Before the apocalypse, the Live Art Development Agency put out an open call: a £2k bursary for a young artist to develop their practice, and think about how the future we want to create. I opened my application with: “When did socially-engaged art lose touch with socialism, and how do we make participatory art radical again?” But what I should have opened with is: “I want a future where I’m not competing against 1000 other barely-employed nobodies for chump change.”
Then again, I wanted the money. I ended up running the project over lockdown, where questions of participatory art seemed frivolous. My own projects that can be described as such died immediately. I’m not sure I want to resurrect them now, if I even can. What was going to be a series of workshops became interviews, bursaries, and the texts recorded in this zine.
Despite what the cover says, they will not absolve your guilt. What they might do is provide context, guidance, and vindicate all the frustration you’ve been feeling with artists jumping into bed with property developers. They will not give you the full picture, you will not agree with everything written herein (neither do we), and they will not abolish capitalism. We’d quite like that last one though, so take the £3-4 you might have spent if this zine weren’t free and sling it towards union dues or a strike fund.
Chump Change was produced by Aislinn Evans and features contributions by Stephen Pritchard, Raju Rage, Harry Josephine Giles, and Maz Murray (therightlube). The zine is available for free, as a pdf or in print.