Restock, Rethink, Reflect Five: on Managing The Radical

Ongoing Project

From DIY15: How the fuck…? led by Katherine Araniello & Teresa Albor (image courtesy of the artists)

Restock, Rethink, Reflect

Restock, Rethink, Reflect (RRR) is an ongoing series mapping underrepresented artists, practices and histories. The series aims to mark the impact of Live Art practitioners and practices, whilst supporting future generations through artist’s development opportunities, resources, projects, and publications.


Following the first four Restock, Rethink, Reflect projects on race (2006-08), disability (2009-12), feminism (2013 -15) and privilege (2016-18), Restock, Rethink, Reflect Five (2019-21) is about Managing The Radical.


Restock, Rethink, Reflect Five

RRR5 (2019-21) will consider the idea of managing the radical (or radicalising the management) and aims to rethink, reposition, and reimagine how art that operates and thinks ‘differently’ is created, produced, peopled, framed, funded, represented and contextualised. The project will ask what forms of management and methodologies of production might be more appropriate and effective for radical new forms of artistic practice?

Live Art has always broken the rules of cultural production and consumption. Defying markets and the traditional economies and exchanges of art and performance, Live Art is often intrinsically collaborative, process based, context specific and audience centred. Live Art is, in many ways, a research engine driven by artists who are working across forms, contexts and spaces to open up new artistic models, new languages for the representation of ideas, and new ways of activating audiences and intervening in public life. Live Art challenges who is making art, how they are making it, where they are making it, and who they are making it for. For many black, women, queer, disabled, trans, working class and other socially marginalised artists Live Art offers a site to break apart traditions of representation and explore the construction and performance of identity. For many politicised, artist-activists Live Art offers new creative strategies to effect change in relation to a host of urgent and complex socio-political issues.

Live Art is on the frontline of enquiries into what our culture is and what it can do, and almost inevitably demands different approaches to ideas of arts management.

RRR5: Managing the Radical is a collaboration with the MtR Action Research Group (Amit Rai of the Business and Management School and Nick Ridout of the Drama Department of Queen Mary University of London; producers Orlagh Woods and Gini Simpson; and Cecilia Wee of Artsadmin). The first year of the project is partially supported through the Collaborations Fund of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary University of London.

The first year of RRR5 (2019) will be research focused, look at the potential directions this project might take, and ask -

what the key research questions and needs might be.
what structure and scale of project is appropriate.
where resources may be sought to support the project.
What resources and knowledge the project might generate.
What the impact of the project could be on Live Art and beyond.

The first year of the project (2019) will involve the following elements:


1. Library Performing Rights commission

The Library of Performing Rights (LPR) was originally created in 2006 (by Lois Weaver of Queen Mary University London in collaboration with LADA) for Performance Studies international (PSi)12: Performing Rights, as a unique resource that examined the intersection between performance and human rights.

Since PSi12, LPR has been housed in LADA’s Study Room as a distinct collection of materials, has been presented in Vienna and Glasgow as part of LADA’s Performing Rights programmes, and has been installed in Rio De Janeiro and Montreal in curatorial initiatives led by Andrew Mitchelson and Lois Weaver.

In August 2017, the LPR was reimagined and reactivated by LADA, Lois Weaver, Elena Marchevska and the Study Room in Exile in Liverpool, as a concept or approach to research and practice, rather than a distinct collection. It is available as a place of action, a place of knowledge exchange, a repository of experience, and a context that others can use to support and advance their own work both at LADA and elsewhere.

A key part of the reactivation of LPR is an annual commission inviting artists to respond to the materials and the issues. The annual commission is realised through an open call for proposals and involves three core elements – a live performance or performative presentation, the generation of an item to be included in the LPR, and the dispersal of ideas or knowledge

The first LPR commission took place in 2018 and was undertaken by Barby Asante who created a workshop and collective recitation of Declaration of Independence on issue of independence and justice for women of colour.

The second LPR commission is informed by, and will inform, Managing the Radical. The call for proposals was issued in early 2019 and the commission was offered to Nando Messias, whose project The Pink Supper responds to a global climate of renewed hostility towards queer people.


2. The Garrett Centre Commission

LADA has been based in the East End since it was established in 1999. In 2017 LADA moved into a former Unitarian mission The Garrett Centre in Bethnal Green to begin a new chapter in its history.  Founded by Unitarians The Garrett Centre began as a centre for social action in the late 19th century and continues as a hub for arts, ethical and community focused groups and social action projects.

To support its relocation to a new neighbourhood LADA has set up an annual commission for The Garrett Centre - inviting proposals from artists for projects that will explore and test ideas for new ways of working and new ways of engaging with local publics and partners.

The first Garrett Centre Commission is being undertaken by Max+Noa (formerly Sheaf+Barley) to create The Mansford Window – a stained glass window being created with local children through the social action project Simple Gifts.

The second Garrett Centre Commission is informed by, and will inform, Managing the Radical. The call for proposals was issued in early 2019 and the commission was offered to Hari Byles and Katherine McMahon, who project Earthlings engages with a number of green spaces across Bethnal Green.


3. DIY

DIY is LADA’s annual, flagship professional development programme - opportunities for artists working in Live Art to conceive and run professional development projects for other artists.
DIY is run in collaboration with over 20 national partner organisations and each year supports between 20 and 25 artist led projects across the UK. Projects are selected through an open call for proposals.

DIY understands that the development of a Live Art practice is as much about the exploration of ideas and experiences as training in skills and techniques, and past DIY projects have proved to be invaluable experiences for project leaders, participants and organisers alike. DIY supports exciting, innovative and idiosyncratic Live Art professional development projects that offer something new and are geared to the eclectic and often unusual needs of artists whose practices are grounded in challenging and unconventional approaches, forms and concepts.

DIY projects can take any form, can be based anywhere, and can be loosely or rigorously focused on a specific theme/content.

Two DIY projects in 2019 are informed by, and will inform, Managing the Radical. The call for proposals for these projects was issued in February.


4. Seminars/Gatherings

LADA hosts public and invite-only seminars and gatherings in its Study Room and elsewhere bringing together artists, activists and academics to discuss key practical and conceptual issues relating to Live Art. Guest speakers and contributors are invited to present provocations and open up wider discussions with attendees.

Invited and public gatherings during the first year of RRR5: Managing the Radical:

The first (public) gathering looked at Collective Practices of Care in experimental performance and will take place at The Place Theatre in London on 5 April (4 to 5.30pm) as part of The Sick of the Fringe's Care and Destruction Festival, 2019.

The second (invite-only) gathering looked at Experiments in Organisation asking and took place at LADA on the 8 May.

The third (public) gathering, Take the Money and Run: Power, Money and Counter-Power, will take place at LADA on 19 June at 7pm and will share ideas about how we might build for future struggles to free art and artists from their dependency on the proceeds of toxic capitalism.


5. Study Room Guide

As part of the continuous development of their open access Study Room research facility, LADA commissions artists and thinkers to write personal Study Room Guides around specific themes to navigate Study Room users through the extensive resources LADA holds in a new way and highlight materials that they may not have otherwise come across, and to help LADA research key titles to acquire for the Study Room.

Study Room Guides are created for, and used by students educators, scholars, artists, producers and others as research tools. Guides are primarily online resources hosted on LADA’s website, but are often designed and printed in limited edition runs and strategically promoted and disseminated.

We will commission an artist/writer to research and write a SR Guide on these issues particularly looking at past or existing models, including glorious failures.


6. Thinker in Residence

LADA’s Thinker in Residence scheme supports artists, writers and curators to undertake residencies to think through key issues that relate to their own practice and to aspects of LADA’s work to help both parties find new ways of approaching identified challenges and areas of interest.

LADA’s Thinker in Residence scheme supports artists, writers and curators to undertake residencies to think through key issues that relate to their own practice and to aspects of LADA’s work to help both parties find new ways of approaching identified challenges and areas of interest.

Current Thinkers in Residence are Hester Chillingworth with a focus on Young People, Gender and Live Art, and Claire MacDonald with a focus on connections with the Unitarian community, other tenants at The Garrett Centre and the neighbourhood.

We have invited Selina Thompson to be our Thinker in Residence for Managing the Radical, ‘thinking through’ some of the issues and research questions this project raises and making their thinking visible through blogs and other public manifestations.

Previous Thinkers in Residence have included Barby Asante, George Chakravarthi, Adrien Sina, Manuel Vason, Mary Paterson and FrenchMottershead.