The Poly works in collaboration with many specialists including artists, researchers, curators and those who get things done. These partnerships have been developed from close working over many years and are examples of how we grow projects from the bottom up. To quote our manifesto its a ‘stuff comes from stuff’ approach. Project outcomes include research, publications, further projects and artworks.
The Poly-Technic works internationally. In recent times we have developed partnerships with universities, schools and art organisations beyond the UK which enables us to work broadly and share work with diverse audiences.
An example project - We are not and Island, completed in 2017 is described below. Never-Land - what will Europe look like in 200 years? is our current and ongoing project. We have partnered with Yorkshire Artspace Sheffield, Leicester Printworks in the UK and Michealangelo Guggenhiem Artschool and Ca’Foscari University in Venice to deliver this work.
We are not an Island was a collaboration between the Poly-Technic, Ca'Foscari University, Making Ways - Sheffield and Venetian creative practitioners. Funded by The British Council, Arts Council England, City of Makers and the Cultural Consortium.
The project secured international partnerships, supported the production & showcasing of contemporary arts to diverse audiences in unique sites in Venice and UK. We are not an island produced critically engaged participatory prints, an exchange of ideas across place and time, an ongoing working network and a pan-European audience for our work
An article written by Simon Boase for Corridor 8 Magazine can be found HERE
The Poly makes work with people. We understand 'work' to mean the conversation, development of ideas, formulation of imagery, generation of stuff and the archives it’s held in. We often showcase outcomes in alternative sites and venues . Everything follows the Poly-Technic’s principle of exploring how knowledge resides in places and people as well as books and the internet.
Recent projects/commissions include:
The Best Thing’s in Life Aren’t Things - which included a series of artist commissions, interactive posters and a soundpiece experienced through portable headsets, featuring collected voices and sounds that respond to the theme. The sound piece can be heard here
You Me We is an ever growing mobile radical poster workshop and archive. We encourage people to come together to talk and think about the notion and action of protest. The Archive holds a copy of all screenprints made by people who had something to say. Please see a film of the entire collection here
Poly-Vision is a collection of short films of people speaking local knowledges. Archived, this growing collection can be seen by clicking here.
Never-Land is a fictional nowhere, imagined for this project. Its ambition is to ask people what Europe will be like in 200 years.
Never-Land is a project we have developed with partners. It also includes us undertaking 3 commissions; the first at Yorkshire Artspace Sheffield, the second from Leicester Print Workshop; the third for Ca’Foscari University, Venice as part of their 2019 international conference ‘Europe and Ruskin’.
In Sheffield we developed a 6 week project spaces for anyone to use, a series of small writing commissions and opportunities for young artists. In Leicester we are delivering a screenprint workshop in response to works made across the project that also addressed the theme. In Venice we will work for one week with 6th form students and staff at Liceo Artistico Guggenheim School culminating in a public exhibition in Venice and deliver a paper at CaFoscari University conference to discuss the project and our ideas.
The Poly curates large-scale programmes of work, in art and non art spaces. These programs take as their starting point an idea or question. They may involve our own work, Poly-Math activity aswell as open call commissions. We aim to bring people together around ideas as a way to make new work and promote conversations. We ask the question: What happens when artists collaboratively curate their own programs of work?
The best things in life aren’t things. PECT. Peterborough. 2018
Poly has always commissioned other artists and writers. We are keen to enable new work to be made and are passionate about extending opportunities to others and reaching wide audiences. We often find ourselves in a position to be able to access funding and so use that to support ourselves and others. Some artists and writers we have worked with include:
Cental to The Poly’s work is discussion. We initate conversations to explore ideas and support reflection. Recently this has included a talk as part of an event for Manchester Met University MA Interactive Arts, an online event for Axisweb and for Planet B as part of their final conference. We mostly dont take photos of these conversations becasue the work is the talk.
Poly-math is an artists’ development program that responds to a changing funding climate and new opportunities arising from the present economic and social context. It includes mentoring with regional cultural leaders, live commissions with major hosts and an intensive residentials. Its aim is to create a space for artists to develop resilience through making and networking.
We have run 2 programs to date, for a total of 15 people and are currently developing a 3rd aimed at mid career artists.
The Poly delivers training for many specialists including artists, managers, teachers, curators and organisations like schools, universities, art galleries and those who want to try something new. The training introduces people to our manifesto and the stuff comes from stuff approach. Our practice as the Poly-Technic and our personal skills are utilised to develop days that include diagraming, mentoring, practical making workshops and the bottom up strategic thinking we employ.
Recently we have delivered workshops and training for:
Metal - Peterborough
Artforms - Leeds
Manchester Met University
The Poly tries to visualise it’s work through diagrams – we use them to explain complex ideas to partners and funders. They help us to try and see and show everything all a once. We also run diagraming workshops that help explore systems and aid refelction.
At the Poly-Technic we co-created and author a wide variety of publications and texts. Each one relates to work we are undertaking or on subjects that seem relevant. We see joint writing as a way of bringing things together and holding them in one space.
To date we have produced:
An article written with Simon Boase for Making Ways and Corridor 8
A commissioned article for Now Then magazine Sheffield
Number 8 self financed publications with numerous aurthors
A short text with Dr Amanda Ravetz on the subject of Hope
WANDER WITH. This gallery is the final photo essay generated by Katy Hawkins & photographer Sandra Keating. On 11th August at the Green Festival Peterborough, Katy designed a mindful wandering workshop as part of ‘The Best Things in Life are not Things’, with participants' observations artistically documented by Sandra Keating.
“We ran a two mini-wanders during the course of the Green Festival. As the group wander they are asked - as facilitated through acetate cards - to focus in on, and really notice, different elements in the environment: smell, texture, the world above.
The group share observations with one another as they go and Sandra captures those moments on camera. At the close the group write what stood out for them. The group share observations with one another as they go, and Sandra captures those on camera. At the close the group write what stood out for them.”
Interested in promoting mindfulness whilst wandering, this was one section of the Wander With workshop. Full length wanders invite participants to apply a mindful and noticing eye to undertake a critical analysis and assessment of our everyday environments.