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.
We are not an Island is a collaboration between the Poly-Technic, Ca'Foscari University, Making Ways - Sheffield and Venetian creative practitioners. The project is supported by The British Council, Arts Council England, City of Makers and the Cultural Consortium.
The project will secure international partnerships, support the production & showcasing of contemporary arts to diverse audiences in unique sites in Venice and UK. The project capitalises on an ongoing mailart exchange between project partners around social/environmental issues, developing into a Radical Print Workshop in Venice in early 2018. Working directly with arts communities, civic leaders, students, academics and residents We are not an island aims to produce critically engaged participatory prints, an exchange of ideas across place and time, the return of a Venetian artist to the UK, an ongoing working network and a pan-European audience for our work
The Poly collaborates with people to produce new work. We understand 'works' to mean the conversation, development of ideas, formulation of imagery, generation of stuff and the archives it’s held in. We often showcase the work in different sites and venues. All our work follows the Poly-Technic’s principle of exploring how knowledge resides in places and people as well as books and the internet.
Recent work includes:
The Best Thing’s in Life Aren’t Things - a work experienced through portable headsets, featuring collected voices and sounds that respond to the theme.
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.
Poly-Vision is a collection of short films of people speaking local knowledges. Archived, this growing collection can be seen by clicking here.
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?
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. We see the commissions as grants that give artists space to develop or extend new work.
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 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