Network Events for Artists
There are many ways in which all our professional development work generates artists led networks. An original premise of Moveable Feast was that the centre of participatory arts practice is live events. Moveable Feast have employed vibrant and inspirational live events to generate artists led networks. These networks are authentic and sustainable because they start from shared experience and are initiated by the participants rather than an administrative body.
NetworkMoveable Feast has been instrumental in generating artists networks in: County Meath, Ireland, Devon, North Cornwall and the Blackdown Hills.
Moveable Feast is in itself a network as well as a company. The company has a caucus of 22 artists and the wider network extends to nearly 300 artists who interact through our community website and annual company events. These events attract 70 to 100 artists and are luminous, celebratory and validating encounters.
At the heart of the company are network events called, ‘Nine Diamonds’ which are regular workshops in which the company members share practice, evaluate work and devise new projects.
This means that we refresh our practice and support each other and are connected to the practice of others outside the immediate company membership.
CPD Programmes for Artists
Moveable Feast runs professional development programmes that focus on Workshop as a distinctive form of arts practice. Our training events are workshops on workshop for workshop artists. We develop practice through practice. These events were the origin of Moveable Feast and have continued to be inspirational and successful experiences for 100’s of artists.
Typically there would be a two or three-day course looking at the principles of participatory practice followed by a supported application of the lessons gathered in the course.
For example, a group of Moveable Feast artists would work in partnership with a commissioning organisation to identify the needs of a particular community of artists. This community might be defined by traditional art form or geographical proximity or a connecting interest in participatory practice. The team of moveable feast artists would then look at their extensive tool-kit of techniques that have been compiled over a decade of running these events. By combining techniques in new ways and sometimes by inventing new techniques and exercises to meet the needs of a particular group, the artist team would create a framework for exploration into participatory practice for artists. This would include time working as a whole group, other tasks that involve working in smaller groups and pairs and solo endeavours. In one of these events, there would be moments of directed activity, free exploration, reflection and discussion.
The aim of these workshops, like all our workshops, is that the participants are in a different place when they leave than they were when they entered. To ensure though that this is not just a sort of busman’s holiday experience, Moveable Feast ground the discoveries made in a real life application i.e. the participating artists are challenged to invent and deliver new workshops. This methodology has proved time and again to be a successful way to refresh and transform practice.
- In 2008, Moveable Feast were invited by Meath County Council in Ireland to generate a participatory arts culture in the county. In partnership with the County Arts Office, we ran a series of training events that looked at the elements and principles that are distinctive in workshop practice with a focus group of 16 artists. The result of this was that some group members ran an event for the children of two primary schools in Navan at the Solstice Arts Centre. The artists then formed their own participatory art network and have since collaborated with each other, shared practice and supported each other on several projects.
- In 2009, Moveable Feast ran a similar project in North Cornwall called Hidden World. In this project the 15 artists involved split into 5 collaborative groups that delivered a highly successful series of workshops at 5 North Cornish venues across the summer. Another feature of these projects is that the confidence of the commissioning body to employ local artists is enhanced by seeing the proof of their practice.
- Moveable Feast ran a series of 1-day events for Mantle Arts in Leicestershire entitled, ‘Palaces of Possibilities’. These were ‘blue sky days’ that were the culminating event in training courses for participatory artists. The course participants spent a day creating exhibition that described and expressed their learning journey and future aspirations to develop their work.
- Moveable Feast have run similar projects for Multi-A in Bristol and Playtrain in Birmingham. In Birmingham we ran a 3-day residential training course for experienced art workers entitled, ‘101 Languages of the art worker’.