Engage 44: Biennials and beyond (Spring 2020)

Cultural policy - 20 April 2020

Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education, is pleased to announce the publication of Issue 44 of the Engage Journal, Engage 44: Biennials and beyond.

In recognition of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, individuals can enjoy free access to the Journal until 31 July 2020.

First published in 1996, the Engage Journal is the international journal of visual art and gallery education. Now a twice-yearly online publication, the contents of each edition follow themes linked to the visual arts and education, chosen through an open-submission process.

Edited by Professor Sarah Perks, Engage 44: Biennials and beyond seeks to address a lack of published discourse on the presence, value and impact of education programmes at biennials.

Whilst many contributors consider UK practice, several look at international perspectives including in Guatemala, China, Istanbul and Brazil. Contributions to this issue also consider how large-scale cultural events, festivals and major regular exhibitions such as the British Art Show function on the ground, particularly for those who deliver the learning programme. Overall, this issue offers a much-needed emphasis and debate on the importance of their education programmes.

One of the recurring themes in this Journal is looking closely at how Biennials have functioned in relation to the places and communities where they are held, and the very real need for meaningful engagement, often connected to who funds these events. It’s clear there is much to be gained by consideration of participatory projects, learning programmes and the educators who create these, yet this aspect has often been overlooked in debates around biennial culture.

There was already a growing sentiment that the arts were not moving fast enough to deal with environmental issues and often community engagement felt like lip service, unnecessarily separated from the main event. The global crisis of COVID-19 is likely to push these issues even further. As the art world scrambles to deal with being grounded, how will biennials develop and evolve in this new and uncertain decade ahead?

Professor Sarah Perks, Editor

With contributions from:

  • Richard Parry on Glasgow International
  • Chris Sharratt on Coventry Biennial
  • Carolina Silva and Mônica Hoff on Mercosul Biennial
  • Judith Stewart and Lawrence Bradby on The British Art Show 8
  • Gözde Filinta on the 16th Istanbul Biennial
  • Thomas Goddard and Marie-Anne McQuay on Wales in Venice
  • Rosy Naylor on occupying the local in art biennials
  • Kenn Taylor on cultural development in post-industrial Britain
  • Gabriela Saenger Silva on participatory projects in biennials
  • Humberto Velex on La Paiz Biennial
  • Sophie Chapman on Whitstable Biennale
  • Alison McIntyre on WOVEN
  • Xiaoyi Nie on Shanghai Curators Lab
  • Sandra Greatorex YoungFORMAT
  • Lucy Norton on Index Festival
  • Shoair Mavlian, Sarah Perks and Juliette Buss on Brighton Photo Biennial

Registration link for free access to Engage 44: Biennials and Beyond.