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<< April 2020 >>
PROFILE Emiko Kato is a freelance curator and Co-Director of Art Autonomy Network [AAN] is located in Yokohama, Japan. www.a-a-n.org
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Two Directors of Art Gene as artists and co-founders


As my final report of Art Gene, I should say the general information of Art Gene. It might be too late, but I did not have spaces until now, because many things have happened in here. There are two directors, Stuart Bastic and Maddi Nicholson who are having their own studios in ArtGene and organising a whole of programmes as ArtGene activities. There are staff in Art Gene, Norman Wild, is working as an accountant on book keeping, Sian Schofield, is working on web designing and updating, Michelle York, is working as a curatorial assistant on administrations, press, and everything for its activities, Clinton Rimmer has a nickname as Rimsky, is working as an assistant of Stuart and supporting to carry heavy stuff and others. I have been working with them while I am staying working at ArtGene. They are basically working as part time jobs without the two directors.


There are the four big studios for the two of directors, and the others are for guest artists. Now, the local theatre stage designer is working at Studio 5, and a new comer, Manuel, a French architect of Mikan from Japan is working at Studio 2,
soon after Hajime has gone to the U.S.A. In addition, Ruth, a Scottish artist from France is also coming today for her residency programme, who is basically working at the next of me in the office. So, the new residency programmes have already started at ArtGene.


ArtGene has been founded by the two directors and Julie Hammerton, Artistic Director of Barracudas Limited in 2002 after a long renovation of the building was completed. It was originally the School for the Advancement of Science, Arts and Technology
(approx 16,000 sq. ft. or 1,500 sq.m). It is now using for artist studios and exhibition spaces. According to their brochure, they actually needed to get the proper practical studios as artists, and had been looking for a long-term large studio spaces. So, it is still an on-going experimental art research “project”.


They have been struggling against the financial situation as all art organisations have been suffering with a kind of similar problems since the financial sources for the Art have been shrunken back owing to the extravagant budge of the Olympic Game 2012 in London. They are now looking at a matching scheme on the regeneration plan in Barrow in Furness which they would have possibilities for surviving their on-going projects at ArtGene. I am curious what is going on the future situation of ArtGene and the town of Barrow. Since I have been researching into the situations of Barrow as my curatorial research project, I got received many information and found the different aspects on the possibilities of art projects here. I might proceed to develop the ideas in future.


Although I did not have a time to explain Japanese situations, we have been truly in poor situations comparing with U.K. I might come back to research further this situation if I settle on the different reasons in future.

You could further information on Art Gene web site.
ArtGene: http://www.artgene.co.uk/

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