"Alias, the Artist-Led Initiative Advisory Service, was pivotal in helping me to set up the transitional artists' group, OSR Projects in 2011." Simon Lee Dicker, Director, OSR Projects, 2014
Alias is a platform built by artists for artists for the development of artist-led practice in the South West of England. We support artist-led activity by providing a critical context, resources and information to groups through an advisory service, specialist events, targeted micro-grants and artists' hubs. We advocate for and encourage an environment where cooperative and collaborative projects can thrive. Artist-led initiatives provide innovative and engaging exhibitions, projects and interventions in our villages, open spaces, towns and cities.
“Bristol Diving School met Alias in its formative stages; a group of recent graduates who were operating an exhibition and events programme from a privately-leased site on the dockyard estate in Bristol. We were provided with useful information about registering as an organisation, effective sustainability and resourceful links.” Tom Prater, Bristol Diving School, 2014
Artists are inventive, agile, curious and challenging: when they come together, they are formidable! Since we were set up in 1999, we have assisted over 150 artists' groups and projects. The artist-led sector continues to flourish, with over 200 groups identified in the South West at the last count.
“Late in 2005 I found the property in Oxford Passage that became MEANTIME, which I opened in April 2006. The advice I had already received through Alias had helped to clarify the kind of space I wanted to run and it was very helpful knowing that further advice was close at hand.” Sarah B, MEANTIME, Cheltenham, 2014
We are a peripatetic organisation with no fixed base or building to manage. We work through a network of experienced artists and arts professionals across the South West region and meet artists where they work. As an organisation, we are light on our feet and able to respond quickly to new demands and needs in the sector.
Which is why we’re running this campaign. We want to introduce several new strands to our work and are asking people to help us to do this. Top of the list is to develop an artists’ professional development scheme with partners in the artist-led sector; we want to support groups to deliver the programme. We know there’s demand for it, as emerging artists set out at the start of their careers and established artists develop more ambitious projects. We know the visual arts are powered by motivated individuals and we want to do our part to help them on their journeys. We also want to establish exchange opportunities within the UK and internationally to enable artists to expand their experiences and contacts. The artist-led network is well placed to develop a distinctive exchange scheme tailored to the needs of artists and groups. To implement these projects (and others we have in the pipeline) we are aiming to secure funding from several sources.
Since its inception, Alias has only ever been funded on a yearly project-by-project basis which means its reserves are always low. Historically, we have always provided our services for free to artist-led groups which means we need to secure external funding to deliver our programmes. We are working on ways to improve this and establish steady reserves to use as match in our future funding applications. Will you help us to do this? It would mean so much to hundreds of artists in the region and enable Alias to continue to support artist-led initiatives over the coming years.
More about Nick Davies
Exeter based artist, Nick Davies, was commissioned following an open call, as part of Alias's organisational development process. He worked with us during the review process, providing a critical and creative response to the organisation’s plans for the future. He is an interdisciplinary artist, printer, and curator. His work spans a wide range of media and is often socially engaged and collaborative. He uses a critical yet humorous eye to approach topics surrounding the way we view creativity, intelligence, value and 'the public'. The work attempts to explore concepts that arise from research, whether about a place or a subject; the results often balance on the boundary between art, performance, design, economics, and ecology. He also runs Duplicate Editions, an editioning series for artists from Wales and the South West, and curates Loophole Supplements, an editioning platform for small publications for artists working with ideas around place.
“We were particularly taken with Nick’s sharp observation and use of humour – two attributes we feel are important during this transitional period.” Sara Bowler, Administrative Director, Alias
Blue Sky/Brown Mud: The Twelve Step Programme for Artist-Run Organisations, (2015), Nick Davies, three-colour screen print on 300gsm archival paper, edition of 30, commissioned by Alias in response to their organisational review 2014-15.
Links for Nick Davies
Links for Alias