Initiator: Pieter Vermeulen (St Lucas School of Arts Antwerp)
Rooted in ‘60s and ’70s counterculture, artist-run initiatives have gained significant attention over the last decade—not least from their instigators. This increased interest is symptomatic of the need for an alternative historiography, one that is based on forms of self-representation and -organisation. The latter concept has equally proven to be pertinent in the contemporary climate of austerity that calls for the development of different operational models. Due to their precarious nature, however, artist-run initiatives are often faced with the challenge of building a durable and sustainable future. What is to be learned from these initiatives, how should we understand their role within a larger cultural ecosystem and what is the common ground they are founded on? Instead of an academic seminar, this event will take the form of a ‘plenum’ in which different actors from the field will take the floor, supplemented by observations from experts in arts policy and sociology.