The Start of Something: Why come together, can art save us?

Why come together, can art save us? was held at Unique Cottage Studios in Spalding on Thursday 8th February 2018. The early evening informal event, conceived and led by artists Kate Genever and Kate Smith (Smith-Genever), sought to bring together artists, producers, curators for discussion, networking and critical reflection to consider the importance of ‘beyond the gallery’ practices in our region. Joined by guest speaker Dr Rebecca Senior [Arts Research and Development Coordinator, leading knowledge transfer partnership ‘Models of Validation‘ between Axisweb and Manchester Metropolitan University] the group considered the important role of social practices in bringing diverse audiences to art and how recognised alternative models of validation for the artist who work this way are being proposed.

The twelve attendees discussed what they felt to be important for consideration in Rebecca’s research on the validation of non-gallery arts practice. They took turns to capture the points that came out of their discussion.

This initial gathering was a self-contained session, actively supporting Dr Rebecca Senior’s research, Smith-Genever’s intention being that it would catalyse future connections. Networks work when there is a shared purpose, are relevant and support a need. Social practices within this geographic area are leading the way in engaging with new audiences and as such we are keen to celebrate this work and enable active critical thinking spaces.

A further gathering was convened in May 2018, this time in Peterborough, with the following topics proposed for discussion: Public publishing, Opening idle spaces and empty buildings, Lifelong arts learning, Soft activism, Co-operative working.


Image features text by John Newling.


Why come together, can art save us? was proposed to CVAN EM’s The Start of Something project, which, through conversation, sought to bring people in the East Midlands together to explore a common goal, share experience and work collaboratively, ultimately to make things happen. CVAN EM supported proposals from groups based in the region, that it considered would benefit the widest community and make the greatest difference within the region.

Find out more about The Start of Something and the conversations that we supported.

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