Growing extraordinary art experiences out of place
Situations’ mission is to unlock new opportunities and perspectives and to catalyse positive change for people and places through extraordinary art experiences that grow out of place.
Our work begins with the site, situation, people, circumstance, history, or untold story of a place, taking us to many different cities, towns and villages across the UK, in particular South West of England, and occasionally overseas. We believe that artists (including writers, musicians, performers, and visual artists) are charismatic agents of change and we invest in and creatively support their process of making. We seek out opportunities for them to connect directly with places where an opportunity for change exists and we invite them to make new works with us as their creative producers and with the audience at the centre of how the idea unfolds. Situations champions the under-heard and overlooked; seeking out ways in which to engage those for whom the arts might have seemed irrelevant or inaccessible; advocating for the social value of the arts, and finding ways to creatively voice untold stories.
As a leader in new thinking about site-specific and public art and the civic role of artists and arts producers, Situations has developed a commitment to sharing learning, gathering evidence and nurturing new skills and talent in producing and engagement in order to improve the conditions for the production of new forms of public art. We do this through publications, events, lectures and workshops and by authoring new public art strategies for cities and towns, using what we learn from our projects to shape more dynamic, relevant creative and cultural policies for arts commissioning internationally.
Situations began its story in 2002 as a public art commissioning programme embedded within the University of the West of England in Bristol. Founded by Claire Doherty, previously Curator at Ikon in Birmingham and FACT in Liverpool, Situations grew from Claire’s sole curatorial endeavour to become an organisation recognised for the international reach and high quality of its work and for the distinctive and surprising ways in which it has engaged audiences. This is reflected in the award of the Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Award for Outstanding Cultural Entrepreneurs in 2010. On 1 November 2012, with the support of the Breakthrough Award, Situations transferred out of the University and became an independent arts charity with its studio based at Spike Island in Bristol. We are rooted in the South West of England, with Bristol as the seedbed of our programme, whilst our international projects extend the reach of our programme overseas.