Communities-of-Communities: Back Garden Biennale 2016

Deborah Jackson

Research output: Other contribution


The Back Garden Biennale (BGB) exemplifies self-organised and communal strategies of participation and organisation. The BGB is a contemporary, non-profit independent visual arts biennale that shares the Annuale’s particular ambition to reconceptualise what biennales represent to the communities involved. To its critics the international biennale phenomenon’s status, exemplified by the Venice Biennal, has come to signify an over-blown symptom of spectacular event culture. Such events are considered to be little more than entertaining or commercially driven showcases designed to feed an ever-expanding tourist industry. However, from its inception the BGB, as a self-organised initiative, was clearly not competing for the attention of the global (art) tourists who generally flock towards the crass commercialisation and populist approaches of large-scale art exhibitions. Instead the BGB sought to explore an alternative route to developing an art practice outside, alongside, within, and beyond that of the established artworld. The BGB follows in Edinburgh’s long tradition of artist-run, self-organised initiatives that offer a means of challenging the dominant order and that have continually found new ways of doing things without relying on established institutions or large sums of money.
Original languageEnglish
TypeExhibition essay
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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