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Platform Alumni Network Meeting Round-up by Fay Turner

12th Feb 2018

Platform (also known as the Platform Graduate Award) is a project, supporting emerging artists from across the South East of England. Each year graduates are selected from across the region to partake in exhibitions hosted by Aspex in Portsmouth, De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea, MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, Turner Contemporary in Margate, and Modern Art Oxford. Every artist selected becomes a part of Platform’s Alumni Network who meet biannually to discuss topics including work, funding and the logistics of being a contemporary artist.

The first Platform Alumni Network Meeting of this year was entitled ‘Support Structures’ and focused on workspaces, facilities and information resources. The event was hosted by Phoenix Brighton, based in a huge building containing over 100 working artists and their studios. Executive Director Sarah Davies explained that more than 20 years ago the building was bought by the charity Phoenix Arts Association to create studios and exhibition space at affordable prices.

Sarah gave us a tour of some of the studios, introducing us to some of the resident artists. Rachel Cohen who said she’d been there since 1996, described the original studios as a ‘shanty town’ where the walls were made of strips of canvas. Things have moved on substantially since then!

After a brief tour of several studios and the exhibition space, myself and the other Alumni Artists presented our work to one another. I was delighted by the range of practices. From Sophie Dixon’s work of mixed reality headsets and her endeavour to use this technology to bring museum spaces and objects to life, to Peter Driver who spends days walking across the English countryside to create ghostly drawings from memory.

We also heard from Liz Whitehead, Director of Brighton based Fabrica about the organisation’s history of supporting artists and their Artist Resource, which is currently undergoing some changes due to funding cuts.

I look forward to the next meeting with great anticipation!
Fay Turner

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