Arts and Culture Writing Workshop

The British Council organised an Arts and Culture Writing Workshop for emerging art writers who focus on visual arts.

This workshop was the first of a series of workshops on arts and culture writing organised by the British Council during major artistic events, and covering a wide range of art forms.

This edition, organised with the support of Mixer, aimed to develop the professional skills of art writers from Turkey and help them expose their works on Visual Arts to wider audiences, locally and internationally.

How to write about contemporary art? 

With the field of the contemporary art now covering everything from performance and dance to experimental music, how is it possible for criticism to remain both expert and accessible? 

This intensive, practical programme focused on developing the skills required to write about art today. The course took the form of lectures, workshops, writing exercises, and group discussions. Participants visited exhibitions including the Istanbul Biennial in the company of the course leader, write reviews, discuss the results during focused workshops, and learn the tools required to develop their writing, critical, and editing skills. They were introduced to different modes of critical writing, taking into account the intended site of publication and audience. 

The course was led by Ben Eastham, the London-based art critic and editor with The White Review, art-agenda and documenta 14. He offered individual guidance to each participant and undertook to edit and provide feedback on a new piece of their writing.

The workshop was run in English and offered the possibility of consecutive translation in Turkish-English.

Participation was free of charge.

Arts and Culture Writing Workshop Book

At the end of the workshop, the collection of edited articles were published by Mixer.

Reviews by the participants on the 15th Istanbul Biennial were compiled into a book. Please read the e-book here.

Writing Through the Visual 

Speakers: Ben Eastham and Merve Ünsal 
Time and date: 15 September 2017, 16.00-17.30 
Language: the talk will be held in English with simultaneous translation into Turkish 
Hosts: British Council and Mixer
Venue: Pera Museum 

Ben Eastham, the London-based art critic and editor with The White Review and the art-agenda was in Istanbul to lead the Arts and Culture Writing Workshop for emerging visual art writers that The British Council organised with the support of Mixer during the Istanbul Biennial. 

Ben Eastham was also in a public talk with artist Merve Ünsal who was also the founding editor of the artist-driven online publishing initiative Eastham and Ünsal talked about art writing as a professional practice and as an entrepreneurial approach. This talk was a part of the 15th Istanbul Biennial Neighbour Events. 


About the trainer

Ben Eastham is a writer based in London. He is the co-founder and editor of The White Review, assistant editor of art-agenda, and associate editor of South as a State of Mind, the documenta 14 journal. His writing has featured in frieze, the London Review of Books, the New York Times, ArtReview, art-agenda and elsewhere. In the past year he has written catalogue essays for artists including Ed Ruscha (Gagosian), Camille Henrot (Fondazione Memmo) and Oliver Beer (Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac). He is the London correspondent for Witte de With Review and the co-author, with Katya Tylevich, of My Life as a Work of Art (Laurence King, 2016).


About the mentors

Merve Akgün was born in 1984, Istanbul. After graduating from the Saint Josepf French Highschool, she obtained both her BA and MA from Sorbonne University, Paris V – Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and lived in Paris for 9 years – working for publications such as Crash, Interview, Cahiers de Cinéma, Milk, L’Officiel, Jalouse. Today, she works as the Chief Editor of Unlimited with its six different publications, including Art Unlimited for which she has been a regular contributor since 2008.

Gökcan Demirkazık is an Istanbul-based curator and writer. During his time as the assistant curator of Alt Art Space (Istanbul), he worked on exhibitions and performances with the curator/director of the space, Mari Spirito, including solo shows of Allora & Calzadilla, Andreas Angelidakis, Marwa Arsanios, Rodney Graham, Ahmet Öğüt, and Rania Stephan. His writing has appeared in such publications as Artforum, frieze, ArtAsiaPacific,, and Art Unlimited. Demirkazık currently works as assistant programmer at SALT.
Twitter: lepetitrien (

About Mixer & ArtWriting Turkey

Mixer is an art platform that brings a different interpretation to the idea of modern art space, whilst discovering emerging artists and making unique artworks accessible to all. Mixer especially aims to target independent artists, those passionate about art and burgeoning collectors looking to start up a collection of their own. ArtWriting Turkey is a project initiated by Mixer in November 2013, which aims to champion art writing and criticism as a crucial mode of artistic production. The project aims to unite emerging art writers with professionals in the field, via workshops, exhibition tours and talks, culminating in the annual publication of a book of the participants' writing. Through this project, and collaborations with other institutions within the art world, Mixer not only sheds light on the current state of art writing in Turkey, but produces a rich archive of printed materials.