KARST is the largest independent contemporary art venue in Plymouth: it is both a public gallery space and an artist studio complex. Founded in 2012, it has made extraordinary tracks in a mere-six years – from humble beginnings, it is currently a National Portfolio Organisation for the period 2018-2022 and a recently registered as a charity. In travelling to its home – a one-storey, ex-warehouse in the Millbay area of the city – I was able to comprehend the true scale of its achievements and contributions to the expansion of Plymouth's creative community. Following a busy few days of Plymouth Art Weekender (28-30 September, a three-day visual arts festival in Plymouth), KARST's Business Director, Donna Howard, is energetic as ever – it's clear that her passion and enthusiasm for people and 'getting things done,' is one of the organisation's major drivers.
Full report: http://bit.ly/2RQp3Wu
“Burrow into much of the current artist-led activity in Cardiff and you can find a link to g39 somehow,” writes Emma Geliot in 2012 as part of g39's 13th anniversary publication, It Was Never Going to be Straightforward. The book charts g39's evolution from the germ of an idea in 1997 and subsequent founding at 39 Wyndham Arcade in 1998, to its move to a large, cavernous warehouse on Oxford Street in 2012. Like many artist-led spaces, g39 has had to adapt to undulating economic, cultural and social climates. It, like others, has survived through the surplus and voluntary hours given by its dedicated members and supporters. The fact that g39 is at the core of much of Cardiff's artist-led activities, two decades after its founding, is a testament to the adaptability, creativity and resilience of its community[...]
Full report: http://bit.ly/2R8fodw
The post-industrial limbo: it's a scenario in which city councils, landowners and town planners jostle and dance with land profit-margins, while members of the public romanticise, fear or simply dismiss brownfields as 'undesirables.' I, myself growing up in Stoke-on-Trent, garnered a generic apathy towards the ex-industrial sites – many of which continued to surface long into the 1990s and 2000s. As an adult, now in my late 20s, I have been privy to artistic responses which reframe these marginalised spaces as places of social and ecological value. This summer's Brownfield Block Party – a melange of Improv, Northern Soul, Turncoats chatter, Bingo, Co-Building and a whole lot of Wigan Salad – is a prime example that changes afoot.
Hosted by The Oasis Social Club (TOSC) – an ongoing pop-up platform for debate and some light-hearted humour – the two-day Brownfield Block Party took place on the now derelict site of the former Spode Works Glazing Laboratory in order to facilitate conversations on the uses of post-industrial space. Devised by artist Rebecca Davies as the final stage of her Monthly Matics, the event sought to alter our perspective of a brownfield site – simply by alerting audiences to the fact that the land was, temporarily, for public use; fencing was drawn back and LED guide lights illuminated the way to TOSC's “part entertainment venue, part discussion space.”