State of the Visual Arts – Yorkshire
Earlier In March this year, YVAN commissioned Yoke artists, Annie Nelson & Chris Woodward, to design a set up for our Nourish sub-regional events as a way to encourage artists to network and get attendees to nominate practical actions to make a difference to help the visual arts sector on a local level and regionally.
They brought their Ideas Unify Us banner as a backdrop to the conversations which was produced through a previous YVAN / Yoke commission in 2017. The juxtaposition of the banner in each different venue was visually engaging.
Yoke created Artist Reality – A Grand Game! where attendees get tokens for undertaking tasks as indicated on a game cube when they arrived – based around helping each other and speaking up / taking part in discussion. There was also a video pod where people could record their comments / suggestions.
The artists wore beautifully hand-crafted masks throughout the event and didn’t speak, which was both powerful and effective in getting people to take part in the activities.
Attendees took part in round table discussions and then made a pledge by creating a badge which was then documented by Yoke, formally registering the pledge.
Themes that emerged from discussions include:
The need to raise awareness around the value of art and artists was discussed at all the Nourish events.
Issues raised around the need for artists’ space and opportunities to show work and support each other. Also, YVAN’s role to support practitioners, via advocacy, connections to relevant contacts and guidance on professional resilience.
Culture in education, the role of artists, artist advocacy, unions, the circulation of investment, how to maintain a balance to protect artists’ practice and the value of arts and culture.
Mainly centred around networks and how to support yourself by either joining an existing one or creating your own. Attendees also shared information on their different models for networks, how they run and are funded by members. The need for more workspace for artists in the area was also highlighted.
Artists’ representation – more artists needed on boards – the relationship between arts and non arts sectors. It was suggested that instead of funding organisations, consideration should be given to fund artists to run programmes and projects. The importance of feedback to artists in supporting development of their practice was highlighted. In relation to feedback on applications – it was argued that this was also important for artists who are selected for opportunities, not just those who are unsuccessful.