From the 10th to the 12th of June 2019 the Association of Arte Útil www.arte-util.org Summit took place at The Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester. This was an opportunity for members of the Association to catch-up, think through and begin planning the next steps of the Association’s progress for 2019/2020. As part of the Summit Alistair Hudson (Director of The Whitworth and Manchester Art Galleries and Co-Director of the Association of Arte Útil) was able to show us the space at the Whitworth Art Gallery that will become a permanent ‘Office of Useful Art’ and which will house an activated iteration of the Association of Arte Útil’s Archive. Tania Bruguera, instigator and Director of the AAÚ, talked through some of her aspirations for the development of the Association and Stephen Wright updated us with further thoughts about 1:1 Scale, Double-Ontology and the difficulties with writing a plausible contract of the AAÚ archive.
On 23rd of May I was invited by Owen Griffiths to represent The Association of Arte Útil at ‘Assembly Swansea’ which was organised by a-n (Artist Network). Owen Griffiths asked me to outline the work of The Association of Arte Útil and to also participate in a discussion about Constituencies and alternative ways of developing socially engaged art practices around use and use value. Griffiths, who has worked on The Trebanog Project, and who is also collaborating with HMP Prisons, Social Services and the edible land and community workshop space Graft (a soilbased syllabus) also gave a talk about his work and a tour of the garden school that he has been developing as part of the National Waterfront Museum. During the visit I was also introduced to Karen Mackinnon, who worked with Griffiths on the Trebanog Project, and who has recently taken over as Director of the Glynn Vivian Gallery in Swansea. As a result of this The Association of Arte Útil invited Griffiths to participate in the forthcoming AAU Summit at Whitworth Gallery Manchester and we also agreed to explore the idea of possible collaborations between the cities of Swansea, Liverpool and Manchester.