The Artists Journey

Day 2

Friday, 14 February 2020 (All day)

Event Institution: 

Sheffield Hallam University

Event Partner: 

National Association for Fine Art Education

Callout Link: 


Annual Conference

Booking website:

The Artist's Journey #3 Day 2 Free to NAFAE members

Event Address: 

Sheffield Institute of Arts
Fitzalan Square
S1 2AY
United Kingdom

Venue Google Map: 

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Call for papers Sheffield Hallam 2020

The Artist's Journey #3: Day 2

Improfessional practices — Im- :in, into, within, on, towards, against, not, and opposite the ‘professional’1 — art education and informal groups.;

Deadline for proposals has been extended to the 17th January 2020
Submissions should be sent to:
Any queries please email

 This conference aims to shed light on the practices, interest and groups that operate at the fringes of or outside of the ‘professional’ and formal structures of art education.

Register for the conference: The Artist's Journey #3

  • The Artist's Journey #3 Day 2 Programme

    Day 2 Programme

    Time Main Venue Art studio and Hygge
    09.30 - 10.30 AGM NAFAE AGM with Paul Haywood and Linden Reilly
    10.30-10.45 Intro Paul Haywood and Rose Butler
    10.45-11.15 Kerry Campbell, Director Mansions of the Future
    11.15-11.30 Coffee break
    11.30-12.00 Andrew Bracey, ‘Approaching Affective Zero’
    12.00-12.30 Marsha Bradfield 'Artivism and/as Communities of Practice: Precarious Workers Brigade (UK) and The Consortium for Postartistic Practices (Poland)'
    12.30-14.00 Lunch break
    14.00-14.30 Lesley Guy 'Temporary Totalities: Reimagining the world through collective fictioning in a contemporary art practice' Katerine Hjeld 'FLΔG – A student art collective past, present and future'
    14.30-15.00 Gudrun Filipska 'Arts Territory Exchange' Dr Carla Rees and Caroline Wright 'Failing Positively: Cross disciplinary collaboration as an approach to creative freedom'
    15.00-15.15 Break
    15.15 -15.45 Jo Addison and Natasha Kidd 'The Art of Not Doing: Routine, Regulation, Resistance: What do the behaviours of artists tell us?' Les Monaghan 'Photography and Neoliberalism workshop'
    15.45- Discussion
  • The Artist's Journey #3 Day 2 Information

    The Artist's Journey #3: Day 2
    14 February 2020

    This conference aims to shed light on the practices, interest and groups that operate at the fringes of or outside of the ‘professional’ and formal structures of art education. Art schools frequently facilitate or tolerate, groups of students (and staff) that take it upon themselves to meet regularly to produce work or dialogue — to explore or talk about content or means of producing, to share opportunity, to drawing or essay together, put on a show, develop performance, constructively criticise each other’s work, embark on specific enterprise, or to activate public spaces, etc.  To share experiences in a way that is not part of the formal curriculum. These groups are part of a long tradition of informal education practices that operate within and often beyond the art school. They are valued for engendering learning that compliments curriculum experiences. They are a means of extending and expanding on the potential outcomes of study; taking the individual into collaborative territories or exploring alternative dynamics that frame art possibilities and interactions with civic society. Such groups often promote initiative. They can have an ambiguous relation to the art school but can form part of the student exit strategy or lead graduates into post-study environments: alumni that continue to meet once a month, effectively maintaining the course culture; studio collectives; non-studio collective; the monthly crit located in and supported by the art school. They locate, at least partially, outside the art school and relate to a broader social and cultural community; often pointing to alternative economies and realities for graduate. The art school can be a porous institution, alive with groups that bubble up around passions and practices. It is a source of new economy and comm with art practices at the core. 

    Such groups can be framed in terms of communities of practice. According to Wenger and Snyder (2000) communities of practice can be found all over the place and many of us will be involved in a number of them; characteristically they occur when self-selecting members come together around a shared passion, because they get something out of it, and learn, problem solve, develop, enhance, and exchange knowledge and capabilities through interaction with the other members — the group lasts as long as there is interest in maintaining the group. Indeed, NAFAE is a community of practice. Wenger and Snyder propose that in communities of practice members learn to solve problems, develop professional skills, generate economy, create value, and contribute to the developing landscape of an industry. Indeed, should art schools and higher education develop strategies for identifying them, and infrastructure for supporting them? If this is an outcome of the art school that promotes or produces alternative futures does it also require an alternative relationship with the institution? Is there a danger that any formal directive to form or maintain communities of practice might generate empty shells devoid of the members personal interest and passion, their characteristic defining feature — they are communities of passion as well as practice. 

    The conference will ask about different models of groups, and the strategies evolved within the group that structure members’ interactions. What role can and should the art school play in identifying and maintaining relationships with emerging groups and networks of artists, producers or researchers? What are the models for art schools taking responsibility for nurturing and incubating opportunities for younger artists, activists, designers, and curators? 

    This call for contributions invites educators, recent graduates, external networks, and artist collectives, and research groups to submit papers, propose workshops or discussions, offer posters, that uncover, invent, and critically engage with models by which art education might foster and promote learning and thriving, and the further development of art education practices. Accounts of innovative learning practices in collaborative and group work are particularly welcome. 


    • Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, (1988) ed. Robert K. Barnhart, Edinburgh and New York: Chambers, 1988.
    • Smith, M. K. (2003, 2009) ‘Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice’, the encyclopedia of informal education,
    • Wenger, Etienne, C., and Snyder, William M., (January – February 2000), ‘Communities of Practice: The Organisational Frontier, Harvard Business Review, reprint number R00110.

    1. Chambers Dictionary of Etymology(1988), s.v. im-1 and im-2



  • The Artist's Journey #3 Day 1 Information

    The Artist's Journey #3: Day 1
    13 February 2020

    The first day is made up of invited artist presentations. While ‘professionalisation’ suggests the positive, necessary steps to becoming an artist, there are ‘improfessional’ practices that exist at an off-kilter relation to this imperative. Outside of the professional / unprofessional binary, what else do artists do, feel, or think as they build their portfolio, write their grants, or get on with these obvious tasks? And as both a direct or dissonant response to our art-making lives, what modalities of survival and thriving do we develop? How do we – or don’t we – maintain the balance, health, and motivation necessary to keep going as supposed art professionals?

    The presentations will explore these questions in two thematically-based sessions: improfessional organising (morning) and improfessional trajectories (afternoon). The morning session will focus on ways of organising, with contributions from institutional as well as artist-led perspectives. The afternoon session will turn to the different pathways that artists have made for themselves. Both sessions will feature three shorter panel presentations (20 minutes) with a group discussion, followed by a longer artist talk (40minute) with a moderated Q&A.

    The Artist's Journey #3 Day 1

  • About

    The Artist’s Journey conferences were founded through a partnership with the Art and Design department at Sheffield Hallam University and Yorkshire & Humber Visual Arts Network (YVAN). The conferences provide an annual discussion between individual artists and small-scale, artist-led collectives and organisations addressing (but not limited to) recent graduates and early career practitioners. The conferences build on support, guidance and critical discussion as part of existing courses within the local creative communities national debate. By working in partnership we broaden the conversation, provide a rich, informed and sustainable way forward to enhance the many different routes we might take to establish ourselves as artists.

    Art and Design at Sheffield Hallam University is an amazing, diverse community of artists – where staff, students and partners work as equals to deliver real innovation and creativity. Sheffield is home to the UK's largest practicing community of artists and designers outside London, bringing a constant flow of creative energy and activity. We are an integral part of the vibrant and creative city of Sheffield and have a well-established professional development programme.

    Bloc Projects is a not-for-profit creative organisation based within Sheffield city centre supporting artists at key stages in their careers through an acclaimed artistic programme of events, workshops, exhibitions and public commissions. Bloc Projects work with other local art organisations, universities and charities to ensure our activities welcome a diverse and intergenerational demographic, removing barriers to access across to all elements of our programme.

    Mansions of the Future is an arts and cultural hub in Lincoln brought to life through a public programme of free talks, workshops, communal lunches and family activities, alongside national and international artistic commissions. Working with artists from inception to delivery alongside local communities, the three year programme privileges social, site-specific and collaborative ways of working.

    NAFAE is the Subject Association for Fine Art education in the UK. We advocate the interests, promotion and cultural relevance of Fine Art education at Foundation, BA, MA and PhD levels. The Association aims to be instrumental in anticipating and shaping decisions that impact on the enhancement and future development of Fine Art by engaging with a range of constituencies.

    YVAN works to be a voice and advocate for the visual arts sector in Yorkshire & Humber, delivering a programme that effects change in the profile, reputation and sustainability of the visual arts and artists in Yorkshire & Humber, and is part of the national Contemporary Visual Arts Network.

Event Papers: