Counterpoints Arts’ Who Are We?

Who Are We? ran at Tate Exchange at Tate Modern from 14 to 19 March 2017. It began as an experiment with several Tate Exchange associates, including Counterpoints Arts, The Open University, University of Warwick and Loughborough coming together to form a collaborative, arts-led platform for conversations about rights, identity, migration, global displacement and citizenship - in a popular context particularly coloured by Brexit.

With twenty-two artists contributing, Who Are We? evolved into a heady mix of creative, cultural and political perspectives, and evoked and provoked lively discussions and collaborations with the audience - asking what it means to belong across and within borders. In a moment of global movement, connection and dis-connection, who are ‘we? Who gets to decide?

Who Are We? was packed with light installations, site specific work, Live Art actions, learning labs, screenings, workshops and seminars, all inviting open debate and dialogue across separate silos and sectors. The programme was designed to navigate tensions between art, activism, audiences, advocacy and academia, seeing how and where social change might happen across these institutional divides.

Contributing artists included:  Alia Syed, Alketa Xhafa Mripa, Ania Bas & Season Butler, Antti Tenetz, Behjat Omer Abdulla, Bern O’Donoghue, Dawid Górny, Elena Boukouvala, Knut Bry, Eva Sajovic, Gil Mualem-Doron, JC Niala, Juan delGado, Jillian Edelstein, Laura Malacart, Laura Sorvala, Lucia Scazzocchio, Natasha Davis, Nele Vos, Richard DeDomenici, There There.

Several of the installations at Who Are We? have since travelled to sites across London, York and Bournmouth. And three of them – Alketa Xhafa Mripa’s Refugees Welcome, Gil Mualem-Doron’s New Union Flag and Richard DeDomenichi’s Shed your Fears - will travel in a cluster with Counterpoints Arts to Who Are We? partners at Loughborough University in November 2017. 

Who Are We? also travelled to Maribor, Slovenia with artist Eva Sajovic and Open University in the context of Counterpoints Arts’ Learning Lab. See here.

The programme was made richer with contributions from Goldsmiths University of London, Universal Design Studio, Graphic Thought Facility, and the Stuart Hall Foundation which collaborated on a public seminar, that in many ways pointed to the very heart of the mission of the Tate, asking ‘how contemporary art institutions shape our sense of identity and belonging at a time of political and social turbulence’.

            In the shadow of the dark/All the dogs of Europe bark/And the living nations wait/ Each sequestered in its hate 

                                    – W.H. Auden In Memory of W.B. Yeats (1940)

More information on the 2017 programme.

See here for live stream.

Planning for Who Are We? 2018 has already begun on the second year’s theme of ‘production’, with Tate Exchange Associates’ Counterpoints Arts, Open University, Loughborough University in collaboration with the University of York, the evaluator, Chrissie Tiller, and others. The 2018 programme continues through exploration of the interconnected terrains of ‘housing’, ‘displacement’, ‘place-making’, ‘belonging’, ‘labour’, ‘visible/invisible communities’, ‘local ecologies, neighbourhoods, cities and climate change’, ‘social democracy and the politics of ‘participation and citizenship’.  

other useful links: 

Tate Exchange - Art and Migration

Universal Design Studio

Graphic Thought Facility

Categories: Report

Date Posted: 25 July 2017