The ground-breaking new programme is taking place on Level Five of the new Switch Building, which opened in June, and has invited the public to come together with international artists and more than 50 associates annually to collaborate, test ideas and discover new perspectives on life, through art.

Tate Exchange is a free programme – which will also take place in the first floor galleries at Tate Liverpool from 26 November – and over the coming years will roll out at all four Tate galleries and will explore a different theme each year. The programme is supported by Freelands Foundation, Arts Council England and Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Tate Exchange’s founding associates include charities, universities, healthcare trusts as well as smaller organisations that include a range of disciplines such as architects, writers, young people and even a community radio station.

Tate Exchange - testing ideas and discovering new perspectives on life. All photographs by Seraphina Neville © Tate

“The project marks a shift in the relationship with our visitors. In the relaxed, social spaces, they will be central to shaping what goes on,” said Anna Cutler, Tate’s Director of Learning. “They will be invited to drop in and get involved with artists and the artistic process. This is an exchange between what the public brings and what we bring to the conversation. Our aim is that people are drawn closer to art and to the work of artists; to think about what they do and why it matters. Our visitors carry their own culture with them and can use museums and galleries as creative spaces for exploring what that means.”

Artists participating in the first year of the Exchange include the Guerrilla Girls, Raqs Media Collective, Christine Sun Kim, Simone Leigh, Lorraine O’Grady, Rashida Bumbray, Fannie Sosa, Larry Achiampong, Kader Attia and Shannon Jackson and many other artists and collectives.

All Associates will devise participatory workshops, activities and debates to run at Tate Liverpool from 26 November 2016 and at Tate Modern from early 2017 that will explore new ways of thinking about art and its value to society revealing an ambitious ‘open experiment’. The Associates will also collaborate with each other, as well as with artists, around themes inspired by Tate’s collection, creating networks that thrive beyond the project itself.

From October 4 to 9, The Guerrilla Girls will operate a Complaints Department in Tate Exchange, inviting individuals and organisations to conspire with the Girls, post complaints about art, culture, and politics. Thematic discussions will encourage participation and assist the public in creating statements and projects to post on rolling bulletin boards. The week will culminate in a special public event documenting and exploring the outcomes of the week.

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