Anna Hart: The Art of Dwelling

April 21, 2015, MADE, Birmingham

In recent years the landscape of public art commissioning in the UK has undergone profound change. Linked to the regeneration of post-industrial places during the last decade, funding for public art has diminished as the effects of the recession and austerity politics have taken hold. Meanwhile, in response to what many perceive as the widespread instrumentalisation of art within urban policy, artists and curators have begun to develop new methods of producing and articulating the value of public art, which are predicated on collaboration, critical reflection, intervention and the development of long-term relationships with a place.

Building on the themes and questions raised by Subplots to a City The Art of Dwelling examined the role of public art within the post-regeneration age. Bringing together artists, curators and commissioners from across the UK, this one-day conference focused on the significance of working in a place for a sustained period of time. Taking the notion of ‘dwelling’ as a starting point for discussions, it examined the motivations and methods of long-term, situated approaches to public art, and the challenges, responsibilities and opportunities these entail.

Anna Hart

Anna Hart is founder and organiser of AIR, a commissioning and research studio at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. She was previously Head of Special Projects at the Hackney Building Exploratory. Her practice as an artist, designer, producer and teacher concentrates on temporary and participatory interventions within the everyday. She is particularly concerned with the small scale, the local and the unannounced. Anna studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture, Architectural Association, has taught architecture at University of Westminster, Oxford Brookes University and the Bartlett, and currently teaches on MA Architecture, BA Fine Art and MA CCC at Central Saint Martins.

By making a commitment to being present locally for a prolonged period, AIR establishes an on-going dialogue with the neighbours. The everyday is a shared frame of reference in the maelstrom of the global context – the physical, social, economic, political, and historical of place providing the raw material for dialogues, experiments and interventions. Artists make work on pavements, and in shops, offices, cafes, pubs, places of worship, homes, parks, and so on, with the generous support, openness and participation of local people. Conversation is the starting point and process for practice, with resulting artworks becoming provocation for further conversation. Year on year, a body of conversations, artworks and interconnections accumulates, the temporary communities forged around them providing the foundations for longer, and different, ones.

Click here to visit AIR’s website