Alison Kershaw aims to challenge the boundaries of contemporary art. Her practice involves working with people, places and situations where she is operating at various levels of creative direction, organisational structure; curating and production.
The questions that drive my practice are: What is the role of the artist in society today? Who can be an artist ? What can art be?
Why is art important ? and How might art interact with everyday life?
Her strategy has been to test how an artist might exist in spheres of life outside the art world such as: business, work-places, mental health settings, communities of interest, historic buildings; bird-watching. At the same time she strives to find ways to bring that work back to the contemporary art context in order to challenge its conceptions and make her mark.
Some of Kershaw's work has been about supporting individuals, creating networks or developing new organisations, with limited resources and over significant lengths of time, in order to activate art in supposedly insignificant or overlooked spaces - such as community centres, abandoned swimming pools or garden sheds and with those artists apparently excluded through mental ill health or other factors.
For example with the development of Pool Arts, she is working with a growing team of artists, inventing structures and rules together that are then inserted into the culture through the organisation.
Commissioners and collaborators have been Health Trusts, Heritage organisations and art agencies and galleries. Audiences are sometimes the participants in the work. Projects can be lengthy, ongoing and multi-layered in terrms of the artist's involvement.
The form of Kershaw's practice manifests variously, from physical objects such as a printed list on a scroll – or a collage, an installation such as The Bird Song Juke Box in a psychiatric hospital to the archived documentation of creating a new organisation - or developing exhibitions or events such as a musical or a nail bar
Alison Kershaw has also worked with more established artists, as a contemporary art curator.