The Syllabus is a national, collaboratively-produced alternative learning programme, delivered by Studio Voltaire; Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge; Eastside Projects, Birmingham; Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), London; and Spike Island, Bristol.
Now in its sixth year, Syllabus supports ten artists over a ten month period. The programme is developed collaboratively with the participating artists, the partner institutions and two artistic advisors.
Supported using public funding from Arts Council England.
The ten selected artists for Syllabus VI are: James Clarkson, Lauren Craig, Ufuoma Essi, Bettina Furnée, Olga Grotova, Helen Hamilton, Elsa James, Freya Johnson Ross, Daniel Trivedy and Sam Williams.
The artistic advisors for Syllabus VI are Amanprit Sandhu and Jade Montserrat.
The Syllabus VI artists work across a range of practices, from sound, filmmaking, choreography, sculpture and work in the public realm. Their work researches diverse topics such as archiving, the body, multi-species entanglement, race and representation, materiality, language and interfaces. The ten selected artists live and work across the UK, including Yorkshire, West Wales, the East of England and Greater London.
Syllabus VI is set to be markedly different from previous iterations of the programme. This year, the programme partners decided to make Syllabus free-to-access and to reframe much of the programme activity around contributions from the participating artists. Syllabus has also shifted to a hybrid online/offline model to contend with the challenges of Covid-19, with the programme consisting of multiple online meetings and shorter in-person gatherings at partner venues.
Syllabus V aimed to reach artists with a range of practices and artistic approaches and bring together individuals from across the UK. Syllabus V selected artists were: Sophie Blagden, Juliet Davis-Dufayard, Yuxin Jiang, Hwa Young Jung, Sarai Kirshner, Jack Lewdjaw, Sarah Maple, Duncan Poulton and Aliaskar Torkaliaskari.
The individuals and organisations who collaborated with the Syllabus V artists, and who were involved across the ten months, were Ruth Claxton, Eastside Projects; Tavian Hunter, Melanie Keen and Simina Neagu, Iniva; Niomi Fairweather, Rebecca Huggan and Daniel Russell, The NewBridge Project; Laura Clarke, S1 Artspace; Elisa Kay, Spike Island; John Eng Kiet Bloomfield, Wysing Arts Centre. For Syllabus V, The NewBridge Project joined as a guest partner. Barby Asante and Louise Shelley were the two Artistic Advisors for Syllabus V.
The ten selected artists for Syllabus IV were: Scott Caruth, Libita Clayton, Jessica Coleman, Bettina Fung, Laura Hindmarsh, Beth Kettel, David Lisser, Alicja Rogalska, Kirsty Russell and Abigail Sidebotham. Syllabus IV was developed collaboratively with the participating artists, the partner institutions and the artistic advisors, who were Sonya Dyer and Helen Nisbet.
At Studio Voltaire, the Syllabus IV retreat explored the role of ‘the voice’ through vocal, physical and written workshops. The programme tested tools for collaborative artistic production, experimentation and reflection with strategies such as political performance, collective listening and role-play design.
A full day session with artist Jenny Moore, exploring the collective voice through political performance and protest took place, followed by an introduction to live action role-play with Jamie Harper, a theatre director and game designer who specialises in Nordic-larp. A final day comprised artist presentations in the morning, followed by a writing workshop with artist and writer Morgan Quaintance.
Ten artists were selected for Syllabus III. Beginning at Wysing in September 2017, the artists came together to share their work and co-develop the year’s syllabus alongside the participating artists, partner institutions and lead artists, who were Jesse Darling and Harold Offeh.
The selected artists were: Frederica Agbah, Chris Alton, Conor Baird, Ilker Cinarel, Phoebe Davies, Freya Dooley, Rose Gibbs, Jill McKnight, Ben Sanderson and Karis Upton. The Syllabus III artists were from many areas of practice including photography, painting, sculpture, installation, writing, performance, poetry, and interdisciplinary and collaborative work that defies a genre. They lived and worked across the UK, including Cardiff, Folkestone, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Norwich and St. Ives.
The Syllabus is co-ordinated by Wysing Arts Centre on behalf of the network.
Ten artists were selected for Syllabus II, a national programme delivered by Studio Voltaire, Wysing Arts Centre, Eastside Projects, New Contemporaries, S1 Artspace and Spike Island.
The selected artists were: Mira Calix, Faye Claridge, Mike Harvey, E. Jackson, Tyler Mallison, Nika Neelova, Tom Smith, Dylan Spencer–Davidson, Thomas Whittle and Laura Wilson. The artists are based across the UK – Sussex, Essex, Edinburgh, Warwickshire and London – and represent a wide range of ages and experiences. Their work includes painting, sculpture, music, publishing, installation and performance, alongside cross-disciplinary and curatorial practices. Syllabus II was led by curator George Vasey, alongside artist Milly Thompson.
Starting at Wysing in September 2016, the artists came together every two months to share their work, and co-develop the year’s syllabus alongside the partners. At Studio Voltaire, workshops and talks were centred around the idea of ‘care’, and contributors included Phoebe James, Curator at Artangel; Mary Cork, Director Pilar Corrias; Dr Zoe Whitley, Tate Modern; and artists Marvin Gaye-Chetwynd, Andy Holden, Anthea Hamilton and Gerasimos Floratos.
The inaugural Syllabus took place between September 2015–June 2016 and was delivered by Studio Voltaire, Wysing Arts Centre, Eastside Projects, New Contemporaries, S1 Artspace and Spike Island.
The artists selected for the first year were: Simon Bayliss, Noel Clueit, Susie Green, Mathew Parkin, Rory Pilgrim, Jessica Sarah Rinland, Tom Salt, Lucy Steggals, Tom Varley and Rafal Zajko. Alongside the partner organisations, artist Andy Holden was invited to lead the programme.
In April 2016 Studio Voltaire held their first weekend residency. The retreat, entitled ‘On Group Work’, was led by artist Rehana Zaman and considered ‘how we work with others’, reflecting on questions of presence and notions of relation. A curated series of visits and workshops focussed on practice-led development, with contributions from Sharon Hayes, Mason Leaver Yap and Gareth Bell Jones, and off-site activities at IMT Gallery, Focal Point Gallery and LUX.
Ufuoma Essi, All That You Can’t Leave Behind, 2019
Elsa James, Black Girl Essex: Here We Come Look We Here, 2019, Tilbury Docks, Essex, film still credit Andy Delaney
Sam Williams, Latent Commons, live performance installation, Siobhan Davies Dance, 2019. Photo: Harry Mitchell