Conversations Series is a programme of four artistic projects and residencies delivered by Venture Arts aimed at creating new work in a shared exchange of art and ideas. This programme brings together a range of artists, with and without learning disabilities, to develop collaborative, reciprocal learning and creative exchanges. Through this, it is hoped that open conversations and new dialogues about the role of art in contemporary society will be generated.
OutsiderXchanges 2016-17 formed Conversations Series I, the first pioneering project set up in partnership with Castlefield Gallery, Manchester and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead. Over six months, twelve artists based in Manchester and Newcastle, shared a studio and collaborated as equals to produce experimental new artworks. This project culminated in a series of exhibitions and events, at nationally significant arts venues including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the Whitworth, The University of Manchester.
Click here to find out more about this ground breaking project and read the reviews from associated art press.
Building on the legacy of OutsiderXchanges, in October 2018, Venture Arts launched Conversations Series II, in partnership with Castlefield Gallery and the Whitworth, which supported a collaborative residency which brought together three learning-disabled artists from the Venture Arts supported studios to work alongside three visual artists from further afield. The group developed and shared ideas, created new work, and reflected on the labels placed upon us by society – using the Whitworth’s extensive outsider art collection, The Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection (MKOAC) as a starting point.
Other Transmissions: Conversations with Outsider Art, at the Whitworth from 14 February – 14 June 2020 is the latest exhibition to evolve from Conversations Series II. Artists Joe Beedles, James Desser, Amy Ellison, Frances Heap, Andrew Johnstone and John Powell-Jones have explored themes of labelling, categorisation and the power dynamics of the art world, initially in response to the MKOAC at the Whitworth. Read more about it here.
Conversations Series is kindly supported through public funding by Arts Council England.