9th December, 7pm

After three years of exhibitions, screenings and all manner of events, Tether will be bidding farewell to their building in the Nottingham city centre, to pursue pastures new.

Having initially been formed as a studio by graduate artists from Nottingham Trent University, Tether soon became known for their enthusiastically multi-faceted approach to hosting art events. Now, at the end of 2010, the group find themselves custodians of an mini-arts centre above a carpet shop, consisting of an art gallery, video screening rooms and a purpose-built performance/lecture space. So why now, established within the city with a growing reputation around the country, have they decided to pack it in?

Developing arguments researched during their tour of British artist-led project spaces in September 2009, Tether will be playing host to ‘Burnout’: an evening seminar exploring notions of success in the arts. Recent studies have shown a large number of those with a career in visual arts to be earning “consistently lower than those of other professionals who have undergone a similar level of training”, and with broader trends of unemployment sweeping Western Europe, it is hard not to be pessimistic. Coupled with wholesale cuts to arts funding, and the well documented downsizing of the Arts Council, now is not a good time to be one of the millions of graduating art students stepping out of the statistics-driven institutions maligned by a narrow-minded press.

Can art be seen as a genuine career? How can universities deal with the tension in pressures between the intrinsic values of an arts course -the pursuit of creative thinking- and preparing graduates for employment? Are opportunities for artists biased towards youth, towards “the next big sensation”, towards hype and furore, spectacle and trend? How can independent art spaces adapt to the difficulties of our times and continue offering an alternative to the mainstream? And how, ultimately, can success be measured for artists in an industry based largely on subjective approaches to abstract ideas? ……..What do we do it for?

Taking place during a vibrant autumn of both independent and institutional contemporary art in Nottingham, ‘Burnout’ will present success stories and invite debate around the various issues inherent to the lives of artists, curators, writers, and gallerists practising today in our climate of austerity. Guest speakers have been drawn from around the country, and include:

Lauren Gault, Generator Projects, Dundee
Kwong Lee, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
Simon Withers, Old Knows, Nottingham

Book at http://burnout.eventbrite.com/