In Site of Conversation: Films and Papers

In 2010 the Schools and Teachers team at Tate Modern invited ten artists to contribute to In Site of Conversation, a research and development project. Browse a selection of films and papers that represent the breadth of the project.

technician with lense and projector

Anna Lucas
Gustav, Graham and Lee 2012 (film still)
Commissioned by Tate Schools and Teachers team

This two year project was initially established as a period of reflective research, as part of which each artist was asked to consider an intersection between their practice and the content and structure of the learning programme on offer for schools at Tate Modern. Designed to explore how to work with artists in a way that would more closely inform the programme, the project evolved into a series of interventions, events and pilot projects.

Each artist’s developing research was shared at regular meetings with the Schools and Teachers team and the other artists in the group. Structured to last for up to four hours and without an agenda, these sessions became a place to test out ideas within the context of discussions on current issues impacting on education and artists’ practice in Learning settings in the museum. At intervals throughout the two-year period the material of the process of supporting the artists’ work (emails, documentation, plans and transcripts) were gathered together in a journal – an unedited document that evolved alongside the project and reveals the workings, reworkings and shifts in position and plan as things developed.

New approaches and perspectives on programming for schools in an art museum were tested through the pilot projects and shared discussions, culminating in a two week sharing in December 2012 that took over the learning spaces at Tate Modern. The artists were Jo Addison, Anna Lucas, Alex Schady, Natasha Kidd, Emma Hart, Eve Peasnall, Richard Whitby, Harold Offeh, Eitan Buchalter and Dean Kenning.

What follows are a series of films and papers that have been selected to share the breadth of the project.

Towards an Avant-gardist Conception of Gallery Education

Artist and writer Dean Kenning developed a paper around the question what do schools do for art? The paper evolved through several iterations and laid the groundwork for the symposium Towards an Avant-gardist Conception of Gallery Education. The symposium brought together artists, academics, teachers and students to discuss art education in schools and the role of the gallery through the material of the In site of Conversation project.

Argument: Agrestal Respource

Written by artist Eve Peasnall this is a paper developed after reviewing artist devised resources for teachers and students. Through a series of edited transcripts that become more of a script, Eve explores how resources, developed by artists to be used in their absence, can be educational. She proposes that what artists are doing is sharing their own way of learning with art.

Gustav, Graham and Lee

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Anna Lucas
Gustav, Graham and Lee
Commissioned by Tate Schools and Teachers team

A film by artist Anna Lucas in which we see a technician looking after moving image works held within the Tate collection. Unlike more traditional art forms, moving image needs to be regularly shown to prevent obsolescence. The camera moves from the storage warehouse where we see iconic artworks packaged, racked and stacked, to the close focus of activity in the workshop. Anna’s desire was that her film might invite another time based media work out of storage to be experienced by students and teachers. In 2012 Gustav, Graham and Lee was displayed in the Tate Modern Learning spaces alongside Made in ‘Eaven 2004 by Mark Leckey. For the duration of its display visitors were signposted to all time based works across the galleries.


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Alex Schady
Misguided 2012
Commissioned by Tate Schools and Teachers team

Misguided is a film made by artist Alex Schady and the Schools and Teachers team as part of Art in Action, The Tanks 2012. Alex worked with a group of thirty pupils from Osmani and Richard Atkins primary schools over the course of six weeks to ask questions about the nature and authorship of the information made available within the museum.  The young people involved shared their own experience and understanding of the Tanks programmes through an irreverent take on the idea of a tour – part parade, part carnival, part performance. Behind the scenes a specially constructed TV studio captured the development of each tour. The footage was edited by Alex into a film that montages the studio (interior) and tour (exterior) experiences of the children who took part.

Live Art Salon

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A film commissioned for Tate by Digital Learning and produced by Chocolate films

This is the final iteration of a collaborative project that involved artist Harold Offeh working with teachers and sixth form students from Welling School. The project evolved out of Harold’s interest in the acquisition, documentation and dissemination of Performance and Live Art at Tate, and in how audiences can be given greater opportunities to engage and interact with the documentation and archival material of performances.

The film documents the performative collaboration between the artist, teachers and students, exploring live art, the relationship with documentation and the archive.