Plymouth College of Art partners with Tate Exchange and Counterpoint Arts to present new social practice platform Beyond the Now
Creative, cultural and political affinities
Plymouth College of Art is a key partner in a new social practice platform, Beyond the Now, in collaboration with Tate Exchange and Counterpoint Arts. Beyond the Now aims to open up new creative, cultural and political affinities for a post-pandemic world, by building a dialogue between everyday sensibilities, perspectives and ways of working. Other partners include the Open University, Create, Ettijahat, Coculture and Mozfest.
The project involves inviting voices from diverse sectors and communities to explore, share ideas and creatively reflect on questions such as ‘How is social justice to be realised beyond the now?’. Beyond the Now is an opportunity for partners to pool resources, networks, different disciplines and skills, and within this partnership, create a space for collaboration, imagination and curation with others, mixing creative and critical voices from across diverse global communities, which will sit side by side on the Beyond the Now online platform.
The project is made up of a series of seasons, the first of which is called ‘Interdependence’ and features nine submissions from artists, art professionals and community activists, reflecting on the current Covid-19 situation.
Three submissions will be shared each month from October until December 2020, which will then conclude the season. The October release features writer, filmmaker and activist Ashish Ghadiali’s text ‘Age of Uncertainty’; artist, activist and educator Gregory Sholette’s short film examining responses to the pandemic by a range of international artists; and artist Jeanne van Heeswijk’s text ‘How we have been preparing for the not yet’. With the texts, films and artworks that form this season, along with those that follow in subsequent seasons, this will provide opportunities to engage with the question that animates Beyond the Now: ‘where and what is the social in a post pandemic world?’
The website was also designed and developed by Plymouth College of Art BA (Hons) Graphic Design student Rian Harford, who got involved in the project after seeing an opportunity to work on WordPress development.
Rian said: “My course leader and tutors always email us about design and web opportunities, so when I saw the chance to work on a WordPress project, I put myself forward as it’s an area I wanted to gain more experience in. I was involved in weekly meetings along with representatives from the different groups involved, which gave me a good understanding of the aims for the site. I got a feel and understanding for what the project was, working out the end goal and how best to present it.”
The website was quite challenging, I had to research and learn lots of different ways of implementing the features and plugins to create the experience we wanted, but the whole project has been extremely rewarding. I’m really happy with the outcome and it’s vastly increased my knowledge of web building, helping me set myself up for the future.”
Head of School of Critical + Cultural Studies at Plymouth College of Art, Stephen Felmingham said: “Beyond the Now is represented by the absolute necessity of working together now, across the world and with many people. The arts have much to say about the pandemic and the rupture this has caused, and although art as social practice is under pressure because of it, this work is not limited to the cultural sector.”
Necessity for cooperation
“In the many different situations it has touched, the global pandemic shows up the structural inequalities in society and the necessity for human cooperation and mutual aid.
“Social art practice has arguably always focused on crisis conditions and issues of social concern: as a college, social justice is at the forefront of our work and this project connects us with our partners globally, giving us an opportunity to reflect together, not only on what is happening now as a response, but also giving us a view of the long term legacy of the cultural shifts we see happening around us.”
Compelling opinions and unique viewpoints
“This is not about agreeing on difference, but rather a stepping forward into true collaboration. Our aim is for a site that gives a platform for a dynamic and compelling set of opinions and unique viewpoints from multiple perspectives and subaltern voices, with the process of outcomes from the platform provoking new allegiances and research directions for the participants.
“The question of how to effectively reach people with diverse views is answered by this initiative and echoes much of the work I am doing currently with diverse communities in the city of Plymouth and in building the profile of the new School of Critical + Cultural Studies at Plymouth College of Art.”
Plymouth College of Art is one of the founding associates of Tate Exchange which was established in 2016. Since its inception, Tate Exchange and Plymouth College of Art has collaborated on numerous projects, most recently the residency Hip Hop Pedagogy and Power: Re-Imagining the Archive, where resident artists Shay D, AWATE and Big Zuu were invited to explore the Tate Archive, inserting new perspectives and retrieving silenced voices and cultural viewpoints.
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