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Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art to invest up to £25,000 into local arts

4 March 2016

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) is set to support art and social practice in Teesside by annually investing £25,000 as part of its new Creative Community Programme (CCP), which succeeds the Visual Arts Network, active in the past years.

The enhanced scheme will involve art organisations, charities, artists and activists across the region in the development of projects that address topical issues both locally and globally, including migration and economic inequality. It includes commissions to local and international artists, grants and bursaries for local artists and charities, research and development workshops for local creative practitioners and strategic partnerships with local art organisations.

Key objectives of CCP include: producing and stimulating discussion about socially engaged initiatives; linking local creative practitioners to national debates and practices; establishing collaborations between local and international artists; mentoring local artists and curators through training; funding some activities carried out by local art organisations; nurturing local talent.

In the last six months, over £15,000 has been invested in bursaries, grants and commissions, with a particular focus on professional development, as well as learning and engaging with groups in the community. Highlights include bursaries to local artists and curators Emma Bennett, Richey Henderson and Sara Makari-Aghdam; grants to Investing in People and Culture, Ek Zuban, Hey Ho Print Co. and Emma Watson from the Thorntree Roses; and a commission to artist Emily Hesse.

Over £5,000 will be directed to new and ongoing activities until the summer. These include commissions to artists Núria Güell (from Spain, currently living in Beirut) and Isabel Lima (based in Newcastle); the continuation of the research and development workshops with guests such as Judith Winter, An Endless Supply and Northern Architecture; and the launch of the open call for the 2016 Arte Útil (Useful Art) bursaries.

Director Alistair Hudson said: “The art sector has crucial importance and value in society and can play a key role in developing our region. It brings together people and constituencies with shared strategies and goals to tackle social issues in new ways and provide alternative models for regeneration. A healthy and evolving creative community can make a significant and dynamic contribution to economic prosperity. It isn’t just about the role culture plays in providing new jobs and skills, highlighted by the Chancellor in his autumn statement, it’s about all members of our communities understanding creativity so that we can adapt to change and start to shape the world around us on our own terms.“

Senior curator Miguel Amado said: “By empowering the local art sector, we aim to give artists and collectives the platform to grow and, in turn, influence positive social change. An example of this is our commissioning of New Linthorpe, a self-sustaining project by artist Emily Hesse that aims to reinstate pottery production in Teesside. Through this scheme, and following from her involvement with the Localism exhibition, Hesse is now creating The Coffee House, which involves working with refugees, particularly from Eritrea, in the realisation of ceremonial objects associated with the sharing of food and drink. Teesside has a long tradition of making at the heart of its culture, one that has embraced art as part of a way of life. We need to continue that.“

The research and development workshops take place in our Office of Useful Art, a permanent public meeting space in the gallery’s first floor. The sessions aim to build local collaborative professional networks between artists and groups for projects with a social focus. National and international artists and local creative practitioners join in to discuss ways in which we can collectively address urgent issues in Teesside.

The next session, run by London-based artist Kathrin Böhm, takes place on 16 March. Böhm addresses how art-led formats of manufacturing and trade can be used in the formation of civic space. Entry is free and there is no need to book. Find out more.


Below: Harare’s First Floor Gallery director Valerie Kabov leads research and development workshop and Emily Hesse, New Linthorpe leads pottery workshop in Localism

Gallery director Valerie Kabov presents a Research and Development Workshop at mima

Artistic Director of New Linthorpe, Emily Hesse teaches the art of clay pottery making

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