Newcastle & Gateshead Artists' Forum: 'Placemaking'

Newcastle & Gateshead Artists' Forum: 'Placemaking'

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Newcastle Contemporary Art

39 High Bridge

Newcastle upon Tyne


United Kingdom

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A chance for artists, curators and anyone else who works in or thinks around the visual arts to meet up.

About this event

The new Artists’ Forum offers the chance to meet new people, share ideas, and discuss projects and plans. Meetings are free and open to all — please come along whether you’re an artist, work in the visual arts, or are an interested bystander.

Each meeting is hosted by a different visual arts organisation in the city, who will give an introduction to their work at each event, and there will be a loose theme to discuss.

For September, Newcastle Contemporary Art is hosting the forum. Curator Helen Smith will introduce the organisation's work, followed by an open discussion around the theme 'Placemaking: what do cities expect of artists / what can artists expect of cities? '

The concept of 'placemaking' - the practice of working, usually in urban environments, to actively shape a sense of place - has, after gaining momentum from the 1960s onwards, become popular in recent years as a key policy of arts funders and local government, not so much based around new buildings or physical public realm improvements as 'soft' cultural interventions.

These interventions often focus on the social or economic problems faced by cities and their populations, and seek to employ art as a means to help create a better environment for all. But the problems artists are employed to solve are often due to deeply entrenched social issues that are outside of their control.

It is no secret that art can and does work as a force for social change, and often, public programmes and interventions in the public realm can and have had significant, far-reaching and long-lasting effects. But how consistent is this? Who decides what is and isn't 'useful' and, beyond that, what and who should or shouldn't come together to shape cities?

Join us to discuss what working with art and artists to help make or re-make places in this way can achieve — and what it can't. What does it enable that bricks-and-mortar investment cannot? What could be an ideal model for the way in which artists and arts organisations might work together, and work with city administrations? And beyond this, if we want to go further, is any application of art and artists in this way always good - or can it be counterproductive to instrumentalise art — is it even a function of art to be 'useful'?

Come to join in or just listen if you'd rather - and there'll be plenty of time for wider discussion and introductions too.

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