Peer Sessions is a nomadic crit group providing a forum for the discussion of contemporary art at postgraduate level. Meetings aim to offer constructive feedback to practicing artists and engage with current concerns in art and culture. In addition to holding crits every few months, Peer Sessions organise projects focussed on facilitating and supporting artistic collaboration. Peer Sessions was founded in 2009 by Kate Pickering and Charlotte Warne Thomas on graduating from Goldsmiths MFA.
Peer Sessions consists of a fluid informal membership of around 400 artists, curators and writers, and welcomes artists and professionals involved in the production of contemporary art. Thus far over 100 artists have presented work for discussion, with practices ranging from curatorial and publishing projects to live performance, installation, video and painting.
Simply come along to the next Peer Session (details can be found on the homepage), join our facebook group, and sign up to our mailing list to stay informed of our sessions and projects.
From its beginnings as a monthly get-together for artist-led peer support, Peer Sessions’ remit has expanded to include residencies, exhibitions, educational and collaborative workshops for artists, and public education workshops on engaging in contemporary art. We have worked with numerous partners in London including ASC Gallery, Studio Voltaire Associates, South Kiosk, Enclave Projects, AltMFA, Guest Projects, Deptford X, Lewisham ArtHouse, Art Licks Weekend and Banner Repeater, plus Focal Point Gallery (Southend), Channel Sundays (Hamburg, DE) and Goldsmiths Careers Service.
Peer Sessions has twice been awarded Grants for the Arts funding from Arts Council England for commissioning collaborative work from emerging artists. In 2014, an exhibition based on a series of workshops, Who Thinks the Future? was shortlisted for the Workweek prize for innovative exhibition practice. In 2016 Peer Sessions was granted funding for a collaborative project which commissioned pairs of artists to create innovative works in time-based media. The completed commissions were presented at the exhibition Future Refrains, and the performance day Collaboration in Question, at ASC Gallery in September 2017.
Talks, Lectures and More...
2018 - Panel; Building Artistic Communities, Goldsmiths, London
2017 - Peer Session for UAL Student Union, Cass Arts, London
2016 - Talk; Channel Sundays, Hamburg, DE
2016 - New York Alternative Art Schools Fair, represented by AltMFA, New York, USA
2016 - Expedition Medora at Maximilians Forum, Munich
2016 - Lecture; BA Photography, Portsmouth University, London
2014 - Talking about Contemporary Art; public workshops, ArtHouse, London
2013 - Talking about Contemporary Art; public workshops, ASC Gallery, London
Peer Sessions meetings are held every few months at 7pm on a weekday evening. In each session two artists present recent work for feedback to around 10-25 participants. An hour-long discussion of each artists' work is separated with a break for socialising and refreshments.
Peer Sessions follow a silent crit model; the presenting artist initially provides relevant practical details (title, media, context) for their work, remaining silent for the ensuing discussion. Artists have the opportunity to respond at the end if they wish. The discussions are moderated by Charlotte and Kate (or occasionally by selected guest moderators), who chair the sessions using an established pedagogical technique based on Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS). This ensures that artists receive helpful and productive feedback and fosters a neutral, supportive and anti-hierarchical environment.
Any practicing artist is welcome to attend Peer Sessions to participate in the discussion, and artists who would like to present their work are invited to get in touch via email or social media. We ask that all artists wanting to present work attend at least one Peer Session before expressing an interest.
Feedback from Artists
“Just wanted to say thanks so much for Peer Session last night - we remarked how unusual it is to benefit from such close and constructive scrutiny of work outside/beyond the college setup, i.e. out there in the real world! Peer Sessions is a generous idea thoughtfully executed."
“Thank you to everyone... people's comments were very well engaged with the work and will prove extremely useful to me."
“Thanks so much for the great Peer Session. It's helped me step back a bit from the work (which I really needed) and consider the structure more. Thanks for bringing the equipment and booking the room. I think Peer Sessions is fantastic. Congratulations... it's an impressive feat!"
“Thank you everyone for your interesting, inspiring and insightful feedback - very much appreciated."
“Thank you all for the crit - it was wonderful!! Very inspiring, galvanising and encouraging!"
“A really inspiring Peer Session tonight, really helpful feedback on work that I was not at all sure about and now feel very happy with. Thanks Kate Pickering and Charlotte Warne Thomas for organising and everyone else who came."
“Thank you so much to all who braved the elements last night and attended the session. I really enjoyed both discussions and the feedback about my work. I'm relatively new to the group and really appreciate the whole concept. It was lovely to meet... and see work, not just on the screen. Thank you Kate and Charlotte for inviting me."