Sandy, David and I were teaching at Glasgow School of Art, and involved in the Glasgow art scene in our different ways, for 25 years. We think we’ve lived through a quite extraordinary period of the visual arts since the 1980s. We asked ourselves how we could use our experience to reinforce the centrality and importance of the visual arts in Scotland. We started working together and developing a couple of projects. Then we were offered a research residency at Glasgow Sculpture Studios and this has been enormously stimulating and supportive. We’re now two years into the three-year residency during which, among other things, we’ve had numerous meetings with artists, curators and writers. Some of these have been recorded for future use. Neil Mulholland talked about the lack of generative critique in contemporary art and Gerry Hassan has called for the radicals to be brought in from the margins. He says a crucial challenge (for Scotland) will be how we nurture and encourage the radical imagination and devise cultures, spaces and institutions to be more open to the new, the unorthodox and the daring. Asking generations of artists to step up to this task, we have organised a rallying call through three major symposia to be held across Scotland.
The first, in Glasgow, will include presentations by Christine Borland, Dr Neil Mulholland, Professor Philip Schlesinger and AHM. It will begin with a dynamic 30-minute performance of spoken, one-minute, personal manifestos by artists including Ruth Barker, Justin Carter, Dalziel / Scullion and Ellie Harrison. The second event, with an international emphasis, will take place in Edinburgh in spring 2011 and the final one in Dundee in autumn 2011. Our collaboration has been a fertile one and we look forward to many more projects
State of Play: Art and Culture in Scotland Today.Gilmorehill Centre, University of Glasgow, 9 October, glasgowsculpturestudios.org