‘Other Transmissions’ part of Conversations Series II launches as a Tate Exchange event before touring nationally

Posted on 7 March 2019

Conversations Series II led by Venture Arts in partnership withCastlefield Gallery and the Whitworth has supported six artists living and working in the North West of England to undertake a five-month residency at Venture Arts Studios in Hulme, Manchester. The artists are a diverse group of learning disabled and non-learning disabled artists selected based on the quality of their practice, and their openness to exploration, experimentation and collaboration. This series delves into feelings and thoughts about the labels placed upon people by society, and for artists and the art world more broadly.

Castlefield Gallery have in particular supported the residency with artist recruitment and selection processes, acting as a critical friend, and provided the artists with mentoring to encourage reflection at key stages throughout the project.

Artists included Joe Beedles, James Desser, Amy Ellison, Frances Heap, Andrew Johnstone and John Powell-Jones, supported by James Pollitt.

The outcome of the project Other Transmissions is a touring project that will launch at Tate Liverpool as a Tate Exchange event from 20 – 24 March 2019, before touring to Artlink Hull, where from 29 March – 21 June new works developed through Conversations Series II, will be shown alongside key works from the Whitworth’s Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, one of the most significant public collections of Outsider Art in the UK.

On the 28 June at Paradise Works, Salford, 6-9pm will host a film screening of Other Transmissions group film and an exclusive live immersive intervention by Joe Beedles. Other Transmission will complete at The University of Salford, New Adelphi Gallery, from 1-31 Oct, where several pieces produced by the Conversations Series II residency artists will feature alongside documentary material, captured by the university’s BA Graphic Design students. Visual responses in the form of zines, riso-prints and film will be shown with the exhibition tour. ​

The participating artists have spent time with The Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection at the Whitworth, researching collection pieces, this process stimulating conversation on how artists are labelled, and how this can sometimes define their work and themselves as ‘different’.

Conversations Series is a multi-year programme conceived by Venture Arts, working in partnership with Castlefield Gallery and a wider network of national organisations. The programme extends across multiple years, curated as a discursive and art making journey designed to enable and empower the voices of learning disabled artists, focused on the power of their work as opposed to ideas of ‘art world status’. Through a series of dialogues, residencies and artistic collaborations, Venture Arts will seek to enable new and challenging work to be created, whilst exploring the place of learning disabled artists work within the context of the national and international contemporary visual art scene, and contexts such as the Outsider Art Movement and the Disability Arts Movement.

Conversations Series began in 2015/16 with OutsiderXchanges, a partnership between Venture Arts, Castlefield Gallery and the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.