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Art Lending Library, Tour

Lookup NU author(s): Neil Bromwich


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The Art Lending Library – Is fine art practice led research in to alternative ways that contemporary art practice can be accessed and experienced within area of low art provision. The research methodology has employed the construction of a mobile library structure, contains a curated exhibition of over 60 contemporary artists works, that can be borrowed and enjoyed in people’s homes, work places and community centres. The work investigates ideas of Social Sculpture, Joseph Beuy’s idea of artworks that strive to structure and shape society though the use of objects, ideas and human activity. The piolet project launched at Glasgow International Arts Festival (GI) in 2012 and then received the prestigious ACE Strategic touring fund in 2013 to tour to gallery’s and library venues in areas of low art provision across England. In doing so the project researches the effectiveness of this open structure in providing a system through which members of the public that do not ordinarily have access to the arts can find a way to engage with contemporary art practice. The project opens in each new location with a parade through the town centre aiming to evoke a sense of civic pride and a raise public profile. The effect of the research was to make new connections between local cultural providers with diverse communities and local audiences often under represented. Through selecting and borrowing artworks to have and enjoy in their own homes audiences thereby having a deeper engagement with contemporary art that they would not normally encounter, forging a direct connection between artists and their works and individual public members. The research project has additionally contributed to the invigoration of regional art scenes, development of audiences and appreciation of art in four areas of low art provision targeted by Arts Council England. Additionally, local volunteers who have worked as Art Librarians have subsequently undertaken higher education courses and careers in Fine Art and have sited the project as of significant benefit to their lives and contributed to their own engagement and thinking about public facing art projects.

Publication metadata

Artist(s): Bromwich N, Walker Z

Publication type: Exhibition

Publication status: Published

Year: 2017

Number of Pieces: 80

Venue: Touring Various: Darlington Crown Street Library, East Durham Creates Festival, NGCA, Metal Peterborough, DMU Gallery

Location: Darlington, Sunderland, Peterborough, East Durham including: Peterlee, Thornley, South Hetton, Leicester

Media of Output: Socially Engaged Project, Mixed Media, Sculpture, Painting, Performance, Drawing


Notes: The project has received wide interest and was features in the BBC Culture show. Guardian, Herald, Scotland on Sunday.