inReach: An exhibition of lived expertise

Until 12 April 2024
Open 9am – 5pm on weekdays
Ground and first floor, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DP

inReach (an inversion of ‘outreach’) considers the creative work of those usually closed off from academic and artistic production because of addiction, perceived incapacity, or lack of permanent home. The artists included in this exhibition directly address the ways they have each been categorised by wider British society: rough-sleepers; addicts; disabled people; Travellers; migrants; and children.

Each artist at varying points embraces and rejects the limitations of these categories through their unique creative perspectives and the lived expertise their art communicates, framing their work sometimes as healing, at other times as resistance.

The term ‘inReach’ signifies any action which reshapes elite institutions as inclusive domains through centrally placing work by people otherwise absent in traditional arts and academic spaces. This exhibition will critically question the Euro-American category of ‘Outsider Art’, favouring instead understanding the works’ value not only on its artistic merit, but also through what it performs for the artists themselves and how it facilitates connection with others. inReach will therefore set to prove false the too-common trope that certain people are ‘hard to reach’. By bringing artists, academics, and key local publics together at the ARB in CRASSH, inReach will amplify the underacknowledged value of lived expertise of socially marginalised people, while also fostering ongoing debates about transience, stigma and inequality in the UK.

This exhibition aims to draw in both University and local arts collectives, but also people from across the Greater Cambridge area who do not often visit galleries or spend time in the university. This may include secondary school children; people with disabilities; people who lack representation in arts institutions; those who use English as a second language; voluntary sector organisations who deal with mental wellness and social inclusion; as well as curious publics who want to engage in art and creative praxis in new, untried ways.

To be able to listen to the voices of the participants in the various exhibition projects, QR codes have been employed which will enable you to listen via your mobile and earphones/headphones. Please bring these with you to get the most out of the exhibition.