Visual Arts Development: Approaches, Strategies and Case Studies centred on the Northern Region of England 1974-2010.
Davies, Peter (2012) Visual Arts Development: Approaches, Strategies and Case Studies centred on the Northern Region of England 1974-2010. Professional Doctorate thesis, University of Sunderland.
The nature and form of public funding for the visual arts is investigated, specifically as it relates to the artist and exhibition. From a regional perspective in the field the study evaluates development seeking to find the most effective ways to support the artist, facilitate new work and enable public engagements. The study is as much about my contribution to the visual arts in the north - as it is a distinctive narrative history. Focus is given to projects, applied ideas and issues to which I contributed.
My earlier experiences of lecturing in Chicago and being an artist in Wales influenced my thinking and work at Northern Arts (1974-1992). An innovative artists’ support model was created, with a network of schemes, programmes and organisations. Artists’ rights, the crafts and market place initiatives were developed. Gallery, production facilities and services were improved. Direct exhibition provision was ended; independent trusts were supported. Exhibition outside the gallery was explored through residencies, sited commissions and different forms of public art, which underpinned the region’s award of ‘UK Year of Visual Arts’ 1996.
‘Win–Win–Win’ situations and creative learning environments were sought where the artist, the host and the public benefit. Changing contexts and workbased roles, as an art consultant (1993-2003) and academic (2000-2010) enabled new ideas, opportunities and insights. Alongside the core funded national and local art galleries and organisations, or the private/commercially driven galleries and concerns the ‘third way’ of visual arts development through a higher education platform is assessed. At the University of Sunderland this enterprise was addressed through research, glass education, knowledge transfer and the National Glass Centre. Working approaches and strategies used to develop support are offered as transferable development practices. Evolution and my contribution are evidenced over four decades to extending art practice, widening exhibition and artists’ support.
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