Q-ART CRITS (2008-2019)
From 2018-2019 we ran a programme of open and cross college crits across a variety of UK art colleges, museums and gallery spaces. Crits were open to artists of all backgrounds to present and attend: current and prospective art students, graduates, self-taught artists, as well as anyone with an interest in art. Places to present were offered on an all-inclusive first come first served basis. The crits aimed to provide a diverse, open and constructive environment for artists to gain feedback on their practice and provide an opportunity for all involved to see and learn from a wider range of practice and perspectives.
Between 2008-2015 the majority of our crits took place in London art schools and aimed to: break down the barriers between different art schools and levels of study, facilitate physical access into different art schools, allow a wider audience to participate in the crit discussion – a mainstay of UK art education. In this period we also held six annual exhibitions for crit presenters at the APT Gallery in London.
Between 2016-2018 our crits took place in UK gallery spaces and ran in partnership with Shape Arts, a disability led arts organisation. This ensured that our crit programme was fully accessible to all.
Crits were facilitated by Sarah Rowles and Karen Turner and supported by our research Art Crits: 20 Questions, where we interviewed art staff and industry professionals about different types of crit, common barriers people can face to talking about art, and asked them for tips to help people participate more confidently.
A crit is a model of learning used throughout art schools in the UK. It offers artists the opportunity to present work to an audience to get feedback on how their work is being interpreted and get tips for how they might take their work forward. The discussions that occur in crits are often the way that meaning is negotiated in an art work
We have carried out research into best practices in the crit in our book and video Art Crits: 20 Questions. Here we interviewed art staff and industry professionals about different types of crit, common barriers people can face to talking about art, and asked them for tips to help people participate more confidently. Take a look at one of these resources to help you gain the most out of the experience.
Here is some feedback we collected from participants about our crits:
“Open minded attitude, inclusive intellectual discussion that is accessible and humanised.” — Crit Participant April 2014
“I really enjoyed the crit last week. It was my first time attending and I felt very welcome.” — Crit Participant April 2014
“For me the Q-Art Crit was most useful because it took the mystery out of a group crit and the idea of presenting work in such a way doesn’t feel as daunting now. It was good to see that each artist had a different approach to presenting their work and with varied expectations from the experience. So I can see how a crit would be useful at any stage in the process of making art. One of the presenters mentioned that she had prepared questions in advance that she wanted to ask the audience. For others it was useful to simply practice standing in front of peers and talking about their work.” — Crit Participant April 2014
“I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity! I feel lucky to have a chance to showcase what I’m doing in such a venue, with an engaged audience. I’m a big advocate of what Q-Art do as I think it is invaluable. Thanks again, see you at the next crit.” — Crit presenter April 2014
“I wanted to say thanks to you and the team for being such a brilliant host. Q-Art kicks ass! I thought it was a great bunch of people. I am going through my notes/people’s comments from the crit and am smiling at them. It’s rewarding that people in the crit could have an experience with the work and that it provoked thoughts. It’s also important that I got some criticism. It is something to think about for myself. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Q-Art does an amazing job. And I cannot express how happy I am I took part in the discussion.” — Crit presenter June 2013
“Love Q-Art because of its egalitarian, non intimidating approach.” — Crit presenter Jan 2012″“My favourite thing about the book is the way the advice comes across, it’s like when you go to your mum or best friend for their advice and encouragement, you feel supported and ready to take on the world and you know that you wouldn’t have got that from anyone else. The second great thing about the book is the variety of advice contained within it, the crit is broken down into its component parts and discussed in an accessible way. “Student – Plymouth College of Art
Annual Exhibitions (2008-2014)
Between 2008-2014 we held six annual exhibitions at the APT Gallery in London. The exhibitions were supported by the gallery’s funded education programme ‘APT Projects’. The exhibition was open to everyone that had presented work at one of our crits. As the crits were also open to all this aimed to provide a democratic opportunity for exhibiting and circumvent the ‘who you know’ politics of the art world.