Catriona Duffy and Lucy McEachan, the curators behind Panel, a recent design initiative based in Glasgow, discuss upcoming projects
"We first met at the Lighthouse (Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City) where we worked for over seven years together as part of the architecture and design programming team. In 2009, we became independent design curators and formed Panel with the aim to promote design, locally and internationally, in a programme of contemporary design and craft exhibitions, events and cultural projects. Giving audiences and creative practitioners the opportunity to experience design and craft in imaginative and experiential ways is important to us.
At the heart of what we do is a desire to explore the boundaries of design and craft curating within a cultural context. As producers we are interested in the processes, possibilities and risk involved in joint production, and are creating new work by collaborating with a network of creative individuals and organisations, including designers, artists, musicians and writers in Scotland and further afield. Panel is currently working on a Vital Spark-funded project with the design group Atelier (Becca Lipscombe and Lucy McKenzie) called The Inventors of Tradition. It is a subjective study of the history of the Scottish textiles industry since the 1930s and brings together samples of world-class design, archive material from individuals and companies, interviews and documentary film. Responding to this material Lucy and Becca have produced a series of new works that includes clothing, furniture and accessories—they have collaborated with some of the most prestigious companies operating locally including Mackintosh, Hawick Cashmere and renowned tailor Steven Purvis.
Our choice of subject matter reflects a shared interest in the history of industrial craft practice, as well as the social, political and economic fluctuations that have impacted on the Scottish fashion and textiles industry since the 1930s. Scottish textile production is at one of its lowest ebbs due to its abandonment by British retail suppliers in the 1990s, in favour of production in developing countries. But, despite the decline, an idea of Scottish style prevails, in its most ubiquitous (and lucrative) form as a hybrid of Walter Scott inspired romanticism and 20th century sportswear. The Inventors of Tradition highlights the gap between an idea of ‘Scottishness’ being linked to heritage and Lucy and Becca’s own experiences of style through subculture, film, literature and art at a time when Scotland was ushered into the international cultural arena. A series of films, selected by Panel and Atelier, from the Scottish Screen Archive, will be screened at the Glasgow Film Theatre as a part of the Glasgow Film Festival in February, 2011. The project catalogue will be published by Walther Koenig Verlag in Cologne and will include essays by Lucy McKenzie, Nicholas Oddy and Linda Watson.
Next year we embark on our second major project to create a series of limited edition souvenirs for Glasgow 2014. Building activity up to, around and beyond The Olympic Games in London 2012 and The Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, our project will connect and enable professional relationships between the craft and manufacturing industries in Scotland. A key part of the programme will be an exhibition of prototypes in Glasgow in 2012."
The Inventors of Tradition, 21 Stockwell Street, Glasgow, 22 January–26 February