13-16 October

New Contemporaries is working with the Bluecoat, Liverpool in the context of their 2016 exhibition and the Liverpool Biennial to host the Syllabus II artists for their next retreat. The Syllabus II artists 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: New Contemporaries retreat

Using Chris Kraus’ novel 'I Love Dick' as a framing device, artist Milly Thompson will lead the Liverpool session to address some of the challenges around the question ‘How to sustain your practice’.

Through crit sessions and a Saturday workshop, Milly will encourage the artists to think about the expectations of producing work, self-promotion, public-ness and recognising failure as a useful basis for sustaining practice. 

The context of the Liverpool Biennial and New Contemporaries partnership with the Bluecoat will also provide an opportunity to address issues of collaboration with Bluecoat Curator Adam Smythe and New Contemporaries Director Kirsty Ogg. 

The session’s last day will look at the connection between making, thinking and writing.

Thursday 13 October

The first day is a chance to see the Liverpool Biennial with an introduction by Polly Brannan, Education Curator. Polly will focus on Marvin Gaye Chetwynds’s work and the collaborative curatorial structure of this years show.

Friday 14 October

The day will start with an introduction to Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2016 exhibition by Adam Smythe & Kirsty Ogg followed by a discussion about the collaborative process of Bloomberg New Contemporaries – selecting the show; curating the exhibition & public programme.

Marie-Anne McQuay, Head of Programme, Bluecoat will introduce their Expanded Programme, and their future ambitions, what it means to work with a public and questions of audience.

After lunch, Milly Thompson will lead crit sessions with Kirsty Ogg  & Adam Smythe. The artists are asked to focus on an element of their work that they feel tends to unravel, or fails to meet expectations and how can we learn from ‘failure/s’; what would you like to improve with your practice; what is the work not doing; work that is unresolved.

In the evening, the artists will present a short video, which is tangential to their practice, eg. a commercial, a short clip. This is a social exercise, which might reflect the subjects of the crits, or alternatively pick up on the themes of Collaboration or Modes of Presentation workshop.

Saturday 15 October 

This morning Milly Thompson will continue to lead the crits 

The afternoon will be focused on a workshop led by Milly and Kirsty, asking the question 'what does it mean to lead a sustained practice?'.

It will look at the expectations of producing work as an artist and what making art ‘public’ is about. The workshop will seek to understand failure in relation to work: when work or ideas don’t succeed and why recognising failure is useful and can be a basis for sustaining a practice.

Sunday 16 October 

The final day sees a visit to The Serving Library with introduction from Stuart Bertolotti-Bailey, lunch, and then a final writing workshop led by Stuart.

Please note that we have selected the artists for this year's Syllabus II programme.

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