Review by Abbie Paramor /PVA Year 3

On The 6th of November Futurecity director Andy Robinson joined us, Futurecity is an art and culture commissioning agency that orchestrates permanent and temporary art pieces for regeneration areas and new builds.

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Andy during the talk

The company has two head offices, one in London and the other in Cambridge; Andy is the director of the Cambridge office. As well as commissioning art works for both regeneration areas and new builds they also create temporary and permanent art installations for public areas such as train stations. They commission artists who work with different mediums such as photography, murals, sound, video art, and sculpture; all of the work commissioned must fit in with the location.

When working on each project the team and directors at Futurecity have to do the following:

  • Broker cultural partnerships.
  • Create cultural strategies.
  • Conceive, generate and deliver public art.

The company is currently working on artwork for both Papworth hospital and Crossrail; the Crossrail piece will be a permanent one. In the past they have worked with classes at Anglia Ruskin University and Futurecity has also commissioned artists from Magnum.

Although I enjoy the Industry Friday talks, us students from Photography and Video art very rarely get to listen to a talk that is actually relevant to our practice. This talk gave us an opportunity to see how we could work with companies like Futurecity to produce work that is seen everyday by the public. Personally this talk for me was very interesting as I have always wanted to create an art event in Luton, I love my hometown and I want others to see how great this town can be. I also feel that Luton is becoming a very artistic town as more and more art events are being held and created by local people.

After the talk I went and spoke to Andy as I had some questions, I could have aired my questions in the questions section of the talk but I was too nervous as the room was rather full with students. I asked Andy if Futurecity ever works with individual students and not just university classes, he said that they have worked with individual students before but it is not something they do very often. I asked him how he sourced the artist they worked with as I wasn’t sure if they seek out artists or if artists could apply to be part of a project, Andy said that they source the artist by discussing with the Futurecity team what they want for a location and then they research artists and make contact with a few of them to see if they would be interested. We also talked about how you can get involved with local art projects as its something that I am very interested in, he said that I should contact the council in order to get in touch with the arts council for Luton. He then said I should approach them to see if there are any current projects I could help with or even possibly propose a public arts project. Andy’s talk was incredibly helpful but him taking the time to answer my questions one-to-one was even more helpful and I am so grateful for his time, this talk has really spurred me on to create the work I want to for this town.