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The Arts Territory Exchange
9th March 2017

Founded by Gudrun Filipska in 2017, The Arts Territory Exchange is a correspondence program which pairs up artists across the world and opens up a space within which to generate new ideas around our personal territories and topographies, through a simple postal exchange. The Arts Territory Exchange was set up in response to a number of factors, the growing gulf between countryside and urban areas as illustrated by the UK 2016 referendum result and the US election and the difficulty for artists from disenfranchised backgrounds to access residencies and networks through which to develop their practice and further their careers.

‘As an artist struggling to raise small children in a rural community,’ Gudrun explains, ‘I felt very cut off from the networks which had formerly helped to sustain my practice, those of universities, cities, other artists and access to galleries and conferences. In the chaos of motherhood I spent allot of time walking around the village I lived in with small children in tow and begun thinking about the territories which surrounded me as a way to develop my practice. The same year I also began An Artist Residency in Motherhood which helped me to further frame my practice around my local landscape, domestic territory and life with small children. I began to see these things as fertile material to work with rather than obstacles to be overcome. My domestic space and the surrounding territory became my studio.

‘Becoming part of an online social network of other parent artists whilst taking part in the residency I began to notice a recurrent theme, that of isolation. Artists from rural and remote communities all over the world were reaching out for support and critique. I thought it would be fantastic to create a long distance collaborative residency where artists could be partnered up and create a body of work around the theme of their own personal territory, give each other support and work towards common goals like exhibitions and publications – and so the Arts Territory Exchange was begun!’

At the Arts Territory Exchange they have a particular interest in making connections between those in remote or wilderness locations but they also support artists who feel them selves to be ‘remote’ from the art world whether for reasons of disability, parenthood or economic disenfranchisement. They also want to hear from artists who have been displaced from a territory, refugees, asylum seekers or those who are peripatetic for other reasons. Artists with a specific interest in ideas of territory and ‘place’ are also encouraged to apply as are artists who wish to move their practice in this direction. They also welcome applications from writers/academics or anyone who considers themselves to have a ‘practice’ of some kind which deals with ideas of place, local (and domestic) ecology, cartography, environment, botany or other natural taxonomies.

There are a growing number of artist in residence with the Arts Territory Exchange and they are seeking funding to develop individual collaborations, bring exchange partners to the UK and to offer support in the form of online tutorials from our pool of artists and associated academics. They are hoping to offer a programme of events in 2018 showcasing the work from their first wave of participants.

There are artists all over the world taking part in the Arts Territory exchange in locations as diverse as Suffolk, Finland, the Mojave desert and Novia Scotia. ATE facilitates an exchange of materials which explore ideas of territory, locality and place and generate archives of collaborative work which can realise them selves as exhibitions, publications, talks, life long collaborations or ephemeral experiments.The Exchanges take place through a postal exchange in the main although communication with your partner through digital means is also encouraged.

More information:

Image: from the exchange, work by Gudrun Filipska on Carly Butler‘s shelf in her home in Sooke, Vancouver Island – Booklet (caffenol developed image on watercolour paper), paintings (soil, water) and an envelope filled with Fenland soil. Photograph by Carly Butler.