About

MadeIn Company (Shanghai) 48Sheet Project (2012)

MadeIn Company (Shanghai)

48Sheet Project (2012)

WERK is an arts organisation that specialises in commissioning artists within site-specific and context-specific projects, which reframe the relationship between art, the built environment, communities and audiences.

WERK explores what public art can be in relation to situations, contexts and physical sites, attempting to move away from traditional notions of public art as object. WERK is interested in process and making art visible and accessible. It creates opportunities for artists to develop new work in response to a place; contributes to professional and skillset development; research in practice, new approaches to public engagement and participation. Working with local people in devising creative content, programmes and events is a fundamental part of WERK’s process.

A pre-conceived notion of public art as an object often exist, WERK instead explore what public art might be away from this reductive definition. Every situation and context presents a multitude of complexities and opportunities, and new genre public art is therefore a source of ongoing interest.

WERK create frameworks for relationships to develop between artists, communities and the built environment often exploring place-making, and the disruption or reactivation of our everyday lives, environment and routine through new experiences.

We are passionate about urbanism, socially engaged practice, people, place and all contemporary art forms.

WERK create frameworks for relationships to develop between artists, communities and the built environment often exploring place-making, and the disruption or reactivation of our everyday lives, environment and routine through new experiences.

The WERK Team have a critical approach to the development and curatorial consideration of contemporary art projects; we are dedicated to supporting experimental and researched based arts practices.

WERK site-specific projects vary in scale, from small interventions to large-scale public art within regeneration schemes and master planning to light and art festivals.

We are pleased to have created over 300 opportunities for artists in the last nine years.

“The strategy of assembling or curating a set of objects into one context, one work, and to use title and textual support to achieve a layered narrative rests in the understanding that the reading of the individual part-pieces of the work bounce off each other in dialogue and that they open up to the viewer and invite their own contributions to be added to the existing layers of reference.

Dialogism, according to Bakhtin is the characteristic of a world where at any given time, in any given place, there will be social, historical, psychological and other conditions. The construction and production of meaning will be determined by those conditions. It follows that meaning would be different under any other conditions. Bakhtin conceptualised this phenomenon acknowledging the existence of a constant interaction between competing meanings, all of which are capable of conditioning the other. This dialogical imperative, regulated by the pre-existence of language, relative to all of us, insures that there can be no actual monologue. Dialogue not only takes place externally, but also internally, between an earlier and a later self, the artist and the academic, oneself and the world”. - Jivan Astfalck, artist and researcher

We are currently embarking on our 20th project in nine years. Our projects vary in scale, context and intention. From a £450,000 public art strategy for the regeneration of Birmingham Coach Station to a large scale billboard intervention entitled 48Sheet; utilising 100 billboards as platforms to exhibit thirty UK and International artists work across Birmingham transforming the cityscape into a unique four week urban gallery. WERK most recent strategy and project includes Longbridge Public Art Project with seven long term artists-in-residence and the first light and art festival for Longbridge and Birmingham.

We are passionate about engaging new audiences and partnerships within the arts. We often work with cross sector partners depending upon the project context; from the Transport Sector to Developers, Architects, Built Environment Professionals, Housing Associations, Local Authorities, Third Sector, EU Municipalities, and Cultural Partners.

“By running a series of artistic projects in the city of Birmingham, WERK have made it their mission to change the public perception of the built environment. In giving artists public platforms to create work in response to, they aim to transform the everyday into something extraordinary” Urban Ghosts.