Conway Hall Residency
About The Selected Artist
Sophia Kosmaoglou employs a broad range of practices to address the construction of identity in relationships and to subvert conventions, authority and rationalism in performative representations. Her current practice engages with pedagogy and collectivity, blurring the boundaries between art, education and activism to question the ontology of art, its social functions and institutional contexts and to promote and experiment with independent, collective or cooperative alternative economies.
Sophia Kosmaoglou is an artist, tutor, curator, researcher and activist. She has a practice-based PhD in Fine Art from Goldsmiths and her research interests include alternative art education, radical pedagogy, self-organisation, collectivity, autonomy, institutions and the relationship between art and politics. In 2015 she founded ART&CRITIQUE, a peer-led alternative art education network based in London and in 2019 she co-founded the Radical Pedagogy Research Group, a research project on alternative art education, radical pedagogy and self-organisation.
During her residency at the Conway Hall Humanist Library Sophia will expand her research on co-operatives, self-organisation and alternative art education and crowdsource a strategy to set up a co-operative art school. Her research will focus on collective, commons-based economies and non-hierarchical social models, for more independence and self-determination through sustainable and ethical working conditions, alleviating anxiety, fostering collaboration and solidarity and providing access to shared resources and training. She will also develop her research in alternative art education, which challenges mainstream institutional and educational models with respect to authorship, responsibility, labour relations and the art economy more broadly. Sophia will organise discussions and workshops on co-operatives in the arts, conduct interviews and document and disseminate the research in pamphlets, zines and a blog.
Residency Closing Event
PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO CURRENT PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERNS RELATING TO THE CORONA VIRUS, THE FESTIVAL OF ALTERNATIVE ART EDUCATION AND ACCOMPANYING EXHIBITION WILL BE POSTPONED UNTIL 25 JULY 2020
Sophia Kosmaoglou will convene an event that builds on her research and time on the residency
Festival of Alternative Art Education
Date: POSTPONED UNTIL 25 JULY 2020
Venue: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
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Fuelled by economic crisis, austerity and the liberalisation of higher education, the landscape of alternative art education features a multitude of diverse organisations that offer free or affordable art education, cooperating to develop peer-led curricula and experiment with models of self-organisation, addressing the unique needs and learning styles of individual learners, flexible, responsive and unfettered by rigid ties to funding, policy and industry.
The Festival of Alternative Art Education will bring together alternative art schools, peer-support groups and collectives in a range of events, performances, discussions, installations, stalls and workshops on education, pedagogy, peer-support, co-operation, self-organisation, labour and precarity. Come along to participate, learn, play and meet representatives from the schools to find out what they do, how to get involved or how to start your own art school. Full details and programme will appear here soon.
The festival will also see the launch of an exhibition and a new zine.
The Secret is Out! is an exhibition by current and former members of alternative art schools, peer-support groups and collectives that addresses co-operation and collaboration, collective action and decision-making, group dynamics and self-organisation, alternative economies and the commons, social change and the undercommons, solidarity and mutual aid.
URrgh! zine #1 on alternative art education, is a new zine on precarious labour dreaming up alternative economies at the coalface of the art educational creative industrial complex. The zine will explore and document alternative art education in self-organised, DIY, peer-led art schools and collectives.
A series of interviews with the selected artist and curators and staff at the host organisation over the residency period.
A co-operative art school? is a research project on co-operative education, alternative art education, radical pedagogy, self-organisation and other dimensions of a co-operative learning environment by Conway Hall Residency 2019 recipient Sophia Kosmaoglou. As part of this project and her research residency, Sophia Kosmaoglou ran a series of workshops that asked; What would a co-operative art school look like? How would it work? Who is it for and what would the benefits be? She is also inviting contributions for ideas around co-operative art schools in this survey. The workshops all took place at Conway Hall and more details and images from the sessions are below.
- Zine workshop on co-operative art education : Thursday 23 November
An opportunity to explore the potential of co-operative art education while participants produce a zine.
- Self-organisation for co-operative art education : Thursday 28 November
A workshop on self-organisation and collectivity in the context of alternative art education.
- Constitution for a co-operative art school : Tuesday 3 December
A gathering to share ideas to a draft constitution for a co-operative art school.
Residency Key Dates
- Residency period: October 2019 – December 2019
- Closing event: A festival of alternative art education in Spring 2020.
The selected artist will receives:
- An award of £3000 to engage with the collections of the Conway Hall Humanist Library and Archives
- An additional award for a public facing event showcasing the thinking and research undertaken during the residency
- Privileged access to the Library’s staff and archives
This is an opportunity for a London based artist, working in any medium, with at least 5 years’ experience working outside of education, to develop their practice responding to the collections of the Conway Hall Humanist Library and Archives.
Artquest particularly welcomes application from artists whose proposals explore or relate to our annual theme of Work.
Please note, this is not a studio residency and applicants are expected to have their own studio / workspace to complete any work.
About Conway Hall Library and Archives
Conway Hall is the oldest surviving freethought organisation in the world, with a history tracing back to 1787. The building was created in 1929 as a home for the Ethical Society by architect Frederick Herbert Mansford and since then has welcomed the likes of H.G. Wells, Dora and Bertrand Russell, Fenner Brockway and Mary Stocks and, more recently, key humanist and progressive figures such as A.C. Grayling, Christopher Hitchens, Samira Ahmed and Brian Cox. Today Conway Hall promotes the principles of secular humanism through an arts programme, educational courses, exhibitions and talks.
Since 1886, the Library has been a haven for radicals, political and social reformers and freethinkers who dared to dream of a better world. Conway Hall Library & Archives document the past and present of humanism and the heritage of the Ethical Society and the National Secular Society. Conway Hall Library is the only specialist humanist library in the UK. The collections include modern and rare books, pamphlets, journals, archival materials, digital collections and artworks.
Collections highlights include:
- Busts and portraits of key progressive figures including Thomas Paine, Charles Bradlaugh, Annie Besant, George Jacob Holyoake and Bertrand Russell
- The archive of the Conway Hall Sunday Concerts – the longest-running chamber music programme in Europe, established in 1878 with the aim of democratising access to music performance
- Original building plans for Conway Hall
- Correspondence including letters from William Morris, George Bernard Shaw and Peter Kropotkin to the Ethical Society
- Radical political and social reform pamphlets from the nineteenth century to the present
- The writing desk of Richard Carlile, campaigner for the freedom of the press
The awarded artist will be expected to:
- Visit the library and engage with the collections at least one day a week over the research period (October – December 2019)
- Participate in three interviews over the residency period which will be recorded and hosted on Artquest and partner websites.
- Produce online content (articles, video, interviews, blog etc) about their experiences on the residency (details to be decided in discussion with Artquest)
- Work with Artquest and Conway Hall to organise a closing event to showcase their thinking, research and work over the period of the residency
To be eligible to apply for this residency you must be
- A London based visual artist working in any medium
- Have been practicing as an artist outside of university study for at least 5 years
- Not be currently studying on a BA, MA, PhD course or similar at the time of application, or beginning such study over the residency period
Eligibility criteria is fixed for this residency: please only apply if you meet the above criteria. For more detailed information on eligibility criteria and other frequently asked questions read our FAQs page.