Remote Rural Culture and Contemporary Art

On the Edge developed in response to our context of living in Northern Scotland which is predominantly remote and rural.

In 2001 the team set out to inform the tension between an instrumental function of artists working in social spaces and the instrinsic worth of artists presenting new ideas to audiences. This assumes art as a form of provision.

In 2005 we have arrived at a new position in which art is an action between individuals within the everyday. We are currently exploring the value of art practice in these terms.

The Journey

This inquiry evolved through five live projects over three years. These were developed in partnership with individuals responsible in different way for the provision of culture in northern Scotland. We develped the projects in response to the particular challenges and character of the organisations.

Through dialogue we drew out the individual desires and visions of the partners in relation to their day to day remits. We drew in other artists and experts. They contributed fresh insights, new tactics and outputs as elements of an unfolding process.

We interjected formal critical reflection through a spine of six monthly workshops, keeping the research relevant to itself. We investigated the grounded project experience through the research questions.

Outcomes

We discovered that the edge is a creative space.

Our edge could be defined as geographical, one marginalized from mainstream visual art practices.

The edge also provided a freedom to ask difficult questions and gave us the potential for experimentation, acting as a threshold of what is and what may become.

We used this freedom to test new approaches.

What unfolded was the realisation that remote rural culture is founded in relationship. This provided the catalyst to a fundamental repositioning of art within everyday experience as a process of making meaning.

New approaches to art positioned as action between individuals

New roles for artists working in social cultural change

Insights into the aesthetic and ethical implications of artists working with others

New ways of articulating artistic experience through multiple voices, critical creative writing and multimedia publication

This work addresses artists and allies in the arts, art schools and other educational institutions, arts councils, local authorities, foundations, business and industry, research councils.

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