ERG SES H 12, Arts and Languages in Education
Tate’s Young People’s Programmes have been engaged in European partnerships with major museums for several years – exploring creative collaboration, citizenship and peer-leadership models, while sharing practice in an international context. Recently, Tate has focused attention on national inter-gallery and cross-sector partnership work, and in 2013 a four-year national programme ‘Circuit’ was launched, connecting 15-25 year olds to the arts in galleries and museums, working in partnership with the youth and cultural sector. Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, it aims to provide opportunities for young people to steer their own learning and create cultural activity across art disciplines. Circuit involves Tate Modern and Tate Britain; Tate Liverpool; Tate St Ives and partners from the Plus Tate network: firstsite, Colchester; MOSTYN, Llandudno; Nottingham Contemporary; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; and Wysing Arts Centre and Kettle’s Yard, Cambridgeshire. My research seeks to understand the cultural, spatial and pedagogic dimensions of collaborative work across the youth and arts sectors, using this programme as the context for a multi-sited ethnographic study.
Circuit aims to ‘make a positive difference with and for young people; to improve access and opportunities for harder to reach young people through extending and developing sustainable networks between the arts and youth sector; to develop and change practice within and across cultural organisations and to change attitudes and behaviours towards and about young people’. (Tate Learning, 2013). This research investigates the complex process of knowledge exchange and strategic negotiation across these spheres and analyses how perceptions and organisational practices change as a result.
This paper reports findings from the programme’s first year of activity. I present the argument that partnerships between visual arts institutions and youth organisations (particularly those working with young people identified as ‘hard to reach’) are inherently political. Culture and politics with a big ‘C’ and a big ‘P’ are central to the social ambitions of the programme, which has its conceptual origins in the London riots of 2011, and which seeks to enter national debates about youth policy and provision. However here I largely refer to the politics of interaction, economies of knowledge and embedded cultural values that characterise partnership work.
Specifically, I attempt to demonstrate how partnership work with young people and galleries is based on spatial terms, and challenge claims that the gallery represents a ‘neutral’, ‘safe’ site. Informed by Henri Lefebvre’s theorization of the politics of space and recent work by Lars Bang Larsen revisiting the notion of the ‘right to the city’, I ask how we might usefully consider the concept of the right to the gallery, and the right to culture – in turn raising questions about hospitality, access, belonging, governance, power, expertise and social identity. Another commonly used term that I suggest deserves further scrutiny is that of a ‘Third Space’ as a territory for partnership.
I also expand upon the particular social politics of youth sector organisations and young people – their creative practices, communities and distinctive pedagogical models and discourses. Critical languages, measurements and key concepts such as redemption, transformation and resilience to risk are here deconstructed.
The paper also draws upon partnership theory and literature on organisational cultures, as well as recent studies on networks and cultures of reciprocity in the 21st century, which propose that we exist in an era of unprecedented opportunity for, and openness to, partnership (Brown, 2012).
Finally, I ask how galleries address fundamental questions about where creativity resides, and whose culture is valued, and explore how engaging with cross-art form practice as a programme methodology confronts the politics of collaboration and acts as a catalyst for dynamic partnership work.
Alvesson, Mats. (2002), Understanding Organizational Culture, London: Sage. Bak Morstensen, M, and Nesbitt, J. (eds), (2012), On Collaboration, London: Tate. Bang Larsen, L. (2013), ‘The Society Without Qualities’ in e-flux journal #47, New York: e-flux. Beck, U. (1992), Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity: London: Sage. Carnwell, R, and Buchanan, J. (2009), Effective Practice in Health, Social Care and Criminal Justice: A Partnership Approach, Berkshire: Open University Press. Daly, E. (ed.), (2012), Arts and Healthcare, Issue 30, engage Journal London: engage. De Bruyne, P & Gielen, G (eds.), (2011), Community Art: The Politics of Trespassing, Amsterdam: Valiz. Dewdney, A, Dibosa, D, and Walsh, V. (2013), Post-Critical Museology: theory and practice in the art museum. Oxon: Routledge. Glass, M, and Rose-Redwood, R. (2014). Performativity, Politics, and the Production of Social Space. London: Routledge. Hickey-Moody, A. (2013), Youth, Arts and Education: Reassembling Subjectivity through Affect, UK: Routledge. Jeffs, T, and Smith, M. (2010), Youth work practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Kester, G. (2013), Conversation Pieces: community and communication in modern art. 2nd ed., London: University of California Press. Lefebvre, H, translated by Bononno, R. (2003), The Urban Revolution, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Lefebvre, H, translated by Nicholson-Smith, D. (1991), The Production of Space, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. Lloyd, E. (ed.), (2010), Youth Art Interchange, London: Tate. Lynch, B. (2011), Whose Cake is it Anyway? London: Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Miller, M, et al, (2013), Seeing Through: The Practice, Process, Delivery and Value of Working With Young People in Care, London: Tate. Raney, K. (ed.), (2002), Inclusion under Pressure, Issue 11, engage Journal, London: engage. Raney, K. (ed.), (2008), Young People and Agency, Issue 22, engage Journal, London: engage. Rosso, N. (2010), Youth-led Practice in Galleries, Museums and Archives, London: engage. Steedman, M. (ed.), (2012) Gallery as Community: Art, Education, Politics, London: Whitechapel Gallery. Tallant, S, and Domela, P. (eds), (2012), The Unexpected Guest: Art, writing and thinking on hospitality, London: Art Books Publishing. Thomson, P, Hall, C, and Russell, L. (2006), ‘An arts project failed, censored or…? A critical incident approach to artist-school partnerships’, in Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education, Volume 13, Issue 1, UK: Routledge. Turnbull, G, and Spence, J. (2011), ‘What’s at risk? The Proliferation of risk across child and youth policy in England, in Journal of Youth Studies, London: Routledge. Wood, J, and Hine, J. (eds.), (2009), Work with Young People, London: Sage.
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