Arts Collaboratory

Arts Collaboratory, founded in 2007 and existing in its current form since 2015, is an ecosystem of 25 like-minded organizations situated predominantly in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Europe all of whom are focused on collective governance of the network. The organizations engage in expanded artistic and curatorial practices for social change, as well as sustainability practices in their respective contexts.

A drawing. Red shapes on a blue background.

Image: Arts Collaboratory, AC Ecosystem, drawing by Cráter Invertido, Mexico

Arts Collaboratory has a self-governing structure organized through assemblies, called bangas (meaning “time and space” in the Ugandan language Luganda), working groups, and collaborative projects. They connect communities, curatorial, activist and artist collectives, as well as people and organizations with different languages, interests, and from diverse cultural backgrounds. The aim of unlearning capital- and productivity-driven working methods is central to the way the network thinks but also lives.

The collective’s principles are given form in artistic projects that range from residencies, exchanges, and curatorial inquiry to community action and co-publications across the ecosystem. Such projects create tools that allow for new channels of creation and “radical imagination” beyond geographic, political, and linguistic divides.

In Kassel, the collectives materialize under the common umbrella of Arts Collaboratory School (AC School), sharing the acquired practice and knowledges of the network and its members. AC School comprises an array of initiatives that unfold in ruruHaus, Trafohaus, and a range of spaces that otherwise spring to life for the purpose of different projects. Based on the idea of openness and exchange and bringing together a diversity of “times and spaces,” AC School has set up, among others, a radio station, a newsroom, a living room-library, as well as a presentation of printed materials across the city of Kassel and a series of meetings, including cooking sessions. Arts Collaboratory’s tool for communicating content, known as the TAM-TAM, a hybrid newsletter and magazine, has been transformed into documentamtam, available online on the collective’s website. Several issues have been published before the 100 days of the exhibition connecting the experiences of the network to that of the lumbung members and artists on collectivity, collective pots, assemblying, shared political struggles, and artistic practice that is entangled with the social.

Past projects include, Territories 2.0, Here And Now, Minga: Exploring Utopia, Scattered Seeds, AC School, and Falling off to the Periphery.

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