Westgate Studios Project Space Curators in Residence

After a difficult financial period and following many internal changes Westgate Studios ceased operating as a managed organisation in 2010. Following a thorough search for alternative premises in order to keep the core groups of people together, artists have begun moving back into the Grade II listed building on Westgate in the city centre of Wakefield.

Operating as independent tenants without a formalised studio group constitution, the studio holders are paying £95-£167 per month all inclusive for a self contained studio with natural light, 24 hour access, wi-fi and the use of a project space for developing and showing work.

The project space was refurbished in 2009 as a traditonal ‘white cube’ gallery. It has been a core venue in the bi-monthly city wide Artwalk and hosted several residencies. For the next twelve months, the project space has become the new curatorial project of collaborating artists Alice Bradshaw and Bob Milner. As well as encouraging studio holders to initiate projects in the space, Alice and Bob are curating a series of exhibitions and inviting artists to take up short term residencies.

Alice and Bob have previously collaborated on a number of projects since meeting in 2007. Temporary Art Show popped up in Huddersfield in 2008 at Bates Mill where Alice was resident at the time, as a result of a pub conversation in the Head of Steam between Alice, Bob and Huddersfield based artists Tom Senior, Georgia Boniface and Kevin Boniface.

http://www.temporaryartspace.co.uk/temporaryartshow.html

Receiving a good reception of 200+ visitors over one weekend, the five artists sought further collaborative DIY exhibition projects. In 2009, a former Director for Calderdale Council, now Chief Executive of York City Council, Kersten England gave them that opportunity in the form of an empty unit in the Piece Hall, Halifax. Temporary Art Space ran for six months as a pilot project and featured six major group shows and a series of Changeover shows in between.

In 2010, Richard Bates, co-owner of Bates Mill in Huddersfield, invited Alice and Bob to take part in an embryonic multi platform festival in Huddersfield. The result of a curatorial collaboration between Bates Mill, Alice & Bob, Vanessa Haley, Elise Rohde, Fresh Kids and The Parish Pub was Warehouse Weekend; two nights and one day of art installation, live art, film, theatre, live music, beat boxing and two specially brewed beers served from a purpose built colour-changing bar.

It is worth noting that none of these projects has received any grant or funding. All of the projects were made possible through support-in-kind, mainly in the form of people volunteering their time, offering venues and covering minimal overheads. Enthusiasm is the key. We do this because we love it. Rather than being from any particular political stance, our approach to curation is a result of a shared belief that time and energy is better spent on creating something interesting as opposed to continually writing funding application forms.

So, unsurprisingly, our latest collaboration at Westgate Studios Project Space is without funding. At present.

To find out more about how to get involved and current opportunities, or how to offer support-in-kind email aliceandbobcurate@yahoo.co.uk

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