Aya News


February 17, 2019 - BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Northumbria University

Structures That Cooperate takes its name from the 2018/19 programme currently happening at Cubitt, London. It is a programme of projects that talk to Cubitt’s context as an artist-run co-operative. It is a call to question default approaches to programming a gallery space, looking instead to collective formats, imaginaries and realities. For the Ways of Learning exhibition at BALTIC 39 events will share work, process and research in collaboration with Aya Haidar, NewBridge Project, Hands on Film, BALTIC 39 Staff, Cinenova, Kirsty Clarke and the Artists’ Union England.

A communal lunch, talk, workshop and film screening centering the kitchen as a site to develop community, share knowledge and build commons.

The afternoon will begin a lunch, cooked by Grand Union’s Kirsty Clarke, served and eaten with a screening of Often During the Day, a film by Joanna Davies (1979) from the Cinenova Feminist Film Distribution collection. Often During the Day is an early Four Corners feminist film exploring the domestic sphere. The film uses detailed close-ups of a shared kitchen to examine culturally prescribed domestic roles. Scenes are cut with quotes from Ann Oakley’s 1974 book The Sociology of Housework.

After lunch artist Aya Haidar will introduce her art practice, specifically work addressing the inherent personal politics of food and recipes shared - relating to home and diaspora, memory and imagination. You are invited to join with a recipe in mind, a recipe learnt, remembered, shared. These recipes will be recorded through text and film working with Leah Millar and Hands On Film to produce a collectively made recipe book and filmed record to remain with the Ways of Learning project for the duration of its time at BALTIC 39.

BALTIC wish to open up a conversation about how to rethink the programming model of BALTIC 39 Project Space. The Director will lead a conversation within Ways of Learning to explore questions such as: Can we establish a communally used experimental site with many purposes beyond exhibition-making? Is the primary benefit to create a marketing opportunity and profile for emerging artists’ or to create a context for greater collaboration, collective working and building of community?

If so, how do we take forward building essential elements such as social cultural capital, reciprocal cooperation and symmetrical communication? How do we extend the greater desire for democratisation and facilitation of greater access to a wider public? Is there a model we can establish that enables greater communal use of operating resources? Can BALTIC 39 function as a counter-model to commercial competitive models or large-scale arts intuitions? What does the community need and want? How do we get there?

Previous to the public session, a closed meeting will be held between Cubitt, BALTIC 39 crew and the Artists’ Union England, building on conversations Cubitt is developing with W.A.G.E. to determine payment standards for artists and other workers as part of the 2018/19 programme. This meeting invites AEU and to share and organise together, to think through resource distribution in arts organisations, particularly looking at how unions, artist-led and cooperative models can develop new approaches and support artists and cultural workers working in collective political struggle.


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