other highlights of the symposium included a shared meal with a Climavore-inspired menu curated by Turner prize-nominated duo, Cooking Sections and the premiere of a new performance piece from Plymouth-based artist Rhys Morgan, commissioned by MIRROR and funded by Arts Council England with the support of National Lottery players.
Blue Baylis-Mcdonagh, Danielle Glover and Sam Holland act as live scribes for the symposium
Professor Stephen Felmingham, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at Arts University Plymouth, said: “The BAS9 Symposium, Tactics for Togetherness (Together We Are Stronger) showed what can be achieved through collaboration and teamwork in the city and region, with huge thanks to our partners in its organisation from the University of Plymouth. With a wide range of cultural organisations, artists and international speakers, the Symposium was an example of togetherness in action, with the importance of hospitality signalled by Cooking Sections’ Climavore menu, a particular triumph which went a long way to make the evening a memorable one, along with Rhys Morgan’s brilliant ‘Seaweed in the Fruit Locker’ Shanty Choir performance.
“For the British Art Show 9, with its focus on the vitality of people, place and social practice, its Symposium at the end of the year long UK tour created a space for purposeful conversations and connections, which no doubt have already have become new projects and initiatives to benefit artists and audiences across the south west.”
Attendees enjoy a Climavore-inspired menu curated by Cooking Sections
The Climavore concept, initiated by Cooking Sections, is a new adaptive form of eating that responds to human alterations to the planet’s climate. Within Plymouth, the Climavore diet takes advantage of local riverbanks and saltmarshes, recognising the benefits of regenerative farming and the history of the Tamar Valley as an important site of historic food production.
Plymouth-based queer interdisciplinary artist Rhys Morgan’s LGBTQIA+ choir was formed as part of Rhys’ Give & Takeover commission, ‘Seaweed in the Fruit Locker’, exploring queer motifs within seafaring history and collective performance in marginalized communities through the tradition of shanty singing.
Over recent months the choir have used their lived experience to rework existing shanties and inspire new ones, continuing the tradition of these folk songs being adapted time and again through generations.
The Give & Takeover commission series encourages artists to respond to exhibitions presented by MIRROR. Give & Takeover projects can take any form, with the only restriction being that they must not disturb the exhibition they are responding to and intervening in. The series has been funded by Arts Council England with the support of National Lottery players.
‘Tactics for Togetherness’ was organised by Arts University Plymouth and the University of Plymouth, as part of Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition British Art Show 9, presented in collaboration with the cities of Aberdeen, Wolverhampton, Manchester and Plymouth, curated by Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar.
Visual notes from the British Art Show 9 Symposium in Plymouth
Through inclusive short presentations, PechaKucha 20x20, and discussion forums, participants in the symposium interrogated their status as a collaborative, cultural sector across Plymouth and the wider region, in the context of international curatorial perspectives. Participants developed new models of working for the future in innovative approaches to a diverse, inclusive and world-leading cultural offering in the south west.
BAS9 is currently on display at The Box, KARST, MIRROR at Arts University Plymouth and The Levinsky Gallery at the University of Plymouth, featuring a wide variety of paintings, photography, film, installation and sculpture by 37 different artists. The exhibition will remain on show until 23 December at KARST, The Levinsky Gallery and MIRROR. Following a short break for Christmas, it continue at The Box on 28-30 December and 3-8 January.
BAS9 is free to visit and there’s no need to book. Don’t miss it before it leaves Plymouth for good. You can find further information, including opening hours for each of the venues, at www.madeinplymouth.co.uk/bas9.