Intoart is a visual arts organisation based in London working with adults and young people with learning disabilities. Intoart’s collective practice includes making artwork in the Intoart studio, supporting people with learning disabilities to practice as artists in the contemporary art sphere.
Intoart and Tate
The partnership between Tate and Intoart has developed over more than 10 years through a range of projects, including public events, curatorial projects, peer learning and collaborations. Intoart have developed relationships with Tate staff from Digital Learning, Community Learning and Public Programming. A key shared aim of this partnership work has been to further the artistic and professional development of adults with learning disabilities practicing as visual artists.
Animating the Archives film
The Animating the Archives film project has created opportunities for Intoart to work with a range of professionals including archivists, curators, digital learning team and documentary film makers. We researched the Tate Archives, asking questions about the function of archives, potential audiences and futures. In making the film over a period of nine months, we were able to reflect on the methodologies that we used to develop our archive. The film shares the strategies that artists develop to make their work public and how the Intoart archive supports this development.
We developed the Intoart Archive to activate further learning, thinking and making. The archive contains artwork and research relating to our studio, exhibitions and events. In the first instance we looked at the material we had and did research, visiting other archives and speaking to artists and archivists, including at Tate. Artists then made selections of their work and we built a bespoke space to house the archive. Incorporating both artworks and research work, since we started this project in 2013, over 1500 artworks have been archived chronologically to show individual progression over time.
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Why is the archive important?
The archive makes artwork, research and our collective practice available to Intoart and people using the archive. We can initiate new conversations and opportunities to explore the ideas, materials and techniques present in the archive. Artists can look at past work, building their own sense of history and progression to develop and direct new work. The archive is an example of what is possible when inclusive resources are led and used by people with learning disabilities.
Live Archive events at Tate
One distinctive feature of our archive is how we use it through our public events. We want to share the work in the archive to create opportunities for conversations and a platform for both process and art production to be explored with audiences.
Intoart developed two public events as part of Intoart’s Live Archive programme at Tate Modern in 2013 and Tate Britain in 2014.
Audiences were invited to engage in a wider conversation about the nature and value of archiving through a range of participatory activities including workshops, group discussion and opportunities to handle and explore original works and archive material. The audiences for the public events included academics, artists, peers, those working in the learning disability sector, curators, archivists, family members and researchers.
Intoart artist Ntiense Eno Amooquaye reflected on the process of archiving in relation to the development of her own artwork: