3-5 February

Eastside Projects in Birmingham is hosting this weekend's retreat for the Syllabus II artists, jointly programmed by the artists and the Eastside team.

The artists selected for Syllabus II are Mira Calix, Faye Claridge, Mike Harvey, E. Jackson, Tyler Mallison, Nika Neelova, Tom Smith, Dylan Spencer-Davidson, Thomas Whittle and Laura Wilson.

Syllabus II: Eastside Projects Retreat

With contributions from Teresa Cisneros, Celine Condorelli, Ruth Claxton, Lucy Lopez, Rosalie Schweiker, Milly Thompson, Gavin Wade and Syllabus artist Mike Harvey, the weekend will look at some of the following questions: How do we escape politeness? How can art assist in making a different/better future? Is it the responsibility of an artist to think of a positive future? Is it productive to be in a time when things are unknown/unclear? What role does the cultural reception of negative emotion play? How do you make politics present in the work without being didactic? 

Friday 3 February

The first afternoon will consist of crits and conversations around the participating artists' works with Milly, Gavin, Ruth and Lucy.

This evening, Digbeth First Fridays takes place, which sees exhibitions, late-night openings, special events, culture in unexpected spaces, live music, street food and more. 

Saturday 4 February

The rest of the artist's crits will take place this morning, with an afternoon session led by Gavin. Celine Condorelli also leads a workshop called 'Working Together'.

She explains "Friendship is a fundamental aspect of personal support, a condition for doing things together; I’d like to address it as a specific model of relationship in the large question of how to live and work together — and autonomously —  towards change, as a way to act in the world. Friendship, like support, is considered here as an essentially political relationship, one of allegiance and responsibility. Being a friend entails a commitment, a decision, and encompasses the implied positioning that any activity in culture entails. In relationship to my practice, friendship is, at its most relevant in relation to a labour process: as a way of working together."

A dinner hosted by Eastside including curators, artists and directors from Birmingham and the surrounding area will take place this evening. 

Sunday 6 February

Syllabus artist Mike Harvey leads a breakfast reading group, discussing extracts from Sarah Schulman's ‘The Gentrification of the Mind’ and Sara Ahmed's ‘The Promise of Happiness’.

 The group will address some of the following questions:

∗ what is it to be present to difficulty, but not get swallowed?
∗ what is it to generous or kind versus what is it to be nice?
∗ what does it mean to look backward pessimistically?
∗ what is it to look backward optimistically?
∗ what is it to look forward pessimistically?
∗ what is it to look forward optimistically?
∗ whose pessimism and when, whose optimism and when?

This is followed by a conversation between Teresa Cisneros and Rosalie Schweiker, incorporating a workshop.

Starting with six diagrams, their workshop includes thoughts on: the love for admin, using no filter, institutions coming to an end, 1:1, thinking by doing, not being able to talk the polite British way, putting on your oxygen mask first before helping others, not writing, saying yes to everything, saying no to everything, ethics, teaching outside the state system, working behind the bar, occupying yourself by introducing other people, email etiquette, withholding and granting access, public speaking, thinking beyond your own body, being honest, redistribution as a way of working and why thinking alone is criminal.

The afternoon includes a song, a debrief and some time to discuss future retreats before departing.

Please note that we have selected the artists for the Syllabus II programme

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