DIY: 2014 – Anthony Schrag ‘The Benefits of Being A Bit of An Asshole’

Rethinking participatory and socially engaged artworks in the 21st century.

Project Summary:
Live Art naturally gives itself to working with people and indeed, many artists find their bread-and-butter in social engagement projects: workshops, public participation, community projects, etc. While some considered this work to be a necessary evil to support one’s practice, there are others who relish the chance to work alongside the general public. Problematically, however, as most of this type of work is funded by Local Authorities, publicly-funded, policy-enacting agencies (museums/galleries/theatres) must be seen to fund projects that are safe, nice and good for everyone, because as a public body, they cannot be seen to fund projects that are dangerous, exclusionary and based on the selfish needs of a few.

‘Safe, nice and good for everyone’ does not, however, make for good art, and this workshop explores how funding remits and ‘money work’ available for Live Artists have become an extension of state funding that verges on social engineering, and examines what is meant by ‘regeneration’ or ‘enrichment’ or ‘outreach’ – all suggesting there is a ‘right’ kind of culture with which to engage.

This day long workshop invites practitioners who ‘work with people’ to examine the ethics and reasons for why we are engaged in such work, and looks to develop strategies for making artworks within the public realm that are neither about cultural colonisation nor the replication of dominant hegemonies. It will involve practical insight and advice, as well as space to explore conceptual frameworks and end in a brief collaborative, and public artwork.  It is of particular interest to those who regularly work within socially engaged and community contexts.

Dates, times and location(s):
Saturday 11 October, 2014. 9.30am – 5pm. The Arches, Glasgow.

Application procedure:
Please respond to the following questions using no more than one A4 page, and email to Anthony Schrag cc'ing Aaron Wright:

Who are you? What do you do?

Why do you work with people?

When was the last time you were an asshole? Explain.

The project is also open to collective groups. Please remember to include contact details, including an email and/or phone number. Participants are required to cover their own travel and lodgings, but lunch and refreshments will be provided.

The artist:
Anthony Schrag was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in the Middle East, the UK and Canada and is currently based somewhere in Scotland. Working site specifically and in a participatory manner, he has had residencies/exhibited/performed across Europe, USA, Canada, China, Iceland as well as across the UK. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including The Hope Scot Trust, Creative Scotland, British Arts Council, the Dewar Arts Award, the 2011 Standpoint Futures: Public residency award, as well as a Henry Moore Artist Fellowship. He was a commissioned artist for the 2012 Edinburgh International Arts Festival and is currently completing a PhD at Newcastle University exploring conflict, policy and socially engaged practices.

The artist Nathalie De Brie once referred to his practice as 'Fearless'. The writer Marjorie Celona once said: ‘Anthony, you have a lot of ideas. Not all of them are good.’

For more information, please visit his impossibly outdated website:

Anthony Schrag

This project is part of DIY 11: 2014 and is supported by BUZZCUT and The Arches.

Part of DIY: 2014

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