Saturday 18 September 2010

Deveron Arts marks 15th anniversary: Stefanie Bourne, The Town Collection, Shona Donaldson, Maider Lopez, Hamish Fulton's 21 Day in the Cairngorms publication and ARTocrasy

Issued by New Century PR. For further information, images interviews and press copies of ARTocrasy and Hamish Fulton: 21 Days in the Cairngorms contact:  Lesley Booth   0779 941 4474  

Media Release

Deveron Arts celebrates 15 years of cultural intervention

    • Stéfanie Bourne’s food miles project, Red Herring, culminates in a symposium on “art miles” and a “compost action”
            event at Huntly market. 1- 2 October.

    • The Town Collection unveiled: 55 works by international contemporary artists insinuated into the fabric of the town (2 October)

    • ARTocracy, book by Claudia Zeiske and Nuno Sacramento, launched at Frankfurt Bookfair (8 October)

    • Shona Donaldson’s Bogie’s Bonnie Belle music residency culminates in performance and CD launch (29 October).

    • Maider Lopez residency starts from work of pioneering cartographer, James Gordon

    • Hamish Fulton’s 21 Days in the Cairngorms published

Stefanie Bourne: Veggie Swapping;  ARTocrasy; Bogie’s Bonnie Belle; Charles Raeburn, Claudia Zeiske and David Blyth’s Lamkin - part of the Town Collection

James Gordon’s celebrated “Rothiemay”  map of Edinburgh (1647 ); Hamish Fulton 21 Days in the Cairngorms

This autumn Deveron Arts marks 15 years of cultural activity in the Aberdeenshire town of Huntly, Using the lens of culture to create projects firmly rooted in the local and rural context but looking towards the global, Deveron Arts has developed a blueprint for socially engaged public art practice. As an organisation Deveron Arts is pragmatic: as artists came to the area and began to work, it soon became apparent that the most successful projects were the ones that engaged directly with the place and its residents, and opened up a relevant dialogue. Gradually a trend emerged that recognised Huntly as the context. The town itself became not just the arts centre but the content or the subject of investigation as well. Thus Deveron Arts created the Town is the Venue residencies. Over the coming months the organisation will see three residencies (artist Stefanie Bourne and musician Shona Donaldson’s projects will culminate next month whilst Maider Lopez starts her residency later this month); the unveiling of the town collection of 55 works by international contemporary artists; and the publication of Hamish Fulton: 21 Days in the Cairngorms (December).

“the way Huntly has embraced conceptual art should make
 Scotland’s big cities
look north and take notice”
The Herald


Stéfanie Bourne: Red Herring

For the last few months French artist, Stéfanie Bourne, has been exploring the myths and realities of carbon emissions and food miles in Red Herring, a project that will culminate in a symposium and event over the weekend of 1-2 October 2010.  There is much discussion of the extent to which transport and the amount of energy used to make packaging that is then just thrown away are major contributors to carbon emissions. Stephanie has been seeking to reiterate such issues as these within the rural context where the car is often a lifeline and the thousands of cows in the district make a not insignificant contribution to carbon dioxide emissions.

“Understanding the implications of food mileage can be realised by following a product through its distribution process; from the choice of material, packaging, manufacturing, processing route and method of distribution,“ writes Bourne in the Red Herring project blog. “Each of these stages contributes to the footprint of carbon emission for products, and therefore constitutes the mileage undertaken.”

Bourne has been investigating the decision making processes and addressing the billions of acts in our everyday lives that impact on the evolution of the food distribution system. Over recent years there has been a growing interest in and demand for local produce in supermarkets, one to which the retailers have responded. But just how “green” is that local produce? It has emerged that the desire to minimize expenditure, through economies of scale, and to offer “cheap” food has in fact seen major supermarkets transporting produce hundreds of miles to central preparation and packing depots before returning it to be sold as “local”.
Among the projects initiated by Bourne during her residency, which addresses the carbon footprint of “local” food, is Swapping and Bartering Vegetables. R. Gauld, a former fruiter and now a base for Deveron Arts resident artists, is typical of the thousands of local shops which closed with the advent supermarkets. Over the last few months Bourne has brought it back to life as a not for profit retail outlet. Each Thursday local residents have been invited to bring along spare produce from gardens and allotments to barter and swap. Meanwhile, a “veggie swapping” stall has featured on the town’s square this summer.

 Why buy produce transported hundreds if not thousands of miles when there is plenty of locally grown food available on the doorstep? Much more could be done to minimise our food miles maintains Bourne. Introducing a diet rich in produce sourced directly from local suppliers into meals provided by public services in hospitals, schools and communities could reduce Scotland’s footprint significantly and help stimulate demand for local and fresh foods.”

Starting from the issue of Food Miles, the Red Herring symposium International Networking, Mobility, Art and the Environment will turn the spotlight on to the issue of “art miles”. Invited speakers will explore the tension between the necessity for international mobility and environmental sustainability. Curators travel to see work, artistic exchange and international discussion generate critical debate, but each journey adds to art’s carbon footprint. Can improved technology, such as Skype and live streaming, reduce the need to travel or can nothing replace the experience of encountering the actual work and face-to-face exchange  Tessa Jackson (Iniva), Jane Trowell (PLATFORM), Adam Sutherland (Grizedale Art), Sophie Hope (Birkbeck College), Donald Boyd (Huntly Development Trust), and David Butler (Intersections, Newcastle University) will come together in person to discuss issues around the need for international networking in our era questing for environmental accountability. Meanwhile the event will be complemented by an on-line element. Both the onsite event, staged in a greenhouse providing tangible evidence of how easy it is to produce CO2, online element will be curated by Jay Koh in collaboration with Stéfanie.  1-2 October will also be an opportunity to see Deveron Arts refurbished offices in the Brander Building on the town’s Square, which has been supported by a grant from Creative Scotland.

Huntly Town Collection

The Town Collection will also be unveiled on 2 October. With over 50 works in 40 sites across Huntly, the collection is a tangible legacy of the 15 years of Deveron Arts residencies and underlines the relationship between the artist, the town and the people. The pieces are not shown in a gallery but are rather insinuated into the day to day life of the town. So David Blyth’s, Lamkin sits amongst the fresh meat at Forbes Raeburn Butcher, Wilhelm Scherübl’s, lithograph, Haus, is shown in Murdoch, McMath & Mitchell, Estate Agent; David Sherry’s painted canvas Health + Safety Colossus (2009)is located Deans Shortbread Factory Canteen Debbie Beeson Tattie Wine joins the classic malts in Duncan Taylor and Co; Huntly Football club display Roderick Buchanan’s signed ArtCup Football whilst Jacqueline Donnachie’s   Slow Down Bike is on show in at Huntly Autospares. Swimmers at Huntly pool can see Eva Merz pvc mural Fishes; a drawing by Hamish Fulton is found in the Huntly carpet shop and Thinking of Sarah and other women, a collage by Senzeni Marasela, is at the town’s Family Centre. Utopia Group of Beijing’s charcoal portrait of James Legge is on show in the Legge’s former residence, Where in? Where at? a sculptural piece by Kenny Hunter is installed in the Brander Building, whilst at the Gordon Schools pupils are proud keepers of Breath Taking, a large-scale work by Dalziel + Scullion.

Reflecting the wider scope of the residencies visitors to the town collection also encounter, music manuscripts and text. Paul Anderson’s sheet music, “Huntly Castle” is in the Crown Bar, How To Like Everything, two texts by Paul Shepheard and Homage to George Macdonald, a book by Duncan McLaren, are in the Brander Library and Emily White’s Ronald Center sheet music is in Strathbogie church. A Town Collection brochure for self-guided tours features a map of the town showing locations of the artworks, suggested routes around the works and information on both artists/hosts.

ARTocrasy - Art, Informal Space, and Social Consequence: A Curatorial Handbook in Collaborative Practice
by Claudia Zieske and Nuno Scaramento.

“Art keeps its inner workings secrets, like a guarded craft…until now. ARTocracy shares a committed way of working—it’s brave to put it out there, and also generous. The methodology at the heart of this handbook, with diagrams that will prove important guides, is also a demonstration of the coming of age of public practices that are open and in which learning is always part of the process. And ARTocracy does more: it proposes art as one component among many in the makeup of a place, but a constant one, for without it, something vital is missing.”
Mary Jane Jacob

“Huntly is special. It has become a living demonstration of the usefulness of art. Deveron Arts, has taken the idea of taking art out of the galleries and onto the streets. Deveron Arts has curated an invisible gallery made of the whole town: as they put it, the town is the venue. And they take being curators seriously. They point out that the definition of the word has the concept of care buried in it, and from this parlay an attitude that they are in the business of social health, in its widest sense. The artists they invite to take part work in themes that spring from the community. This book shows how it is done, and how it has been achieved—the research, the money, the projects, the effects are all here, in detail—as well as how it could be done in other places, too. In the end, the beauty of their story is in its evolution. It is not a tub-thumping manifesto, but the story of a matrix of collaborations that, like art itself, researches by doing.”
From Paul Shepheard’s Foreword to ARTocrasy.

15th Anniversary programme continues

Shona Donaldson’s Bogie’s Bonnie Belle project culminates in concerts and CD launch

Next month also sees the culmination of Shona Donaldson’s music residency researching the Bothy Ballads. Bogie’s Bonnie Belle.  No area in the western world possesses such a fine tradition of balladry and folksong as the North East of Scotland and the agricultural heartland of Aberdeenshire has long been recognised for its music and song. Born and bred in Aberdeenshire the "bothy ballads” evoke romance and love, expose injustice, recount real events, but specifically have grown and been nurtured from the experiences of the men and women working in and around the farms or “fairm-touns” of the 19th and 20th centuries. The bothy ballads were composed, (often not written down), and set largely to existing pipe and fiddle tunes by the men hired or fee’d at the local hiring fairs or fee’ing markets held in towns and villages.  

Huntly, situated in the very agricultural heartland of Aberdeenshire, has been the setting for many of the songs, with the most famous amongst them being Bogie’s Bonnie Belle. Shona Donaldson, who is bilingual in English and Doric, has researched the traditions of the Bothy Ballad in the North East of Scotland, in particular focusing on a contemporary adaptation of the Greig-Duncan Collection.  A native Doric speaker Shona has written new texts for old tunes and new tunes for old words. She will give a performance in the OAP Hall, Huntly on the evening of 29 October as part of the sound Festival marking the launch of a CD commissioned by Deveron Arts as a lasting legacy of the residency.

Maider Lopez - residency starts from with the life and work of James Gordon

One of the earliest cartographers, James Gordon (1615-1686) whose legacy includes the 1646 map of Aberdeen and the 1647 “spectacular map of Edinburgh” which would remain the standard map of the city well into the 18th century. Born in 1615, James was the son of Sir Robert Gordon of Straloch himself a celebrated cartographer. Minister of Rothiemay (close to Huntly) he was released from his ministerial duties by the General Assembly in the early 1640s initially to complete a map of Fife. From this point he was to dedicate the remainder of his life he died in 1649) to cartography.

Hamish Fulton - 21 Days in the Cairngorms.

Earlier this year Hamish Fulton undertook his latest project in one of the UK’s only surviving wildernesses. Shadow-curated by Mary Jane Jacob, the project included two of this choreographed walks one at either end of 21 Days in the Cairngorms. An artist book of images and text by Fulton with essays by Jay Griffiths and Jim Crumley will be published in November.


Deveron Arts The Town is the Venue residencies are supported by Aberdeenshire Council, Creative Scotland, Leader EU fund, Climate Challenge Fund, Esmee Fairbairn foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Heritage Lottery Fund

Notes for Editors

  • For over 20 years, PLATFORM has been bringing together environmentalists, artists, human rights campaigners, educationalists and community activists to create innovative projects driven by the need for social and environmental justice. This interdisciplinary approach combines the transformatory power of art with the tangible goals of campaigning, the rigour of in-depth research with the vision to promote alternative futures.

  • Based in the English Lake District National Park, Grizedale Arts has over the last decade acquired a significant reputation for pioneering new approaches to artistic production and exhibition. In contrast to traditional institutions and, indeed, to its own history in the UK land art movement, GA has neither studios nor exhibition space, but rather provides artists with the opportunity to realise projects using the social, cultural and economic networks of the area and beyond. .Each year, circa 6 research and development grants are awarded to artists and creative practitioners, to develop ideas for projects in relation to the extraordinary environment of the Lake District.

  • Sophie Hope's work inspects the uncertain relationships between art and society. This involves establishing how to declare her politics through her practice; rethinking what it means to be paid to be critical and devising tactics to challenge notions of authorship.

  • Iniva was established in 1994 to address an imbalance in the representation of culturally diverse artists, curators and writers. Based at Rivington Place in Shoreditch, East London. Iniva engages with new ideas and emerging debates in the contemporary visual arts, reflecting in particular the cultural diversity of contemporary society. Tessa Jackson joined Iniva in 2009 to lead the next phase of its development as an experienced curator, gallery director and senior cultural policy maker.

  • Intersections is a project that links Newcastle University and the wider cultural sector in critical debate on public art practice

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