Art Is...

On 9 April 2016, Freelands Foundation held an all-day conference event at Tate Modern: 'Art Is…' The day explored ideas around education, play and the social function of art and featured talks, film screenings, panel discussions, performances and installations.

Amila Ramovic, Creative Director of Ars Aevi in Sarajevo, started the day as our keynote speaker, delivering a lecture about the evolution of the Ars Aevi project, from its origins during the siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian War, to its current struggle to find a permanent home for its collection.

This was followed by a performance from 4Play, an arts education collective who delivered a playful approach to the idea of falling.

Our film “West Rise – School by the Marsh” was screened for the first time and was followed by a Q&A with Mike Fairclough, the Head Teacher at West Rise, and Henry Ward, our Head of Education and the director of the film.
Amila Ramovic
In the afternoon there was a panel discussion that interrogated the social purpose of art. Chaired by Caro Howell, Director at London’s Foundling Museum, the discussion featured Alistair Hudson, Director of mima, Jack Jones, from the South London Gallery and Amila Ramovic.

Closing the conference was a conversation between the artists Michael Craig-Martin and Mark Wallinger, reflecting on the changing nature of art schools and approaches to art education.
Art Is Social
Michael Craig-Martin and Mark Wallinger
Alongside the conference we screened a number of films, which played throughout the day, including: “Fully Awake”, a documentary about the history of Black Mountain College; “The Land”, a short film about an adventure playground project in Wrexham, North Wales; “What Age do you have to be to be an Artist?”, a film about Room 13 in Scotland; “A Window on the World”, made by St Marylebone School and advocating the importance of art in education; a short film from the Tate Learning team and a Dada film from the 1960s.

A marketplace was set up in the Clore Studio where AccessArt, æ Newspaper, The Articulation Prize, The Big Draw, Hato Studio, A New Direction, Tate Schools and Teachers and Q-Art hosted stalls showcasing their work. This also housed an installation created by the artist Peter Liversidge with St Marylebone School pupils and a soapbox which saw pop-up provocations throughout the day. These included several performances by the artist Harold Offeh and a performance by the St Marylebone pupils.