The Poly works in collaboration with many specialists including artists, researchers, curators and other people 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 curates large-scale programmes of work, involving art and non art spaces. These programmes take as their starting point an idea or question. They may involve our own work, poly math activity and 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 Poly has always been involved in commissioning artists. We are keen to enable new work to be made and are passionate about extending opportunities to others – we try to share the love. Commissioning enables us to reach new audiences while also responding to a need within the sector for artists to make new work. We often find ourselves in a position to be able to access funding and so use that to support others. We see the commissions as small grants that give artists space to develop or extend new work.
The Poly collaborates with people to coproduce new work. We understand 'works' to mean the conversation, development of ideas, formulation of imagery, generation of stuff and the archives its held in. We often showcase the work in different sites and venues.
You Me We is an ever growing mobile radical poster workshop and archive. The workshop encourages 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.
We see the gallery as one of many important spaces where culture is enacted. We have a track record of making work for exhibition and are regularly commissioned by organisations and institutions. All the work follows the Poly-Technics principle of exploring how knowledge resides in places and people as well as books and the internet.
We are not an island
We re 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
Artists are working responsively in sites outside the gallery and engaging with people in new ways. Arts organisations are recognising the need to work differently to meaningfully bring audiences and art together. New ways of working require fit for purpose artist development opportunities that take in account the diversity of people, practices, careers paths and power relations.
Poly-math is an ongoing 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 develop a 3rd aimed at mid career artists.
At the Poly-Technic one of our long term aims is to provide regular publications co-created and authored with a wide variety of people. Each publication relates to work we are undertaking or on subjects that seem relevant. We see joint publications as a way of bringing things together and holding them in one space.
To date we have produced
Number 1 with authors -
Number 2 with
Number 3 with
Number 4 with
Number 5 with
Number 6 with
Number 7 with
Number 8 with
The Poly tries to visualise its 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.
The Poly oftens initiates discussions or is invitied to present its work, ideas and thinking. 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.