DIY 11: 2014
Professional development projects BY artists FOR artists across the UK.
DIY 11: 2014 built on the success of previous DIY initiatives and offered artists working in Live Art the chance to conceive and run professional development projects for other artists.
2014 was another bumper year with 23 projects taking place across the UK between July and November produced in collaboration with 23 national partner organizations.
In 2014, DIY projects took many forms, from the creation of a temporary biker gang in Cambridge, astrology in Yorkshire Sculpture Park an eavesdropping in Bournemouth, a workshop for assholes in Glasgow and a superhero weekender in Colchester. Between them they covered diverse subjects of investigation including chance, plagiurism, archives, the weather, criticism, feminism, participation, ageing, documentation, wage and much more.
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DIY was set up in response to the specific needs of artists working in Live Art, and particularly from an understanding that the development of a Live Art practice is as much about the exploration of ideas and experiences as training in skills and techniques. Since 2002, DIY has proved to be a unique and influential national initiative supporting artists to conceive and run unusual professional development projects for other artists.
For the eigth time, DIY took place across the UK, with the support of 23 national DIY partners - the largest ever number of partners. Twenty-three projects were held between July and November 2014. For the first time ever we were able to offer projects in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as our first ever international DIY in Dublin, Ireland. This developed our collaboration with Create Ireland who supported DIY in 2013 by offering bursaries for Irish artists to participate in UK based DIYs.
This pooling of expertise and resources between partners was yet again crucial to DIY’s success: sharing knowledge, facilities and resources, and turning lots of small budgets into one big one. The low-cost and high-impact nature of DIY is one of its most distinctive characteristics, and is a highly effective model for future collaboration and cooperation.
DIY 11 clearly benefited the artistic and professional development of the participating artists and contributed to the skills and experiences of the artists who led the projects. Over 200 artists took part in the 23 projects. The responses from the project leaders and the participants was that DIY 11's emphasis on peer training empowers artists by allowing them to lead their own professional development; enables artists to develop creative approaches directly relevant to the needs of their practice; encourages artists to perceive their artistic output and professional development as inter-related and mutually beneficial components of a 'complete' practice; and inspires artists to take risks and think differently.
This year the spectrum of participants in DIY was particularly varied with emerging, mid career and ‘legacy’ artists coming together to share ideas and experiences, proof that there’s a real thirst for life long artist development and much value in cross generational working. Backgrounds of participants and lead artists, like the nature of Live Art practice, were hugely varied. In a particularly eclectic year we saw projects led by performance artists, socially engaged artists, drag stars, body artists, theatre makers and more and in turn the participants were even more diverse, creating a really exciting melting pot of influences and interests.
DIY 11 again demonstrated that artists are extremely good at conceiving and managing complex and often demanding professional development initiatives. The role of the host organisations in DIY 11 was to facilitate, advise and support rather than organise and control. Each DIY 11 lead artist conceived their project, submitted an application detailing their idea, prepared publicity copy, managed recruitment of participants, handled all relevant participation fees, booked all necessary venues, facilitated their training day(s), and wrote an appraisal report. Each lead artist received £1,000, which covered their fee and all direct project costs, including venue hire, travel, materials and hospitality.
The Live Art Development Agency and its partners financed and secured additional funding for the initiative, distributed a Call for Proposals via email, selected the lead artists through an open submission process, advised lead artists about the logistical and conceptual focus of their project, publicised the 23 projects under the DIY 11 umbrella through a Call for Participants, organised a final networking event — the ‘DIY picnic’— for all participants, at Artsadmin, and collated this summary report.
Like previous DIY programmes, DIY 11 proved to be a very successful, instrumental, and cost effective initiative. Plans are already in place for DIY 12: 2015, which will develop the success of 2014 offering even more DIY awards in collaboration with over 20 DIY partners. We will also increase the budget of a number of DIYs beyond the standard £1000 award.
Future development and refinement could include:
Access to more tailored advice and guidance for the lead artists (if and when assistance is required).
The inclusion of travel budgets to enable greater networking between project leaders and participating artists.
A higher-profile evaluation of the projects, possibly through an event and/or publication that facilitates the sharing of outcomes and discussion of best practice.
A more generous financial base that provides artists' fees commensurate with the amount of time required to initiate, manage and evaluate a project, and remuneration for the host organisations.
Increased networking opportunities for the partner organizations to build relationships.
DIY 11 focused on professional development within the Live Art sector. It is clear that the principles and form of the DIY programme would successfully translate to other artform practices.
DIY 11’s partner organisations were Abandon Normal Devices (North West), The Arches and BUZZCUT (Glasgow), Artsadmin (national), Arts Pavillion Bournemouth, Cambridge Junction, Chelsea Theatre (London), Colchester Arts Centre, Compass Live Art (Yorkshire), Contact Manchester, Create Ireland, Duckie (London), Folkestone Fringe, Forest Fringe (Scotland), hÅb (Manchester), KARST (Plymouth), Live at LICA (Lancaster), National Theatre Studio (London), National Theatre Wales, Norwich Arts Centre, Sound and Music (national) STUN (Manchester) and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.