Forum is a critique and discussion group for women working in the arts and culture sector. Participants are invited to bring their experience, skills, ideas and curiosity to the table, to unpack and probe subjects relating to contemporary arts and culture.

Forum meetings take place on a monthly basis and are designed and directed by a guest facilitator. Each session will explore a different topic and will have a different format; the session may include a workshop, break out discussion groups, or an informal presentation. Forum is an opportunity for women in the arts to come together and create a supportive space for meaningful discourse. It is a place to explore new ideas, form partnerships, develop skills and expand professional opportunities.

We encourage women from diverse backgrounds and with different degrees of experience to participate in Forum. Whether you are a practicing artist, curator, producer, crafter, community facilitator, emerging practitioner or a dabbler; Forum aims to bring together and empower all women navigating the sector.

Previous FORUM sessions:

Flis Mitchell – Vanishing and Visibility
Flis is an artist and project-maker based in North Liverpool, and a member of The Royal Standard, an artist-led gallery, studios and social workspace in Liverpool. In 2009 she directed CAVE, Liverpool’s first commercial art fair. Flis’s own practice is drawing research and she has just completed an Arts Council England funded research project called Vaguefears. Flis is also a founder and editor at Queen of the Track, a zine and digital platform for self-identified women that aims to highlight female political consciousness and prioritises female writers from a plethora of experience and abilities.

Flis explored how female artists and creative practitioners manage vanishing and visibility through their practices and what the implications of both these states are. Encouraging participants to draw from their own experience, Flis facilitated a group discussion that unpacked the position of women in the arts and the need for women-centric spaces and platforms. The session dissected the culturally assigned roles that women play in the sector, in relation to race, ethnicity, gender and identity. Flis worked with participants to create a practical toolkit for achieving, asserting and preserving visibility.

Learn more about Queen of the Track here. Learn more about The Royal Standard here.

Taneesha Ahmed and Annie Carpenter – Does the Studio Make the Artist?
Taneesha Ahmed is an artist and curator from Manchester, currently based in Blackpool. Ahmed is a prolific and revered curator with over eight years of experience working in the arts. She was recently appointed Education Officer at Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool and has undertaken a curatorial internship at Cubitt Gallery, London.

Ahmed’s session explored the relationship between the studio and the artist. The session interrogated today’s hyper-precarious environment and addressed the impact that flexible working, transience and unstable economic landscape have on the production of work. Ahmed’s session asked the group to consider how much studio-work  an artist needs to do, or be seen to be doing, to be considered relevant.

Find out more about Taneesha Ahmed here.

Anya Hassett – Are we doing enough? Art as Activism
Anya Hassett is a young artist currently studying for a University of the Arts London diploma in Art and Design, having previously studied Linguistics at University College London. Working predominantly with ceramic and paint, Hassett’s practice explores the impact of sensory surroundings upon the visual medium.

Devised and facilitated by Blackpool based emerging artist Anya Hassett, this session explored demonstrations and protests as a vehicle for social change. Hassett discussed historically significant and influential protests and unpacked the role of visual language and semiotic systems in communicating messages. The group considered the effectiveness of different forms of protest and explored the issue of art as activism. The session concluded with a creative sign making workshop.

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