Not Your Usual Kind of Fellowship

Tue 28 Mar 2023

Over the last six months, we’ve been working with six individuals on Unseen Futures, our inaugural fellowship programme.

Right from the start, we knew that we wanted Unseen Futures to be different from other artistic fellowship models across the cultural sector. We wanted to genuinely co-create with artists and be led by their needs and desires, rather than dictate what the outcomes of their fellowship could be.

We wanted to embody a sense of care, explore what it means to be an artist in today’s world, and give artists room to think without the pressure to create and generate a tangible product.

In short, we wanted this to be a living, breathing and evolving fellowship, rather than a rigid, timetabled programme. 

Since September 2022 we’ve gathered, chatted, mused, explored and connected across the globe. We’ve discovered things about our artists we (and they!) didn’t know at the start, and welcomed new people into the project as collaborators, mentors and advisors.

When we thought about how we’d present our reflections on this fellowship, we knew that the only way to remain true to the spirit of the project was to let the artists themselves decide what they wanted to share and express how they felt about it, in their own words.

True to form, our artists have presented their responses to Unseen Futures in many, varied ways.

Liz Mputu, January Miller and Julieta Gil’s response took the form of two recorded conversations directly related to their experiences in the fellowship, discussing care and artistic practice, humanising the exchange between artist and institution, and the benefits of creating an artistic rider. We’re presenting this as two podcast episodes.

Artistic duo Eternal Engine (Jagoda Wójtowicz and Martix Navrot) produced a video essay condensing their approach to working with AI in their practice which they delivered as a skill share session for the other artist fellows during the fellowship. This stems from work the duo have been focussing on during the fellowship in developing a manifesto for their work together.
As part of the fellowship each artist had the opportunity to have time with a mentor of their choice.

Uma Breakdown chose to share their conversation with their mentor Johanna Hedva. A wide ranging conversation that focused on LA Noir, horror movies, and defining as disabled goth queers whose complementary interests are bound up in big emotions and spirituality, as well as the odd bit of heavy metal and professional wrestling thrown in. Their conversation is also presented as a 2-part podcast.

While these responses can’t really be typed up as a case study on our website or neatly cut and pasted into an annual review document, the uniquely creative evaluation given to us by each artist in itself speaks volumes about the freedom of the Unseen Futures fellowship.

Indeed, all of our artists have chosen to present their thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams differently. To reflect this we’ve chosen to use Kinopio to collate these sharings from the artists alongside some other resources, links and areas of interest that emerged through the process of Unseen Futures.

Kinopio is a freeform platform that allows you to present and design in a fluid, user friendly way. After being introduced to it by Eternal Engine during the fellowship and seeing its potential, it felt like the perfect tool for tying these outcomes together. The culmination is a visually focused way of organising complex thoughts, themes and feelings.

So, with that in mind, we’re directing you away from our website to our Kinopio page, where we hope you’ll enjoy discovering Unseen Futures as much as we all had being part of this radical, artist centered way of working. 

Unseen Futures: Kinopio

Top tips for using our Unseen Futures Kinopio page

  • Right click and drag to move around the space
  • Use the zoom bar in the bottom right corner to zoom in/out
  • Click the small black arrow in a white bubble to follow an external link (they are found in the top right corner of a card)
  • Use command and click to open links in a new tab

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