NO LIMITS is a visual arts strategy for the West Midlands. It has been initiated by New Art West Midlands in response to the needs of the sector, and developed as an effective working plan. It has been informed by the region’s network of artists, curators and arts professionals, educators, audiences and stakeholders from business and local government.

In the development of this strategy, we used an artist-led consulting process to explore the breadth of visual arts practice. This process was designed to engage the people in the room rapidly and connect them and their voices into the strategy. Deliberately pushing out from the urban centres, we toured the region to ensure its diversity would be reflected. We sought out the far and distant places that make the visual arts in the West Midlands distinct, and looked at our relevance beyond the limits of our art form and our sector.

Our six ‘expeditions’ covered much ground, ranging from the role of the artist in developing our changing cityscapes, to art as a means of social engagement in rural communities and healthcare settings. We reflected on our cultural gems – our galleries, our museums, tourism and heritage – and the new frontiers of the digital and public realms.

The resulting strategy has been led and drafted by artist and consultant Simon Poulter, with an overarching aim to safeguard the future of West Midlands’ artists and our sector as a whole. Operating within the wider context, including Arts Council England’s forthcoming 10 year strategy, we hope the actions that emerge across the four themes will create positive impact for the West Midlands in two principle ways:

1 – to develop and attract artists and curators from a range of disciplines to the region, retaining them and recognising their value.

2 – to respond to the needs of regional priorities and contribute to the development of the West Midlands in respect of creativity and innovation.

Diversity underpins the strategy, relating to our creative people, pioneering practices and distinctive places. Together, we want to support artists at every stage of their career, as part of a shared commitment to creating an ecology that values and celebrates the visual arts as an essential part of people’s lives in the West Midlands.

Download NO LIMITS here or read it on Issuu here.

NO LIMITS is a visual arts strategy for the West Midlands. It has been initiated by New Art West Midlands in response to the needs of the sector, and developed as an effective working plan. It has been informed by the region’s network of artists, curators and arts professionals, educators, audiences and stakeholders from business and local government.

Image: Shiyi Li, ‘Minister of Loneliness’, 2018

New Art West Midlands invites you to the launch of No Limits, the visual arts strategy for the West Midlands, devised following consultation events across the region.

The launch will be followed by a very special performance by artist Shiyi Li of her percussion and live collage work ‘Minister of Loneliness’.

No Limits
Friday 15 November 2019
6 — 8pm

The Studio
The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
Coventry
FREE
Register for the event here.

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Additional support from Coventry Biennial, Birmingham City University, Coventry University, Hereford College of Arts, Staffordshire University, University of Wolverhampton, University of Worcester, International Curators Forum, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum and The New Art Gallery Walsall.

 

(Image: Shiyi Li, Minister of Loneliness, a collaborative performance involving chamber music, animation and live art performances made in conjunction with international percussionist Gloria Yehilevsky and originally performed by Aisling Reilly).

New Art West Midlands invites you to the launch of No Limits, the visual arts strategy for the West Midlands, devised following consultation events across the region.

The launch will be followed by a very special performance by artist Shiyi Li of her percussion and live collage work ‘Minister of Loneliness’.

Join us at our six ‘expedition’ events to explore the extremities of artistic practice in the region.

Led by New Art West Midlands, The Outer Limits programme for artists explores the extremities of artistic practice – seeking out the far and distant places that make visual art in the midlands distinct and encouraging peer interaction.

Our six ‘expeditions’ will cover topics ranging from new artist opportunities all the way through to the cult of biennials. They will ask what is needed to safeguard the future of artists in the region, drawing upon national and regional speakers, key venues around the West Midlands and most importantly open minds.

All of these events are an opportunity for you to engage with us at New Art West Midlands, to moonshot our future work and boldly go beyond the current limits. The conversations we have will inform the West Midlands visual arts strategy and become the blueprint for our future programmes and advocacy work.

Keynote speakers at each of the events will catalyse the debate before we hand over to the people in the room to respond. Benefits to you as an artist include direct engagement with and impact on New Art West Midlands’ future programme, meeting other artists and discussing your work, and finding out about current opportunities. Plus, we will be issuing a New Art West Midlands limited edition badge (yes, seriously).

Leading us through The Outer Limits is artist Simon Poulter who will facilitate each session with Director of New Art West Midlands, Craig Ashley. New Art West Midlands’ Advisory and Executive Group members will also be in attendance. If you have to something to say, we want to hear it.

 

Event #1 ‘Setting the scene’ at AirSpace Gallery (Stoke on Trent)
Tuesday 19 September, 2 – 4pm

How to be successful as an artist. Sign up to join this event which will focus on the raw materials and engine of being ‘successful’ in your practice. We will be looking at core concerns for artists at all career stages, including insights by practising artists. What does a good gig look like? How do we Play Nicely in the art world and get proper reward and contracting for what we do? What rates of pay are current and workable for artists in the market place in 2017? We will be joined by Ryan Hughes (Director, Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art) and Dan Thompson (artist, writer, speaker) to discuss these matters. The session will be an opportunity to gain valuable insights into how other artists work and input your own experiences.

Book here

 

Event #2 ‘F@ck this Sh/t’ at The Hive (Shrewsbury)
Wednesday 20 September, 11am – 1pm

How to take on the universe and make it listen. Sign up to connect with us and make some change happen within the grand new abnormal. We will be exploring the context of how artists respond to fundamental shifts in the political space, examples of disobedience and the fakery of the ‘disruptive’ economy. This session is about marginality, voices of otherness and a real opportunity to contextualise artistic practice as a response. We invite artists to debate and devise beyond the social media silos, with the intention of informing New Art West Midlands’ future programme. This session will include opening talks by prominent artists Noëmi Lakmaier and Ann Whitehurst, as well as the stuff you bring with you. Presented in partnership with DASH.

Book here


Event #3 ‘Out there’ at Vivid Projects (Birmingham)
Friday 6 October, 2 – 4pm

We explore the Outer Limits of digital space and the current thinking in digital culture. What mixed reality methods lie in wait for the artists of the new millennium? How can we bust through barriers to make new tools have some meaning? This session explores next generation ‘radical’ art, physical and digital realities – what is out there to be explored? Artists discuss tape machines, VR as painting, sci-art, bio-art, coding, experience design and user interaction. We will have two speakers on board for this mission – Gina Czarnecki and Laurie Ramsell.

Book here

 

Event #4 ‘Bring it on’ at Worcester Arts Workshop
Thursday 12 October, 11am – 1pm

You live in the West Midlands, you want to stay but what opportunities are there? In this session we invite artists and arts educators to explore the elephant in the room – retention of talent. This is a rapid build satellite session discussing recent development initiatives, new commissions, access to technical resources and partnerships across business, the funded sector and arts education. We will be hearing opening talks by self-organisers Emma Chetcutti and Lara Ratnaraja who will frame the discussion on how to sustain practice where you are. We also want to hear your ideas on the problems you face in working in the region.

Book here

 

Event #5 ‘Far Out-ness’ at The New Art Gallery Walsall
Friday 13 October, 11am – 1pm

‘Far out-ness’ is commonly associated with the post WW2 avant garde and jazz movements. Within this session we invite you to join us to discuss the position of art-making in the brave new world. This event is all about practice, presentation and making. Hosted at The New Art Gallery Walsall, we contextualise how West Midlands-based artists can shape and form their practice and process. What contexts are now available to artists? Gallery, web or public space? Our two speakers – Ruth Catlow and Gavin Wade – focus vanguard debates and we then connect in the talent in the room. This is suitable for early career, emerging and hybrid practitioners (artist curators for example). This event will be live streamed.

Book here

 

Event #6 ‘Cut and paste’ at the Coventry Evening Telegraph Building
Friday 20 October, 11am – 1pm

Biennial art has become synonymous with internationalism, neo-liberalism and globalisation. Would it be cool to rock up with a smart phone and shoot a new film in each major city you visit with some locals and then get on the next plane? What makes a new biennial – responsive, embedded and tailored to its locality? Or is this the wrong question? Located within the Coventry Biennial events and exhibitions programme, we invite artists from across the West Midlands (and beyond) to conduct a debate on art, instrumentalism and next-generation biennials. We will be assisted in this session by Roney Fraser Munroe and Mike Stubbs, who will give us reality checks on the cult of the biennial and more. Book early for this session.

Book here

 

 

 

 

Led by New Art West Midlands, The Outer Limits programme for artists explores the extremities of artistic practice – seeking out the far and distant places that make visual art in the midlands distinct and encouraging peer interaction through 6 events across the region.

Please COMPLETE THE SURVEY to help us shape a regional strategy for the visual arts.

Image: Sarah Taylor Silverwood

New Art West Midlands is working on an ambitious plan to strengthen and develop the contemporary visual arts sector in the region, and we want to hear from you.

As part of our role as the contemporary visual arts network for the West Midlands, we want to develop a Visual Arts Strategy that will impact positively on the region in two key ways:

1. It will act to develop and attract artists and curators from a range of disciplines to the region, retaining them as key workers for the West Midlands

2. It will meet the needs of the regional priorities and contribute to the development of the West Midlands in respect of creativity and innovation

We’ve developed an initial survey to help establish broadly what our priorities should be. This is the first of a number of channels we’ll use to consult with people, to inform and then refine the priorities for the Strategy.

We need to capture the views of artists, curators, arts organisations, educators as well as politicians, business and audiences – a wide range of perspectives that will ensure the Strategy is representative of the sector as a whole. Please help to shape this important piece of work by responding to the questions in our survey, and giving us your priorities for the visual arts over the coming years.

The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete and you can respond online via SurveyMonkey by following the link:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KZC2HCR

To complete the survey in an alternative format, or to give additional information, please email us at info@newartwestmidlands.co.uk or call us on 0121 300 4309. We appreciate your support and thanks in advance for your time and contribution.

The New Art Wet Midlands team
Craig Ashley, Director
Anneka French, Coordinator

COMPLETE THE SURVEY to help us shape a regional strategy for the visual arts