Collections: Emma Anderson, Ann Bukantas & Becky Shaw ‘In Discussion’

20 January 2005 / 18:00 - 20:00

(Please note: A tour of the Manchester Royal Infirmary Hospital will take place from 4-5pm for interested parties. Please meet at the Hospitals Trust Headquarters Entrance on Oxford Road. There are a maximum of 15 places for the tour. Please book in advance.)

‘Transfer’ is an attempt to move the entire art collection of the Manchester Royal Infirmary hospitals to the Castlefield Gallery. In 2002 LIME, formerly Hospital Arts, invited Becky Shaw to develop a new project for the Manchester Royal Infirmary site. The artist decided not to add another work but, instead, to remove the entire collection.

Critically reflecting on ‘Transfer’, Emma Anderson, Ann Bukantas and Becky Shaw will discuss contemporary and historic public art collections.

The discussion will include presentations of the various collections the speakers have been responsible for. The differing nature of collections, the ways in which they are brought into existence and criteria for their establishment will be explored. Other issues to be discussed are the ‘quality’ of a collection, what makes a collection ‘valuable’ and, ultimately, what are the values or purposes they have for the institutions and publics that they serve?

Emma Anderson is the Project Manager for the North West Museums Hub, which comprises Manchester City Galleries, Bolton Museum & Art Gallery, Harris Museum & Art Gallery in Preston, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery in Carlisle and University of Manchester Museums & Galleries. The North West Hub has attracted £2.42million from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council in order to develop as a centre of excellence for the sector. It is focusing on developing capacity in the workforce, increasing access to collections, developing the impact of education and reaching new audiences.

Anderson has previously worked as Senior Curator at The Lowry, Salford, from 1999 ú 2004, working with prominent contemporary artists and collections; Visual Arts & Photography Officer at North West Arts Board, from 1996-1999 and Head of Foyer Visual Arts, South Bank Centre, London, from 1993-1999.

Ann Bukantas has been the Curator of Fine Art at the Walker Gallery, National Museums Liverpool since August 2002. She is responsible for the Fine Art Collection at the Walker, the Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House. Bukantas also curates contemporary exhibitions at the Walker; most recently she was one of the five Jurors for this year’s John Moores 23 exhibition of contemporary painting.

Bukantas has curated many historic and contemporary exhibitions, having previously worked at Ferens Art Gallery, Hull City Museums and Art Gallery, 1986-2002, where she curated the collection of British and Continental art spanning the 16th century to present day.

Becky Shaw’s work explores the way individuals negotiate their relationship to society. She works primarily to contract in social situations, in leisure, health, work and education, and reveals social relationships at play. In trying to understand an entire context, Shaw often reflects on the circumstances which bring her to the project in the first place, causing her to question our perception of the artist and their role. Every project generates a different outcome and uses a range of media and methods including photography, video, writing, lectures, model-making, publication, text and sound. Emphasis and consistency lies in the investigative approach rather than the medium used.

Following a PhD in 1998 exploring the use of art in palliative care, projects in healthcare contexts include ‘The Generosity Project’ which asks why we expect artists to do good, ‘Twelve Museums’, a collaboration with a man with dementia, and ‘Look at you Looking at Me’, a live work exploring the impossibility of collaboration between an artist and a person with dementia. Other projects include ‘Civics: The Science of Citizenship’ a live work exploring the purpose of education and the current government’s use of the arts (part of Hewitt and Jordan’s ‘Futurology’), and ‘The Manufacture of Ultramarine Blue’, the recreation of an ultramarine factory using contemporary labour, for Grizedale Arts.

Shaw distributes her work through ‘The Journal of Occasional Trade’, a publication designed to convey her practical and writing work as one practice. Shaw is also co-director of the Liverpool art organisation, Static, with architect Paul Sullivan. Static’s purpose is to generate critical activity, using a range of strategies including the online Static Pamphlet, architecture, model making, discussion and projects.