In:Site Festival is an annual opportunity for new graduates to create temporary, bespoke public artworks outside in Birmingham City Centre. The festival has been taking place since 2011 and has developed into a week long event showcasing a wide variety of makers.
The festival is distinctive in commissioning new graduates to develop, define and reflect on site-specific and/or socially engaged craft practice in a public setting. In this context, socially engaged practice means a collaborative engagement with the public for artistic outcomes and may also include social outcomes. Site-specific is defined as responding to one or more of the following areas: geographical, historical, social and cultural aspects of the space.
Past commissions have included casting jewellery from cracks in paving slabs and contemporary lace pieces on trees inspired by tracking people’s movement around the park. With different artists working each day, at the end of the festival visitors can expect to see the space adorned with new art works.
Graduates have not always had the opportunity through their coursework to consider socially engaged practice or creating public art. Craftspace is often involved in commissioning public art or bespoke work for particular settings. Clients require a level of experience and track record and we are often unable to appoint new graduates for these opportunities. The context and brief for In:Site provides graduates with the chance to test the viability of ideas, go through the process of a live commission, respond to a brief and a specific site and engage with the public at first hand. They also learn about risk assessment, contracts, working with an arts organisation and positioning their practice. Having something credible on their CV soon after leaving college is definitely a benefit. Working with a well-established organisation like Craftspace means that new graduates can tap into our extensive curatorial expertise and knowledge of the cultural sector as well as our networks and resources. We can often signpost people to further opportunities.
Deirdre Figueiredo, Director, Craftspace
In:Site takes place in Birmingham Cathedral Square on 5th-7th September 2019.
Artist can apply on the blog. We research new graduates at degree shows and at New Designers.
You can see what artists have done in previous years on the project blog.