Between the late 1990s and 2015, approximately 40 artists’ collectives emerged in Porto, Portugal. These collectives gave rise to a new type of dynamic, egalitarian organizing amongst artists that was previously missing in the visual arts in Portugal. The horizontal collectivism and new models of participatory democracy of this movement have their antecedents in how the nation responded to the end of dictatorship in 1974. Artists played a major role in the construction and dissemination of democratic ideas that were set forth in the 1976 Portuguese Constitution. 50 years after the end of dictatorship, a rise in far-right parties in Portugal have raised questions about how artistic creation, and artist’s collectives, can support a more active form of citizenship.
Raquel Ermida is a PhD candidate in Artistic Studies at NOVA School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Lisbon and is sponsored by the Portuguese Funding Agency for Science, Research and Technology (FCT). Her project investigates and measures the political potential that was generated by around 40 artists collectives in Porto between 1998 and 2015. Ermida holds a Master’s degree in Visual Arts – Critical, Curatorial and Cybermedia Studies at the Haute École d’Arts et de Design, Geneva. She is a member of the Contemporary Art Studies’ group at NOVA’s Art History Institute. Ermida is also a researcher at RPDP – Research Platform & Doctoral Practice in Arts, Geneva, and a facilitator of the Art History Institute’s Doctoral Platform in Lisbon. In 2019, Ermida co-organized Fields of Collaboration in Contemporary Art Practices at Culturgest Foundation, Lisbon, the first international conference in Portugal reflecting upon collaboration in art practices. In 2020, she was awarded with a Fulbright grant at Pratt Institute, New York. Ermida is also a member of a group of academics studying the processes of artistic collectivization and unionization in Portugal during the Covid-19 pandemic after the group was selected for a 6-months research grant.