Incidental Futures: Study Day and Incidental Assembly
at The Clore Studio, South London Gallery

13 & 14 September 2019

The Incidental Unit presents this two-day event to mark the culmination of the Incidental Futures programme.

On Friday 13 September a study day will explore historical examples of Artist Placement Group to consider how these experiments anticipated key challenges presently facing art, artists, the worlds of art and beyond. 

On Saturday 14 September, a curated assembly will convene contemporary practices inspired Artist Placement Group. Activated by their artist practitioners, each instance will highlight the long-term impact of the Artist Placement Group on cultural production across the UK. 

Artists: Michele Allen, Johann Arens, Charles Danby and Rob Smith, Corinna Dean, KALEIDOWORKS, Nicola Ellis, Simon Farid, Rob Flint, Amanda Loomes and Laura Purseglove. 

Image courtesy Marsha Bradfield  (Incidental Futures: Study Day and Incidental Assembly  0)

Image courtesy Marsha Bradfield

From the whirlpool of change comes urgent interest in creative practices that challenge conventional ways of doing and being. Faced with wicked problems and uncertainty of cosmic proportions, many of us who value culture are once again questioning the role of art in society and beyond. What work does it do? Where does it do this and, crucially, why and for whom? What value does this work create, both inside and outside of the cultural sphere?

These questions propelled one of the UK’s most critically acclaimed networks. Founded by Barbara Steveni in 1966, Artist Placement Group spent more than forty years wrestling with the value of art to champion its potential beyond the studio, the gallery, the auction house and other sites long associated with the cultural sphere. This began with positioning the artist in extra-artistic contexts. Exceptional experiments supported by Artist Placement Group took place in administration (government departments and public policy), industry (manufacturing and technology) and commercial enterprise (trade and urban renewal).

At the heart of this two-day programme is the legacy of the Artist Placement Group. Exploring this impact across the UK contributes to global conversations about the avant-garde experimentation and its drive to merge art and life by embracing cultural complexity and interrupting business as usual. Holding fast to the prospect that a return to historical examples affords new possibilities, the Incidental Unit aims to extend the lineage of Artist Placement Group by highlighting its contemporary relevance. On the one hand, this public programme opens up the group’s rich but unruly past to contemporary audiences and other publics; on the other, this is an invitation to all those influenced by Artist Placement Group to come and recognise/be recognised as a community of practice. 

Image courtesy Amanda Loomes (Incidental Futures: Study Day and Incidental Assembly  1)

Image courtesy Amanda Loomes


Friday 13 September 2019, 10 – 4pm 
FREE, drop-in, no booking required
The Clore Studio and Orozco Gardens

Join the Incidental Unit to learn more about the Artist Placement Group’s history and methods. Four themed sessions will bring together newbies, enthusiasts and experts. Come for one or all of them, with each session focusing on specific concern (see below). Everyone is welcome but booking is encouraged. Email for more information and to reserve a place.

Full programme to be announced in early September

This will be followed by the opening of Offer For Sale 6.30–8.30pm at Flat Time House


Saturday 14 September 2019, 12 – 4pm 
FREE, drop-in, no booking required
The Clore Studio and Orozco Gardens

Incidental Assembly will showcase examples of live practice that carry the DNA of the Artist Placement Group. Selected through an open call, the eleven featured practitioners will work with the event’s publics to inspire action. This is based on diverse techniques, methods  and other aspects that share a commitment to interrupting norms in law, health, industry, education, administration and more. Many of these drawn upon concepts coined by the Artist Placement Group, such as the idea that ‘context is half the work’ or the figure of the incidental person.

Incidental Unit have commissioned 10 artists across the UK following a Call for Entries inviting practices to explore their relation to the methods of the Artist Placement Group. 

Full programme of activity to be announced in early September

 (Incidental Futures: Study Day and Incidental Assembly  4)

South London Gallery

65-67 Peckham Road, London SE5 8UH

 (Incidental Futures: Study Day and Incidental Assembly  5)


Incidental Unit (IU) was formed in 2016 following a series of 'incidental meetings‘ with one agenda item, ‘unfinished business’. The aim of these meetings was to informally share information about the Artist Placement Group (APG) (1966-89), as well as its successor O+I (Organisation and Imagination) (1989-2009).

Founded by artist Barbara Steveni along with Barry Flanagan, David Hall, John Latham, Anna Ridley and Jeffrey Shaw in London in the 1960s, the APG sought to reposition the artist in society. The Incidental Unit reprises John Latham’s use of the term ‘incidental’ and seeks to reignite and enrich debates around the role of the artist in contemporary society and inspire action.

This year marked the start of Incidental Futures, a public touring programme curated to discover the impact of the original APG methods and to consider how they may be learned from and adapted today.

This two-day event is both a culmination of the six previous meetings that composed Incidental Futures, which toured to Edinburgh, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Manchester earlier this year and a launch of the future for the Incidental Unit. This two-day event, made up of the Study Day and Incidental Assembly, marks the culmination of Incidental Futures.