CuratorSpace Salon #2: Art and Education

The second of our professional development events for artists and curators will take place on Thursday 7th June. These events give you the chance to hear from creative professionals about the work they do and how they can help you to develop your own practice. You’ll also have the chance meet other people working in the creative industries.

This event responds to the question 'How does the space between Art and Education manifest?' Themes addressed will include:

  • Artists working with different forms of community engagement
  • Practical advice on visual arts activities delivery
  • Regional and national visual arts networking
  • Visual arts practice as research
  • How artists engage in collaborative practice

Speakers include Creative Practitioner and Lecturer, Dr Liz Stirling; Creative Consultant and Exec Director of YVAN, Adrian Friedli; Visual Artist, Paul Digby; and Practice Based Researcher, Helen Clarke.

The event will begin with an optional tour of the Leeds Beckett University Degree show at 11am and talks will start at 1pm, finishing by 5pm. There will also be an option to stay for the private view of 'Natural Selection' by Andy Holden and Peter Holden at Leeds Art Gallery.

The Venue

The event will take place at Leeds Beckett University at the School of Art, Architecture and Design, Broadcasting Place, Room BPA103. Groups will meet in the main foyer at 11am (for the Degree Show tour) and 12.30pm (for the event).

Dr Liz Stirling

Dr Liz Stirling is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Studies for practice based research in the School of Art, Architecture and Design at Leeds Beckett University. She is a creative practitioner using performance, collaborative production and art activism to explore how we connect with each other.

Her talk will look at the underlying ideas and processes used in various co-designed projects and feminist pedagogical methods in shaping open, non-hierarchical spaces. Liz is also a founder member of F=, a feminist arts collective based at Leeds Beckett whose projects and research have informed new approaches to teaching on the undergraduate Graphic Arts and Design degree.

Robinson Stirling is Liz's collaborative practice with artist Laura Robinson. They have worked on a range of projects using play and non-verbal communication to engage in unique experiences with people across generations and backgrounds using performance employing mask, low-maintenance costumes and recycled materials.

Robinson Stirling played and performed for two days in the Tate Britain History Galleries and with teachers/art workers at the Tate Modern Summer School in and around the building and exhibitions. In 2015 they set up the arts collective 105 Women with women asylum seekers in Leeds and East Street Arts, working out how to create a sustainable space for learning and sharing creative skills in a safe, equal and social environment.

Liz is also an Art Doctor with artist Alison McIntyre, specialising in participatory events and workshops, aiming to help break down barriers to participation in contemporary art. The Art Doctors toured with the British Art Show 8 in 2015/2016 and are now training new art doctors.

Adrian Friedli

Adrian came to Yorkshire in 1981 to study fine art in Leeds, and has subsequently lived, and worked in the cultural sector in Yorkshire for over twenty-five years, as an artist, in academia, as an independent producer, and as a Director in regional and national arts development agencies.

As a creative consultant, Adrian was Programme Lead in the team that bid successfully for Hull to be UK City of Culture in 2017, and part of the team that developed Waltham Forest's successful bid to be the first London Borough of Culture in 2019. He is currently Programme / Executive Director Yorkshire & Humber Visual Arts Network Ltd, Chair of Warrington's Culture Commission, and a Non-Executive Director of Forced Entertainment, and The Tetley, and Third Angel.

YVAN works to be a voice and advocate for the visual arts sector in Yorkshire & Humber, developing a programme that effects change in the profile, reputation and sustainability of the visual arts and artists in Yorkshire & Humber.

Through this work, the ambition is that Yorkshire & Humber is seen as a place where the visual arts thrive through collective strength and collaboration across the sector, founded on the creative vision of individual artists. That visual arts are accessible to meaningful participation and enjoyment by the diverse range of people who visit, live and work in Yorkshire & Humber. That the important strategic contribution of the visual arts sector to place making and quality of life in Yorkshire & Humber is recognised and valued.

A significant part of this work and vision has been developing partnerships with Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE) institutions. As a test-bed for this YVAN is collaborating with Sheffield Hallam University to develop a pilot programme providing continuing professional development support for individual artists and small-scale, artist-led collectives and organisations, addressing (but not limited to) recent graduates and early career practitioners. Adrian will talk about this partnership and the recent Artist’s Journey conference that it delivered, and how partnerships between the visual art sector and HE / FE are now a focus for strategic development in the North and nationally.

Paul Digby

Paul Digby is a Leeds based artist. He has exhibited in the Saatchi Gallery, the Wellcome Museum, Leeds Art Gallery and Manchester Contemporary. He engages with non arts sector institutions in large scale collaborative projects where he deconstructs drawing, painting and sculptural processes and disseminates concepts, methods and material usage through his practice and interactive workshops.

Paul will discuss how he has worked with the Emergency Services for over two years drawing and sculpting people in Classical Poses. In his talk Paul will address how the project connected with schools, as well as how each school responded to the Emergency Services.

For his practice, Paul worked with photographer Jonathan Turner and photographed people in his studio, domestic settings and work places (e.g. Fire Stations etc.). He showed people Classical sculpture images downloaded from Google and captured each persons response, as well as relating each pose to their everyday professional experiences; similar to training manual drawings. 

Referencing George Seurat's style of drawing Paul used graphite monochromatic contrasting tones and shades, with crosshatch and circular movements. These techniques were relayed in school workshops and in drawings that were made in response to exhibiting Simon Fujiwara's Rebecca sculpture. On completion of the drawings Paul revisited people in the Emergency Services and photographed them in the round. These images were used to create clay sculptures that were cast in resin and plaster.

Paul will discuss how as a contemporary artist he enters negotiations with the non arts sector and how archetypal narratives are disseminated through socio cultural and psychological contexts. Paul will also display a handful of small sculptures that he plans to exhibit alongside his own work made by children from the COOP Academy and that will add to over four hundred made at the adjacent Shakespeare Primary School.

Partnership and funding organisations for this project include York College, EAST Gallery, Leeds Sculpture Collection, Leeds Art Gallery, Arts Council England, Leeds Beckett University. 

Helen Clarke

Helen Clarke is a Doctoral researcher at Leeds Beckett University, jointly supervised by Dr. Casey Orr and Dr. Sharon Kivland (Sheffield Hallam University). Her research crosses cultural studies and photographic practice, investigating the politics of the female body in the public space of the street.​​

Helen will be talking about her practice-based research in the School of Art, Architecture and Design at Leeds Beckett University. Helen’s practice is in photography and text, she works in bookform, using artist’s books, and independent publishing as one way to share her practice.

Helen’s PhD is part of the AHRC Heritage Consortium, which is a training scheme that prepares doctoral students for careers in academia and the heritage sector (museums, galleries, archives and other sites of heritage). As a result, she is currently making work in response to material in the Feminist Archive North, looking at and responding to the collection, which documents the Reclaim The Night marches and activism in Leeds and London (1977-present).

As a practice-based researcher, Helen works collaboratively with other Art and Design practitioners across Sheffield Hallam and Leeds Beckett Universities, and through creative networks like Curatorspace.  She presents regularly on her research at national and international conferences, book fairs, and in community spaces such as Leeds Art Library, Left Bank and Hyde Park cinemas, and National Media Museum Bradford.

Helen’s research title is Streetwalker: the flâneuse and the electronic flâneur. The research investigates the politics of the female body in the public space of the street. Helen has been using a wearable camera to document a retracing of the streets described in Walter Benjamin’s Berlin Childhood around 1900. ​


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