I’m having a go at compiling a short ‘history’ of Plymouth’s contemporary arts ecology, and significant milestones that have contributed to the development of visual arts and experimental arts activity in the city. This list is by no means comprehensive, and please feel free to comment with information / links about thing I have missed, left out, or haven’t included yet!!
A short history of Plymouth’s contemporary arts ecology
Image credit: LOW PROFILE – Would You Like This Badge? (2011) – photo by Josh Greet
Work In Progress…
- Four Cities Project – a series of temporary offsite works in the cities of Derry, Glasgow, Newcastle and Plymouth. Organised by TSWA, a public arts organisation supported by TSW – Television South West. Co-organisers: Tony Foster, Jonathan Harvey, James Lingwood. In Plymouth, the project was hosted by Plymouth Arts Centre, including artists Geneviàve Cadieux, Helen Chadwick, Richard Deacon, Ron Haselden, Magdalena Jetelova, Vong Phaophanit, Donald Rodney, Darrell Viner. Organiser: Rosy Greenlees, TSWA Educator Co-ordinator: Moira Innes.
- i-DAT is established. i-DAT is located within the Faculty of Arts at Plymouth University and has been delivering world-class cultural activities since 1998 – http://i-dat.org
- Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival is established – A showcase of extraordinary new technologies and approaches to composition and performance that are pushing the boundaries of music and participation in the art of creating music. – https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/your-university/peninsula-arts/pacmf
- establishment of a Curator role at Plymouth Art Centre – http://www.plymouthartscentre.org
- The Heart of Efford Community Partnership runs a pilot project (later becomes Take A Part)
- Café Concrete, an experimental sound and film collective, is established – https://www.facebook.com/cafeconcreteuk
- public gallery programme at Plymouth College of Art is established? – http://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/gallery/about-the-gallery [Needs fact-checking]
- PL:ay festival – http://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/latest/calendar/play-a-festival-of-adventure-anticipation-and-encounters
- relocation of Plymouth University‘s arts courses to Plymouth
- Peninsula Arts is established? – https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/your-university/peninsula-arts [Needs fact-checking]
- Sonic Arts Network EXPO PLYMOUTH – http://i-dat.org/sonic-arts-network-i-dat-present-expo-plymouth/
- Social Hacking – Social Hacking was a series of temporary public art commissions for Plymouth by international artists’ groups against a backdrop of urban regeneration. Venues: Plymouth Guildhall, Drake Circus Shopping Centre, The HUB, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery, ride café/bar, and University, United Kingdom – http://i-dat.org/2007-social-hacking
- Take A Part is established – http://www.effordtakeapart.org.uk
- The Underdogs: Art/ists in unusual places – a two-day symposium focused on exploring DIY (do it yourself) arts practice/culture in rural, regional, remote and ‘emerging’ cities and included an integrated exhibition – http://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/latest/calendar/the-underdogs-art-ists-in-unusual-places
- Plymouth Visual Arts Consortium is formally constituted. Also known as PVAC. – http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/visualartsconsortium
- Control Point – exhibition & programmed events by artists Steven Paige & Sovay Berriman at Plymouth Art Centre investigating artist-led practice in Plymouth and the UK – http://www.plymouthartscentre.org/art/archive1/2009/control-point-a-temporary-facility.html
- Animal Gaze – 1st multi-site exhibition across Plymouth by PVAC – http://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/latest/calendar/the-animal-gaze
- Fotonow relocates from Falmouth to Plymouth – Fotonow CIC is a Plymouth based social enterprise exploring visual culture as a means to stimulate social change through media practice and education projects. https://www.flickr.com/photos/fotonow_projects/albums & http://www.fotonow.org
- Project Space 11 – Project Space 11 opened on the 23rd June 2010, was an artist-led initiative situated in the heart of Plymouth City Market. The setting of a traditional indoor market – a microcosm of Plymouth culture and unique in its architecture creates an unusual and challenging arena for visual art. Supported by Plymouth City Council, Plymouth City Centre CompanyPlymouth College of Art and Arts Council England – http://www.artcornwall.org/features/Gabby_Hoad_Project_Space_11.htm & https://www.a-n.co.uk/blogs/project-space-11
- Stonehouse Action is established –
- The Pigs of Today are the Hams of Tomorrow – Curatorial collaboration with artist Marina Abramovic delivering a performance festival, symposium, exhibition and catalogue.
- Sinopticon – 3rd multi-site exhibition by PVAC. Sinopticon is part of the National Trust’s ‘Trust New Art’ programme, in partnership with Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and Plymouth College of Art Gallery – http://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/latest/calendar/sinopticon
- British Art Show 7
- BAS Fringe – artist-led, city-wide programme of events that run alongside British Art Show 7, including Come To Ours, Vessel (later to become KARST). Operates as a non-hierarchical platform to promote arts activity in the city, with online listings and profiles of artists and collectives.
- KARST is established – http://karst.org.uk
- PAC Home is established – http://www.plymouthartscentre.org/pachome
- The River Tamar Project is established – The River Tamar Project is a contemporary arts commissioning agency, producing artists’ projects specifically in relation to the river Tamar, which forms the border between Devon and Cornwall in the South West of England – http://tamarproject.org.uk
- i-DAT becomes a National Portfolio Organisation
- Plymouth Artists’ Book Fair – https://www.facebook.com/events/652855331401766
- PABDMouth – Nom de Strip and Publish and be Damned bring a taste of Publish and be Damned’s artist-led publishing fair to the South West for a one day event including book-stalls, live events and artists’ films. https://www.facebook.com/events/652855331401766
- Visual Arts Plymouth is established – Visual Arts Plymouth (VAP) is a group which represents independent artists, curators and key cultural organisations in the city. By working together the group bring knowledge, experience and ideas together with aim to raise the profile and promote the diverse range of arts activity happening in Plymouth. – https://www.facebook.com/Visual-Arts-Plymouth-VAP-1478913162356036
- Radiant is established – Converted in Summer 2014 from an abandoned bank, Radiant is a gallery, studio space, office housing creatives, bistro, and teaching space, set up by Effervescent. The first (only) contemporary art gallery in Europe which is solely curated by children and young people. http://www.radiantspace.org.uk
- Counter is established – Counter is an artist book event, that draws together artists, collectives and book works to make friends, sell books, buy books, share work, share knowledge, learn something new, start conversations, ask questions, try to find answers and exchange ideas. http://counterplymouth.com
- Walk On: From Richard Long to Janet Cardiff – 40 Years of Art Walking – 4th multi-site exhibition by PVAC. http://www.plymouthart.ac.uk/latest/calendar/walk-on-from-richard-long-to-janet-cardiff-40-years-of-art-walking
- Plymouth Culture is established – http://plymouthculture.co.uk/about-us/
- Plymouth Art Weekender is established – http://plymouthartweekender.com/about-us/
- Ocean Studios opens – Ocean Studios is a Community Interest Company whose aim is to provide affordable studios for over 100 artists within the Royal William Yard, Plymouth. http://oceanstudios.org.uk
- Plymouth Art Weekender #2
- Plymouth Public Art Plan & the Plymouth Principles are published – http://plymouthculture.co.uk/public-art-plan/
What am I missing??? Please comment below with any information you have (including descriptions / links to information, images etc. of the events above and HELP ME build this ‘history’ so that it is easy to find for other people!
Rachel Dobbs is one half of LOW PROFILE, an artist and educator based in Plymouth, UK. Rachel works on community projects, has a long-term interest in creative approaches to community development and runs workshops, teaching & training sessions for a range of formal & informal groups including students, arts practitioners and communities – contact me for more details.