The Syllabus IV artists live and work across the UK including Pembrokeshire, Aberdeen, Tyneside, Nottingham, Cambridgeshire and London. They are Scott Caruth, Libita Clayton, Jessica Coleman, Bettina Fung, Laura Hindmarsh, Beth Kettel, David Lisser, Alicja Rogalska, Kirsty Russell and Abigail Sidebotham. The artists work across a range of practices, from performance, filmmaking, sculpture and curating, researching diverse topics such as queer visibility, game show aesthetics, the post-colonial archive and the politics of food.
Now in its fourth year, Syllabus IV provides a programme for artists over a nine-month period and is supported using public funding from Arts Council England. It is developed collaboratively with the participating artists, partner organisations and Artistic Advisors, who this year are Sonya Dyer and Helen Nisbet.
Starting at Wysing Arts Centre in September 2018, the curriculum for Syllabus IV is built around a series of six intensive gatherings. Meeting every two months, the cohort invite guest artists, curators, writers and other practitioners to deliver intensive seminars at each of the partner venues. The Syllabus is jointly delivered by Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge; Eastside Projects, Birmingham; S1 Artspace, Sheffield; Spike Island, Bristol; Studio Voltaire, London and Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts), London.
The weekend at S1 Artspace was based on themes of ‘peripheries, communities, ecologies’ and the ways in which they intersect with labour, collectivity and collaboration. Friday included a workshop led by Manual Labours, exploring the concept of the staff room – ‘what could it mean to freelancers and who has access to it?’ On Saturday, artist Serena Lee and curator Louise Shelley led a full-day workshop imagining futures of language through collective reading, writing and making. Sunday began with artist presentations, followed by a sauna session with Warmth roaming sauna. Monday concluded with a group walk up Kinder Scout in the Peak District. The sessions over the weekend aimed to test out how ‘doing it together’ can build supportive infrastructures to help counteract the emotional and physical toll of working in a way that is itinerant, less visible or precarious.