Chewing the Fat
Chewing The Fat is a series of discussions unpacking diverse curatorial perspectives from across the North-West. These discussions will form a short series of podcasts which will be supported by Castlefield Gallery and released on their platforms throughout July.
The BAS9 curatorial narrative speaks of “exploring new modes of resistance” and asking “how we live with and give voice to difference”. Chewing The Fat seeks to respond to this by applying the same line of questioning directly to curatorial practices in the North-West. The aim is to think through how the specific context in which an individual works affects how they engage with this narrative. For example, how the way they work is impacted by the communities they collaborate with and the issues that affect them. Or how where they work, both geographically and structurally, changes how they engage with giving “voice to difference”.
Pavement Gallery is a 24/7 window space based on the corner of the Righton Building facing All Saints Park and Oxford Road, Manchester. It delivers an ambitious exhibition programme of international contemporary art, alongside strands of other curatorial activity online and offline. Set in a former drapery store, the space - which cannot be entered by the public - provides a highly visible stage for the display of contemporary art. Pavement is run by a rolling group of Associates. The Associate model operates on an equal division of work and democratic decision making process. James is one of four Associates currently working with the gallery.
Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair
7th - 10th October 2021
The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is the preeminent showcase of contemporary craft in the North. Including over 160 designers and makers, the fair includes both selling booths and exhibition elements. The fair also moved to a new location in 2021, Manchester’s Victoria Baths. Along with three other curators, James was invited to curate an exhibition for the fair in the historic Turkish Baths rooms at Victoria Baths. The exhibition highlighted the practice of a number of established UK based makers who work in particularly unusual or experimental ways, pushing the boundaries of their respective crafts.
Curators of Tomorrow is a fellowship programme initiated in collaboration between Q21/MuseumsQuartier Wien and Manchester School of Art. The initiative is designed to facilitate collaboration between practitioners in the two locations and provide current postgraduate students with the opportunity to pursue research interests in a new setting and develop an international profile. James was invited to be part of the inaugural cohort of the programme which launched in July 2021, travelling to Vienna and spending one month as a curator in residence at Q21.
3rd - 31st July 2021
New Art Spaces
Extension was an exhibition that took place in Castlefield Gallery’s New Art Spaces Wigan, a temporary exhibition and studio space occupying a former Marks & Spencers. The exhibition grew out of Castlefield Gallery’s main gallery exhibition Obstructions. Taking place several months after the initial exhibition, Extension gave four of the artists involved with Obstructions a space to revisit ideas from the first exhibition. For some of the artists this meant building directly on their work from Obstructions, for others it was a more tangential exploration, presenting an opportunity to approach the same ideas in a fresh way. The exhibition took place within the old shop front window display spaces and the artists were also encouraged to respond to this context.