Writing Toolkit

This Writing toolkit was developed as part of the larger Art, Writing, Work project in collaboration with Newcastle University, Art Monthly, Nairobi Contemporary and British Institute in Eastern Africa.

Interested parties attended the KLA ART Labs Starter Kits at32° East in April to be introduced to the KLA ART Labs program and develop a writing toolkit to serve as a resource for the duration of the Labs and beyond.

During the Art Writers week, the program focused on the craft of writing about the arts and developing content, argument, and a compelling voice in art writing.

In this Artist’s week, the program focused on the ways artists can effectively write about what they do and why they do it.

We have put together a writing toolkit which is a collection of information and knowledge gained from the program; including documents, guidelines, videos and audio from our workshop participants and facilitators that will be a useful guide to artists everywhere.

Enjoy the toolkit below!


Artist Writing Toolkit

Artist Writing Examples and Tips

Assuming you have come across a great opportunity like a workshop, a training, a residency or awards opportunity and many of the requirements listed to participate is documentation that requires you to write about your work. This toolkit is about the next steps to take and guidance on how to frame and make a complete and compelling package that informs anyone about yourself as an artist.

  • We start with some tips on how to write an Artist statement
  • There will be instances when you are asked to write about your work in detail with an Artist Portfolio
  • In some cases you will be asked to write an application Proposal for your project
  • And in another case, you might want to make a public declaration of your intentions and motives in an Artist Manifesto

The way you express yourself with words is a crucial extension of your creative identity!

Art Writers workshop videos

Intricacies in writing Artist profiles and Biographies

Joan Legalamitlwa facilitates a discussion about the different ways art writers can write about an artists work, she brings her perspective as an experienced curator to investigate this form.

What does it mean to talk about criticism, critique, criticality?

Fiona Anderson and the participants discuss what it means to critique, how we choose what topic to write about and the motives and reasoning behind various critique.

Discussion on Peer Artist interviews

Joan Legalamitlwa and Tessa Jackson facilitated a discussion that focused on preparation, challenges and expectation an art writer has when they are going to interview an artist.

Corpus Podcast Writing Toolkit Special Series

E01: Encounters with Art Writing | with Roseline Olang’ and Jonathan Sölanké Gathaara Fraser

In the first of a three-part series on art writing, Corpus hosts Nyambura Mutanyi & Don Handa are joined by Roseline Olang’ and Jonathan Solanke Gathaara Fraser, two artists, writers, and friends of the podcast for a conversation about their relationship to different forms of writing about contemporary art. The group discusses what they think works with art writing, the places where they encounter art writing, and various pieces of writing that have made an impression on them. They also talk about their experience of art writing, and intentions with the writing that they do.

E02: Building Context: What We Think About When We Write About Contemporary Art (feat. Syowia Kyambi and Wanini Kimemiah)

Corpus speaks to Nairobi-based artists Syowia Kyambi and Wanini Kimemiah about the place of art writing in their individual artistic practices, and as part of a larger ecosystem of contemporary art. We discuss the factors that have influenced the ways we read and write about the visual art in Nairobi; the different forms it has taken and roles it has played; and the questions at stake in our engagement with visual art through language. What use is writing that does not ground the art it speaks of in its social-political context?

E03: Series Roundup – Some Notes on Art Writing

In this final instalment of their series on art writing, Corpus highlights some insights that gleaned during the making of this series. They also raise some questions and concerns of their own, which they’ll carry into future engagements with art writing, both as readers and as writers.

Corpus Podcast Writing Toolkit Special Series