#visartsbristol open space meeting – good discussions, now for action (updated)

Yesterday I attended an open space event convened by Situations and Bristol Museums (and possibly others, excuse my ignorance here).

AMENDMENT: the partners that hosted the event were:

Alexis Butt, Acting Director, RWA; Claire Doherty, Director, Situations; Helen Legg, Director, Spike Island; Julie Finch, Director and Phil Walker, Public Programmes Manager, Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives and Tom Trevor, Director, Arnolfini.

It was a good day and a while since I have engaged deeply with what is happening in Bristol, having moved to Glos seven years ago. It felt good and it was particularly interesting to witness a wind-change in the arts ecology in Bristol. It used to feel very territorial in Bristol, but now the key players, the artists and public bodies seem more united, sharing a vision of resilience for the arts in the city.

Historically, the Bristol art scene always seemed somewhat dominated by the major organisations, creating a hierarchy, often with artists at the base of the triangle. It was good to see so many artists there and all working together on a level playing field. Freelancers also hold their own now too, creating a rich and nourishing compost into which ideas can grow.

It was also very good to see such a high museum sector presence, though I didn’t meet anyone from libraries, sadly. Both are now part of ACE remit.

Collaborating with the museums would be ideal for Flow, with new projects being devised to tour works that are modular & adaptable, yet pay homage to each context they are taken to. And new commissions too – a constant celebration of existing works and a topping up with new, ever changing artworks.

Phil Walker led a group discussion about ‘future thinking’ for museums. I’d really like to work with him and his team to commission an artist to respond to this enquiry, which could then tour (alongside existing works) to other museums and gather their ideas and visions.

An issue that arose time and time again in conversations was the need for there to be people engaged to broker partnerships, oversee multiple partners to deliver cross-sector projects.

That is exactly what I do, what Flow is designed to do.

Talk to me.

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