In The Beginning

We are often asked how ALL began and why the themes of language and location are central to the project. So here is a potted history of how it all began…

ALL was started in 2012 by a group of fine art graduates in Cambridge UK as 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 the city. 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.

Text and Context flier 900h
Text&Context 2012 designed by Matthew Wilson

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 and images from the exhibition are on our Text&Context Archive page. 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.

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