Policy Show is Eastside Projects as a
think tank made up of a core group of artists and curators. Across Policy Show the core group will create three new policies at three different scales, and a series of actions to share, test and implement these policies. Each policy will be an artwork or be informed by art thinking and art making.
Policy, though not always transparent, is a key human activity. It is a principle or course of action guiding personal, organisational, and political approaches to living. The think tank as a body of experts drafting and informing policy on particular subjects (often social, political, economic or corporate) is an effective but contaminated device for change. Policy Show proposes a
think tank as a positive reconstructive force – a no-pressure-think-tank, a working group, a think group or fizz tank.
The Policy Show
think tank is centred around a series meetings in which multiple publics are active participants. Each public meeting will also include invited guests to guide the policy making. At the end of each session the core group will draft a new policy and plan a series of actions to share, test and implement the policy.
‘Policy Show’ is the latest in a series of group exhibitions and productions within Eastside Projects that test modes of exhibition and the construction of public spheres. The series started with ‘This is the Gallery and the Gallery is Many Things’ (2008), and includes ‘Sculpture Show’ (2009), ‘Book Show’ (2010), ‘Painting Show’ (2012), ‘Trade Show’ (2014), ‘Display Show’ (2015-16), and ‘Production Show’ (2016-17). Each project invites new curatorial and artistic voices to effect change upon the existing conditions of Eastside Projects and aims to impact on artist practice further afield.
Meeting #1: Unspoken policies of the art organisation
15 September, 2–5pm.
During our first public meeting we began to develop our first policy in response to unspoken policies of the art organisation.
think tank considered questions such as: Who cleans the bathroom? How much should we be paying artists? What is the lifespan of an art organisation? What works? What doesn’t work?
Rosalie Schweiker facilitated the public meeting which examined these questions together with participants, in order to develop a policy of care for Eastside Projects and beyond.
Meeting #2: Unspoken policies of housing
19 October, 2–5pm
In Birmingham City’s Council Chamber the public working group discussed existing policies and future imaginaries for social housing.
Participants were invited to submit questions in response to the discussion and common themes that arose throughout the afternoon. The whole group then used the Council Chamber voting system to express agreement, disagreement or abstention. Questions included: Could non-heteronormativity be a design code? Are artists special
Meeting #3: Unspoken policies of education
1 December, 2–5pm
Students and Teachers of Birmingham Ormiston Academy contributed to discussions and workshops on art and education at every level. Along with Eastside Projects we proposed questions such as: What is missing, what works, what doesn’t work? What more could be done?
It was great to have many learners, educators, and artists of all ages join us at the Birmingham Ormiston Academy!
Policy Show Resources
Thanks to everyone who has attended our Policy Show events so far. Thinking and working together through such complex topics as care, housing, and education is something we want to give time to. We are working together with our staff and the Policy Show artists to think through the most meaningful ways forward, both in small organisational shifts and future programming, as well as policies we will share locally and nationally. This resources section will be updated with reference material, responses from the artists and other content as we move forward with the project.