The Artquest programme at University of the Arts London has supported professional visual artists in London and beyond since 2001. Initially providing predominantly online advice and information for visual artists about their careers, the programme has broadened to include internships, graduate studio and research residencies, legal advice, artist career case studies, international studio exchange, mentoring, discounts, publications and debates alongside our 1,500+ page advice website.

We develop responsive, collaborative and respected projects by listening to what artists tell us they need, working with partners in the sector to eliminate duplication, and undertaking research into how artists work, live and balance their responsibilities with the lowest incomes in the creative industries.

Artquest is a programme of University of the Arts London with salaries and project costs funded by Arts Council England through the national portfolio programme. Projects are open to any professional visual artist, regardless of where they studied, or if they did not attend art school at all. We work with artists at any stage in their career who work in and across the visual arts.

Each year we work in around 20 active partnerships, host around 2,500 artists at live events, provide one to one advice to 200 artists, inform almost half a million artists online, employ 140 freelance artists to help deliver our programme, and support an active informal community of thousands more. We are a non-membership programme, and our main services are provided free for artists with a nominal charge made for live events. The programme is run by three artists working part-time at Artquest.

Artquest has become an indispensable international sector leader in artists’ careers support, with past projects linking London with the rest of the UK, Sydney, Berlin, New York, Madrid, Amsterdam, Beijing and Delhi, and commissioned articles about the art scene in a dozen other countries from Iceland to Borneo. Our free online studio exchange programme enables over 100 annual exchanges and connects over 1,300 artists to each other around the corner and around the world.

Taking a holistic ‘big-picture’ approach to artistic practice, our services remain responsive to artists’ practical needs, adapting to trends in practice and the wider social and economic contexts that artists operate within. Recent projects have focussed on the specific requirements of artist-parents, the impact of urban regeneration on artists, the motivation and validation to pursue a career as an artist, the place of higher education as both employer and trainer of artists, and the opportunities and threats created by increased technological change. We believe that the way artists balance precarious, low paid work and the responsibilities of life could predict wider-reaching impacts in future employment and social cohesion.

You are welcome to link to our website and share our content. All of our content (except the Artlaw section) is distributed under a Creative Commons non-commercial, attribution, share-alike license.

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Our staff are:

Nick Kaplony: after graduating from Camberwell College of Art and having worked as assistant curator at the Arts Gallery London and Pump House Gallery Nick joined the Artquest team in June 2007. Nick is a practicing artist and freelance curator. His areas of expertise include: education and community projects; exhibition marketing; curating; the public gallery sector; funding applications.

Russell Martin: a graduate of The Glasgow School of Art who has lived in London since 1998 where he initially worked extensively in gallery education. His self-initiated projects include peer mentoring, artist-led galleries, radio programmes, and interdisciplinary arts social events. Russell is also a member of the board at Block 336, an advisor for PRAKSIS and a Fellow of the RSA. His areas of expertise include: peer mentoring projects; artist-led spaces; education and community projects; funding applications and general presentation skills; artists networks; negotiation.

Kat Buchanan: a graduate of Central Saint Martins with a professional background in social media, inclusive practice, events and exhibitions production, and elders and community projects. Kat is a practicing artist who makes work that is collaborative, participatory, and live. She joined Artquest in November 2017.

Front page image kindly provided by Michael Heeny.