Sánchez-León and Douglas: There is a work in the interpretation of the Work* – A Report


An interdisciplinary “bing”** seminar and public discussion in four parts.

Nuria Sánchez-León and Professor Anne Douglas have very kindly provided ecoartscotland with a detailed report on the recent seminar, “There is a work in the interpretation of the Work”, organised in conjunction with the exhibition “Context is Half the Work: A partial history of the Artist Placement Group” at Summerhall Arts Centre in Edinburgh.  The seminar particularly focused on the contemporary relevance of John Latham‘s Placement in the Scottish Office and his work reimagining the bings of West Lothian.  The seminar was organised by Tim Collins, Reiko Goto and Ross Maclean, respectively two artists and a landscape architect.

mm-5-273 John Latham facing the Niddrie Woman. Photo Murdo Macdonald

On Saturday 1st October, Summerhall, Edinburgh, between 60-70 people met in the former Royal School of Veterinary Studies, now a creative hub for the arts with studio and workshop spaces. It…

View original post 3,033 more words

Embodying investigation: reflections of an Artist in Residence


Cultural leadership and the place of the Artist, BOZAR, Brussels, July 2016 (photos courtesy of Julie Maricq, ENCATC)

Being a resident artist in a research project is an unusual and complex challenge. But it was a point of principle for On The Edge that we should have an artist centrally involved in our team during the latest phase of AHRC research into Cultural leadership and the place of the Artist.

Rosanna Irvine took up this role in March 2016 and, as this project reaches its conclusion, she reflects on her approach and experience in the second in our series of guest blogs.

Rosanna attended our pilot event in Banchory (March) before contributing to the research seminars in Edinburgh (May), Brussels (July) and London (September). A dancer and choreographer, Rosanna responded to the physical dimension of our discussions as well as to the conceptual content. As her blog demonstrates, she also paid attention to wider events happening around us during the course of the year. Her work generated different qualities of encounter between seminar participants, stirring space and movement into the density of debate and prompting us to pay fresh attention to the human dynamics of each gathering. [Read more…]

Making Dummy Jim: an artist’s journey to self-determination

11203608_10153923676859465_3644178654622771780_oIn the first of a series of guest blogs on artistic leadership, artist filmmaker Matt Hulse reflects on the long and bumpy road that led to eventual production of his full-length feature, Dummy Jim. Matt’s account includes reference to his involvement in the Artist as Leader research in 2008 and its influence on his thinking. Matt’s longstanding connection with On The Edge research and his articulate reflection on the creative process make for a fascinating insight into an individual artist’s relationship with policy, personal determination, and the possible meanings of ‘leadership’.

Now living and working in Beijing, Matt was also a participant in the Edinburgh seminar for our Cultural leadership and the place of the Artist project in May 2016. He described the story of Dummy Jim during that event and we are grateful that he agreed to write this up as an article for us here. This series will feature more contributions from project partners and seminar participants over the next few weeks.

[Read more…]

Thinking Public

Brussels Comp

Last week on 22nd June, the day before the referendum, Jon Price delivered the keynote of ENCATC’s 6th policy debate focusing on our current AHRC funded research into Cultural Leadership and the place of the artist. We attended this Day of Cultural Leadership on the invitation of ENCATC, the European network of cultural management and policy. ENCATC is one of four partners in our current research within OTE including Creative Scotland and Clore Leadership Foundation.

Professor Annick Schramme of University of Antwerp’s Management School and President of ENCATC skillfully threaded the key issues of the debate that included a panel of discussants from the arts and cultural organisations: Koen Broucke, artist; Jan Bloeman, Managing Director of the Arts Centre Z33, Hasselt, Belgium; Phillip Dietachmair, Programme Manager Tandem Cultural Managers’ Exchange, Amsterdam; Sue Kay, cultural sector researcher from England and Marjolein Verhallen, Leadership in Culture (LinC) project, University of Utrecht. Artists, leaders of cultural and arts organisations from across ENCATC’s 40 member countries as well as policy officers in the European Commission joined the discussion.

Looking back, this was a poignant moment in the UK’s relationship with Europe. It marked one of many extraordinary opportunities to engage in discussion with European partners, widening our horizon of understanding across national borders, expertise and experience. This opportunity for debate now seems remarkably precious.
[Read more…]

Art and influence: On The Edge at the ENCATC policy debate

ENCATC image

On The Edge’s Jon Price has been invited by the European network ENCATC to give a keynote address to its upcoming 6th Annual Policy Debate in Brussels on Wednesday 22nd June. The event addresses European Cultural Leadership and the Role of the Artist and is targeted at cultural professionals, researchers and policy makers from all over Europe. Jon will be talking about his recent work on the Discourse of Cultural Leadership as well as the wider trajectory of On The Edge research on related topics, from the Artist as Leader onwards. [Read more…]

Holding the paradox

hands by Chris

photo: Chris Fremantle

How can art respond to complex social and ethical problems? When should the demand for solutions be resisted? And how might this affect our understanding of cultural leadership?

These were among the questions keenly debated in the first of our series of full day seminars on Cultural leadership and the place of the Artist which took place in Edinburgh on Friday 20th May.  Our thanks go to the artists, researchers and cultural organisers who attended and contributed so fully.  The day brought together participants from various phases of On The Edge research alongside new friends and colleagues from our project partners Creative Scotland and ENCATC.

Discussion ranged across different understandings of what is meant by leadership and how it relates to artistic production.  This led on to questions about the role of art in public life.  Some compelling suggestions were made about the distinctive capacity of art to embrace contradiction, to find potent material in the midst of uncertainty.  In a world of ‘wicked’, irresolvable problems, there is a value to being able to hold conflicting ideas in creative tension. Can art therefore help us to live with our difficulties?

[Read more…]

Introducing our artist in residence

WR_image 1

Image from ‘what remains and is to come’, a performance installation by Katrina Brown and Rosanna Irvine

On The Edge’s recent artist in residence call resulted in a wonderful response with high quality applications received from seven European countries across numerous different art forms.  We are delighted to announce Rosanna Irvine as the selected artist, and Rosanna has already attended the pilot event for Cultural leadership and the place of the artist at Woodend Barn, Banchory.

Based in Glasgow, Rosanna is an inter-disciplinary choreographer working with performance, digital media and writing practices. She works independently and in collaboration with choreographer Katrina Brown. She is also a researcher and lecturer with an interest in relational aesthetics and non-representational poetics. Her work offers an entirely different way of responding to the discussions, presentations and texts through which this project will develop. We welcome her to the team and look forward to seeing what form her interpretations will take.

We’re also very grateful to the other respondents to our call. It was a point of principle for us that there should be artistic input to this work and we were spoiled for choice. It was only disappointing not to be able to take more ideas forward. However, a really positive development is that a number of the artists who made proposals have chosen to stay in touch with the projects, correspond on the issues and contribute as participants to the forthcoming events.  Their perspectives and contributions are vital complements to the policy and training expertise contributed by our partners, and will help to maintain the central place of artists in this research.

We’re now looking forward to our first main project seminar which takes place in Edinburgh at the beautiful City of Edinburgh Methodist Church on 20th May. More to follow on this site about the key questions and ideas discussed at that event.

Questioning cultural leadership

Who do you depend upon to make your role in the arts possible? Who looks to you for support? What form of change would you most like to see happen – and who can help you bring it about?


Photos: Graeme MacDonald

On The Edge posed these questions to a diverse group of artists, researchers and organisers at the first event of its new AHRC investigation, Cultural leadership and the place of the artist, on 14th March at Woodend Barn, Banchory. Each question was approached through the viewpoints of a range of archetypal roles: artist, funder, teacher, policy maker, board member, parent, venue manager, volunteer.  We built a network in miniature of the relationships and forms of influence through which our actions are shaped in aesthetic, organisational and social contexts.  Opening up issues of leadership in culture beyond the operation of hierarchies, we tried to understand the interplay between policy and practice; artist and institution; individual and structure; action and influence. Among the discussions that followed we introduced the ten-year trajectory of On The Edge research from The Artist as Leader onwards and tested ideas for the new project. [Read more…]

A postcard from Brussels

Benoit tearI’ve always loved travelling through Maelbeek metro station, as I often do when staying at my regular apartment in Brussels, going from local stop Merode towards the centre. Until yesterday Maelbeek was most distinguished for its fabulous station artwork, completed in 2001 by the Belgian artist Benoît van Innis.   This series of 8 faces would gaze benignly from the white tiled walls, deceptively simple line drawings fired in ceramic.  They look at first glance like someone has drawn them on with a marker.

Benoît’s faces, echoes and anticipations of the passing commuters who stared blankly back at them on a daily basis, have been a reassuring presence on this route through the EU quarter.  They are also a symbol of the city’s cosmopolitanism, with their sparse detail sufficient to suggest diversity and their open expressions inviting self-identification.  I found myself looking for their images on the internet last night. For me they now stand also for those whose journey ended at Maelbeek so grimly yesterday.  I know many of my friends have wished, in their kindness, that I wasn’t in Brussels at this moment, but in fact I am glad to be here. Those who know me well know I’ve long loved this city for many reasons – eccentric, problematic and sometimes misrepresented as it is.  Being here, I feel that I can stand with the city for a moment, in however small a way. I love it more than ever.

[Read more…]

Artist in residence call

On starThe Edge research (Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen), with partners The Clore Leadership Programme, Creative Scotland and ENCATC, is pleased to announce a call for an artist in residence role connected with our current AHRC funded project Cultural Leadership and the place of the artist.

We are looking for an artist in any discipline to act as creative respondent for series of international seminars taking place this summer in Scotland, Belgium and England. A fee of £1300 plus expenses is available.

Deadline for applications: 26th February 2016. Full details about this opportunity and how to apply are available here: Grays Artist in Residence brief Feb2016