In 2014-15 Into the Wild started as an 8-week Monday course funded and led by artists from the studios, with some external guest speakers and one-to-one mentoring. Afterwards there was to be a show of participants work. It should have been over by Christmas. Except, the group had bonded and ambitions exceeded the ending... they continued to meet at Chisenhale Studios, moved into Tan Like That an empty shop space in Camden and drafted in two MA Curating students from Goldsmiths and Cass to help develop group shows, collective projects, and an extended programme. After their final show in Studio4, as part of open studios (October 2015), the group became associates of The Studios, continuing their relationship with the institution and one another through occassional and ongoing collaborations.
In 2015-16 the programme ran again, with additional funding from Arts Council England. Taking on the ambitions of its founding year group, Into the Wild 2.0 expanded into a one year programme including a three month collective residency in Studio4. We introduced travel bursaries for artists coming from beyond London.
In 2016-17 we introduced a bespoke off-site residency for each artist involved, in partnership with a network of associate organisations who have generously responded to our participants' requests for assistance with their research and development. Including: The Horniman Museum, Wellcome Trust, Museum of Childhood, Guildhall Art Gallery, Natural History Museum, BBC World Service, ResonanceFM, Austin Desmond Fine Art and a team of conservators. The 2016-17 curatorial mentoring involves a weekend intensive, camping in the 'wilderness' of Epping Forest, led by independent curators Bar Yerushalmi and Tamar Clarke-Brown. ITW 2016-17 artist Oliver Durcan has developed an ongoing series of Wild Crits which take place in various sites across London and are open to current and past participants of Into the Wild, encouraging crossover between three ITW yeargroup communities. A final show of 2016-17 participants work takes place in late October 2017 as part of the Chisenhale Art Place 'Without Walls' weekend.
Beyond the programme, artists have directly applied their learning and experience from Into the Wild to myriad new projects including exhibiting their work in London and internationally. ITW artists have also: founded artist-led galleries such as The Koppel Project (Gabriella Sonabend 2015-16) and East Bristol Contemporary (Karanjit Panesar 2015-16), won major public commissions such as The Clearing (Tom James 2015-16), successfully applied for residencies and support such as APT and Lewisham Art House studio bursaries (Chris Alton, Jack Otway), worked for galleries/artists like Camden Arts Centre (Camilla Bliss 2014-15, Eleanor Pearch 2016-17) and Elly Clarke (Kaajel Patel 2014-15), run events on an organic farm (Rosa Farber 2014-15), and been accepted onto MA courses at leading institutions in London and Europe (Hazel Dowling 2014-15, Ellie Wyatt 2014-15, Rafal Zajko 2015-16, Nikita Shergill 2015-16). Through peer connections cataylsed by Into the Wild, several of our 2016-17 participants have been introduced to low-cost studio spaces at SET in Docklands, which is becoming a hub for working and showing together.
The impact of Into the Wild is far reaching. The Into the Wild programme enables the skills, confidence and community-building necessary to thrive and survive. Not just in the years immediately after the Into the Wild participants graduate, but as a resource for sustaining ambitious practices throughout their lives and careers. At a time when the financial pressures on artists and students are perhaps greater than ever, programmes like this are fundamental to the future of the arts.
Here’s a cacophony of what our 2016-17 Wildies said they gained: “authentic methods of being an artist and sustaining your practice as a long term career”, “shone light on the (mysterious) professional aspects of the arts that are severely lacking in schools”, “helped me to plant the seeds for the next few projects I’m working on”, “put in touch with really interesting practitioners and organisations with talks of working together on something in the future”, “because of ITW I have a studio, close friends and lots of new artist friends”, “we were able to influence and shape the programme as we experienced it”, “the mix of schools and pedagogies made for fruitful conversation and debate”, “we have crits regularly, we go to see each other’s shows, we collaborate…my life is totally different now to when I started ITW”.