BMW Thought workshop January 2014, discussion round tables

Photo © Yemisi Blake

BMW Thought workshop January 2014, poster and direction arrow

Photo © Yemisi Blake

BMW Thought workshop January 2014; people at tables

Photo © Yemisi Blake

BMW Thought workshop January 2014, man reading card

Photo © Yemisi Blake

BMW Thought workshop January 2014, people at desk

Photo © Yemisi Blake

BMW Thought workshop January 2014; man and leaflet

Photo © Yemisi Blake

Thought Workshop 3 on Saturday 11 January 2014 proved to be yet another interesting and provocative day. Like last time we gave the workshop a title: A Reality Check.

The format and content of this session held at Tate Modern greatly depended on the reflections of our Thought Workshop participants, who were prompted by the following questions about their projects for change:

  • In what ways does the project matter to you? Does it feel important? How do you think other people might feel about it? Can you share your passion for it?
  • Is it real? Is it happening and taking shape?
  • Is it realistic? Can it be achieved?
  • Would you prefer to work as a team or in a group to realise another project?
  • Who might help?

We asked our participants to suggest 3 people they would consider ‘experts’ in whatever sense of the word meaningful to them. We aimed to bring together a group of people who had the knowledge and expertise to support, question and help move forward our participants’ projects in a positive and robust way. In some cases, we were able to invite the person named by a member of the group. Where they weren’t available or where we felt another guest might be of equal but different interest, we invited others based on our own research.

We started the day with a talk about art and activism from Florian Malzacher, curator, journalist, dramaturge and co-curator of the Truth is Concrete marathon camp on artistic strategies in politics and political strategies in art. Florian was also one of our experts.

Our workshop participants then took part in a series of one-to-one sessions with our invited experts to discuss their projects, describing to them their idea and where they currently were with it. The experts responded - supporting, critiquing, questioning or offering suggestions. Sometimes the connection between these experts and the participants’ projects was obvious - in other cases, perhaps more subtle relationships existed or avenues we were yet to explore.

We even had a fitness instructor from The Third Space on hand to keep us physically active as well as mentally. P.E. kit was optional.

At the end of the day our Thought Workshop participants became the experts themselves. We moved down from Tate Modern’s East Room to Studio C, a space just off the Realisms Gallery on Level 2 Poetry and Dream, decorated with bedside lamps our participants had brought from home. The group individually shared their ideas for change with members of the public who happened to be visiting the gallery on Saturday evening. It was a relaxed yet exciting opportunity to begin to share what we have been thinking about and working on.

We celebrated the success of our exhausting yet exhilarating day with dinner at The Albion.

Our fourth and final Thought Workshop will be held in March 2014. We will also be asking the question: ‘If you had a year to change something, what would you do?’ in a public panel event.

The Experts

David Cushman

Author of The Power of the Network.

Katie Harris

Founder of social enterprise and craft café NANA.

David Hoyle

Avant-garde performance and cabaret artist.

Andreas Lang

Co-founder and director of art and architecture practice Public Works.

Scott Lash

Director for the Centre of Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths University.

Catherine McDonald

Cabinet Member for Health, Adult Social Care and Equalities.

Gemma-Tortella Proctor

Curator of Public Programmes at The School of Life.