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New premises for The Changing Room, Stirling

After ten fruitful years, this increasingly influential gallery has moved premises. Curator Kirsteen Macdonald introduces its historic new site and looks forward to new developments.

This is an interesting point to be in terms of renewing the programme after ten years at our old site. We want to think again about our geographical location—outside of the main centres, Stirling is a historic centre for Scotland. The Tolbooth, the building we’ve just moved into, functioned previously as a courthouse, jail and hosted a parliament in the reign of James VI. There’s a uniqueness about our location and also about the city’s international significance.

The architecture itself is a challenge. The site dates back to 1226, but most of the current interior was designed around the beginning of the 19th century.

The gallery runs across three interconnecting rooms, all with original features. We want it to look like a contemporary gallery sometimes, but would also like artists to respond to the building in different ways.

From early on, Changing Room has attracted high calibre artists. We’ve always looked at shifts in art practice and opportunities for younger artists—so we bring more established and international artists’ work to the area while supporting Scottish artists early in their careers – Duncan Marquiss, Kate Davis, Nathan Coley, Jane Topping, Craig Mulholland, Alex Frost, Robert Orchardson, etc. And because young artists work at the gallery as trainees and volunteers, there has always been a great in-house energy, which can work fast and very creatively, towards future programming.

We are currently working on a new publication with David Bellingham and a research project on the films of Norman McLaren and John Grierson, alongside the University of Stirling. This connects with our project last year based around the archives of filmmaker Lindsay Anderson.”www.stirling.gov.uk/changingroom