‘Stretched: Expanding Notions of Artistic Practice through Artist-led Cultures’ is a three-year long (2015-2018), Fine Art practice-based research project funded by the Swedish Research Council.

It is with the following significant but under-researched inquiry that ‘Stretched’ as a research project shall be concerned: What divergent modes and models, constellations and assemblages are perceived as constitutive of artistic practice when generated in, through, for, and by the field of artist-led cultures? Secondly, what effects do these modes of practice generate? And, thirdly, how may the intricacies and nuances of artists? actions as expanded practices be articulated exhibition-making, and described via publication?



From the fostering of the solo-exhibition, the history of artist colonies in the C19, through alternative space and DIY movements of the 60s and 70s, to the contemporary conditioning of the neo-liberal, artist-led activities have sought to place decision-making powers, regarding the conditions of art making into the hands of artists. Artists have provoked critique and generated change regarding the circumstances and conditions that inform the development, representation and sites of artistic practice – both in terms of production but also of display and circulation, not only of art-works, but also of artists themselves.

To achieve this artists have developed more expanded – or stretched – modes of practice that have emphasised not only art-making, but also their capacities to self-organise, generate contexts and co-support. Within the field of the artist-led we see hybridised terms such as artist-curator, artist-organiser, artist-archivist, artist-activist, artist-educator, artist-distributor, artist-publisher etc. and multiple models of instating.

Through forms of agency such as initiating, organising, networking, exhibiting, curating, programming, publishing, archiving and distributing, artists inform change in ways that influence not only the conditions of art-making such as the development of infrastructure, from grass-roots and practice-centred perspectives, to effect changes to milieu and initiate contexts for the development of art and artists.

We will research contemporary dispositifs of expanded practice, through the curatorial and via the artist-led, to challenge pre-determined modes of exhibition-making and generate methods by which expanded and detailed notions of labour and actions inherent to artistic practice within that culture may be articulated and represented. Through ethnography, on the relational experiences of expanded practice in the artist-led, and the effects that it produces we aim to discover new methods by which to articulate the complexity of practice. 

The Stretched team is formed by Jason E. Bowman, Dr. Julie Crawshaw, Dr. Mick Wilson and Kjell Caminha.