Born in Iran, Barbara Steveni is a London based Artist. Steveni conceived and co-founded the ‘Artist Placement Group’ (APG) in the UK in 1966, described as “one of the most radical social experiments of the 1960s”. The original concept was to expand the reach of art and artists into organisations of all kinds (commercial, industrial, and governmental), and at all levels, including decision-making, and on a basis equivalent to any other engaged specialist.
Continuing on its methodology, in 1989 APG morphed into ‘Organisation and Imagination’ (O+I), and between 1989–95, Steveni negotiated O+I’s Southwark Education Research Project (SERP) with Southwark Education Department. Operating across all sectors responsible for delivering education – from the children, teachers, heads, and governing bodies, in fourteen local schools.
Current interest in the relevance of APG and O+I’s methodology and legacy has led to the first APG retrospective – The Individual and the Organisation: Artist Placement Group 1966-79 at Raven Row Gallery, London, 2012, followed by Context is Half the Work – A Partial History of the Artist Placement Group at Kunstraum Kreuzberg / Bethanien, Berlin in 2015, touring to Summerhall, Edinburgh in 2016.
Steveni’s current work I Am An Archive gathers artists and professionals across three generations in a series of participatory and documentary walks, taking place on sites of the original APG placements, exploring the potential to reactivate APG methodology today. Continuing this theme, Conversations Between Ourselves is an ongoing series of filmed conversations with women who have shared Steveni’s Art-life journey.