Since 2018, APR continues to develop and pilot a unique approach to promoting conversations around anti-racism, centring the perspectives of POC arts students and alumni.
“A black visual art is an innovative expression of a particular reality – a reality set in the framework of specific cultural and historic forces. These are: cultural domination by Western Eurocentrism and marginality to it; the experience of exploitation, appropriation, slavery, inequality and racism; and the long and abominable history of colonialism. A black art emerges from this framework and is vitalised by these forces.” Gavin Jantjes, Art & Cultural Reciprocity, Talk delivered at the East Midlands Art Conference, 12th April 1986
Visions of professional and academic projected futures in the arts tend to re-inscribe white-centred trajectories, even if the content of practice-based curricula attempts to address liberation and de-colonisation. This has a particular impact on BIPOC students at all levels, who cannot see themselves represented; this results in lower energy, motivation, desire to share their work and in turn lower retention progression and attainment. With a focus on anti-racism within and beyond practice-based learning, A Particular Reality (APR) tackles this issue by collaborating with HE arts students to analyse and intervene in current approaches, via supported peer-programming.
The over-arching research question asked by APR is: What types of issues are faced by BIPOC arts students and therefore constitute their ‘particular reality’ / experience of HE education, and how might these be addressed / improved through co-construction and Peer Programming of key aspects of their curriculum?
By addressing this question through multi-platform, context-sensitive activities, this inter-institutional collaboration between students, academics and alumni has multiple aims: to raise awareness around barriers faced by BIPOC arts students; to identify opportunities for informing systemic change in arts HE education; to develop culturally responsive pedagogies; to develop relevant art-based and/or theoretical research outputs, informing relevant discourses and practices; to work with our stakeholders to provide connections between and opportunities for early career BIPOC creatives UK-wide.
A project initially devised in collaboration with Michelle Williams-Gamaker, it is sustained and developed by multiple artist educators, including Murat Adash, Clementine Bedos, JJ Chan, Albert Dumas, Ali Eisa, Alice Gale-Feeney, Sarah Howe. Participating institutions include working with predominantly POC artists studying Fine Art in Goldsmiths University, Kingston School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University and Middlesex University.
 Burke, Penny Jane and McManus, Jackie (2009) Art for a Few – Exclusion and Misrecognition in Art and Design Higher Education Admissions (National Arts Learning Network [NALN] Research Report)