The Role of the Artist’s Studio and the Exploration of Failure in Artistic Practices.

Tues -Fri  20-23 September 2016
Fine Art, Wolverhampton School of Art, UK.

The symposium sets out to explore critically the current artistic framework where manual skills and studio based practices are increasingly denigrated in favour of conceptual or socially engaged art practices. This is partly mirrored in the educational structures (and spaces) found in the new HEI environment where Fine Art departments are increasingly relocated into non-purpose-built, inadequate office type spaces without workshop support. It is also reflected in the way the artist studio has often been, in a simplifying fashion, linked to a specific art movement and specific type of art work, where the studio ultimately has become a target of the institutional critique or a ‘pathology of the modern.’These institutional and economical structures effectively mitigate against the of ‘dirty’ studio based practices and disciplines such as painting or sculpture. The Studio rather than being the cherished site of individualism and individual expression is potentially a liminal space where the demands of the individual and formal face the social and political scrutiny of the community and public realm.The symposium aims to bring together divers views from artistic practitioners, theorists, curators, educators, policy makers to ask to what extent Fine Art departments, and the artist’s studio in general, face unprecedented economic and conceptual challenges. We wish to query from a pedagogic and art theoretical perspective ways to maintain and instil the traditional values of studio practice, circumvent the restrictions of economic and spatial organisation and provide a sustainable model of practice.

Speakers and participant artists:

Maggie Ayliffe, Wolverhampton School of Art.
Andrew Bracey, University of Lincoln.
Holly Crawford, Artist, New York, US.
Prof Rebecca Fortnum, Professor of Fine Art, Middlesex University London.
Claire Hickey, Artist,  Birmingham.
Sarah Gilbert, Pitzer College, Claremont CA, US.
Dr Simon Harris, Wolverhampton School of Art.
Danica Maier, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham.
Dr Christian Mieves, Wolverhampton School of Art.
Annie Morrad, University of Lincoln.
Christine Stevens, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham.
Elizabeth Wright, University of Lincoln.


Tuesday, 20 Sept 2016

Wolverhampton School of Art
13.00 Welcome, meet participant artists
Allocation of the studio spaces
Afternoon: Studio Residency20.00 Continued discussion/ Great Western Pub

Wednesday, 21 Sept 2016

10.00 Coffee/ Tea12.00-13.00 artist conversation /discussion followed by lunch.Afternoon studio residency20.00 Continued discussion/ dinner

Thursday, 22 Sept 2016

10.00 Coffee Tea12.00-13.00 artist conversation /discussion followed by lunch.Afternoon studio residency.20.00 Continued discussion/ dinner

Friday 23 Sept 2016


Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton (click here)
Program (exact schedule to be confirmed).10.00 Welcome Coffee/ Tea10.30 Keynote PresentationProf Rebecca Fortnum, Professor of Fine Art, Middlesex University London.On not knowing what you are doing; the importance of the studio to fine art practice


11.30 Claire Hickey, Artist, Birmingham
Make/ Shift/Space: The mobile studio and practice in public

12.00 Danica Maier, Christine Stevens, Nottingham Trent University
The Summer Lodge: a Place for experimental Making within the Art School’s abandoned Studio

12.30 Andrew Bracey, Elizabeth Wright, University of Lincoln
The doing of thinking is not a hands free conversation.


14.00 Holly Crawford, Artist, New York
Ants on a Shrimp, Thoughts.

14.30 Sarah Gilbert, Pitzer College, Claremont, CA.
In the Reverie of the Studio: Materiality and Play as the Foundation of Interdisciplinary Practice.

15.00 Christian Mieves, Maggie Ayliffe, Wolverhampton School of Art
Dirty Practice: ‘subversive’ practices in today’s art schools.Presentations followed by Q&A (exact schedule to be confirmed).

16.00 Plenary Session: The role of the Artist’s Studio17.30 Finish