Campaign for assisted studio spaces
Curated by Ngaire Jackson and Bronagh Lawson
04 January – 06 February 2021
The importance and necessity of creativity and art-making is very much in the foreground during the Covid pandemic. From professional artists to hobby makers, working conditions are essential; and for many there are none.
Even more so for people who need assistance.
Belfast lacks assisted studio spaces for adults, who require some help in their studio practice, perhaps because of a learning difficulty or other issue. Models like KCAT in Kilkenny or ActionSpace, London exist around the world which support adults, and so we ask: why not here?
Right to create, curated by Bronagh Lawson and Ngaire Jackson, brings together work on paper from artists who would benefit from such a space. Placed in an installation which replicates artists’ studios and a communal workshop space, this set-up is used to demonstrate how easy it could be to arrange permanent workspaces for artists requiring additional support.
The selected artists have a love of art and have developed their practice so far on various short-term projects at changing locations in Belfast. Not all artists have the same ambition or ability to be outstanding. For the ones who have, there is no path to have access to an art college. Yet the ‘right to create’ is a universal one, not dependent on talent.
This project wants to show the work of artists with additional needs to a wider public and campaign for permanent, assisted workplaces/ studios here in Belfast.
Through conversations and presentations by participating, as well as interested, artists and organisations, like Moon Base, Belfast, KCAT, Kilkenny or ActionSpace, London, we want to lobby for assisted studio provisions in the city.
Zoom conversations: timetable
Thursday, 14 January, 7pm
In conversation: Alastair MacLennan Bronagh Lawson.
Alastair MacLennan, Emeritus Professor of Fine Art at Belfast School of Art, has had a connection with KCAT, Kilkenny for several years, collaborating with their artists and making the introduction for Bronagh Lawson and Ngaire Jackson to visit and be inspired by what they have achieved. This conversation gives an opportunity for those not familiar with the assisted studio concept to understand how it can work and the level of work produced. There will be an opportunity to ask questions online.
Wednesday, 20 January, 1-2pm
Panel discussion: with Dougal McKenzie, Lecturer in Painting, Belfast School of art and Riann Coulter, Curator and Manager of FE McWilliam Gallery, Banbridge chaired by Bronagh Lawson.
Dougal McKenzie is a lecturer in Painting in Belfast school of art and brings with him a lifelong experience of looking at art and encouraging others he had the opportunity to view much of the work produced by various assisted artists workshops and this gives him the opportunity to comment on the work and its value.
Riann Coulter of FE McWilliams Gallery offers an important Art spot in the arts ecosystem. In 2019, KCAT held an important exhibition of their artists there. This will be an opportunity to talk about that experience and comment on the calibre of the art produced and thoughts on assisted studios.
Thursday, 21 January, 7pm- 8pm
Panel discussion with Maureen, Matthew and Sarah, artists from Moon Base, Seonaid Murray, Moon Base facilitator, Ngaire Jackson and Bronagh Lawson. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.
Thursday 28 January 7-8pm
Conversation with Deirdre McKenna, University of Atypical and TBC, chaired by Bronagh Lawson.
Deirdre McKenna has a lifelong experience of looking at art, producing it and encouraging others, all while organising arts activities. This conversation will give an opportunity for Deirdre to comment on the need for assisted studios from the perspective of the University of Atypical.
Conversation with KCAT, Kilkenny
If you are interested to take part in any of the Zoom conversations, please email email@example.com which ones you would like to attend, and we will send you the link.
You can watch a documentation of the project here.
Opening hours: PS2 is closed and although the exhibition is installed in situ, all activities will be online unless regulations change. Documentation and updates are online and will continue to be shared via social media over the period of the exhibition.
PS² is supported by The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.