ARTiculation Insight

Benji Kandler took part in ARTiculation at the start of 2017 when he attended Graveney School. ARTiculation is part of The Roche Court Educational Trust, an independent arts education charity. ARTiculation is a national initiative which provides a platform for young people to talk about art in a public context. Through the ARTiculation outreach programme, which takes place in museums, galleries and universities across the country, young people develop the confidence to look, think and speak about art. Every year over 6,000 students take part in ARTiculation. Benji is just one of Articulation’s previous speakers who has joined the alumni network and who is reaping the rewards of his hard work and enthusiasm for art.

Why did you got involved in ARTiculation?

I got involved in ARTiculation as I saw it as a means to explore my interest in art history through my own unique and individual research approach. My school was not part of the programme when I found out about the competition and I protested that it be introduced. Although I had already applied for a BA in Art History before I took part in ARTiculation and had a basic knowledge of art history, their distinct and alternative brief of letting me present on whatever I wanted allowed me to explore my chosen artist in any way I wanted. I decided on Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ‘Notary’ (1983). Following the competition I used the public speaking and research skills gained to work with the Barbican on their 2017 exhibition ‘Basquiat: Boom for Real’. In addition I have since become an ARTiculation ambassador, working with the Roche Court Educational Trust to promote the competition, prepare speakers through workshops and develop their alumni network.

Why have you decided to study art history at Goldsmiths?

Because their course was so quirky! I looked at several universities and their courses were far too traditional for me. The idea of looking through hundreds of years of art and then maybe getting to look at a little contemporary art in the last term of my third year didn’t interest me at all. My passion is contemporary art and Goldsmiths’ course is largely weighted towards that. Moreover, their thematic approach allows me explore artists from the likes of Matthew Barney through to Richard Serra and Kazuo Shiraga; artists I wouldn’t be allowed to focus on so heavily with any other university course. Adding to this, I knew attending Goldsmiths I would be able to mingle with lots of emerging artists, with whom I could work with on projects I had planned before attending.

What opportunities you have had as a result of the ARTiculation alumni network?

Without the help of ARTiculation’s alumni network I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am now… I owe them a lot! Following the prize, I was put in touch with Charlotte Maxwell and I became one of the first mentee’s to participate in the Easel Initiative. I also decided to start my own gallery (Kandler Projects), and with the help of a number of art professionals, who were part of the network my dream has become a reality. I have been connected with curators through to gallery directors who have advised me along the way, without whom the gallery would not have been possible.

Where do you want your art history degree to take you?

I would like to use my art history degree as a stepping stone to educate myself as much as I can for a career in art dealing, advisory and consultancy. The analytical side of my degree is training me to assess works from a plethora of perspectives, broadening my appreciation for works of varying mediums. The research and critical writing skills that my degree allows me to develop furthers my curiosity and understanding of art history.

The ARTiculation Prize is part of The Roche Court Educational Trust based in Wiltshire. The Prize takes place every year between January and March at galleries and museums across the country. Directors, artists, curators, academics and journalists adjudicate the events. Audiences are welcome, visit the Roche Court Educational Trust website to find out more.

The Association for Art History works in partnership with the ARTiculation team to raise awareness of art history across the education and cultural sector as part of our Thinking About Art campaign work. Find out more about our advocacy and campaigning work.