Sunday 30 November 2008

What is going on at Glasgow School of Art?

Mammogram magazine is a great format to help improve communication between students within the art school and help to get us all organised. In the current issue there is an article titled 'Whats going on in the art school'. This article encapsulates the growing need for a unified voice to get ourselves heard by the management that are, at present, detached from the students that their choices eventually affect as well as bringing 2 tutors views too the table. Here is the article for you to read if you haven't been able to get hold of the second issue of the magazine:

What is going on in the Art School?

There is, although I usually try not to admit it, a small sense of pride in being part of the Art School. As places go, there's definitely a brilliant range of characters. But by the end of last year, I started to think that something was missing. It's not that we're not political, or that we don't care. It just seems that there isn't (or if there is, I haven't found it) a space in which students can come together to voice their opinions.

Last year we experienced the closure of the Ceramics Department. This year technicians and other valuable members of staff have been made redundant. We've been told that the School has to cut corners to cover the cost of electricity and gas bills. Fair enough. But I think it's important that we know what's going on at the School and have a chance to participate in the internal politics of the GSA. It's quite naïve, but I see this place as a bit of a haven. We're working in relatively free time, in subjects that we're interested in. For me it's a bit of a shock to realize that decisions concerning our courses can be made by people or circumstances outside the immediate framework and without the input even without informing those it concerns, among others, namely, us, the students.

An Interview with Ray McKenzie

M. In three years the bulldozers will arrive and everything apart from the Mac will be resituated in one new building on Renfrew Street. How do you feel about this?

R.M. The Mac will still be the focus of the campus. 50 million pounds have been secured for the new building, so we now have to come up with the designs and get planning permission. One option is to demolish everything on the other side of the road: the student union, the Newbury tower and the Foulis building. They haven't made up their minds yet whether to keep the Foulis, and it will be a major decision because they did a lot of work on it recently.

There's no need for anxiety about changing the campus. It will be a vast improvement. One of the arguments was, that with the School campus being as dispersed as it is now, in the long run it will cost us more money if we don't invest in major improvements now.

In any case, I'll be long gone and you'll be long gone by the time its finished in 2014. But it's a move that's got to be made. What kind of impact this is going to make on the student experience is worth thinking about. I can only speak for myself, but this [the Mac] is an incredible building, and I can't imagine a more stimulating architectural environment to work in. All the more recent buildings feel like municipal architecture -- soulless, bland corridors and little white boxes as studios. It's hard to stimulate an art school ethos in a place that looks like that.

M. How do you feel about all the tourists coming into the Mac and the extension of the museum?

R.M. It's a serious problem, but I don't want to be too critical. Some of the choices that were made recently are intelligent. We get a lot of money through tourism and some would even say because the Mackintosh is so revered in the history of architecture, the world has got a right to see it. It's a question of balance. If you're in the Mackintosh Library, the tourists are very intrusive, but in some ways this is the price we have to pay for working in such a brilliant building. There will also be the Visitor Centre in the new building, so there'll be less disruption. It shouldn't intrude on student life too much, but we will always have to make compromises.

M. How do you think the art school changed in the time that you've worked here?

R.M. Oh, now I'm being cast in the role of the oldest guy in the place! It's definitely changed for the better, though it seems to me that some of the changes have been less desirable. Most obviously, the school is bigger now. I started in 1976 and that was the tail end of a period when everybody knew everybody. Now I go to staff meetings and half the people I've never seen before. My biggest complaint is that our educational goals are coming after purely managerial considerations. Obviously there has to be management, but we have gradually become managerially top-heavy, and that is not necessarily a good thing.

The party line you'll get from management is that they're here to support teaching. But now jobs are on the line, and one by one we're loosing academic staff. It's a process of attrition - a lecturer here, a technician there - and suddenly we find the undergraduate programme has deteriorated. Two or three years ago there was a document that gave a breakdown of staff statistics, and for the first time there was more non-academic staff than academic staff. That seemed to indicate a shift in the priorities of the school. Undergraduate teaching has become a second-class activity under-staffed, under-resourced and working in an environment where water dripping through the roof is something that has to be put up with as a matter of routine.

M. Does the teaching staff have any power?

R.M. Well, they ought to. We have our own staff union. Until recently we were members of Educational Institution of Scotland (EIS). We felt that they weren't doing as much as they could for us, so a huge bunch resigned and joined the University and Colleges Union (UCU). In doing that we are not the recognized union for the school. Even though the EIS is tiny, it is still the official union. A couple of years ago we had a dispute where we boycotted any marking during degree time. We'd done the marking but withheld the results. In the end we got a pay rise linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI), which has drastically increased, and that has put another strain on the School. With the increase in bills this has been a bit of a double whammy for the school.

M. How do you think students could gain more political initiative?

R.M. It's really difficult because it's part of the post-Thatcher legacy that seems to have induced an amount of apathy. About 15 years ago there was a guy called Richard Jobson, he's a broadcaster now. He had already achieved minor celebrity as a member of Scotland's only punk band, from Dundee, I think, called The Skids. Now he's a broadcaster and cultural 'commentator'. Anyway, at that time he made a film in which he said: "I'm going round interviewing people to find out what gets young people out of their beds, and I have to report there's not much evidence there." He looked at it squarely in this Thatcherite context. Dismantling of industry, privatisation of education, and all the rest. He came to the School and interviewed students in the Vic, and somehow managed to present them in a way that confirmed his view that the dominant mood in the student population today is apathy - that Thatcher did such a good job of dismantling the social cohesion that used to energise people to take action, that people now just shrug and say: 'We can't change anything - what's the point in trying. We just want to get on and get our degrees, and to hell with everyone else.' I was livid when I saw how he had twisted the interviews to prove his point, and yet in some ways he was right. We are still living with the Thatcher legacy and all the damage it has done to education and community and all the old ideas of political empowerment. But there are student who refuse to accept it and these are the ones we should be supporting.

An interview with Tanya Eccleston

Tanya teaches fourth year Sculpture and Environmental Art as well as being the Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Fine Art .

M. What are the problems that the art school faces at the moment? There's been a lot of talk recently about financial difficulties.

T.E. The economic issues are what every school is facing right now. The way in which those issues are handled is a political question - there is clearly a drive towards a more modular form of teaching based on both economic pressure and the imperative to allow more student choice in their course of study. Most UK students can choose their pathway through fine art and get their degree by choosing short, 'modular' courses as they go along, ending up with a 'portfolio' of subjects rather than the one. At this art school, once you sign up to a subject like sculpture, you will usually stay there. By opening up the departments and schools to all our students the politics and pedagogy in the institution will shift dramatically.

Financially, the UK's higher education system is dependent on overseas students coming here to study because overseas students bring in a lot more money than home or EU students - about 9000 pounds a year each. The global economic downturn is having a huge impact on students coming to study here from overseas, with many countries now importing courses from the West, which can be more beneficial and financially realistic for students who want to undertake UK programmes and courses.

It seems that a lot of money is spent on management and increasingly less on the actual delivery of education. Postgraduate courses are a priority because they attract overseas students. So at this time, the management's focus is directed towards postgraduates and the new building. As a consequence, undergraduate teachers are feeling overwhelmed by work and concerned that the standard of teaching in the BA will be affected in the long term.

M. What is the financial situation at the moment?

T.E. The school is broke - the gas bill has gone up 93 per cent, the electricity by 44 percent. The Barnes building is a big leaky ship and costs a lot to heat. Add to this the pay rises awarded after the AUT industrial action a few years ago and these rises will have a significant impact on what we can't and can deliver to students. So, in my position as programme leader, you are given your allocated budget and told that you have to save (cut) by a certain amount. You try to protect teaching staff first, so students get as much provision as possible. Things like the Friday Event are vulnerable because they are extra curricular and expensive. We're about to find out what our actual budget is next week. Then we will need to decide where to save. Firstly we will look at our learning and teaching, or 'consumables' budgets for savings, and then if we can't save enough there we will need to face the prospect of further staff losses.

We had a staff briefing the other day about the 'savings programme'. I still don't believe there is a programme as such. The Director says she is committed to protecting teaching staff and therefore students from the impact of these financial shortfalls in our funding but that hasn't been Fine Art's experience so far. Loss of academic and technical staff is the primary thing that affects students the most: the loss of attention, loss of curriculum, loss of opportunity that comes with less staff has grave implications for the quality of what we can provide students.

M. Following on from that, what do you see as the most important issues at the GSA in the coming years?

T.E. The question is, what is the plan B for the old buildings until the new building is ready? How is the school going to look after the buildings it has in the meantime? How will it be able sustain the inadequate but necessary learning environment we have now? What are the school's priorities in this regard? The other most important issue in my opinion is how the breaking up of the subject-led departments into a more modular structure of teaching will affect the quality of students' learning experience. Some choice is well overdue, but it is also important to recognize what is lost by widening the range of courses available. Just how much choice do you have before the only choice students have is to choose - at what point will the balance be tipped - when will you lose the opportunity to learn deeply and well, your discipline of choice?

M. How is the mood among the staff?

T.E. A lot of staff are upset at the moment. We feel that the management has not been strategic or prudent enough in these last years. It's not clear to us how money is spent and how the priorities of the school are supported financially. There's a strategic plan for the school that is very ambitious but doesn't seem to really nourish the undergraduate and its values - values such as community, access and skill acquisition. The School's reputation is built on the undergraduate courses, but I'm worried about our programme. Everyone is working really hard and they're exhausted. The strategic plan seems to put brand and economic viability before values that are recognizably ours.

M. What do you think the students can do?

T.E. You need to ask the management the right questions. The key thing for students is that whatever management, and that includes me, come up with in terms of savings, you should still get the same out of your course. Don't suffer loss of quality at any level of your education. Ask yourselves: what is it you value about your course? Then fight for it tooth and nail. If you want staff time, better workshops, more feedback, better access, than tell it like it is again and again. Right now the management is fighting on your behalf for something called 'student choice' which sounds very supportive, and is in some important. But it is also a way of dividing up the student body and its collective identity, separating you off into 'suites' of courses that are delivered as classes with single tutors, 'allowing' you to piece together your education as a 'portfolio of learning choices'.

Student choice, as higher education in the UK seems to understand it, can seriously undermine your ability to sink deep into a subject. If I were cynical I would warn you that student choice is much cheaper to deliver, frees up dedicated studios and working space, separates staff and student bodies from each other and makes a more pliant staff body for management to manage.

We may be broke, but we have each other. Students learn here because they come to school -- there's possibly no other school that demands as much presence in the studios as we do, and it makes our students good at what they do. Brilliant actually. I don't believe learning is about shopping, it's about depth, and the hardest thing is trying to protect that capacity for depth in learning, which means protecting un-structured, but directed learning time - something you don't get so much of in art schools across the country these days. Continuity in terms of staffing is important too: knowing someone over a period of years really helps in terms of learning. Mostly, that's gone in higher education in the UK, but we're hanging on to it here.

For how much longer I can't tell you. If we begin to deliver modules instead of subjects, teachers will begin to forget student names. It's not impossible that in time and in a thoroughly divided but economically viable art school, you'll forget each other's names. We're being run like a business because we're broke, but actually we're not a just a business, we're an educational culture and nobody seems to be looking after the culture except the teachers, and they don't have power, but you student's do!


Creative Scotland is the proposed merger of the public bodies, the Scottish Arts Council, Scottish Screen, and Scottish Cultural Enterprise, into a private company. Culture Minister, Linda Fabiani, recently insisted of Creative Scotland: "We all want to get this up and running." In truth, this apparent urgency conceals a major ideological fault line between public and private provision in Scotland.

Variant coverage in the context of
broader social, political & cultural issues.

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Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Exhibition: To bring forth and give

Sorcha Dallas

To bring forth and give



Rob Churm, Henry Coombes, Raphael Danke, Kate Davis, Alex Frost, Alasdair Gray, Charlie Hammond, Fiona Jardine, Sophie Macpherson, Alan Michael, Craig Mulholland, Alex Pollard, Gary Rough, Clare Stephenson, Michael Stumpf

Glasgow Print Studio, 1st Floor, 48 King Street, Glasgow



28th November 2008, 6 - 8pm


20th December 2008

Image: Raphael Danke, Couple, 2008, etching in an edition of 20, 103.5 x 58.5 cm

Glasgow Print Studio invited the fifteen artists represented by Sorcha Dallas gallery to work with the master printmakers to make a work in print.  'To bring forth and give' will present these new works.  

Glasgow Print Studio is a unique organisation with charitable status that exists to enable and promote excellence and innovation in fine art printmaking.


Sorcha Dallas · 5–9 St Margaret's Place, Glasgow G1 5JY, United Kingdom
tel/fax +44 (0)141 553 2662 · ·
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Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201 

Exhibition: r e p ' e . t ' t i o n

Sorcha Dallas

r e p ' e . t ' t i o n



Eva Berendes, E. E. Cummings, Fiona Jardine, Alan Michael, Bridget Riley, Sue Tompkins, John Wesley, Franz West, Claudia Wieser



28th November 2008, 7 - 9pm

After party at the Hetherington Research Club, 13 University Gardens


17th January 2009

Gallery closed from the 21st December - 5th January

Image: John Wesley, Untitled (Mickey & Minnie), 1983
50.2 x 64.8 cm, acrylic on paper.  Copyright John Wesley, courtesy Waddington Galleries.  Photography by Prudence Cuming Associates

This group show brings together a range of works concerned with the idea of the repeated image or motif.


Eva Berendes‘s large, freestanding, semi-transparent, fabric screens take the form of oversized watercolours physically dividing and redefining the space in which they are installed. They reference both the fine and applied arts – from Sonia Delaunay’s colourful experiments in painting and commercial print, to the Bauhaus weaving workshop and the exhibition designs of Lilly Reich. For Berendes, the methodical, manual work involved in their production is as important as the conceptual process – hence the backs of the screens are left exposed, revealing their construction. The works reference the abstract compositions of early 20th century Amish quilts famed for their unsophisticated, geometric designs and subtle use of colour. However, Berendes’s compositions are less spiritually contemplative, taking inspiration from the irreverent Memphis furniture produced in Milan in the 1980s. Her interest is not however focused on any specific historical era but instead on a broader understanding and interest in the language of abstraction - exploring its development throughout the 20th century and how it is perceived today, reflecting back yet continuing to evolve.  Berendes was born in Bonn and lives and works in Berlin. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at Sommer & Kohl, Berlin and a two-person show at Arndt & Partner, Berlin.

Edward Estlin Cummings popularly known as E. E. Cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses more than 900 poems, several plays and essays, numerous drawings, sketches, and paintings, as well as two novels. While his poetic forms and themes share an affinity with the romantic tradition, Cummings' work universally shows a particular idiosyncrasy of syntax, or way of arranging individual words into larger phrases and sentences.  A number of his poems feature a typographically exuberant style, with words, parts of words, or punctuation symbols scattered across the page, often making little sense until read aloud, at which point the meaning and emotion become clear. Cummings, who was also a painter, understood the importance of presentation, and used typography to "paint a picture" with some of his poems. As well as being influenced by notable modernists including Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound, Cummings' early work drew upon the imagist experiments of Amy Lovell. Later, his visits to Paris exposed him to Dada and surrealism, which in turn permeated his work.

Executed in oil and acrylic on canvas, Alan Michael’s paintings form a skewed but precise idiolect of cultural references. Photographs, prints and art-world reproductions are meticulously studied and fascistically transformed – duplicated, rotated, spliced and inter-married. His iconic hybrids encompassing Lucian Freud, Horst, Balthus, Andrew Wyeth and – more recently – Lynne Ramsey’s film Morvern Callar are doppelgangers of both hegemonic and sub-cultures, middlebrows and avant-gardes. The resultant images deny both unctuousness and hysteria at the compulsive level of their masterful – yet quirkily handled – substance, fashioning angular (and thoroughly painterly) chimeras at a deadpan remove from their subjects. Born in Glasgow in 1967, Alan Michael gained a BA in Fine Art from Duncan of Jordanstone College, Dundee in 1996 and an MA (Fine Art) from Glasgow School of Art in 1998. In 2008 Michael had a solo show at the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh and Art Now at Tate, London. Alan Michael lives and works in Glasgow.

Bridget Riley was born in 1931 at Norwood, London. She studied at Goldsmiths College from 1949 to 1952, and at the Royal College of Art from 1952 to 1955. Riley has exhibited widely since her first solo show in 1962. Among numerous exhibitions, she was included in the 1968 Venice Biennial where she won the International Prize for painting. Bridget Riley is one of Britain's best-known artists. Since the mid-1960s she has been celebrated for her distinctive, optically vibrant paintings which actively engage the viewer's sensations and perceptions, producing visual experiences that are complex and challenging, subtle and arresting. Riley is acclaimed as one of the finest exponents of Op Art, with her subtle variations in size, shape and position of blocks within the overall pattern. Her work is characterized by its intensity and its often disorientating effect. Indeed the term 'Riley sensation' was coined to describe this effect of looking at the paintings, especially her early black and white pictures. Riley is fascinated with the act of looking and in her work aims to engage the viewer not only with the object of their gaze but also with the actual process of observation. Though her work is abstract, the optical experiences obtained through viewing her work seem surprisingly familiar. During her childhood, when she lived in Cornwall, she formed an acute responsiveness to natural phenomena. In particular, the effects of light and color in the landscape. Though her mature work does not proceed from observation, it is nevertheless connected with the experience of nature. This parallel relation between Riley's art and nature has underpinned the development of her work, coloring the way it forms both an exploration and a celebration of a fundamental human experience: sight.

Sue Tompkins’ daily existence is completely interconnected with her artistic practice. She uses found objects, magazines and text to create her own very unique and individual aesthetic. Her performances are a hypnotic experience where she uses repetition and rhythm to create a genuinely emotive reading. In 2007 she had solo shows at The Showroom, London and Diana Stigter, Amsterdam. She lives and works in Glasgow.


John Wesley was born in Los Angeles, California in 1928. After holding a series of odd jobs, he began painting at the age of 22. His first exhibition consisted mostly of large-format acrylic paintings of imaginary seals and stamps; he would retain the flatness and limited color range of these works, but would move into the depiction of bodies and cartoon characters, the latter of which led him to be grouped with Pop Art as the 1960s progressed. The spareness of his technique often seems more akin to the school known as Minimalism, however, and indeed his closest personal associations were with artists such as Dan Flavin and Donald Judd, the latter of whom wrote a praising essay on Wesley's early work. Wesley himself considers his work to be aligned with Surrealism, and many of his paintings since the 1960s have taken this dimension yet further, while retaining an extremely limited range of colors and a sign-like flatness. Several retrospectives of his work have been held, the most recent at the P.S.1 Contemporary Center in New York in 2000. Wesley is represented in the UK by Waddington Galleries.

Franz West lives and works in Vienna, where he was born in 1947. West began his career in mid-1960s Vienna when a local movement called Actionism was in full swing. West's earliest sculptures, performances, and collages were a reaction to this movement, in which artists engaged in displays of radical public behaviour and physical endurance meant to shake up art-world passivity. In the early 1970s, West began making a series of small, portable sculptures called "Adaptives" ("Paßtücke"), awkward-looking plaster objects that were only completed as artworks when the viewer picked them up and carried them around, or performed some other inherently slapstick action with them. In many ways, his large-scale aluminum sculptures are simply overgrown versions of the "Adaptives." But they also relate directly to his installations, where West makes furniture. West has the ability to make comfortable and colorfully upholstered couches and chairs which transform galleries, museums, and public spaces into lounge-like, sociable environments for viewing art. West has exhibited internationally for more than three decades in galleries and museums, and at major festivals including Documenta IX (1992) and Documenta X (1997), Kassel, Germany; Sculpture Projects in Münster (1997); and the Venice Biennale (1988, 1993, 1997, 2003). In 1997 The Museum of Modern Art presented West with a solo show.

Claudia Weiser creates installations combining wall-paper, sculptures and drawings.  Her works are interested in the utopian idea surrounding the classical idea of modernity.  Out of logical systems and patterns she creates works that border on the transcendental. These works take on an almost spiritual feel, at odds with the mathematical approach used in their construction.  Low fi black and white photocopies are used to create illusionary architectural spaces over which she lays her two-dimensional works. Weiser was born in Germany in 1973 and lives and works in Berlin.


Thanks to Kay Pallister, The Gagosian Gallery, Claudia Weiser, Ben Kaufmann, Phillida Reid and Waddington Galleries, Ben Parsons and Karsten Schubert, The Modern Institute, Rob Tufnell and Bruce Haines at Ancient & Modern.



Sorcha Dallas · 5–9 St Margaret's Place, Glasgow G1 5JY, United Kingdom
tel/fax +44 (0)141 553 2662 · ·
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Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201 

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Stills Exhibition: Urban Reflections

Stills exhibition: Urban Reflections

Opening: Saturday 22 November 2008 6-8pm

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani (Germany), Dan Graham (USA), Sabine Hornig (Germany), Santu Mofokeng (South Africa), Rhona Warwick (Scotland). Curated by Kirsten Lloyd and Christine Nippe

Warped, fragmented and endlessly repeated. Responses to the urban experience have ranged from unbridled enthusiasm for these vibrant hubs of glittering prosperity to examinations of the psychological shadows of city living: alienation, anxiety, tension and fear. The current age of 'global cities' is marked by new geographies and social relations moulded by advancing technologies and economic systems. How do contemporary artists respond to these conditions? Urban Reflections presents works by artists from across different generations and locations as they reflect literally and metaphorically on the theme of mirroring the city.

Saturday 22 November 2008 6-8pm Exhibition Opening: Urban Reflections FREE
Join us to celebrate the launch of Urban Reflections on Saturday evening. The afterparty will be held at Wasabi Disco from10pm at Sneaky Pete's in the Cowgate (free admission).

Sunday 23 November 2pm - 3pm Artist Talk: Sabine Hornig FREE
An opportunity to hear the artist Sabine Hornig discuss her practice, coffees and cakes will be served.

Sabine Hornig's images of vacant storefronts reflect Berlin's city landscape into interior spaces, troubling visual perception and exploring the shifting relationships between humans and the urban context. Subtle tricks of scale result in a blurring of the boundaries between photography, sculpture and architecture while the works themselves - positioned in an indeterminate zone between reality and image - are infused with a sense of the uncanny.

23 Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1BP


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Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

Monday 17 November 2008




Professor Neil Cox

University of Essex

Picassos Toys for Adults:

Cubism as Surrealism

Thursday 20 November


in the Hawthornden Lecture Theatre,

National Gallery of Scotland,

The Mound


Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201 

Friday 14 November 2008

Bulgaria's Best Comes to ECA! (today 2pm)

Bulgaria's Best Comes to Edinburgh! With Director Andrey Paounov

Fri 14 Nov,

Main Lecture Theatre, Edinburgh College of Art, 74 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9DF

Please RSVP to

Andrey Paounov the director of the much-loved Georgi and the Butterflies and The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories will be coming to
Edinburgh to discuss the intricacies of his doc-making career.

Paounov delights in the absurd situations he finds himself in but keeps his ironic sense of humour in check through genuine empathy for his subjects - those with tarnished histories and those without. He also displays a masterful control of tone, never oversimplifying the messy complexity of history, particularly in the former Soviet bloc. Georgi and the Butterflies and The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories are beguilingly rich with unexpected tensions and juxtapositions both humorous and troubling in both cases.

Andrey Paounov was born in
Sofia and graduated from the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts there. His films include A Short Film About Yuri Gagarin (95), On the Way to Tuvalu (98) and Lucy Tsak Tsak (01), Georgi and the Butterflies (04) (Silver Wolf at IDFA). The Mosquito Problem and Other Stories (07) is his second feature documentary.


Sonja Henrici |  Scottish Documentary Institute 
eca |
74 Lauriston Place | Edinburgh | EH3 9DF | Scotland, UK
T: +44 (0) 131 221 6125  M: +44 (0) 7765 415 486

Bridging the Gap is funded and supported by Scottish Screen Lottery Fund, Skillset Film Skills Fund & BBC Scotland, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Edinburgh College of Art 

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Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201 

Randolph Cliff: Artist's Talk by David Schutter, 26th November 6-7pm

Please join us for a special talk by David Schutter.

Artist in Residence at Randolph Cliff, Edinburgh

6-7pm, Wednesday 26 November 2008, at the Hawthornden Lecture Theatre, National Galleries of Scotland, The Mound

David Schutter (born 1974) is one of the leading proponents of the younger generation of American artists and is Assistant Professor at the Department of Visual Arts of the University of Chicago. Recent exhibitions have included solo shows at the Tony Wight Gallery, Chicago; Aurel Scheibler, Berlin; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.

At first glance Schutter's works appear almost monochromatic. In reality, they are the result of an elaborate research process centered on selected paintings by Old Masters. Schutter makes numerous preparatory and observational studies of selected works, but rather than producing a copy, he uses these sketches, or "Tafelets" as a visual aid with which to create his own version of the paintings from memory. Each painting, which is on a 1:1 scale of the original, operates as a lyrical conversation piece across time, a "parlour painting" that evokes the ways in which we see and retain images. Schutter has produced paintings in response to works by Watteau, Rubens, Vermeer and Rembrandt and, more recently, he developed an exceptional series based on Constable's cloud studies from the collection of the Yale Center for British Art.

During his residency at Randolph Cliff, Schutter will study Siméon Chardin's A Vase of Flowers from the mid 1750s from the National Gallery of Scotland's collection. A Vase of Flowers is Chardin's only surviving flower piece and one of his best known paintings. Schutter's studies in Edinburgh will lead to a new set of works painted from memory that explore the mysteries of Chardin's approach as a painter.

Randolph Cliff is a joint art initiative of Clémentine Deliss and Charles Asprey, supported by the Edinburgh College of Art and the National Galleries of Scotland. Forthcoming artists include Adrian Piper, Manfred Pernice, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Frances Stark, Dexter Sinister, and Joseph Kosuth. For further information please contact or Melissa MacRobert

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

Creative Practice/Creative Research Conference

Creative Practice/Creative Research: Materiality, Process, Performativity

15 April - 17 April 2009

A gathering of emerging and established voices in the criticism, curating, history, pedagogy and production of art

Final Call for Papers: Deadline 1st December 2008
Registration Opens 1st January 2009


James Alexander
Senior Administrative Assistant-Project & Outreach

Faculty of Arts
York St John University
Lord Mayors Walk
YO31 7EX
+44(0)1904 876433

Event Synopsis:

Creative Practice/Creative Research has emerged at a critical moment in the burgeoning discourse that surrounds what has been named 'practice-led research.' The impetus for this gathering has been a desire to critique and disseminate insights born of practice by and for artists in a context that will impact upon the fields of art criticism, art education, cultural theory, curating and the history of art.

This rationale responds to the lament of sculptor Robert Morris who in 1970 noted in Artforum that the creative process remained 'the submerged side' of the interpretive 'iceberg'. In the 1970s and 1980s the advent of post-modern theory and the social history of art located the material production of art at an intersection of history and the social. Practice had thus been liberated from the (psycho)biographical expressivity and mastery of the gesture. Within British art historical scholarship however the object of critical discourse has remained profoundly visual. In 2008 this focus on visual outcomes acquired renewed vigor via the generation of a new model of art historical enquiry informed by neuroscience. Situated in the gallery like so many dead objects 'art's' materiality remains the trace of a means to an ends. Caught between formalism and semiotics theory in this paradigm is that which can only ever be applied to art.

Creative Practice/Creative Research seeks to turn the tables; to evoke the writing of Ettinger (1997), Jones & Stephenson (1999), Bolt & Barrett (2006, 2007) as a critical framework with which to imagine art practice as the means by which 'we come to know the world via handling' ((Heiddeger, 1966) Bolt, 2007). The work of art as 'co-poiësis' (Ettinger, 1997) and 'poiëtic revealing' (Bolt, 2007) transforms creative production beyond the locus of a discrete subject bound exclusively by the discrete visual outcome. The production of art is here cognized as the generation of the not yet known. This paradigm shift seeks to foreground the 'dialogical' means through which art's work may elicit transformations via material operations and performativity both at the point of production and reception to reconfigure the theoretical and historical frameworks through which it can signify.

To highlight such a fleshy transubjective logic of art practice will enable interventions in the fields of curatorial practice and pedagogy. Creative Practice/Creative Research seeks to disseminate examples of curatorial collaboration in the creative process counter to the traditional practice of the display of objects/outcomes in the gallery or museum. Finally this gathering will interrogate the assimilation of fine art education within the culture of accountability that currently structures the unruly objects of art's 'research' within higher education.

Submissions are invited from artists, critics and scholars in all fields of the creative arts.


Steve Baker, UCLAN, UK
Estelle Barrett, Deakin University, AUS
Rosemary Betterton, Lancaster University, UK
Barb Bolt, University of Melbourne, AUS
Judit Bodor, Independent Curator
Vanessa Corby, York St John University, UK
Bracha Ettinger, European Graduate School, SWISS
Paula Farrance, UK
Pam Longobardi, Georgia State University, USA
Roddy Hunter, York St John University, UK
Linda Weintraub, Independent Scholar, USA
Elizabeth Watkins, Bristol University, UK

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

The Physical Impossibility of Curating Without Context

Backlit Logo <>

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The Physical Impossibility of Curating Without Context

Amy Pierpoint


Private View: Thursday 13th November, 7pm onwards

Exhibition: Fri 14th - Sun 23rd: 12pm -5pm

Admission free: open to public

Tel: 01159508751 / email: / web:


Backlit is a complex of artists' studios and gallery spaces, and acts as a hub for creativity in the area. We are dedicated to experimental work and cross-pollination of artistic practices. Set up by a group of Nottingham Trent University Fine Art graduates in 2008, we are proud to announce our Second exhibition, The physical impossibility of curating without context. A group of critical texts, with Illustrations By Tom Clarke, Damien Hirst and Beth Shapeero.


Gallery/ The Physical Impossibility of Curating without Context.

Every cultural event is grounded by the events that came before and after it. Culture is underpinned by chronology. As Artists, the objects we produce are anchored by their forefathers. This has led us to attempt to question this context of our practice as artists, curators and Gallerist'. Curating boils down to putting one object next to another, but sometimes as with decoration things can go astray one work can over power another, change its meaning or cause it to become something else entirely.

For this presentation we have utilised three art works as illustrations for writers to use as launch pads for critical and experimental writing around what context and curating can mean in the contemporary. We realise that no cultural product can become hermetic especially in relation to the generation before ourselves ,and their overpowering presence on the art world.

Studio/ Amy Pierpoint

Pierpoint presents new work subverting the romanticised idea of the artist as cult entity.

Project/ Deconstruct

Students from the Nottingham Trent University Fine Art Course respond to the title of the show in a controlled test of creativity where medium, production time and context are supplied by the Backlit.

With thanks to Nottingham Trent University and Duvel Beers for their kind contribututions.

Backlit Poster <>

BACKLIT, Nottingham: Gallery | Studios | Projects // The Factory, Dakeyne Street, Nottingham, NG3 2AR.

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Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

Monday 10 November 2008

Vorsprung durch teknik

The Steve Ovett Effect presents,

"Vorsprung durch teknik"

Market Gallery, Glasgow.

Preview, Friday 21st November.

Exhibition continues until 20th Decemeber.

Open 12-6pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

Oliver Herbert - Priceless

Presenting long awaited new work from

Oliver Herbert in his new show Priceless.

From the 21st - 23rd November

10/8 Brougham Street,


Opening Party 21st November 7pm - 9pm

It would be great if you could come and see all my new work. Click here to visit my online shop!

You can also find my website at


Please Forward this to anyone you would like to bring along!

Oliver Herbert

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201 

Two upcoming talks[Scanned-Clean]


ARTIST TALK November 27 2008


Hanneline Visnes


Artist Hanneline Visnes discusses her recent work.


Yudowitz Seminar Room

Wolfson Medical School Building (Ground floor)

University Avenue, Hillhead

University of Glasgow


Talk starts at 6.15pm



Part of a programme of talks co-ordinated by the History of Art Dept at University of

Glasgow and the Gallery of Modern Art


Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201 

Wednesday 5 November 2008

AAH Dissertation Prize

AAH Dissertation Prize

To Whom it May Concern:

I am writing to you on behalf of the AAH Students Members Committee to inform you of the upcoming deadline for the annual Association of Art Historians undergraduate and postgraduate Dissertation Prizes (1st December 2008). Below is the full information for the awards, which I have also attached as a word document should you wish to print out or distribute among your colleges in the department. If you would like any further information, please visit where entry forms, nomination forms and terms & conditions may also be downloaded.

If you are not the correct contact for this information, it would be greatly appreciated if you could forward this message to the relevant persons. If there are any questions regarding this award scheme or the AAH as an organisation, please see or email Thank you.

Yours truly,

Suzy Freake
on behalf of the Students Members Committee
Association of Art Historians

70 Cowcross Street,
London EC1M 6EJ
t: 020 7490 3211

Registered Charity No. 282579

Association of Art Historians
Student Dissertation Prizes 2008

Entries are invited from UK undergraduate and postgraduate students of History of Art and Visual Culture, enrolled on either practice-based or theoretical courses, whose work is on some aspect of the history of art in its broadest sense; for example, past successful entries have included studies of trade union imagery, tomb sculpture and media coverage of the Gulf War.

We very much hope you will want to submit work from your students. The winners for the most outstanding undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations will receive:

O A £200 cash prize
O Books to the value of £150 from Thames & Hudson
O Free AAH student membership for one year
O Publication of a 300-word abstract of their winning entry in the AAH Bulletin
O A presentation at the AAH Annual Conference, including free admission to the conference

Dissertations will be assessed on the following qualities:
Originality: the dissertation should demonstrate a mature and original approach to issues and themes of current concern to the discipline in its broadest interpretation.
Research: This should be thorough, broad and combine primary and secondary sources as appropriate.
Method: This should show a clear awareness of appropriate methodological approaches.
Content: The dissertation should be clearly structured, all source material should be soundly evaluated, the argument or line of enquiry should be balanced and the conclusion well grounded.

For full regulations, entry details and nomination forms see:

Deadline: 1 December 2008

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Suzy Freake
Claire Walsh
For the AAH Students Members Committee

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201

Monday 3 November 2008

Press Release: 'The Two Alasdairs' at The Glasgow School of Art[Scanned-Clean]


The Two Alasdairs

Alasdair Gray & Alasdair Taylor


22 November 2008 – 10 January 2009

Mackintosh Gallery, The Glasgow School of Art


Exhibition preview: 6-8pm, Friday 21 November 2008 in the Mackintosh Gallery


The Two Alasdairs is an exhibition of the work of two artists who trained at the art school in the Mural Painting and Painting & Drawing departments of the 1950s. The exhibition reunites the work of these two aesthetically divergent artists, a tribute to their life-long friendship and sustained intellectual collaboration.


This exhibition focuses on one strand of the art of Alasdair Gray, namely his treatment and use of the city of Glasgow and Scottish landscape, the people in it and their relationship with their environment. Including landscapes and cityscapes rarely seen, this exhibition will include works from private collections, works from the People’s Palace series of drawings and his most recent illustrations from novel, Old Men In Love (published Cannongate 2008).


Alasdair Taylor’s traditional art school training in drawing and composition remained a constant in his art until the time of his death in 2007, but it is in the abstract expressionist work that a freedom of colour and form is embraced. Influenced by European Situationist movement COBRA and the painterly expressionism of artists such as John Houston and Asger Jorn, the work in this exhibition is a selection from the vast archive of canvasses, collages and assemblages created in his remote Portencross studio.


There is a colour catalogue to accompany this exhibition with new commissioned essay about Alasdair Taylor’s work by Malcolm Dickson, Director of Streetlevel Gallery and a new drawing of Alasdair Gray and essay about his work by artist Stuart Murray.


For Listings:


The Two Alasdairs: Alasdair Gray & Alasdair Taylor

22 November 2008 – 10 January 2009

Mackintosh Gallery, The Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew Street, Glasgow, G3 6RQ,


For further information and press images, please contact Gráinne Rice and Talitha Kotzé in the Exhibitions department at The Glasgow School of Art on 0141 353 4525 or email and



Talitha Kotzé

Exhibitions Assistant
Glasgow School of Art
167 Renfrew Street
Glasgow G3 6RQ
t +44(0)141 353 4525
f +44(0)141 353 4746



The Glasgow School of Art is a charity registered in Scotland, charity number SC012490.

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201 

Andrew Macdonald: A call for non-submission

A Call for Non-submission
Andrew Macdonald

I do not need a guidance councilor. Though most people who actually employed in the arts do not understand the creative temperament – which (when one has it) is to forsake everything else, or at the very least, to put that priority before everything else. Quite a solitary life: it is to write something whilst taking a shit, perhaps.
In the economy of cultural capital, to destroy or to repress a thing and the ideas that it represents is inevitably to lend it a certain unintended credibility – to admit the need to embellish it with a new power or value, and then destroy that: Nazi's burning books, or the Reichstag, in the 30's for example, or Malevich and the Supremacists insisting that the museums be gutted and filled with their own branch of geometric abstract art in 1914/15. To denounce something is to admit that it is worth denouncing. This of course can be a good thing: in the creative process, what is important is finding the truth for oneself.

To be able to ignore, though, is vastly more efficient. Established art-forms have already gained their creator's requisite capital through embellishment with widespread set of values – value to those who have an interest in sustaining their own manufactured belief. For an artist to subvert or destroy these in new and creative ways can be very effective. On the other side of the coin, for people to be able to ignore is simply not to imbue culture with any known value, beyond in terms of art, say, that 'Art is good; the arts are worth sponsoring as part of a healthy culture' and let artists get on with their usual scratching around for subsidy. The word 'part' is the key here: it makes certain assumptions about where the art comes from and where it wants to go; where the wider culture comes from and where it seems to be going. To quote JG Ballard in his recent autobiography:

"I assume that the patronage of the arts by the state serves a political role by performing a castration ceremony neutralizing any revolutionary impulse and reducing 'the arts community' to a docile herd. They are allowed to bleat but are too enfeebled even to paw the ground". [JG Ballard, Miracles of life (Harper Perennial), 2008, p234 – great toilet reading].

While I (along with Richard Hamilton, whom Ballard was an early champion) would be the first to say that free entry for all to galleries and museums is very important, what he means is that through state sponsorship, even (or especially) "at arms length" is that whatever is produced in this theatre of ideas can, and is, very safely ignored. To this I would now add corporate sponsorship, which to all intents and purposes means the same thing (it is broadly speaking tax deductible): you can safely assume that to go down the route of sponsorship alone is to make damn sure no-one with any influence will ever know or, if they are a little cultured, care, that you exist. In the case of Arts Council sponsorship, this also makes damn sure that mostly poor people pay for it, via the National Lottery (investment bankers don't buy lottery tickets – the odds are too long). The irony here is that the poor, broadly, will almost certainly never know or care that you exist if you are an artist, especially one with vaguely egalitarian ideas. Bleeding heart liberals of the 'arts community' take note: the poor prefer to pursue the sporting dream.

The situation is that art must exist in a commercial sphere for anyone to buy artists' ideas, and for artists to earn a living. Recent post-war history is littered with quasi-Marxist critical-academic movements that went out of their way in attempts to de-commodify art, distance it from the hand of the artist, or wider cultural norms, in unsuccessful attempts to wrong foot a 'corrupt' (of course its bourgeois and corrupt) market. But all ended up being just more grist for its mill, even if only as secondary literature (Which is why we can look them up: Situationist International, Fluxus, land-art, conceptualism, minimal art and no doubt a good many others that succeeded in the sense that we don't know about them).

In recent times we can perhaps thank Hirst's science of surface commodity, or Sam Taylor-Wood's sociology of hollow celebrity for helping to turn the tide, though arguably their work appears to have been taken to a natural conclusion: it is safe to assume that neither of them need any more money. Back on earth, you may very well be quite comfortable in your life, thank you: steady partner; kids, but if your artwork is not a stylized picture of a March hare, a goose, or a grey washed out street scene with kooky looking buildings, it's not going to get a look-in at a small Edinburgh gallery, where I live - and we reportedly have the biggest arts festival in the world. The lower end of commercial art market in Edinburgh is retarded. The disparity between the works of young artists and the perceived formal constraints of older generations is almost total, and the commercial galleries, for various reasons service the latter - if anything appealing to an older generation still: a present for your grandmother. If she has a nice house to put it in, it was probably not begotten through an absurd property bubble invoked in a shameless pyramid scheme. If she did, she is one shrewd old Biddy not given to nostalgia, and would probably appreciate more thought provoking work from an artist in their ascendancy. The baby-boomer, a sheep so unknowingly obsessed with consumerism, would be wise to learn from her.

Young artists - or most of those having been to art college at least - seem tied to attempts to set up open-minded, 'publicly' or otherwise self-funded spaces that are run seemingly in the interests of artists by artists such as The Embassy (though currently without a permanent home), and loose arts organizations such as Standby and Magnifitat who also utilize temporary spaces during the Edinburgh festival which, however, lack any established and continuing formal mechanism for sales. Clearly not their raison d'être, which is admirable – so much work! - up to the point where a job in an off licence, a series of probable arts administration jobs (which in some cases serves to sustain the whole Arts Council feel-good service industry and not much else), or hunger become the norm. And sadly, for the most part, word-of-mouth ensures only a rolling cleek of artists frequent theses events – not even cheep booze at openings is enough to tempt outsiders into this strange, frighteningly hip sphere. The cutting edge has little outreach to Joe public, despite occasional valiant efforts.

Now it need not be the case, here or anywhere: transitional phases in wider economic, and that is to say social habits, are ideal times to push forward new ideas, when most people who have no wish to think for a living are stuck for them, and are open to suggestion (an extreme example: think what the widespread adoption of TV did for Hollywood: some pretty far-out producers, directors and actors from NY got a look-in and there was a great era of cinema in the late 60's and 70's, before video took off…). I like to think that we live in a transitional time, and it is transitional because what we, in a westernised culture, have been doing does not work: living way beyond our means. What people should realize – or should be taught if they have not a mind of their own – is that while a flat-screen TV (or an over-priced property) will certainly go down in value; a painting or artwork will not go down in value quite so fast. Indeed it may even go up if it is deemed interesting, and these are interesting times. All forms of capitalism rely on optimism – even short selling shares - and for that people need to believe it is going to make some kind of improvements, at least close to home. It might look nice over there… increasing in value perhaps. If something seems pertinent enough to be accruing capital, it, the artist behind it, and indeed the owner far sighted enough to invest, cannot be ignored any longer. At best, art is the medium through which ideas, money and thus influence are intertwined. The 'arts-community' should inverse its snobbery and put something that stands out in a small, local, commercial gallery - even if it has to go through the window. Indeed, it may be an ideal way to make space in there for new ideas if it breaks a few things on the way in. Pay a kid to do it.

Andrew Macdonald

Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201 

Visuality/Materiality: Reviewing Theory, Method and Practice

Visuality / Materiality: Reviewing Theory, Method and Practice

An international conference to be held in London 9th - 11th July, 2009

Organizers: Professor Gillian Rose and Dr Divya P. Tolia-Kelly

This conference takes as its starting point the apparent exhaustion in much critical theory of the term 'representation' as a means of grasping the effect of the visual in contemporary times (although, in contrast, ‘representation’ remains a key driver in advertising, geopolitical policy and military practice). Conventionally, critical interpretation has concerned itself with the meaning of images by situating their connections to broader discursive formations, but for many this is now a reductive analytical schema. There are suggestions that these approaches have become formulaic; that they ignore the physical materiality and political and cultural power of visual imagery and visualities; and that this approach can reinstate the power structures it intends to critique. The aim of the conference is to consider where representation and the need for a new interpretive paradigm may coalesce / intersect.

Visuality / Materiality attends to the relationship between the visual and the material as a way of approaching both the meaning of visual and its other aspects. The image as sign, metaphor, aesthetics and text has long dominated the realm of visual theory. But the material role of visual praxis in everyday landscapes of seeing has been an emergent area of visual research; visual design, urban visual practice, visual grammars and vocabularies of domestic spaces, including the formation and structuring of social practices of living and political being, are critical to 21st century networks of living. The relationship between Visuality / Materiality here is about social meaning and practice; where identity, power, space, and geometries of seeing are approached here through a grounded approach to material technologies, design and visual research, everyday embodied seeing, labour, ethics and utility.

This conference is aimed at providing a dialogic space where the nature and role of a visual theory can be evaluated, in light of materiality, practice, affect, performativity; and where the methodological encounter informs our intellectual critique. One strand will invite sustained engagements with the theoretical trajectories of the ‘material turn’, the 'emotional / affective turn' and the 'practical turn' away from the 'cultural turn'. Where are these turns taking us, exactly? What are we leaving behind when we turn, and does that matter? The organisers are also keen to encourage contributions based on research experience and practice into specific aspects of visuality and visual critique including:

  • What is the relationship between the material and the visual?
  • How do we develop new theoretical approaches to new visual practices?
  • What can we learn from everyday visualities?
  • How can we approach the ethical through visual practices?
  • How valuable are theories of materiality, performance, embodiment in research on the visual?


Edinburgh College of Art (eca) is a charity registered in Scotland, number SC009201