Comfort and discomfort


Hi again readers,

It’s raining a lot as I write this last letter to you. This omen wouldn’t be a problem (in fact it’s nice to see plants reanimated), but my shoe has a hole and now my foot is wet and I’m sitting in a cafe in a wet sock.

It isn’t exactly the productive discomfort I’ve been trying to write about for the last month, but it’s an intro—why might we, as artists and audiences, want to engage in discomforting experiences for learning or unlearning; and what, perhaps overlooked, standards of comfort are needed as foundations to this engagement?

I want to figure this out because I believe in performance art’s capacity to challenge and make sense of our human experience of the world. While there’s promise for dismantling oppression, there is at the same time a risk that we conjure and reproduce those same violent structures. Encountering weird reasoning and social conditions is inherently discomforting—how do we deal with that?

When we first decided on the title Good on Paper—our body of research into future performance art resources for Scotland—the phrase ‘best practice’ was in our orbit. Though most people now shiver at these words (best practice for whom?), we continue to believe in writing versions of good practice anew. In fantasising about new resources, metaphors of comfort are often implied in how we might measure best practice—a community that supports and forgives, a space which hosts, a programme that grips.

How’re we doing?


To think about comfort might mean to think about the approaches we can make on the individuated level, the protocols that protect parties in the encounter of performance work: content warnings, access riders, adoption of BSL and Audio Description as standard. Comfort beyond this could bleed into the strategic, to infrastructures that operate counter to the UK Government’s Hostile Environment, for all those who are exposed to necro- and chrono-political dehumanising policies and social attitudes.

Performance & Comfort & Discomfort, the final of three closed group events, is a space to consider holding within resource: familiarity; synchronicity; tactile pleasure; comfort zones; grudges; boundaries; acceptance.

The workshop will be held on Sunday 21 August on Zoom, 11am-1pm.

A small access budget is available. More event info via the link below: Good on Paper: Workshop #3

You do not need to have attended either of the previous two events.


Gordon & Cicely


This letter is 2500 characters and appears on MAP and Creative Scotland Opportunities.

Gordon Douglas is a performance artist in Glasgow. He plays games with organisational staff and their stakeholders, celebrates birthdays amidst austerity, and holds it together before breaking down in offices. He is currently cardbearer for Good on Paper.

Cicely Farrer is a curator on the North East Coast of Scotland. Day to day she facilitates artist residencies, pedagogical events and workshops and supports artists to create new work including performance. She invests her time considering the invisible support structures for artists.

​​Good on Paper is a research project initiated by Gordon Douglas and Cicely Farrer looking into the futures of performance art making in Scotland. They are working with MAP Magazine on a series of texts through spring/summer 2022.

Good on Paper is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.

Click on links below this article for the third invitation appendices.