Panel Two: Why collaborate? Network Formation, Reproduction, Access

Thursday 10 November, 5pm GMT

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Discussants: Carla Cruz, Lily Hall, Abhijan Toto, Felicity (Flick) Allen, Manual Labours.

Moderator: Lina Džuverović
Keywords: collaborative structures, articulation, the ‘disoeuvre’.

BIRMAC and Art Monthly, in association with Electra present:

One of four discussions within the research project  ‘And Others: The Gendered Politics and Practices of Art Collectives’ which investigates different questions central to collective work. Building on two months of asynchronous collective writing, involving seventeen participants, the panelists below consider how we might write, think, read and practice together through other means.

Focusing on the possible divergences between external articulations of collectivity and their internal working realities, this panel explores the formation and reproduction of networks, asking how cultural organisations engage with collective work, exploring the blurry lines and unstable positions between organisational (curatorial, communication, production, administrative) and artistic work, and the gaps between naming and acting. It considers the paradox emerging from the common perception of artistic production as the outcome of individual work, when in fact artistic practice is always inherently collaborative, whether explicitly stated as so or not.

The panelists also consider experiences of nurturing repeated collaborations, and long-term working relationships that run against the dominant grain of ‘newness’ within contemporary art practice and production, to ask how the development of such relationships can on the one hand build trust, and on the other also bear the potential to blur organisational and artistic identities. The panel addresses the shifting roles of artists, informed too by individual participants’ own artistic, curatorial organizational work and writing.

The panel conversation will be followed by an informal Q&A with the audience.  

Please note all events within this series will be recorded.


Carla Cruz 

Carla Cruz is an artist, researcher, and visual arts Lecturer at EAAD-UMinho, Portugal. Carla has a practice-based Ph.D. from the Goldsmiths University of London. Since 2011, Carla develops the project Finding Money with Antonio Contador, and since 2007, mobilizes the “Associação de Amigos da Praça do Anjo” with Ângelo Ferreira de Sousa. Carla co-founded the feminist artistic intervention collective ZOiNA (1999-2004), and the artist-run space Caldeira 213 (1999-2002); between 2005 and 2013 Carla coordinated the feminist exhibition project All My Independent Wo / men; since 2019, Carla leads the study group Feminist Readings (i2ADS); and integrates the State’s Commission for the Acquisition of Contemporary Art. Currently, Carla is developing a speculative artistic project on human and non-human terranean temporalities with Claudia Lopes, with three public iterations.

Lily Hall 

Lily Hall currently works as Curator at The Showroom, London, and combines this with an interdependent curatorial practice with a focus on collaborative, process-oriented modes of production. Selected recent international curatorial projects include Muros Blandos, ser entre bordes, [Soft Walls, Being Between Borders], co-curated with Daniela Berger and Mette Kjærgaard Præst at Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende, Santiago, Chile, 2017-18; Jaroslav Kyša: Fifth Force at Zahorian & Van Espen, Prague, 2018; Surface Tensions, Pavla and Lucia Scerankova at Pump House Gallery, London in partnership with Czech Centre, London, 2017. Lily has worked in curatorial and editorial capacities with Calvert 22 Foundation (2012-15), Raven Row (2016) and Chisenhale Gallery (2017) amongst others; and on collaborative projects within and beyond these institutional frameworks, often exploring the spaces between publishing, experimental print-based platforms and exhibition making as a curator and writer. Between 2016-17 she was a member of the jury for the Oskár Čepan Award for contemporary art, Slovakia. Recent teaching and visiting lecturer roles have included contributions at the School of Fine Art (MPhil/PhD programmes) at the Royal College of Art, London, 2017; and Exhibition Studies (MRes programme), Central St Martins, London, 2019-22. She holds an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art, London, and BA in Art History and Literature from the University of East Anglia, UK.

Abhijan Toto 

Abhijan Toto is a curator and writer, interested in ecosophy, indisciplinary research, labour and infrastructures, based between Berlin, Germany; Bangkok, Thailand and Seoul, South Korea. In 2018, they began assembling the Forest Curriculum with Pujita Guha, a multi-platform project for research and mutual co-learning around the naturecultures of the forested belts of South and Southeast Asia. They were the Artistic Director of A House In Many Parts, a multi-disciplinary festival in Bangkok, supported by the Goethe-Institut and French Embassy, which they founded in 2020 and is part of the curatorial team at Shedhalle, Zurich (2022 – 25) and of Hosting Lands (with the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology, Pujita Guha and Aziza Harmel) Denmark (2022- 25). They were also the curator, with Mari Spirito of A Few In Many Places (2021), Seoul, Bangkok, Istanbul, New York, San Juan, Guatemala City, a platform for international collaboration and collective practice, conceived by Protocinema.  They have previously worked with the Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh; Bellas Artes Projects, Manila and Bataan, the Philippines; Council, Paris; and Asia Art Archive. Selected recent exhibitions include Foliage #4 (with Do Tuong Linh), VCCA Foundation, Hanoi, Vietnam (2022); A Moment In Extended Crisis (with Andy Butler) UTS Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2023); In The Forest, Even The Air Breathes, GAMeC, Bergamo, Italy (2020); Minor Infelicities, Ujeongkuk, Seoul, South Korea (2020); Southern Constellations (with Bojana Piskur), Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (2019); The Exhaustion Project: There Is Still Work To Be Done, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2018). They have participated in residencies with the Staatenkunstfonds, Denmark; the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Pro-Helvetia and the HSLU-University of Applied Arts and Sciences, Luzern, Switzerland and guest lectured at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen; the Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok; Monash University, Melbourne among others and is part of the steering committee of the Artist-for-Artist Program. They are a contributor to collective research initiatives such as ‘A Glossary of Common Knowledge’, MG+MSUM (2021) and ‘Under the Mango Tree’, the slow institute (2020). They were awarded the 2019 Premio Lorenzo Bonaldi X, at the GAMeC, Bergamo.

Felicity Allen

Felicity Allen is a British artist living in South East England. Working mostly in painting, writing and film, she sometimes curates exhibitions and projects with others. Currently she is developing her concept of the Disoeuvre  in dialogue with others, (challenging conventional art hierarchies, see through films, exhibitions, discussions and texts made with artists and art historians. Her sixth series of Dialogic Portraits, made as artist in residence with the research project People Like You: Contemporary Figures of Personalisation,is the basis for her 2021 film Figure to Ground – a Site Losing its System She has exhibited, lectured and made art with others on different continents, and has contributed to international anthologies across different disciplines. Education has played a significant role in her work, as a fine art lecturer, in informal education, in museums and galleries, and through her edited volume, Education (Documents of Contemporary Art), MIT/Whitechapel, 2011. See also