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Title: Swimming upstream : Small Visual Art Organisations (SVAOs) in the midst of the ethical turn, 1990-2016
Author: Bilbao Yarto, Ana E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6352 2009
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2017
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This project is the first historical account of the emergence and development of Small Visual Arts Organisations (SVAOs) in various parts of the world from the 1990s to the present. I define SVAOs as structurally small, non-profit spaces that are dedicated both to the production and to the dissemination of contemporary art. They are characterised by their interest in the local community in which they are located, as well as in diverse urban issues ranging from new technologies to the social art practices in their cities. In spite of the potential practical and ideological similarities with artist-run spaces, community arts organisations, and New Institutions, I argue that SVAOs are a curatorial phenomenon in their own right and, as such, represent a missing piece in the recent history of exhibition making. Despite the diverse conditions of their emergence and the particular nature of the local situation to which they were responding, SVAOs have increasingly adopted curatorial strategies and methods of engagement with their publics that have been gaining popularity at a global scale since the 1990s, especially in larger arts institutions and mega-exhibitions. This project thus deals with both the global proliferation of this relatively homogenous curatorial language and with its internalisation by SVAOs, together with the problems inherent in this issue. Specifically, it is my intention to demonstrate how these spaces can give us new perspectives and insights in relation to contemporary exhibition making. I show how, in virtue of the distinctive relationships that some of them have built with their publics and their artists, these spaces have fostered a unique disposition toward contemporary art. SVAOs offer something different yet complementary to what museums and commercial galleries have to offer, making them a vital component of the arts ecology of our time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Holly Crawford Scholarship ; Fundacion Jumex
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: NX Arts in general