What’s outsider art? The answer lies in its name: it’s art made away from the art world and its constraints, by artists who come from all walks of life, cultures and age groups. The European Outsider Art Association Conference is dedicated to promoting their work, and its first UK edition will be held at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester (West Sussex), on 4 to 6 May 2018.

Pallant House Gallery Pallant House Gallery. Photo Duncan McNeill.

This year’s theme is “the Artist’s Voice”, putting the art-makers front and centre. Fittingly, multidisciplinary artist Bobby Baker, whose work was part of the London 2012 Unlimited project for the Cultural Olympiad, will deliver the conference’s opening speech.

Other artists from the UK and abroad will be presenting their work, along with organizations active in the outsider art field. Speakers and workshop leaders will be coming from (selection): Living Museum (the Netherlands), Out By Art (Sweden), Venture Arts (UK), Arts Project Australia (Australia), Blue Circus (Finland), Creahm/MadMusee (Belgium), and Creative Minds (UK).

Pallant House Gallery Pallant House Gallery. Photo Duncan McNeill.

Outside In, the UK charity organizing the event has been supporting artists living and working outside mainstream society, for reasons including health, disability, isolation or social circumstance, since 2006. Initially led by Pallant House Gallery, it became an independent charity ten years later. Pallant House Gallery is still dedicating exhibition space to outsider artists, as the conference coincides with the public gallery’s showing of Scottie Wilson’s art - the Scottish and Jewish outsider artist renowned for his intricate style.

Pallant House Gallery Pallant House Gallery. ARR.

For anyone working with outsider artists and interested in sharing best practices across this moving field, the conference is a must.