June 2017–June 2018
In Residence was a strand of the Participation Programme which supported artists with a particular focus on public and social practice – it’s aim was to connect the gallery with our locality over an extended period of time. Collective practice They Are Here (Harun Morrison and Helen Walker) were the inaugural artists of this pilot residency programme, they aimed to engage and confront a number of social issues specific to the gallery’s locality, as well as its neighbouring boroughs.
In August 2017, They Are Here commenced their residency with Precarity Centre: SW4 7JR.
Precarity Centre was an itinerant, conceptual framework for an interdisciplinary programme of talks, workshops and performances, that explored and mitigated against precarity. Precarity can be defined as a precarious existence, lacking in predictability, job security, material or psychological welfare. The social class defined by this condition has been termed the precariat. Precarity Centre was also an experiment in social space, seeding interaction between local Lambeth–based groups, the arts community and those who work in the public sector.
In parallel to their work at Studio Voltaire, They Are Here have continued developing Ayandeh Garden, co–founded in 2016, with young adult refugees and asylum seekers who also participated in Precarity Centre. In 2017, the artists presented the performance work 40 Temps, 8 Days at Tate Modern with temporary workers ‘on the books’ of recruitment agency Adecco.
This hybrid network of interactions directly informed their final Studio Voltaire project Laughing Matter (2018). This project addressed how work and working relationships are framed and staged, as well as the complex dynamics of working with those who do not identify as artists and how and when we can ‘pass the mic’.
They Are Here (f. 2006) is a collaborative practice steered by Helen Walker and Harun Morrison, currently based in London and on the River Lea.
Their recent projects, performances and exhibitions include 40 Temps, 8 Days, Tate Modern, London; The People Behind The Financial System: Sweden, Konsthall C, Stockholm; PLEASE IDENTIFY YOURSELF, Furtherfield, London; Tantalus, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (all 2017); Precarity Centre: B5 5RS, Grand Union, Birmingham; Offshore Transactions, River Lea, UP Projects (both 2016) and Location Scouts, South London Gallery, London (2015). In June 2016, They Are Here co–founded Ayandeh Garden, a community–growing project in Finsbury Park involving young adult refugees and asylum seekers.
Images courtesy of They Are Here. Photographs: James Allan, Indre Neiberkaite, and Helen Walker.