Future Now: Exchanging Ideas

The digital age has been transformative for the art world, on the one hand democratising the production, manipulation and distribution of images, but on the other raising new fears and questions – not least how do we identify, value and curate art when everyone has the capacity to be an “artist”?

Questions like this form the focus of the Future Now Symposium 2017, which will take a broad view of the state of today’s arts ecosystem and the social and economic challenges it faces, bringing together the organisations and practitioners at the forefront of this new age. It offers a place for the exchange of ideas, including support and networking opportunities, whilst also demonstrating Aesthetica’s commitment to promoting emerging artists, through portfolio reviews with influential figures from a wider arts community. Above all, the symposium demonstrates that contemporary art is the mechanism that enables us to respond a renewed understanding of living.

As always, the symposium will be attended by individuals and organisations from across the UK art scene. This year those represented include Artangel, Arts Council England, Edinburgh Art Festival, Glasgow School of Art, Hiscox, Leeds College of Art, London College of Communication, Magnum Photos, Max Mara Art Prize for Women, Tate Liverpool, University of York, Wellcome Trust, Whitechapel Gallery, World Photography Organisation and Zabludowicz Collection.

The extensive programme of sessions on offer will include Curating for the 21st Century Audience (Thursday 25 May, 10:15-11:30) addressing the status of the modern museum in an age of funding cuts, and the tension between the commercial demand for blockbuster exhibitions with mass appeal and the vital need to support new talent to ensure the future of the arts. Meanwhile, in Innovation in the Making: Technology, Design and Digital (Thursday 25 May, 10:15-11:30), experts address the latest twist in art’s long relationship with technology – that a fast-growing number of practitioners now work entirely with code and digital realities rather than art objects in any physical sense.

Amongst the sessions on Friday 26 May, the future of art journalism comes under discussion (12:30 – 13:45). Traditional publishing has been left in a precarious position in the age of the smartphone and a growing expectation that media should be consumed for free. Yet specialist publications continue to thrive in this data-filled landscape. Our panel discusses the balance between editorial and advertorial. This year’s visitors will also have the opportunity to attend a private view of the shortlisted artists for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2017 where this year’s winners will be announced.

Future Now takes place at York St John University. All sessions are hosted on the university campus. You must register in advance for any session you wish to attend. A one-day (£24) pass will admit you to up to four sessions on the day you attend. A two-day pass (£36) will admit you to up to four sessions on each day of the Symposium. Lunch, and a mid-morning coffee break is included with your pass.

For more information: www.aestheticamagazine.com

1. Alinka Echeverria, Anthem (2011) from Becoming South Sudan. Courtesy of the artist.