Whilst it is simply a fact that we live in a multicultural world, it is more vital than ever that we actively consider diversity rather than paying lip-service to its ideals. Art can connect people from a variety of cultures, backgrounds and socio-economic situations. Yet is the art world itself as diverse, or as welcoming to diversity, as it could be?
Questions like this are at the heart of Aesthetica’s Future Now Symposium, which will take a broad view of the state of today’s arts ecosystem and the social and economic challenges it faces, bringing together the organisations and practitioners at the forefront of shaping art’s response to a fast-changing world. Amongst the many discussions and events taking place over the two days of the Symposium will be a session on Diversity In The Art World (Thursday 25 May, 14:45 – 16:00). Hosted by Rebekka Kill (York St John University) Jon Wakeman (East Street Arts) it will highlight how organisations are addressing issues of marginalisation and what is being done to ensure that audiences are having the best opportunity to experience the breadth of work being produced, ensuring there is a level playing field in the sector.
Other topics addressed over the two days include the problems of defining what it means to be art, or a gallery, or a curator, in a world of proliferating digital images. Sessions on offer include Innovation in the Making: Technology, Design and Digital; The Future of Art Journalism; Funding and Commissioning and The Changing Face of the Art Institution amongst many others.
A key theme running throughout this year’s event is the sense of alienation created as human interactions become increasingly mediated by technology. Like the question of diversity, it brings us back to the power of art to represent and respond to a fast-changing world – while demonstrating that human beings can connect across cultural, national and linguistic divides.
As always, Future Now will be attended by individuals and organisations from across the UK art scene. This year those represented will include Artangel, Arts Council England, Edinburgh Art Festival, Glasgow School of Art, Hiscox, Leeds College of Art, London College of Communication, Magnum Photos, Max Mara Art Prize for Women, Tate Liverpool, University of York, Wellcome Trust, Whitechapel Gallery, World Photography Organisation and Zabludowicz Collection.
The Symposium will take place at York St John University. All sessions are hosted on the university campus. You must register in advance for any session you wish to attend. A one-day (£24) pass will admit you to up to four sessions on the day you attend. A two-day pass (£36) will admit you to up to four sessions on each day of the Symposium. Lunch, and a mid-morning coffee break is included with your pass.
For more information: www.aestheticamagazine.com/art-prize/symposium-2017
1. zwerschina christian, IF. Courtesy of the artist.