One of the best things to emerge in recent months, the Liverpool Artists Network shows how, when you work together, wonderfulness ensues, and everyone benefits. Couldn’t we all do with a little more of that thinking?

“We didn’t think Liverpool has been shouting enough,” says our friend, and co-founder, the amazing Josie Jenkins. Here’s her story:

“Liverpool has an extraordinary and varied art scene, lead by all sorts of different types of artists, from different backgrounds and at different stages in their artistic careers. When Liverpool artists get together and make amazing things happen the city is inspired. It believes in the potential of its artists and their ability to put Liverpool on the artistic map.

“My artist friend Colette Lilley and I, started Liverpool Artists’ Network because, not only did we want to increase the opportunity for these great events to be delivered to the people of Liverpool. We also wanted some recognition for the artists who make the Liverpool art scene such a fantastic thing to be part of.

“Throughout the years a great variety of independent arts organisations, studio groups, collectives and individual artists in Liverpool have voluntarily presented unique exhibitions and events that have encouraged public engagement, explored progressive ideas, and delivered refined, contemporary artwork that has been something to shout about, it’s just that we don’t think that Liverpool has been shouting enough.

306c292f-fca4-4e8b-80b0-e3a2326ab98e“We decided that collective working was the key: inspiring and supporting each other, joint programming and delivery, sharing resources, promoting each other’s work. But problems can also arise with joint working. If groups are too big sometimes nothing gets done, if organisations set themselves up to provide services to artists, the artists are less likely to take ownership. And some artists are picky about who they work with and why not; we all have different tastes and ideas about art and about how art should be delivered to the public. There’s no one with more opinions than a Liverpudlian artist.

“We believe that collective working is at its best when the relationships happen organically and when artists are given the opportunity to search out the people with whom they really want to work. Collette and I decided that Liverpool not only needed a platform for this to happen, but also a little push to move artists from ideas to activity. We wanted people to feel part of something big, and so Liverpool Artists Network was born.

“The Network is a simple concept, it does not represent, endorse or advertise individual artists or organisations but instead provides the means for these individuals to engage in discussion and plan work to collectively deliver art events across the Liverpool region.

Liverpool Artists’ Network provides:

Informal networking meetings every three months, as well as a mailing list and online forum for artists to have conversations, recruit people who they want to work with, and develop ideas and plan events.

A facility for artists who are interested in delivering events and exhibitions to be matched with other artists and organisations according to their skills and availability.

A directory of art organisations, art venues, studios, groups and collectives in the Liverpool area.

The Liverpool Artists’ Network forum is hosted by SLACK and enables artists to have more in-depth discussions and plan partnership working. Any artist can join the Liverpool Artists’ Network forum with SLACK by following a link from the Liverpool Artists’ Network website here.

When you join the Liverpool Artists’ Network mailing list you will be informed of any meeting dates and important news about the Network. You will also be sent an invitation to join the SLACK forum. The forum is made up of ‘channels’, a bit like chat rooms, where discussions can take place under different topics. Anyone can start or contribute to a channel. There is also the facility for private group messaging.

Now the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The Network will only be as great as its members and by leading with a model that does not tell the artists what they can and can’t do and how they should and shouldn’t behave, it becomes the artists’ responsibility to make the most of it. There is fantastic art being made, shown and performed in Liverpool. Isn’t it time we tie a big bow around what we’ve got, give an extra kick to what’s nearly there and then make a song and dance about it all.”

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