June 2017–May 2018
In Residence is a new strand of the Participation Programme which supports artists with a particular focus on public and social practice, connecting the gallery with our locality over an extended period of time. Collective practice They Are Here (Harun Morrison and Helen Walker) are the inaugural artists of this new pilot residency programme and aim to engage and confront a number of social issues specific to the gallery’s locality as well as its neighbouring boroughs.
They Are Here (f. 2006) is a collaborative practice steered by Helen Walker and Harun Morrison. They are currently based in London and on the River Lea. Their work can be read as a series of context specific games. The entry, invitation or participation can be as significant as the game’s conditions and structure. Through these games, they seek to create ephemeral systems and temporary, micro–communities that offer an alternate means of engaging with a situation, history or ideology. They Are Here work across media and types of site, particularly civic spaces. Institutions they have developed or presented work include: CCA Glasgow, Furtherfield, Grand Union, Konsthall C (Stockholm), Southbank Centre, South London Gallery, STUK (Leuven, Belgium) and Tate Modern.
Precarity Centre is the first in a series of artworks and interventions by They Are Here during In Residence, their yearlong residency at Studio Voltaire.
If a former chapel is now a gallery, what might it become next? Artist collective They Are Here transform Studio Voltaire into Precarity Centre – a social project offering free workshops and activities. Precarity Centre is an experiment in what a gallery can be and what might take place there.
Precarity Centre is an itinerant, conceptual framework for an interdisciplinary programme of talks, workshops and performances, exploring and mitigating against precarity. An experiment in social space, the project aims to seed interaction between local groups, the arts community and those who work in the public sector. The project echoes the multi–layered activities of community centres, which continue to suffer disinvestment across London and the wider UK. Precarity Centre is intended to be relevant to local concerns, whilst bridging diverse forms of inquiry and knowledge.
The programme of events includes live music by Mx World, a performance with They Are Here and professional bubble blower Wojciech Solarski, a series of all-abilities movement workshops led by dancer Thiru Seelan, a self-defence class, a reading group and discussions on housing, permaculture and mental health. Precarity Centre will close with a daylong ‘Repair Cafe’ involving local experts volunteering their skills to repair various items, including clothing, electrical and domestic appliances, bicycles, furniture and toys.
All activities are free or by donation.