The People’s Symposium

The Aspex Futurators are proud to present ‘The People’s Symposium‘, a series of talks delivered by artists, creatives and academics for the people of Portsmouth on Saturday 9th July from 11am until 4pm at Aspex in Gunwharf Quays.

The Futurators will also be celebrating the launch of an accompanying publication, the result of a collaborative project with artist Ania Bas. Alongside this, they will be placing ballot boxes around the city, inviting the public to complete the sentence ‘What if Portsmouth…?’. Any responses they receive will be collected and stored within Portsmouth City Archives, representing the views of individuals from around the city.

The Futurators is supported by Aspex and the Portsmouth Libraries & Archive services, as well as artists Abigail Gilchrist and Letty Clarke. It is led by and for young people, and is an opportunity for them to discuss what is important to the city’s culture.

By working with Senior Archivist Michael Gunton, the group have been exploring the cultural and social history of Portsmouth, examining the archives, who they are for and who they belong to. Ula Taylor-Reilly, a Futurator, said: “During our time at Portsmouth City Archives we encountered many enlightened voices, but we also found certain sections of society to be conspicuous by their absence.

Through our collaboration with Ania Bas we examined contemporary issues around inclusion and representation. The collaboration was based around a Mail Art correspondence that culminated in an interactive publication, in which we will invite readers to respond to several provocations.”

Speakers at ‘The People’s Symposium’ include artist Ania Bas, Senior Archivist Michael Gunton, founders of Star and Crescent Sarah Cheverton and Tom Sykes (University of Portsmouth, CCI) and independent curator Dianna Djokey.

The event will take place on Saturday 9 July, from 11am – 4pm at Aspex, located in Gunwharf Quays. Lunch will also be provided and the Futurators have planned additional activities to take place throughout the day, including an interview booth.

The project has been running since June 2015 and the group, which comprises of individuals aged between fourteen to twenty-three, meet at Aspex weekly to curate, discuss and experience art. The Futurators is supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.