With the future shrouded in mist, we decided it felt like an urgent time to do some R&D thinking about what kind of work will fit into the new landscape we find ourselves in? How can we, as an NPO with relative financial stability at this time, play a useful part in the way our industry is evolving and adapting at this time? How can we support freelancers in our network and offer some creative paid time, without the long process of funding applications or grants. .
We decided that we'd reapportion some R and D budget to try making work in a new way – one that gave the largest amount of possible agency to the artists while still retaining some sort of connecting structure to cross-fertilise ideas. As we watch ingrained power structures around us being (rightly) challenged and in some cases dismantled, it felt like the right time also to interrogate our own creative power structures, and to try something different.
We wanted to see what happens when we 'devolve' creative responsibility at the outset of the project to individual artists. What new working practices might emerge? What new synergies created? What will we learn about how creative ideas can be nurtured and grown?
We hope that the seeds we sow now will come to fruition over the next 5 years – in new relationships evolving, new ideas blossoming and opening up avenues of further creative investigation. But equally, if the commission keeps an artist feeling like an artist for a couple of months at this point in time, that's also a win as far as we are concerned. We commisisoned 27 artists from our network for Devolution Evolution. We thought as the project was shared online that we would use this page, unlike other production pages on the website to feature some of the R&D sharings.