ALL was originally the idea of artist Robert Good, a fine art graduate from the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University who had a particular interest in text and language. With limited opportunities to exhibit in Cambridge and a steady accumulation of rejected proposals following the completion of his Masters in 2012, it was time to organise an exhibition that would give artists a platform to show their work and to engage with other artists from Cambridge and beyond.
With no exhibition space and no money, each artist was invited to find their own space in locations across Cambridge. The link to language was chosen as the common denominator between all the works.
The original exhibition was called Text&Context and took place in October 2012. It was organised as a collaborative, collective and inclusive event by Robert Good and Matthew Wilson along with fellow art school graduates.
The extended nature of Text&Context (24 artists, 24 locations around the city) was partly a response to the lack of exhibition space in Cambridge but also stemmed from a desire to show work away from the traditional gallery environment.
The Text&Context website no longer exists, but you can still find it on Facebook. For such a low-budget show it featured many great artworks and interventions, some of which can still be seen in Cambridge today.
Text&Context was partially revisited in December 2012 as part of 12-12-12, a group show at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield. ALL has since retained strong links with Bank Street Arts and many Sheffield artists have exhibited with ALL.
In subsequent years ALL grew in size and scale with exhibitions taking place each October in a Festival format until 2016. In 2017, ALL moved away from the annual festival format and back to its roots as a collaborative, project-based enterprise that connects artists and locations.