Our Annual Events are designed for and to inspire a broad and diverse audience of those working in the visual arts sector as well as non-arts professionals. Featuring keynote contributions from network members and invited guests, discursive sessions and informal networking, the events allow us to explore with delegates, ideas relevant to the sector, capitalise on the knowledge, skills and assets of the network and expand its terms of reference and aspirations.
Since 2015 we have held four events. Things Happen (Attenborough Arts, Leicester – 2016) featured Emily Pethick (Director, The Showroom) who addressed collaborative working – and acted as a platform for us to launch our programme. Make.Practice.Perfect. (The Collection, Lincoln – 2017) considered how artists make art and maintain their practice, what are the obstacles and where they can turn for help. It featured provocations from academics, curators and our six Document artists and case studied alternative methods and engaged attendees in a process of action planning for the region. Another World Is Possible (NN Contemporary Art and the University of Northampton – 2018) featured Ryan Hughes (Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art) and explored what conditions are needed and what are the right risks to run to make things happen, what future art practice might look like and what are useful new ways of working.
If Not Now Then When (Phoenix Arts Centre and Two Queens, Leicester – 2019) was a two part event, the first part being the launch of our research into the East Midlands visual arts sector and its economy, in partnership with CAMEo – the University of Leicester’s Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies. What followed was an informal gathering at Two Queens, where attendees got a sneak preview of and an introduction to his new solo exhibition – Pillgarlic’s Gone A-Sauling – by Berlin-based artist Jake Kent and were able to find out more about Leicester | shire’s response to the research.
With these events we have been able to reach audiences local to each venue as well as a wider audience for broadcast material, create opportunities for artists to promote their work and give a platform to new ideas and practices.