New Patrons

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MEDIATION between (CO-) PRODUCTION AND ART EDUCATION

27. + 28.5.2021, online event

Insights into the mediation practice of the New Patrons for and with art and cultural mediators

In this workshop for art and cultural mediators, we provide insights into the processes of mediation behind the accompaniment of art on behalf of citizens. We present New Patron's special model of active local participation in ambitious artistic projects and report on the opportunities, peculiarities and challenges that mediators – as mediators in a broad sense – encounter while implementing non-profit projects together with citizens and artists.

Video: 1st workshop day, conversation between Alexander Koch and Amanda Crabtree on 30 years of New Patrons in Europe

"The protocol recommends that art mediators, whose task is to connect artworks and the public, do the same with people: create connections between artists, patrons and all other actors involved".
François Hers: The New Patrons Protocol, 3rd paragraph (1990)


New Patrons mediators have been working since the 1990s in France, Germany and beyond on the basis of the same protocol: from the initial idea to the realisation of finished works, they accompany citizens through an open-ended and demanding process to translate their demands and concerns into contemporary art forms and projects. These processes can take many forms. They depend on the respective perspectives and needs that all participants bring to the table, and they thus anchor a (more) democratic shaping of the art business already at the level of production.

Whether people in twelve neighbouring villages deal with their concerns about growing old in the countryside, confront the smouldering conflict over a community centre or transform the garden of a community centre for unemployed people into the hitherto missing community space for an entire city – at the beginning of every commission, in the mediation model of the New Patrons, is the local issue, the common concern of a group of citizens. Mediators with experience and know-how in cultural production accompany the groups from the formulation and publication of their commission, through the search for suitable artists and allies, to the design and implementation of the artistic vision on their doorstep.

Artists develop unusual and often surprising responses and perspectives to the concerns of their commissioning groups. People with little or no previous knowledge of contemporary art set things in motion when they work with artists and mediators from design to implementation and, in the course of the commissioning process, become experts themselves who can ultimately explain the artwork they have commissioned in the most competent way.

How does the practice of mediators combine knowledge from art and its mediation with lived social responsibility, project management and political work? How can art production on behalf of citizens be anchored in society as a collaborative practice in the future?

We invite you to get to know this model of action based on the protocol of the New Patrons in a workshop atmosphere. We will report on typical situations in our work from our own personal and project-related experiences as mediators, refer to recurring actor constellations and leave room to reflect on these together with the participants in relation to their own practices.

Among others, two guest speakers will provide impulses for the discussion: Amanda Crabtree, long-time mediator and chairperson of the French Societé des Nouveaux commanditaires, and Judith Laister, cultural anthropologist in Graz.

PROGRAM

Thursday, 27.5.2021, 10.45 am–1.45 pm

  • Presentation of the New Patrons model methods and historical background including presentation of exemplary projects: Gerrit Gohlke (Head of Regional Development) and Alexander Koch (Director) (in German)
  • Mediator Amanda Crabtree in conversation with Alexander Koch on 30 years of New Patrons in Europe (in English)
  • Afterwards: opportunity for informal discussions

Friday, 28.5.2021, 10.45 am – 2pm

  • Judith Laister: To Art its Time. Impulse lecture and discussion on the processes and actor worlds of art on behalf of citizens (in German)
  • Afterwards: Workshop discussions with mediators and organisers of the New Patrons and joint plenary session

On both days after the event, there will be the opportunity to make contact and ask specific questions in individual discussions.


PARTICIPATION

Participation is free of charge. In order to be able to create spaces for personal exchange, we limit the number of participants to a maximum of 40 people. Please register by 22 May 2021 at the latest at redmann_@_neueauftraggeber.de.


ORGANIZERS, DISCUSSANTS, MENTORS FOR WORK IN SMALL GROUPS

Susanne Burmester
Mediator in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, journalist and curator

Amanda Crabtree
Mediator in France (Hauts-de-France)

Holger Friese
Mediator in Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, media artist and designer

Gerrit Gohlke
Head of Regional development of the New Patrons Society Germany

Kathrin Jentjens
Mediator in Rhineland, art historian and curator

Alexander Koch
Director of the New Patrons Society Germany

Judith Laister
Cultural anthropologist

Mirl Redmann
Mediator in Kassel, cultural scientist and art educator

Lea Schleiffenbaum
Mediator in South-Brandenburg and Ruhr area, art historian and freelance curator

Sophia Trollmann
Coordinator project development of the New Patrons Society Germany, mediator in Brandenburg, cultural scientist


Die Veranstaltung ist gefördert von der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung.

Because now I would feel authorized to do it...

This text by philosopher Isabell Stengers, available for the first time in German, uses the project The Washhouse of Blessey to illustrate the democratic potential of the New Patrons model. Her contribution describes how, in the process of commissioning and realising artworks, civil society groups empower themselves and become aware of their own capacity to shape their community.

The project The Washhouse of Blessey was commissioned by the citizens of the village of Blessey in Burgundy, France, between 1997 and 2007, in collaboration with the artist Remy Zaugg and the mediator Xavier Douroux. It is considered one of the most impressive projects in the 30-year history of the New Patrons. The documentary film The New Patrons of Blessey, in which the commissioners take a look back on the project, is an essential starting point for Stengers’ reflections.

Isabelle Stengers, a Belgian philosopher born 1949, became known for her work with the Russian-Belgian chemist and 1977 Nobel prize winner Ilya Prigogine. She then turned to the history and philosophy of science. She has written widely about the need to resist the positivist authoritarian model of science, thinking with philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze, Alfred North Whitehead, Donna Haraway and Michel Serres, and with the French philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour, among others.

Stengers’ text was originally written for the publication Faire art comme on fait société (les presses du réel). Published in 2013, the reader encompassed for the first time a broad field of theoretical perspectives on the programme of the New Patrons. In 2017, the adapted and supplemented English-language edition Reclaiming Art. Reshaping Democracy (les presses du réel) was released.

A Practice Report: Susanne Burmester

Susanne Burmester has been a curator, journalist, and project manager since 1993 and lives and works on the island of Rügen. She joined the New Patrons as a mediator for the German pilot phase in 2017 for the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region and currently mentors three citizens’ groups. In Greifswald, the commissioners have invited Daniel Knorr to develop a work of art; Antje Majewski is working on designs for the village of Wietstock; and the patrons of Kasnevitz (Rügen) are preparing their commission.

For Commissioned by – Art in Relation, international mediators reflected on the significance of the New Patrons Protocol for their work: The Protocol can in principle be put into practice anywhere in the world, as it does nothing more than describe a way in which people can work together. All decisions are made locally by independent actors. Moreover, the protocol enables not only contemporary art projects, but also scientific research commissions, as well as theatre productions, music, architecture, and much more.

But how universal is the protocol, which emerged in European contexts against the background of a French cultural policy around 1989, really? How is it interpreted and possibly adapted not only in different regions of Europe, but also in Cameroon, Colombia, Lebanon and Tunisia? How do different historical, cultural and political backgrounds change the perspectives of art on behalf of citizens and the concrete work of mediators? Can they recommend that the protocol be taken up in societies where it has not yet played a role?

The Mediators have reflected on these questions and their texts are now published in this series.

A Practice report: Atelier des Jours à Venir

The authors of this text, Claire Ribrault, Maria Pothier and Livio Riboli-Sasco, work at Atelier des Jours à Venir as trainers, mediators and researchers. Atelier des Jours à Venir is a non-profit cooperative company from France, aiming to empower both the research community and local citizen communities by sharing knowledge practices.

It develops trainings for university students and lifelong learning for academic researchers, encouraging them to have an active, creative, reflexive and responsible academic practice. It provides mediation on citizen science projects with a strong social commitment, where sharing the practice and values of research communities empowers citizens, in particular in socially deprived contexts.

For Commissioned by – Art in Relation, international mediators reflected on the significance of the New Patrons Protocol for their work: The Protocol can in principle be put into practice anywhere in the world, as it does nothing more than describe a way in which people can work together. All decisions are made locally by independent actors. Moreover, the protocol enables not only contemporary art projects, but also scientific research commissions, as well as theatre productions, music, architecture, and much more.

But how universal is the protocol, which emerged in European contexts against the background of a French cultural policy around 1989, really? How is it interpreted and possibly adapted not only in different regions of Europe, but also in Cameroon, Colombia, Lebanon and Tunisia? How do different historical, cultural and political backgrounds change the perspectives of art on behalf of citizens and the concrete work of mediators? Can they recommend that the protocol be taken up in societies where it has not yet played a role?

The Mediators have reflected on these questions and their texts are now published in this series.

A Practice Report: Daniela Medina Poch

Daniela Medina Poch is a-born-in-Colombia, based-in-Berlin visual artist who likes to research and write. She is currently part of the Art in Context MA program at UdK through which she came to learn about the New Patrons Protocol, whose methodology resonates strongly with her practice.

In June 2020, together with local mediator and specialist Felipe Medina and an intergenerational group of 11 people, she sowed the seeds for a commission in Barichara, Colombia. Since then, she has been engaged in thinking with the Protocol, especially interested in the translations of the protocol into new situations it could embrace in order to enable endogenous commissions, or, to trigger a shift from old patrons to new patterns.

For Commissioned by – Art in Relation, international mediators reflected on the significance of the New Patrons Protocol for their work: The Protocol can in principle be put into practice anywhere in the world, as it does nothing more than describe a way in which people can work together. All decisions are made locally by independent actors. Moreover, the protocol enables not only contemporary art projects, but also scientific research commissions, as well as theatre productions, music, architecture, and much more.

But how universal is the protocol, which emerged in European contexts against the background of a French cultural policy around 1989, really? How is it interpreted and possibly adapted not only in different regions of Europe, but also in Cameroon, Colombia, Lebanon and Tunisia? How do different historical, cultural and political backgrounds change the perspectives of art on behalf of citizens and the concrete work of mediators? Can they recommend that the protocol be taken up in societies where it has not yet played a role?

The Mediators have reflected on these questions and their texts are now published in this series.

Art Commissions throughout History

The philosopher and long-time theoretical companion of the New Patrons Bruno Latour and art historian Joseph Leo Koerner illuminate in their conversation the history of commissioned art up to its most current forms, with a special focus on citizens' commissions.

The conversation, which was originally recorded for the publication Faire art comme on fait société (les presses du réel), is available in German for the first time. Published in 2013, the reader covers a broad field of theoretical perspectives on the programme of the New Patrons. The adapted and supplemented English-language edition Reclaiming Art. Reshaping Democracy (les presses du réel) was released in 2017. Bruno Latour (*1947) is a French sociologist and philosopher whose focus is on the history of science. He has taught at various international universities, most recently at Science Po Paris, and is one of the founders of actor-network theory. Latour is an influential thinker of our time. His writings, translated into numerous languages, have become foundational works in various theoretical debates, such as the discourse on climate change. At the ZKM Karlsruhe, he worked as a curator on iconic exhibition projects. Latour has been an important supporter of the New Patrons from the beginning.

Joseph Leo Koerner (*1958) is an American art historian and filmmaker. He is a professor of art and architectural history and Senior Fellow, Society of Fellows, at Harvard University. After studying philosophy and English and German literature, Koerner switched to art history through his work on Caspar David Friedrich and shifted his research focus to European art from the Renaissance to the present. He has collaborated with Bruno Latour on a number of exhibitions at the ZKM Karlsruhe.

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