Company Drinks is contributing to 'Between Art, Bed and Breakfast', a one-day symposium, hosted by the newly launched Art Bed & Breakfast hotel. Its aim is to convene and amplify what we are ambitiously naming, in advance of any official recognition, the ‘artist-led economy’.
Between Art, Bed and Breakfast assembles a small but significant ecology of artistic practices that are providing, subverting and redesigning the delivery of goods and services around the UK. They include suppliers of drinks (Company Drinks, Essex) groceries (Feral Trade, Bristol) hair salons (DKUK, London), plumbing (Plumb Maid, Falmouth), energy (Glasgow CommunityEnergy), accommodation (Art Bed & Breakfast, Blackpool) and house building (We Can Make, Bristol).
Rather than harnessing creativity as a driver of economic growth (the underlying assumption of the UK’s Creative Industries agenda), these practitioners are experimenting with questions such as: How do we survive well? How do we distribute surplus? What do we consume? How do we invest for the future? (J.K. Gibson-Graham – Take Back the Economy). In doing so, they provide vivid examples of how artists can operate beyond an overreliance on dwindling public subsidy or business models that rarely take into account the pleasure, pride and interdepdendence of artistic practice.
This symposium is a gathering for artists, creative practitioners, entrepreneurs, community activists, grass-roots service providers, and cultural organisations working with or curious about ‘surviving well.’ It aims to challenge judgements around ‘economically deprived’ communities and to create a space to think laterally about livelihood, resources and doing business differently. With a programme of artist commissions, presentations, discussions and tours, the day will be animated by *what an artist-led economy could look like.