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Transforming Collections: Reimagining Art, Nation and Heritage – Announcing the Practice Research Residencies

People stood looking at an instillation with various screens and colours
  • Written byKatie Moss
  • Published date 07 March 2023
People stood looking at an instillation with various screens and colours
Yu-Chen Wang, 2020-2022, 'If there is a place I haven't been to', installation view at Le lieu unique, Nantes (2022) and MoCA Taipei (2020).

Four artist researchers have been selected to undertake a 15-month virtual practice-based research residency as part of the Transforming Collections: Reimagining Art, Nation and Heritage project.

The 3-year AHRC funded research project aims are to surface suppressed histories, amplify marginalised voices and re-evaluate artists and artworks ignored or side-lined by dominant narratives. Working with Tate and 15 national and international museum collections, archives and arts charities, the project poses the question ‘whose voices, bodies and experiences are centred and privileged in collections?’

The artist residencies will lead to new works that critically and creatively activate the emerging research and machine-learning technologies. The commissioned work will feature in a major public programme in collaboration with Tate Learning in autumn 2024.

The artist researchers

Evan Ifekoya  

Evan Ifekoya is an artist whose work in community organising, installation, performance, sound, text and video is an extension of their calling as a spiritual practitioner. They view art as a site where resources can be both redistributed and renegotiated, whilst challenging the implicit rules and hierarchies of public and social space. Through archival and sonic investigations, they speculate on blackness in abundance. Strategies of space holding through architectural interventions, ritual, sound and workshops enable them to make a practice of living in order not to turn to despair.

They established the collectively run and QTIBPOC (queer, trans*, intersex, black and people of colour) led Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S.) in 2018. Upcoming presentations include immersive installations for Lagos Biennial (2023). They have presented exhibitions, moving image and performances across UK Europe and Internationally, most recently: a solo exhibition at Migros Museum, Zurich and a moving image commission with LUX in collaboration with University of Reading (2022); Herbert Art Gallery and Museum as nominees of the Turner Prize (with B.O.S.S. 2021); Gus Fischer New Zealand (2020); De Appel Netherlands (2019) and Gasworks London (2018).

Christina Peake

Christina Peake is a Bajan British transdisciplinary artist, educator and AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Researcher with the University of Westminster and The National Archives, whose practice explores speculative narratives of multispecies engagement, liquid/marine contextualised African-descendent and re/indigenised communities, inform and live restorative ecologies through decolonial and eco-social liberatory practices.

Christina is a long-term collaborating artist with People Dem Collective, an art and social justice community organisation based in Margate, Kent and co-founder of ‘The Future Imaginarium - the Ancestors’ Gaze’ project and was appointed Lead Artist for the De La Warr Pavilion gallery Schools’ Creative Development Network, engaging 7 primary schools and 350 children (Year 4 to 6).

Christina has worked with organisations across the charitable, cultural and environmental sectors including Correlación Contemporánea/Iwati Parana, Peru, NGO Way out Arts, Sierra Leone, Turner Contemporary, and the ‘Women at the Well’ charity, supporting women exiting sex work, trafficking and substance misuse.

Erika Tan

Erika Tan is an artist and curator whose research-led practice emerges from her interests in anthropology and the moving image. Her recent research examines the postcolonial and transnational, working with archival artefacts, exhibition histories, received narratives, contested heritage, subjugated voices, and the movement of ideas, people and objects. Much of Erika’s research practice attempts to re-invigorate, find, locate, produce – continuities, notions of relevance and establish unacknowledged entanglements – often using archives and museum collections to re-establish transnational connections between Britain and its relatively lesser remembered colonial histories and connections within Southeast Asia. Appointed to the Stanley Picker Fellowships at Kingston University in 2018, Erika is also Course Leader of the MA in Fine Art, Reader in Contemporary Art Practice at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

Yu-Chen Wang

Yu-Chen Wang is a Taiwanese-British artist and Associate Lecturer in BA Drawing at Camberwell College of Arts, University of Arts London. Her work asks fundamental questions about human identity at key points in history, where eco-systems and techno-systems have become inextricably intertwined. Yu-Chen’s central practice is drawing and she finds collaborative routes that take her work into the realms of fictional text and the subsequent production of sculptural installation, performance, music, and film, in various combinations. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, including at Le lieu unique (Nantes, 2022), Drawing Room (London, 2021), MoCA Taipei (2020), Kumu Art Museum, Tallinn (2020), National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (Taichung, 2020), Science Gallery London (2019), Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (2019); received the Honorary Mention Collide International Award, CERN (Geneva, 2018). Mapping, navigating and connecting is important to her practice, which focuses on the ecological and historical aspects of landscape, and the wider communities that inhabit it – with many projects being informed by the history of place, heritage objects, collective memories and individuals’ stories.

The project

Transforming Collections is a major 3-year project led by UAL Decolonising Arts Institute in collaboration with UAL Creative Computing Institute, working closely in partnership with Tate.

It is one of 5 Discovery projects announced in September 2021 by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) as part of Towards a National Collection (TaNC): a 5-year research and development programme harnessing the potential of new technology to dissolve barriers between UK collections.

Transforming Collections, Rewinding Internationalism

The Decolonising Arts Institute and the Creative Computing Institute together with their IRO partner Tate recently announced the Transforming Collections, Rewinding Internationalism conference on April 20-21, 2023 at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

The conference aims to bring artistic, curatorial, art historical and museological practices into critical dialogue with machine learning development. It will be sharing ongoing research and emerging findings from the project, Transforming Collections: Reimagining Art, Nation and Heritage alongside the exhibition Rewinding Internationalism conceived as a generative site of speculation and experimentation.

Find out more and book tickets at the Van Abbemuseum website.

Work by artist researchers