(random) co:jams: How IAM & Tate are exploring the futures of museums

  • Ernest Wereko
  • Leyla Tahir
  • Rosetta Arts
  • Tara White
  • Nina Montironi
  • Andres Colmenares
We had the opportunity to team up with Tate to build on our shared interest in the futures of arts and museums. Here, you can get a taste of how this collaboration came about and how, together, we brought an agile, experimental approach to questions around youth, arts and institutions in the internet age, in the form of our open-ended collaboration: (random) co:jams.
To read the full story, have read of the article on IAM Journal.
In Randomness We Trust
In the run up to IAM Weekend 15, Tate Collectives Producer Jen Aarvold spotted the infamous blue baby from the event’s opening titles (below), commissioned to artist Claudia Maté. The baby is something of a motif in Claudia’s work, and had previously been exhibited at Tate. Jen had been keeping tabs on Claudia ever since, and after discovering it once more, she flew to Barcelona, came to the inaugural IAM Weekend and joined the family!
Six months down the road, Jen dropped us a line with the idea of finding a way to work together. Naturally, this led to numerous Skype sessions and Google docs to exchange ideas and discuss shared frames of reference, with a prospective collaboration date in February 2016 to bear in mind and the possibility of presenting the project at IAM Weekend 16. As a large cultural institution in a time of digital transformation and prioritisation of young and diverse audiences, Tate is heavily invested in exploring the futures of the museum, and this was to be the foundation of our collaboration.
Our own ongoing research about the futures of arts and museums therefore informed this process, and together with Tate we co-curated the topics, concepts and participants of the collaboration. With that, (random) co:jams, a session of creative improvisation to prototype the futures of the museum, was born.

 Inventing Futures

Inspired by Alan Kay’s words that “the best way to predict the future is to invent it”, we invited a group of emerging artists, creative technologists and young people to come together for the project, including:
  • Claudia Maté
  • Kim Boutin (DVTK)
  • Joel Lewis (Hellicar and Lewis)
  • Dani Pearson (Domestic Data Streamers)
  • Matthew Plummer-Fernandez
  • Adam John Williams
  • Anita Fontaine
  • Tara White (Tate Collective London)
  • Ernest Wereko (Tate Collective London)
  • Joey Yu (Tate Collective London)
We began on a cold Friday night in February by gathering at the Tate Britain with Jen and Leyla Tahir (also from the Tate team) and all the participants. After a round of introductions — which entailed everyone sharing their most recent projects — we had a private tour of the Tate Collection to kickstart the weekend’s conversation.
The following day, participants were first randomly arranged into three teams — each team featuring at least one artist, creative technologist and Tate Collectives member — before being set their challenge. The core principles of the experience were orientated around:

- (random): the beauty of an unpredictable output
- co: the value of a collaborative and open process
- jams: the joy of creative improvisation (inspired by jazz)

With this foundation, each group set to work exploring three key questions:

- What is the role of the museum in the Internet Age?
- How is the concept of youth being redefined and challenged in the context of Internet Age arts?
- What can we learn from 500 years of British art?

Head over to IAM Journal for more details on what each group came up with!

Sharing Futures
  • After the day's collaboration, the next logical Jen and Leyla came to Barcelona to share their work at Tate as part of IAM Weekend 16, and we took the project one step further with a workshop on the final day of the Weekend called RE: Mixing the Museum.
Overall, as Jen and Leyla commented:
Using creativity and improvisation as key values creates a space where it is possible to develop new and non-traditional ways to relate to art and artists in contemporary life — relevant to audiences with wide ranging interests and experiences.
With (random) co:jams, we collaborated with Tate to put our belief in an open, experimental way of working into practice. By thinking about the future as a process, rather than a defined ‘output’, we discovered new insights into how we interact with arts in the Internet Age and what this means for cultural institutions more broadly.
We’ll continue working to connect diverse perspectives, push the boundaries of emerging technology, embrace uncertainty, create collectively and empower young people with our amazing partners like Tate in our other areas of research, and in doing so, continue taking an active role in inventing better futures!

(Do check out the full story over on IAM Journal!)