SOTA Almanac Day 6: Empowering artist-run spaces

State Of The Arts (SOTA)’s 6th event within the Fair Arts Almanac programme focuses on collectivised art spaces and how they empower their members, audiences and others. Part of Jubilee’s Empowering Artist-run Spaces reflection trajectory.

03/07/2021, 14-18h
Het Bos, Antwerp
Please register here:

What do artists gain from running an organisation collectively? And how can these collectives empower surrounding actors?

Artists have not only been the victims of gentrification processes in the large cities worldwide, but for decades (unconsciously) functioned as a driving force from within this scheme. When setting up artist-run working spaces, artists often put a lot of time and energy into their start-up, maintenance and management. Of course, they get many advantages in return: being part of a network and the accompanying exchange, for example, and sometimes, hopefully, affordable space. But does it also strengthen their artistic, economic, social, and/or political position? What models exist – think for example of Scheld’apen, PAF, Jubilee, Theatergarage, etc… – that improve the opportunities and conditions of their members, and those of other groups who also struggle with the negative effects of gentrification? What ideas, tools and practices do they have?

In Belgium and internationally, there are places where there is a balance between the energy that is put in and the energy that the people involved get out. How do they do it, how are these places organised? On the basis of a workshop where we focus on ideas and solutions rather than on the problems, we will visualise a variety of ideas and models and see in which contexts and conditions they are constructive or productive, are liable to receive support, have a potential of changing the socio-economic fabric of the art world…

In 2019, SOTA finished the first Fair Arts Almanac. The content of the book was generated during a week-long summer camp in 2018 with about 70 contributors. The result was a bundling of tips & tricks, statements & demands, visions & ideas, dates & data, testimonies & voices, addresses & announcements on fairness within the complex relationships between the artistic, political, and economic sphere. The compilation of various contributions in this first edition was deliberately associative and open for debate, full of contradictions, loose ends, and inconsistencies.

Since the publication of this almanac, many things have changed: a new cultural minister, drastic cutbacks, many protests, the corona crisis, recovery of culture, a second wave, etc… It is time to prepare for a second edition of the Fair Arts Almanac. For the next edition, the editing process will be taken care of by the various reflection and working groups active within SOTA.

The almanac 2022 will be created in the monthly rhythm of one complete year. Throughout 2021, these events will take place every last Saturday of the month, each time at a different location, addressing a different topic, prepared by a different group, and open to questions that live among practitioners these days, taking the sensibilities of the various seasons into account.

The material gathered in these 12 meetings will be transcribed, transformed, and made public on SOTA’s website. Based on these materials SOTA will then publish a physical Fair Arts Almanac in 2022.

Het Bos
Ankerrui 5-7
2000 Antwerp

Read more about the Fair Arts Almanac here