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A Biennial for the South West? Open Space event 18 October 2012

On 18 October, at Arnolfini's magnificent 5th floor event space, Visual Arts South West presented an OPEN SPACE event exploring the question: Do we want to have a contemporary art biennial in the SW?

The day was an incredible mix of artists, producers, arts professionals and audiences all discussing questions that were asked around this topic. There was a great amount of energy and enthusiasm and commitment to the topic. All of the discussions were recorded and can be found here>>

The day ended with the following conclusions being drawn up:

 - We should drop the term 'Biennial'

 - We should investigate other models, including costings

- We should map the existing events/activity in the region, and map ambition for particular parts of the region 

- We should map what success would look like.

 - We should develop a think tank/ project board to move it forwards and this should be elected through open call

- We need to define expectations/ambition more clearly; prioritisation of outcome  

- Stakeholder mapping

- We should commission a feasibility study that is fleet-of-foot and has no assumptions.


 - Should we put a call out for ideas for project and create the structure around the content, not the other way round?  

How would ideas be credited?

- Should we start small and grow?

Open Space is an interactive and inclusive way of structuring a meeting that allows the participants to set the agenda. Open Spaces have been used all over the world to deal with complex issues with positive results. At the end of the event the following will have occurred:

-       Every issue of concern to anyone will have been raised, if they took responsibility for doing that.

-       All issues will have been discussed fully.

-       Al full record of issues and discussions will be published online in a format where people can carry on the discussion after the event. 




Blast Theory @ RAMM, a New Expressions Project

Visual Arts South West will work with New Expressions to enable greater Artist engagement with the programme, better collaboration with the museums sector and new opportunities to share audiences. An event to launch the programme, introduce artists to the possibilities of working within museums and the challenges and rewards of this way of working will be held in early 2013. We will update the site as soon as we have further information. To register your interest in this event, please contact Grace Davies, Regional Development Coordinator at




Turning Point SW and Alias ran a series of events to help open up greater collaborative opportunities through 'ALIAS HUBS'.  

The Alias Hubs have been characterized by openness and simplicity. They create opportunities and space for making individual connections and network building.  Delivered in partnership with Turning Point South West the Alias Hubs hosted short presentations fromm invited speakers that provided discussion points for more open dialogue and conversation – the heart of the hub.

 The hubs described here are intended to represent launch events for the hosting partners, which will lead to on-going, self-sustaining hub programmes. For more information about Alias or hub events please contact the team:

 A report on all of the hub events is available to read here>>


Cross-Regional Collaboration

For the British Art Show 7 Finale Symposium, TPSW invited International Cultural Consultant Judith Staines to present some International Concepts and Models for Regional Programming. The paper from her talk, held on the 3 December in Plymouth, is now available to view and download here. 

This feeds into our ongoing discussion around Cross-Regional programming for the South West.