LITTORAL is a non-profit arts trust
which promotes new creative partnerships, critical art practices and cultural
strategies in response to issues about social, environmental and
The trustís work is informed by arts, social, cultural, community and environmental research, and employs conferences, exhibitions, projects, publications and research papers to propose creative solutions to real-life problems. LITTORAL prefers to work on projects which fall outside the remit of the art world, and which are structured through longer term research partnerships and dialogue with community groups, trade unions, schools, culturally diverse organisations, and farming and rural communities.
Current research and development priorities:
The main focus for the trust's work in 2005 - 2009 is on developing a national 'Arts and Agricultural Change' initiative, NEW FIELDS, conceived as a proposed arts and cultural sector response to the changes taking place in European agriculture following CAP reform. In parallel a cultural strategy and arts investment programme is being developed with rural communities in England, in support of the Governmentís new Rural Strategy (DEFRA, 2004).
Littoral also continues to work with the trade unions and bus workers in Northern Ireland, and is developing the third phase of the ROUTES project, Working For Change, a proposed three year arts and trade union project designed to promote better community relations and anti-sectarian initiatives in the region.
The trust remains interested in promoting new art and craft projects in support of Agenda 21, and art and sustainbility initaitives designed to address problems connected with global warming and climatic change. LITTORAL is also committed to promoting new opportunities for artists interested in addressing social and enironmental issues and problems.
Finally, like most independent arts organisations, we feel the need to acknowledge our artist heroes and precursors. To this end LITTORAL is working towards an international exhibition, conference and festival programme in 2008 in celebation of the life and work of Kurt Schwiitters in England.
The LITTORAL team
Project Director and lead artist.
He completed a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University in 1992, and was Curator and Acting Director with the National Art Gallery in New Zealand until 1980. In the early 1980s Ian set up the ANZART Australia/New Zealand artist exchanges, and after moving to London was employed as Arts Officer at the National Council for Civil Liberties until 1984. He came to live in the North West in 1986 on a pioneering artist residency with Rossendale Groundwork Trust. In 1989-90 he established Littoral/Projects Environment as an arts trust for social and environmental change.
Trust Co-Director and Administrator.
She is a writer and has an MA in Arts Administration from the City University, London, and was formerly Administrator of the Bowdon Festival (Altrincham 1975-81), and Coordinator of the Greater Manchester Art Week in 1987 and 89. Since 1989 she has coordinated the Littoral international conferences and symposia programme, and carried out the day to day financial and project administration. In addition to keeping a careful eye on Ian, she coordinates the fund-raising and publicity for the Trust.
Alison Kershaw, artist, working long-term with arts and disability groups,Manchester.
Jackie Ford, artist and print-maker, Swansea.
Sarah Hartley, Farmer and School Health Nurse, Lancashire.
Littoral - life beyond the art world
We adopted the name LITTORAL to describe the ‘in-between-ness’ and provisional nature of our work. A geographical term, referring to the sea-shore zone between high and low tide, the littoral is an ever-changing unstable area where land, air and water continually interact, and new life forms evolve. This interface also exists between art and the life world, where acute social, economic, and environmental problems are increasingly redefined as an intractable 'wild zone' (Urry), seemingly resistant to conventional modes of creative inquiry and professional practice.
Littoral zones may be characterised by conditions of complexity, uncertainty, underinvestment, marginality and instability, and this is where we feel most at home. This way of working acknowledges the need for a more inclusive aesthetic, sometimes referred to as a ‘dialogic aesthetic’ (Kester), or an ‘ecological aesthetic’ (Koh). We subscribe to both, and are engaged in a parallel programme of forums, curatorial projects and theoretical enquiry with a range of artist partners, to map out and define the coorinatate of this emerging new area of art practice. (see ‘Deep Practice - Art and Sustainability’).
LITTORAL acknowledges its dept to the artists and critics who pioneered these ideas and ways of working, in particular: John Latham and Barbara Steveni (Artists Placement Group and O+I), and the San Diego-based artist team Helen Mayer and Newton Harrison (Harrison Studios). LITTORAL also draws it inspiration from the work of individual artists including Suzanne Lacy, Martha Rosler, Hans Haacke, David Medalla, and Stephen Willats, and also from the writing of art historians and cultural critics: Suzi Gablik, Grant Kester, Lucy Lippard, Hal Foster, Sarat Maharaj, John Berger and Roslyn Deutche.
LITTORAL is an Arts Council England (North West) funded RFO.