Public Art Needs Outsiders

Project Focus: Grizedale Arts
Seminar Venue: Grizedale Arts, Lawson Park, Coniston, Cumbria, LA21 8AD
Date: Wednesday 7th October 2009
, 11am – 5pm (registration 10.30am)

Speakers included:
Adam Sutherland
, Director, Grizedale Arts
Alistair Hudson
, Deputy Director, Grizedale Arts
Paul Domela
, Programme Director, Liverpool Biennial, Higher Education & International Exchange
Jeanne van Heeswijk
, Artist, Artist-commissioner, The Blue House, IJburg, The Netherlands
Andreas Lang
of publicworks, commissioned artist, Creative Egremont

Paul O’Neill
, GWR Research Fellow at Situations

One of the primary roles allocated to public art within regeneration projects and cultural tourism is its contribution to place-making. Whilst many commissioners have now begun to take a more long-term, ‘embedded’ approach to developing a curatorial programme in response to their immediate contexts, they recognize the value of outsiders to the development of an ongoing programme. This Seminar looked at the relationship between the local and the outsider and public art as the result of that encounter.

Grizedale Arts has adapted the residency model as a means of sustaining a practice-in-place, but has highlighted the need for artists/curators to research, engage with and contribute to an ongoing engagement with the specific context of Cumbria from an outsider’s perspective.

This Seminar looked at the development of public art projects through residencies by considering some of the following questions:

  • How can public art commissioning employ the residency model as a means of sustaining local engagement and audience participation?
  • What are the challenges and pitfalls of negotiating an unfamiliar context as a visiting artist?
  • What are the benefits and the shortfalls of being a resident commissioner?
  • Is a residency or sustained period of fieldwork/research always required?