Start with Art
Arts and culture is the thread that patches together the disparate conditions of a place and time, the telltale sign that an event or thing is a part of the fabric that makes up history. Or, if you like, it's the stuff that lends significance to our reality.
Arts and culture are so important to how lives are lived and how history is perceived, yet it's no secret that it often lacks support. Funding is a constant struggle, with money being allocated instead to fields that translate to immediate commercial use. One can go through their entire education without ever setting foot in a gallery or museum, without ever knowing why perspective is artificial or how image reproduction birthed authenticity as a concept. We cease to engage critically with the visual stimuli we're bombarded with, and we lose an opportunity to better understand our world.
Well, enough of that. This guide was assembled with the intent of filling the gap wherever arts education is lacking. It’s not to take the place of invaluable taught curriculums but rather to be used as a resource for those who don’t know where to begin, or don’t know how to continue. No matter if you're in 6th form, just starting uni or looking to break into the arts midway through your career, the creators of this guide have got your back. We want to make sure anyone with the will can start with art. With this Guide to the Art World, you'll get a shortcut to the best art trails and cultural offerings of various cities across the UK as well as tips for a head start on your professional journey into the beautiful, challenging, exhilarating world of contemporary art and visual culture.
This how-to guide (or where-to guide) isn’t just for finding places to see art. This is about getting the most out of your formative years and the most from the city you call home, whichever city that might be.
Our guide is divided into four parts. The first is all about specific locations. Think of it as a travel guide for art-related destinations around the UK. ArtRabbit curated the London chapter and worked with some of the most interesting local organisations to introduce other cities. Among the organisations are Peacock Visual Arts repping Aberdeen up North and The Edge giving a tour of picturesque Bath. Ikon in Birmingham provides a breakdown of the UK’s second largest city, Phoenix Art Space uncovers the gems of vibrant Brighton and Spike Island covers Bristol in the South West. Internationally-focused Cardiff-based Artes Mundi reveals some of the best from the Welsh capital, Dundee Contemporary Arts gives an overview of the Scottish coastal city, while Jupiter Artland brings us through Edinburgh and the Centre for Contemporary Arts shows us the best of Glasgow. The Tetley provides insight into the creative hub that is Leeds and OUTPUT Gallery shows us the best of Liverpool while the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art brings us through Manchester.
The second part of the guide is an invaluable resource highlighting organisations that offer services critical to the UK arts and culture scene. From funding to fighting for artists’ rights, these integral institutions help art professionals thrive and ensure that culture remains healthy and abundant in the UK.
The third section is all about inspiration, including voices to follow for the most up-to-date scoop on the arts, films to explore and books to immerse yourself in. No matter where you are in the world, this list of specially selected media will keep you inspired, helping spur on bouts of genius during your creative droughts whilst keeping you in the loop about the wild twists and turns that culture makes.
The fourth and final section is on professional development, with an issue-specific spotlight on artists. In upcoming editions, we’ll be featuring other professions in culture, but for now, the career spotlight outlines ways for aspiring artists to take concrete steps towards their own success stories. Beyond our career spotlight, we’ve listed some key places to find jobs and opportunities in the creative sectors. From curators to writers, to jobs in sales or marketing, if you want to work in culture, you have to first know where to look. And now you will.
This guide was created out of a sincere desire to bridge the gap in arts education, to provide an accessible resource that will make it easy and inspiring to dive into arts and culture. We hope you’ll find this guide useful, and that it’ll inspire you to participate in the cultural growth of the UK. You can be a part of the fabric that makes contemporary culture so vibrant and diverse by paying your local arts organisations a visit. Support these organisations by giving them a follow on social media or subscribing to their newsletters, and if you have the time, volunteering with local arts organisations is a great way to grow your own network whilst ensuring that they have the resources to continue producing interesting and important programmes.
Now, ready to see what arts and culture have to offer? Click through to start with art.