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About BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art

Institute for artistic and curatorial experimental research and practice

The BxNU Institute is a centre for international artistic and curatorial research and practice instigated by Northumbria University and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. We develop exhibition ideas, discussions and events that are ambitious and interdisciplinary in nature, focusing on critical themes of priority at both institutions.

BXNU events take place at BALTIC, Northumbria University, with collaborators in the region and further afield and in the Experimental Studio.

BxNU is located at BALTIC 39, a publicly accessible hub for contemporary art and postgraduate teaching housed in the former Ward’s printing house on High Bridge in the city centre of Newcastle. BxNU is affiliated with NU’s MFA Fine Art, MA Creative and Cultural Industries Management, and the practice-based postgraduate research community of the Art Department, Northumbria University. BALTIC 39 also houses galleries programmed by BALTIC in collaboration with BxNU, cultural industries studios and the New Bridge Bookshop.

Over the next five years, a series of exhibitions, seminars, talks, symposia and exhibition events will connect the institute with local and international artistic and curatorial practices under the direction of Professor Andrea Phillips and in collaboration with practitioners who are teaching and learning at the university, international guests, alongside curatorial and learning staff, and artists working at BALTIC. We understand the production of contemporary art as an activity in dialogue with other practices and forms of knowledge in the world, and BxNU is driven by this.

Vision

“My vision of BxNU is as a site of radical experimentation, using artistic and curatorial tools, which will come to exemplify ways of working with and learning from communities that are based on practices of social, financial, educational equality and desegregation. Building on the long historical tail of committed political and social activism in the North East, I hope that BxNU will demonstrate that the arts sector and arts education in the UK need not be driven by meritocratic imperatives.”
Andrea Phillips, 2018

Through collaborative teaching and research over the next five years the BxNU Institute will focus on two broad themes:

  • Researching cultural organisations: economıes and ecologies of the future
  • Examining (arts) education: searching for equitable models of delivery

These two themes are explored initially through two symposia with connected seminars and reading groups:

  • In Need of Education: practices of learning in art and school (November 2018) view video
  • The Politics of cultural organisation (June 2019) details announced soon

Through this we hope to contribute to a local, national and international practice of reframing the ways in which higher education institutions, arts centres and their overlapping constituencies can work together.