Do we look different?
Our Artistic Director Róise Goan on the collaborative journey to a new visual identity, and why now is the time to make our work visible.
We at Artsadmin have been thinking about how the way we talk and the imagery we use tells people who we are.
Two years ago we began a deep, strategic review with our whole team, our board, and the artists and collaborators with whom we work. Once we asked ourselves these questions, our visual identity no longer felt right. We were clear on one thing – what we did next also had to be a collaboration. We asked our communities to join us on a journey, steered by wove and its sister design company studio aad.
Historically, Artsadmin has always foregrounded the artists’ projects we produce, and adopted a neutral tone of voice in doing so. As a reflection of the 1979 post-punk context in which Artsadmin emerged, where independent and inter-disciplinary work was radical and new, this was appropriate. The work was the thing.
One of the things we discovered during this process is that we are anything but neutral. Artsadmin has a clear vision that drives the projects we produce, programmes we deliver, and the contexts in which we work. We produce projects that address environmental and social justice. Our commitment to that vision is underpinned by our values, active principles which we apply in our everyday work:
- We nurture vision from artists at all stages of their careers, with care and support.
- We take action to make projects happen locally, nationally and internationally with creativity and ambition.
- We cultivate connection, between artists, communities, programming partners and funders with generosity and humility.
- We progress equity, in the projects we produce and the ways we work with commitment and empathy.
When we speak, we speak as producers who work shoulder-to-shoulder with artists, whether we are continuing to produce unique projects by visionary performance-makers, delivering a reviewed and refreshed artist support programme, or co-leading long-term national and international partnerships with other arts organisations, collectives of independent artists and producers, funders, universities, community or activist organisations.
This work is not neutral. It is absolutely informed by our collaboratively articulated vision and values, and by the collective experience of our team. As an organisation, we are people-powered. We bring our whole selves to the table when we work with artists, and with project partners.
So when we thought about a new visual identity, what emerged most clearly was this symbol of a ‘human hand’. It’s a helping hand, a hand that scribbles in the margins of project proposals, that dots the i’s and crosses the t’s of funding applications, that devises, develops and revises important work, until it’s ready to show to the world.
You’ll be seeing a lot more of this ‘human hand’ as we share more of the work that we do. It feels important at a time when, still dealing with challenges of the pandemic, artists are implicitly asked to do more with fewer resources. With public funds for culture dropping annually since 2008, inflation rising at an opposite angle, and Brexit blocking not just Creative Europe funding but untold opportunities for arts organisations and artists across the country, the difficulty of this climate is felt throughout the UK and beyond.
Truly excellent art doesn’t magically appear from the sky. It requires hard work, passion, grit and dedication from artists and the people who support them. We want to show you more of that work. We love what we do and we believe it makes a difference for the artists and artistic community we serve.
Róise Goan, Artistic Director