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Collectives: Reshaping the art world

  • 18 June 2024, 6:30-8pm
  • Shoreditch Arts Club, 6 Redchurch St, London E2 7DD
A wallpaper depicting waved covering a wall in a wave shape and colourful balloons covering the ceiling
Ritual Without Belief, 2018 © Evan Ifekoya. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage. Photo Andy Keates

What new models for artist support should we be calling for?

Back in 1984, artists including Susan Hiller and Eduardo Paolozzi came together with a group of lawyers to set up DACS to protect UK artists’ rights. The visual arts has a long history of harnessing the power of collective action to improve conditions for artists and the wider creative sector.

From galleries and collectives to unions and artist-led institutions, this panel will explore what forms collectives can take, and how we can reconfigure the art world to give artists greater agency and influence.

Panellists: Emma Edmondson, The Other MA (TOMA); Jonny Tanna, Founder, Harlesden High Street; Evan Ifekoya, Artist; Kuba Szreder, Independent Curator.

Chaired by Francesca Gavin, Artistic Director, viennacontemporary and Editor in Chief, EPOCH Review.


Jonny Tanna is a North-West London native and the Director of Harlesden High Street, a BIPOC led gallery space. Harlesden High Street was founded in 2020 with the mission of facilitating access between experimental/outsider artists and the traditional gallery system. Working across several spaces in London, the gallery exhibits contemporary art by both local and international artists with a focus on exhibiting work by people of colour. In addition to its gallery programme, Harlesden High Street also hosts a cultural outreach programme with an aim to engage audiences in un-gentrified neighborhoods, through workshops, talks and artist initiatives. In 2023, Tanna also co-founded Minor Attractions, an inclusive micro-fair that gives access to both London and international galleries during Frieze London art week.

Evan Ifekoya is an interdisciplinary artist working in community organising, installation, performance, sound, text and video, whose practice is an extension of their calling as a spiritual practitioner. They view art as a site where resources can be both redistributed and renegotiated, whilst challenging the implicit rules and hierarchies of public and social space. Through archival and sonic investigations, they speculate on blackness in abundance. Strategies of space holding through architectural interventions, ritual, sonic installations and workshops enable them to make a practice of living in order not to turn to despair.
They established the collectively run and QTIBPOC (queer, trans*, intersex, black and people of colour) led Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.) in 2018.
They were awarded the Paul Hamlyn bursary in 2021, the Kleinwort Hambros Emerging Artists Prize in 2019 and the Arts Foundation Award for Live Art sponsored by the Yoma Sasberg Estate in 2017. Their works are held in a number of public collections including Arts Council England, Walker Art Gallery Liverpool and Migros Museum Zurich.
They have presented exhibitions, moving image and performances across UK, Europe and Internationally, most recently: Lagos Biennial, ICA VCU and MAK Los Angeles (2024), ARoS Denmark and Guest Artist Space Lagos (2023), a solo exhibition at Migros Museum, Zurich and a moving image commission with LUX in collaboration with University of Reading (2022); Herbert Art Gallery and Museum as nominees of the Turner Prize (with B.O.S.S. 2021); Gus Fischer New Zealand (2020); De Appel Netherlands (2019) and Gasworks London (2018).

Kuba Szreder is a researcher, curator, and lecturer at the Academy of Fine Art in Warsaw. He cooperates with artistic unions, consortia of post-artistic practitioners, clusters of art-researchers, art collectives and artistic institutions in Poland, UK, and other European countries. He is editor and author of several catalogues, books, readers, book chapters, articles and manifestos, in which he scrutinizes the social, economic, and theoretical aspects of the expanded field of art. Current research interests include conditions of artistic labour, new models of artistic institutions, artistic self-organization, artistic research, postartistic theory and practice. In 2021 his book “The ABC of the projectariat: living and working in a precarious art world” was published by the Manchester University Press and the Whitworth.

Francesca Gavin (Chair) is the Artistic Director of viennacontemporary taking place in September 2024 and Editor in Chief of EPOCH Review. Gavin has written ten books on art and visual culture and curated exhibitions including Mushrooms at Somerset House, The Dark Cube at Palais de Tokyo, and co-curated Manifesta11. Gavin is a contributing editor at Twin and Beauty Papers, and regularly writes for publications including the Financial Times HTSI, Cura, Marie Claire and Frieze. She has a monthly radio show Rough Version on NTS Radio on art and music which has been running for over 8 years.

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