Negotiating Institutions - TATE Liverpool

Photo: Matija Pavlovec

December 11th
TATE Liverpool

The utopian dream of a society free from the constraints of institutions is over, as much as it is the imagination of a well-ordered community regulated by the benevolent plans of the welfare state. The current claims for democracy are claims for social responsibility, both individual and collective, which demand a radical redefinition of institutions in the management and defense of the common good. This task cannot be undertaken by means of self-referential institutional critique. Nor can it be undertaken by the autonomous operations of social movements working alone. It must involve a process of negotiation, both open and plural, for which a new space and new protocols have yet to be defined. The meeting Negotiating Institutions aims at debating the conditions of such a negotiation by joining together cultural institutions and groups from different parts of Europe which are already participating in L?Internationale collaborative programs in their specific contexts. Conceived within the terms of the project The Uses of Art, and bringing together representatives from L'Internationale, Liverpool John Moores University and Tate Liverpool, this first meeting intends to catalyze a discussion process which should operate both locally and internationally. With Janna Graham as facilitator and animator of the encounter, Negotiating Institutions hope to be the first of a series of such debates which will lead to the collaborative development and publication of an operational 'Blueprint for Change' amongst L'Internationale members and Associate Partners collaborating on The Uses of Art project.

Participant Groups:

Diásporas críticas PEI - MACBA
Diásporas críticas is an artistic research platform related to the PEI (Independent Studies Program) at MACBA. It works within and out of the borders of the museum aiming at building a solidarity network among activists, artists, cultural agents and neighbors of the Raval area in Barcelona. It is conceived as a resistance space against sexual and racial control policies. Its projects intend to understand and develop fundamental ideas of decolonial theory and practice, as well as its current critical diasporas. It also aims at defining the key elements of contemporary coloniality processes underlying in eurocentrism, sexualization, radicalization and exclusión.

Family collective and Tate Collective from Tate Liverpool:
The Family Collective and Tate Collective are two groups that work inside Tate Liverpool to give news approaches in the production and reception of art. The Family Collective, key experiment in the spirit of the 'Learning Machine' of museum, is formed by a group of parents that, autonomously, runs their own activities and learning program for families and children in Tate Liverpool's family room with the aim to open new ways to get in touch the children with art. On the other hand, Tate Collective is a group formed by young people who are given space and a budget to programme in Tate's gallery increasing the influence of young people and their work in the museum.

Meet me@MHKA
Meet me@MHKA
is a programme of the Museum M HKA, developed in collaboration with the University of Antwerp and inspired by the successful Meet Me at MoMA, which organizes
tours for people with early dementia and their caregivers. The aim of this programme is to create opportunities for people with early dementia to engage socially and express themselves as a group, and to improve, in this way, their quality of life, as well as counter feelings of depression and isolation. The purpose of their interactive tours is to strengthen the level of emotional communication in the relationship between the patient and the caregiver, look at art together to encourage self-awareness and self-expression in the patient.

Neteorit - Moderna galerija (MG+MSUM)
Neteorit is an independent programme of lectures, talks, and debates related to art, theory, and politics, which take place in the basement of the Moderna galerija / Museum of Modern Art (MG+). It is run by various collectives and individuals (artists, students, activists) who organize it according to their interests and needs. Most events are open to the public and admission to them is free. The programme is financially self-supportive, with the museum providing the space and some facilities free of charge. Some members of the Neteorit programme collaborate also in other segments of the MG+MSUM organisation, e.g., run the Depo bookstore and related activities at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM).

Somateca - Museo Reina Sofía
Somateca research group is a heterogenous network of artists, feminist and queer activists and researchers, who were originally engaged in the Critical Practices Studies Program of the Museum with the same title, under the direction of Beatriz Preciado. After the two issues of the studies program, former participants decided to continue their research autonomously, and proposed a relationship with the institution of a new kind. In the last year, different dynamics of collective decision making and negotiation with the institution have been rehearsed. Difficulties and misunderstandings have been frequent, both within the groups and in their dealings with the museum. The learning process is not only about the "what" but about the "how", since Somateca members and museum managers need to design together a common ground which gives space to autonomy and institutional responsibility.

Van Abbemuseum after Museum of Arte Útil:
The Van Abbemuseum
is a museum of contemporary art in Eindhoven that works, at present, in different approaches about how we can mediate between user-generated and museum-generated content. After the exhibition "Museum of Arte Util" (December 2013 to march 2014), in which all kinds of different groups from Eindhoven society were invited to take over the museum, use it, make their own programmes or produce their own products or content serves, the Van Abbemuseum intends to keep the discussion about the question how far an institution can go in terms of visitor participation beyond a concrete experience, how establish a radical change through art practice in a sustainable long-term manner and not simply for the duration of the event.

Conceptual coordinator and moderator:
Janna Graham is a writer, organizer, educator and curator. Working with the collectives Ultra-red and Micropolitics Research Group, she participates in ongoing militant research projects on the conditions of cultural workers in London and pedagogies of anti-racism in England's rural areas. She has developed education and curatorial initiatives at institutions including the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Project Art Centre (Dublin), Vanabbemuseum (Eindhoven) and Plymouth Arts Centre (UK). Janna is currently Projects Curator at Serpentine Gallery where she and colleagues have initiated The Centre for Possible Studies, an off-site popular research centre and and artist residency programme where artists, thinkers and local people develop 'possible studies' in relation to the Edgware Road neighbourhood of London. She is a Phd candidate in Curatorial Knowledge programme at Goldsmiths University, working on a project
titled: Thinking with Conditions, which investigates the cross sections between contemporary art, radical education and institutional analysis.

Elliot Perkins:
Sound artist and researcher member of Ultra-red collective. In 2002, Perkins received support from the Arts Council's International Artists Fellowships Programme for his collaboration with Shahidul Alam, founder of the media activist organisation DRIK. Combining Perkins's sound work with Alam's photography, EURODAC EXPRESS investigated the experience of migrants making their way from Bangladesh to England. Perkins first collaborated with Ultra-red in 2005 on BLOK 70 and is presently a member of the Ultra-red project RURAL INTAVENSHAN based in Torbay where Perkins is a field organiser for the Rural Racism Project.

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