The Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 – Localist Worker Days 6-8

Research at the Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 – Localist Worker has continued apace. Days 6 and 7 (Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th of October) saw further developments of the mapping project by Emma Curd (LJMU PhD student and member of Quad Collective). Whilst this was going on FactLab continued their work with open source software production and artist Adam Clark visited to talk about his Boosbeck Industries project. Finally, on Day 8 of the project (28th October) we were joined by Gemma Medina of Broadcasting the Archive who gave a discussion of their work and developed plans, with Emma Curd, to visit a range of socially engaged art practices in Liverpool as a means to continue developing the Arte Util toolkit. Day 8 also saw the second of two FabLabs, run by Lol Baker, and the return of constituent (and now collaborator) John Hunter who was able to pick up his 3D bust.

The Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 – Localist Worker Days 3-5

On days 3-5 of The Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 – Localist Worker (October 21st – 23rd) discussion and dialogue moved on apace. Wednesday 23rd saw FactLab continue using the space for their research and Lindsay Fryer, Head of Learning at Tate Liverpool, dropping by to hold an impromptu meeting. In the evening, the first of two FabLabs run by Lol Baker took place. Local constituent John Hunter developed the  3D scan of his head and began to discuss the potential impact and influence that shared maker spaces might have on his own practice as a photographer and creative. Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd saw the continuation of the Liverpool mapping project by PhD student Emma Curd and the proposal, by Alistair Hudson, for the Google map of Liverpool social practice to form the basis of a more general map of activity for the Association of Arte-Util website. Emma Curd will also use this map as a basis for discussions with Gemma Medina, of ‘Broadcasting the Archive’ when she visits Liverpool from 28th to 31st October. The aim is to identify some of the centres of practice in Liverpool and for Gemma to visit these locations as a means to develop the ‘Broadcasting the Archive’ toolkit for live data collection and publication.

Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 – Localist Worker Continues on Day 2

After the successful opening of the ‘Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 – Localist Worker’ on Monday 19th October, the pace continued on 20th October with a discussion between Alistair Hudson (Director of MIMA), around 20 MA students from Liverpool School of Art and Design (Fine Art, Fashion, Graphics and Illustration, Exhibition Studies and Urban Design) and myself (John Byrne).

Alistair and I introduced the Office, its ideas and concepts, our aims and intentions, and how this relates to our on-going research and work with our partners at L’Internationale and Tate Liverpool. We also discussed the forthcoming Visible Prize. We were also able to introduce students to Radames Anja and Thiago Hersan who will be joining us from FactLab.

In the afternoon we also had a session of talks and discussions with Patrick Fox (Director) and Kat Dempsey (Lead Producer) of Heart of Glass, St. Helens.

Today, Wednesday 21st, has seen Thiago and Radames setting up for this eveings FabLab event with Lol Barker and for beginning their creative coding workshops using Java Script and Python.

A timetable of our activities at the ‘Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 – Localist Worker’ can now also be found at the Arte Útil Website

Press Release for The Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 – Localist Worker

Office of Useful Art at the Exhibitions Research Centre, Liverpool John Moores University 19 – 30 October 2015

Initiated by Liverpool John Moores University, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Tate Liverpool.

From the 19th to the 30th of October 2015 The Office of Useful Art will take occupation of the Exhibitions Research Centre at Liverpool John Moores University.

The Office of Useful Art is not an exhibition but a campaign field station and propaganda machine for the movement of Arte Útil, translated into English as Useful Art. This is a hugely significant concept, emerging from the shadows cast by the economic crash. It takes art and its institutions in a new direction, away from market oriented objects and spectatorship and reconnects art with its older traditions as a tool for social change in everyday life.

The question of art and its position in society is the core interest of the museum confederation L’Internationale, who have teamed up with LJMU and MIMA in a five-year programme The Uses of Art to explore the contemporary possibilities of art. The uses of Art focuses especially on the role museum institutions and Universities play in facilitating art as a constructive social force and the Office of Useful Art is one of its experiments.

The Office in Liverpool will present over 500 case studies from the Archive of Arte Útil a growing online database created with the Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven and artist Tania Bruguera, an initiator of the movement and the Asociación de Arte Útil. The Asociación de Arte Útil itself will also be present to offer free membership and build this growing international network of people supporting art for the people.

The Office will offer classes, workshops, makerspace facilities and live discussion, resident artists to ‘Broadcast the Archive’ alongside production of merchandise to raise funds for the cause. At the same time the Office is asking for new ideas for projects with specific constituencies around the city – What can be done? How can we use art to make real change happen?

In this it is significant that the Office returns again to Liverpool, a city with a pioneering reputation for socially active art, exemplified by the Granby Four Streets project currently nominated for the Turner Prize.

Alistair Hudson Director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and Co-director of Asociación de Arte Útil: “This is the latest manifestation of the movement as it grows and travels from city to city, village to village, having already travelled to Queens Museum New York, Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, Tate Liverpool (2013), Ikon Gallery Birmingham, Coniston Institute (2014), Zagreb and Middlesbrough (2015). There is a growing interest in art that gets things done in the world, that changes things, that is actually of use to much wider sections of society. This way of working with art can be understood easily by all, just as wonderful human stories of artists and activists offering for example products, education, social solutions, food, or housing – anything from bullet proof skin to a community shop.”

John Byrne Liverpool John Moores University’s Manager and Coordinator of the L’Internationale Project ‘The Uses of Art’: “The Office of Useful Art at Liverpool School of Art and Design 2015 is not simply a show or event, it is a launchpad for beginning and sustaining a long term research relationship and engagement with our local, national and international partners and constituencies. We will begin to use the vehicle of socially engaged art practice as a means to develop our aim of becoming a Modern and Civic University. To do this we will actively use our proud history as one of the UKs first Mechanics Institutes since 1825, and help to re-think the ways in which art can be used a tool for the common good. “

Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning, Tate Liverpool is working in partnership with an international Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme, CAPP to work with artists whose practice is socially engaged and collaborative: “Artists are at the cornerstone of learning and curatorial practices at Tate Liverpool, working with and between the organisation and our communities or constituencies. Tate Liverpool’s vision of ‘Learning with our audiences through art’, attempts to breakdown the hierarchies of knowledge that persist within the museum, welcoming the creation and presentation of new knowledge in new ways to a wider audience. Co-design of programmes, resources and spaces with artists, children, young people and adults will change the nature of how the museum of the future operates… exciting and challenging project”.

This project forms part of the five year ‘Uses of Art’ project with L’Internationale confederation of European museums and was made possible with the support of the Culture Fund of the European Union and Arts Council England.


Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 -Localist Worker


Sponge by Sponge, scrubby by scrubby, wooden fob by wooden fob, the Localist Workers and Users will fill the world with positive action! As part of The Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 – Localist Worker, Liverpool School of Art and Design will be  hooking up with Fab Lab Liverpool, FACTLab, and Middlesbrough based Social Art experiment Boosbeck Industries as a means to begin radically re-thinking the relationships between art, technology, use and the work (or labour) of art.

The Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015

On Monday 5th October, the Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 got underway with a talk in the LJMU/Liverpool School of Art and Design ‘Exhibitions Research Centre’ space. Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning at Tate Liverpool, kindly joined us for a discussion about the range of ideas and parameters that the Office of Useful Art activates as a vehicle for collaborative learning, production and change. We were also joined, via Skype, by Gemma Medina and Alessandra Saviotti – who are the activists behind the ‘Broadcasting the Archive’ project with The Asociacion of Arte Útil. The Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 will bring together work undertaken through ‘The Uses of Art’ Project, in association with L’Internationale, MIMA, Tate Liverpool and the Association of Arte Útil. The Office of Useful Art: Liverpool 2015 will also act as a means to develop and generate debate in the lead up to the Visible Award debate and prize giving which will take place in Liverpool on 31 October 2015.


The Glossary of Common Knowledge: Geo-Politics

From Wednesday 16th to Friday 18th of September I attended the ‘Geo-Politics’ Glossary of Common Knowledge Seminars and Talks at +MSUM Ljubljana. This was an incredible event, details of which can be found at the Glossary of Common Knowledge site. The event launched with a talk by Boris Burden and also included a public Panel on ‘The Geopolitics of Migration’ from Boris Buden, Djordje Balmazović (Škart collective), Ela Meh, Tzortzis Rallis and Darij Zadnikar. As the realities of the migration ‘crisis’ gripped Europe, it was also decided to add the term ‘Migrancy’ to the debate over Geopolitics. The next Glossary of Common Knowledge Seminar will be in Liverpool in early March and will look at the term Constituencies as part of the L’Internationale ‘Constituencies’ research strand of the ‘Uses of Art Project’.