TATE Exchange: Fairground Diaries – Thursday (13 April)

The Politics and International Relations programme at Canterbury Christ Church University has collaborated with local organisations and schoolchildren to curate and present a live art intervention held at the Tate Modern: “Waste Not, Want Not”. Curated as part of the Tate Exchange programme, the intervention will be live from Wednesday 12 April until Saturday 15 April 2017. Dr David Bates, director of Politics & IR, reports from the scene of the ‘Fairground’:

“Watch out: The Fairground is in Town!

We had 826 visitors to our Fairground on Wednesday, and it looks as though Thursday will have topped this. We have had some really great responses from all who have attended.

Our students have engaged the public with ideas about gender, ethnicity, social class, intergenerational inequality, disability, marginalisation and exclusion.

It has been vital to experiment with these discussions in an ‘elite’ gallery space. It is great that Tate have set up the Exchange project so we can unsettle the status quo.

But, to what extent can the typical ‘Tate demographic’ engage with groups who they would rarely encounter in such a space?

The conversations I have had so far have been interesting.

Some people clearly would prefer that the class constituted distinction between high and low art be maintained. Why are these people in our space? Do these young people really have to be so noisy? A gallery is a space for serious contemplation, not fun! (Rarely has enjoyment been more of a political act!)

But others have been open to discussing the dynamics of privilege which we have set out to challenge. We have engaged people from across the globe in political conversation, without any form of ‘sugar coating’. The sense of solidarity which these conversations have engendered has been profound.

Perhaps the most powerful moment for me was in a reception event for all our partners at the close of the day. Young people from Valleys Kids and Astor College spoke about what it means to them to be able to come to London and produce work in the Tate – to constitute the Tate space as ‘their space’.

The ‘social elites’ who think the Tate – and other institutions oh ‘high art’ – are for them and them only, better think again: The fairground is in town!”

Find out more here: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/workshop/tate-exchange/fairground

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