Bold New Voices in London's Art Scene

Art Trainees from Bold Tendencies, a community arts organization for individuals from diverse backgrounds, share highlights from this year's programme of new commissions and live performances.

Art Trainees from Bold Tendencies, a community arts organization for individuals from diverse backgrounds, share highlights from this year's programme of new commissions and live performances.

Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason Live at Bold Tendencies. Photography by Cottia Thorowgood. Courtesy of Bold Tendencies.

Charlie Mills, Artist Liaison

My journey at Bold Tendencies began in 2015 when I joined the team as an Art Trainee. I had little to no experience working in the cultural industries but knew that was where my career led. The traineeship introduced me to a whole new world: a rich network of like-minded peers, challenges, and professional guidance. It was a system of opportunity that led me to the position of Artist Liaison at Bold Tendencies, where I have now worked full-time for the past three years.

This season in particular has been phenomenal to bring to life; against the odds, an impressive show of new and exciting sculpture now commandeers the rooftop spaces. A selection of progressive works from younger artists mixed with new works from Jeremy Deller and Jenny Holzer, exemplifying the can-do spirit and civic interest of the project. For me, the highlight has to be the indefatigable optimism of artists: to embattle themselves with the worst of times, to find beauty and hope. A cultural cri de guerre to lockdown's unwelcome dominion over the city.

For me, the highlight has to be the indefatigable optimism of artists: to embattle themselves with the worst of times, to find beauty and hope.

Rooftop view from Bold Tendencies, Peckham Observatory by Cooke Fawcett Architects © Bold Tendencies. Photography by Oskar Proctor. Courtesy of Bold Tendencies.

Nicola Dunsbee, Art Trainee Coordinator

Last year I was a Trainee myself, and I feel very lucky to have been asked back to help this year's Trainees through the same process. My highlight from this year was proposing three of the artists for the rooftop: Rene Matić, Davinia-Ann Robinson and Lucy Gregory. When choosing the art for this year, we kept in mind that each visitor brought different experiences to bear, so we wanted each work to be accessible and powerful. The fact that someone like me, a working-class girl from Dover who had trained on-site last year, was able to propose artists was mind-blowing.

One of my favorite things about Bold Tendencies is the Art Trainee Programme. This programme is unique in the opportunities that it gives to young people, like me, going into the arts and culture sectors. It's also a real example that you gain more from an opportunity if you put more effort and work in. I also love that Bold Tendencies is at once an arts space, a free-entry civic and social space, a space to watch the sunset with a drink, and a space to listen to world-class music. It's great to be part of a place that holds each type of visitor with the same regard.

This programme is unique in the opportunities that it gives to young people, like me, going into the arts and culture sectors.

Lucy Gregory, Embrace, 2020. Photography by Damian Griffiths. Courtesy of Bold Tendencies.

Tessa Carr, Art Trainee

My highlight of taking part in the Art Trainee Programme has been the development of friendships. We have become a collective, connected by our love of art and shared values. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of such a wonderful group of young people as we take our first steps toward making a real change in the art world. For me, the role of Art Trainee is an act of symbiosis with Bold Tendencies, as I learn from and simultaneously contribute to the present and future of the organization.

In the present, an important part of our role is to engage with the public. It is through this that Lucy Gregory’s Embrace has become one of my favourite artworks on the rooftop, an artwork which welcomes touch in a year when touch has become so loaded. To be able to engage visitors with a tactile artwork (with the safety of regular cleaning) is exciting for visitors and trainees alike.

Lucy Gregory's Embrace has become one of my favorite artworks on the rooftop, an artwork which welcomes touch in a year when touch has become so loaded.

Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy Live at Bold Tendencies Photography by Cottia Thorowgood. Courtesy of Bold Tendencies.

Toby Taylor, Art Trainee

I usually work in event and campaign management and have never worked in a gallery, so I've relished the opportunity to get involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of an arts space. I love that there is so much you can do with the wide expanse of space up on the rooftop, and that Bold Tendencies is so willing to incorporate many different artistic mediums into its programme. I've not only learnt about art, but also about classical music and architecture.

From giving tours to the public to hearing from a fantastic range of mentors and taking care of the commissions, my personal highlight has been the live events programme — the atmosphere on the rooftop on a Saturday night, chatting with the public before the show, listening to the beautiful piano from Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy as the rain fell, the train rushed by and the city fell dark. There's something very unique and special about the space that really makes you feel as though you're at the centre of something.

There's something very unique and special about the space that really makes you feel as though you're at the center of something.

Adel Abdessemed, Bristow, 2016. Photography by Damian Griffiths. Courtesy of Bold Tendencies.

Dhanya Nair, Art Trainee

One piece that stands out to me in its deceptive simplicity is Davinia-Ann Robinson's joint soundscape and physical work, Damp Atmosphere and Bod(y)ies That Weather, respectively. The vulnerability of the physical piece is striking in the way the artist imbues it with aspects of her person, and underpinned by the influences of colonial presence on her sense of self, it really challenges me to consider the different ways I am molded by colonial experiences as a woman of color in Britain today.

Bold Tendencies, for me, champions access and opportunity into the art world. What drew me to apply is their mission to provide an artistic space which seeks to actively include the community, the people and the space it is surrounded by. I am also thrilled to have the chance to work with Bold and gain an insight into how a non-profit functions in the day-to-day, and I am very excited for the future.

It really challenges me to consider the different ways I am molded by colonial experiences as a woman of color in Britain today.

Covered Spaces at Bold Tendencies. Photography by Damian Griffiths. Courtesy of Bold Tendencies.

Diana Córdoba Barrios, Managing Director and Founder of the Art Trainee Programme

What I like about being part of Bold Tendencies is that every year there is progress and room for improvement. It is an organization that makes ideas happen. We are very lucky to have a small but very dedicated team, and we are all always learning together. We are also lucky to have our Art Trainees who provide us with new energy and points of view.

The artworks on-site at Bold Tendencies are diverse, and I enjoy spending time with them over the course of the summer to consider these varied and new approaches to making sculpture. One of my favorite things is to see visitors enjoying the site, whether they are discovering it for the first time or returning. There is something very special about sharing the space.

It is an organization that makes ideas happen.

Simon Whybray, hi boo i love you, 2016, Photography by Damian Griffiths. Courtesy of Bold Tendencies.

Alia Hamaoui, Art Trainee Coordinator

Bold Tendencies has been part of my life in one way or another for the past six years. From being an art student at Camberwell and spending many summer days coming up to see the commissions, to participating in the traineeship in 2017, to then assisting artist Liz Glynn in her 2019 commission and now being one of the Coordinators for the 2020 Art Traineeship Programme. The extended Bold Tendencies community is like no other, with a shared desire to create an accessible and groundbreaking site that champions creativity in a variety of disciplines. For me, Bold Tendencies is an education, a family and constant learning curve, with every year set to take on a new set of challenges in how we can both nurture artistic vision and engage viewers.

I am so grateful to to be back on the rooftop this year, where there is always an ambient buzz on in the evenings, with the hustle of Peckham below, excited chatter coming from Frank's and the excitable gasps of people as they emerge from the pink staircase to be confronted with the cityscape and the sculptural commissions.

It has been amazing getting to know such an inspirational group of trainees this year. We have spent many days and evenings, watching the sunset over the skyline and discussing the sculptural commissions; highlights for me being Rafał Zajko's Amber Chamber, a work that engages both with Polish folklore and the connection between past and future.

For me, Bold Tendencies is an education, a family and constant learning curve.

In Conversation with Bold Tendencies' Hannah Barry >