As part of Jerwood Art Fund Makers Open’s (JAFMO) presentation at Aberdeen Art Gallery, and with the support of Art Fund, Aberdeen Art Gallery hosted a curatorial development and networking event aimed at local curators and arts professionals from public collections and creative organisations in the North East of Scotland. The event was programmed by the JAFMO Curatorial Project Manager Svetlana Panova.
The half-day seminar explored the process of working with artists and funders to commission and collect new works into public museum and art collections. Aberdeen Art Gallery welcomed a group of exciting speakers with a wealth of experience from across the UK in person and digitally, who shared their insight of having been involved in the commissioning and collecting process in different capacities. They highlighted positive examples and practices, shared resources and discussed some of the challenges they have faced in their work so far. The seminar was followed by a networking lunch and an opportunity for informal discussions with the speakers and the other participants.
Madeline Nehring, Team Leader – Collections for Aberdeen Archives, Gallery & Museums. Madeline discussed the work Aberdeen Archives, Gallery and Museums have already undertaken in commissioning and collecting new work by local artists through their Micro-Commissions programme, as well as some of the limitations and considerations the organisation needs to take as part of their Collection Development Policy.
James Rigler, graduate from the Ceramics and Glass MA at Royal College of Art, UK. James provided an artist’s perspective to being commissioned by both private and public collections, outlining some of the different approaches he’s encountered and the types of conversations he’s found helpful and supportive to progress his commissions.
Ying Tan, Senior Programme Manager at Art Fund. Ying presented some of the dedicated ways in which Art Fund supports organisations to commission new works for collecting, including their Commission grants, as well as focused on the different art forms that could be considered as part of the funding framework.
Harriet Cooper, curator from Manchester, previously Head of Visual Arts at Jerwood Arts. Harriet shared ideas and experience of embedding artist development as part of the commissioning process, especially when working with early-career artists, as well as highlighted useful resources for accessibility, project administration and sustainability for artists and organisations.
Rohini Malik Okon, curator, producer and writer based in London. Rohini gave an insight into the research and thinking behind Future Collect, a partnership project initiated by Iniva, which supports three national/regional museums to commission and collect new works by three UK-based artists of African and/or Asian descent, and supports dedicated curatorial development around each commission.
Moira Jeffrey, who has worked across the visual arts in Scotland including roles in arts journalism and broadcasting, public funding, development work and research. Moira presented the Connect and Activate toolkit, which is part of SCAN’s Curatorial Leadership in Collections (CLiC) project. The toolkit provides a valuable resource that details different approaches to working with artists in museums and collections.