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System Failure, Six conversations to reboot the art world

Duncan Smith, ACAVA's artistic director, will be a speaker at 'The city problem: or, how artists can benefit from urban regeneration', one of six conversations between art world professionals in 'System Failure: Six conversations to reboot the art world', an event organised by Artquest

The art world is a large, complex and interdependent system: individual freelancers, institutions, artist-led groups, national funders and students must all grapple with financial pressures, unclear career progression, low status and increasing pressure from Government.
 
Without artists the art world could not exist – but they often endure a highly precarious working environment, modest pay, exploitative opportunities and an impossible work/life balance. Artists are evicted from studios and temporary galleries in newly desirable urban areas to enable gentrification, with our cities becoming increasingly expensive and unaffordable. Organisations retain the bulk of their public funding but reduce artist fees as philanthropic income, officially encouraged to replace falling Government funds, fails to materialise. Art education inadequately prepares graduates for the evolving work environment that they will enter, with financial and business skills denigrated but increasingly vital for freelance careers.  And irregular income makes planning or starting a family challenging for a majority of artists.
 
Six stimulating and provocative conversations between art world professionals, including artists, curators, consultants, gallery directors, academics and researchers will explore core problems in the structure of the art world, and seek to address its contemporary system failure. As well as diagnosing the problems, we’ll aim to suggest alternative ways that the art world might begin to function, in order to improve the status and earning power of visual artists.
 
The city problem: or, how artists can benefit from urban regeneration
Wednesday 11 November, 6-8pm
Venue: Block 336, 336 Brixton Road, London SW9 7AA
Tickets £7, online booking open
 
With Duncan Smith and Kirsten Dunne.
 
Duncan founded ACAVA studios in 1983 to provide artists with studios and resources, and to provide educational benefits to their communities through workshops, residencies and training facilities. ACAVA now has studios for 500 artists and works with a wide range of other bodies such as local and health authorities, trusts and foundations, arts and educational institutions, regeneration agencies and social landlords, engaging the skills and creativity of its members to promote public benefit. ACAVA also provides a consultancy service, supporting the development of studios and services by other groups and organisations. He is also Chair of the National Federation of Artist Studio Providers (NFASP). Duncan has been teaching in art colleges and universities for over 40 years, and has exhibited installations and digital work internationally since the 1970s.
 
Kirsten is the Senior Cultural Strategy Officer at the Greater London Authority, who have just launched the London Regeneration Fund, a £20m capital fund for artist studios, creative workspace and production spaces, responding to research that London is set to lose at least 30% of its affordable workspace in the next five years (deadline 2 October 2015). Previous roles include market development at Arts Council England and senior roles in South London Gallery and Frith Street Gallery.
 
For information on the other talks in 'System Failure' please visit the official event page on the Artquest website.
 
Join the conversation on Twitter using #aqsystemfailure and for updates and resources on the subjects.