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T H E   U N F O L D   P R O J E C T
2023 - 2024

Curating within and beyond the Contemporary Art Gallery and Institution

Throughout a 24-week period, we had the privilege of introducing 24 exceptional artists* and presenting a selection of their extraordinary work.
 One year ago, we issued an open call inviting recent graduates and emerging artists to submit their work for participation in this series of The Unfold Project; a project celebrating new works of art. The initial aim of the project was to highlight new talent by launching an online exhibition, and to produce a printed publication that showcases new artwork, from early career artists and graduates across the UK. The response was overwhelming, leading us to select 24 artists to represent the year of 2024. The process of curating for our forthcoming book and online exhibition has been an enriching journey, uniting artists around themes such as identity, place, belonging, culture and climate. As well as receiving work from establishing artists, we also received submissions from art students who had recently completed their studies at various art institutions, encompassing disciplines such as Fine Art, Photography, Sculpture, Painting, Textiles, and more, from across the whole of the UK. Depending on factors such as accessibility and visibility, the benefits of increased opportunities for collaboration and audience engagement through online open calls has contributed to the growing digital landscape of artistic network, as the dynamics of art curation and exhibiting in the digital age are rapidly evolving. As the integration of digital technologies into the art world is revolutionising the landscape of digital curation, this project builds upon the ongoing discourse regarding the intersection of technology and art, with the objective of providing insights into the effects of these changes on the inclusivity and accessibility of contemporary art. With an additional focus on contemporary art institutions, which emerged during the submission and selection process, we also aim to explore how art institutions across the UK are undergoing transformations due to funding shortages, leading to the closure of some significant art schools and programmes. We further seek to celebrate and preserve the opportunities within the creative sector, whilst enriching new avenues for artistic expression. We want to create new opportunities for people to become part of the world of art despite the narrowing access currently across the UK. Digital tools and platforms contribute to, and perhaps exacerbate, divisions within the curatorial and exhibiting process when showcasing artwork, not always intended for gallery display. We will continue to examine the impact of digital technologies on creative practices and the accessibility of art in both physical (including publications) and digital form.
 To what extent do digital platforms bridge or exacerbate disparities in art accessibility? What challenges and opportunities do curators encounter in navigating the digital landscape? *To read more about the artists, click on their work and follow the link within.

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