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

Cultural leadership and the place of the artist

Traditional Sicilian puppets at Rustico's restaurant, AberdeenOn The Edge has secured a new £100,000 international project to develop professional engagement with its research into artistic and cultural leadership at Gray’s School of Art. Establishing new relationships with the Clore Leadership Programme, Creative Scotland and ENCATC (the European network of cultural management and cultural policy education), the work will generate events and discussions with the cultural sector in London, Edinburgh and Brussels. New publications will be produced and the project aims to inform new developments in cultural leadership training, theory and practice.

The year-long initiative is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) with further support from the three partners. It builds on the longstanding ‘Artist as Leader’ research as well as Jonathan Price’s Ph.D research into ‘Discourses of Cultural Leadership’ (2012-2015).  Price will co-ordinate the new project while Professor Anne Douglas and Chris Fremantle, the co-authors of the Artist as Leader report, will be Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator respectively.  Douglas said: ‘This AHRC award and the support of our cultural sector partners is welcome recognition of the quality of the research at Gray’s and its significance in the professional field. This opportunity allows us to build on our earlier work and on recent doctoral research in the School, shaping debates in the UK and Europe.’

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Energy Cities and Cultural Development

Walk Among The Worlds by Maximo Gomez. Photo: Alain Sojourner http://alainsojourner.com/nuit-blanche-toronto-2014-walk-among-the-worlds/

Walk Among The Worlds by Maximo Gomez. Photo: Alain Sojourner http://alainsojourner.com/nuit-blanche-toronto-2014-walk-among-the-worlds/

We’ve never been to a conference on the cultural and creative industries at a University that didn’t have someone providing a theoretical critique of the subject. On 1st October Robert Gordon University and the City of Aberdeen co-hosted an event which drew on the experiences of other energy capitals to understand cultural and creative industries development. Pacem critique, this was a morning full of insight into the sorts of strategies, policies and actions that make a difference to cities and see the arts thrive as part of their communities. It benefited from specific experience of being a European Capital of Culture (something Aberdeen aspires to) and it was a good renewal of the process of building a culture and arts development agenda for Aberdeen.

The subtitle was ‘Global Energy Cities and Cultural Illumination’ but the real point is that Energy Cities with strong industrial stories have specific challenges not answered by the narrative of post industrial regeneration.

Jon Price, Chris Fremantle and Mark Hope were amongst a number of researchers and research partners from or associated with Gray’s School of Art (part of the Robert Gordon University) attending the conference. These notes and comments are an immediate response to the presentations from the four cities represented.

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On The Edge in Utrecht

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On The Edge researchers Anne Douglas, Caroline Gausden, Jon Price and Helen Smith collaborated on a panel session for the Participation & Engagement in the Arts conference at the University of Utrecht in June 2014. Challenging the idea that there is any single agenda of participation in the arts, the papers and debate explored some political and ethical contradictions emerging from practice which are too often hidden by common terminology. The event was co-organised by Leeds Metropolitan University and co-hosted by the Netherlands National Centre of Expertise for Cultural Engagement and Amateur Arts. It was good to see many old friends and to make a few new ones in the course of some wide-ranging, quality debate in magnificent settings.

Are dialogic and relational aesthetics relevant to all participatory and co-creative practitioners?

One of the questions we asked in the conclusions of the Practising Equality paper (2013), looking across art, design, architecture and new media at practices of co-creativity and participation, is whether the development of thinking about the aesthetics of participation in art has relevance to design, architecture and new media?

The emergence of a debate around the aesthetics of process and the social in art is one of the important developments of the past 25 years. Whether we are talking about Bourriaud’s ‘relational aesthetics’ discussing participatory work in galleries, or Kester’s attention to ‘dialogic aesthetics’ in situated practices, or Bishop’s interest in the perversity of participation, all are concerned with an aesthetics of process and social relations.

Suzanne Lacy, who is both the subject of one of Kester’s case studies and also a contributor to the discourse herself, draws attention to Allan Kaprow’s concerns. Kaprow’s practice is fundamentally participatory and co-creative, though not in any utilitarian sense. His ‘scores’ and ‘happenings’ presage many of the concerns of Bourriaud, Kester and Bishop.

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Mcgeorge Fellowship, University of Melbourne

Anne Douglas has been invited by the Centre of Cultural Partnerships (CCP), University of Melbourne to focus and consolidate  work on her two most recent research projects: Artist as Leader (2007-2009) and Improvisation and Experimental Knowledge (2010-2012) through the University’s Macgeorge Fellowship programme. The research will lead to a book manuscript, Leading through Arts Practice (provisional title). Aspects of its development will evolve in  collaboration with the Centre, working in partnership with Dr James Oliver, Coordinator of Graduate Research. The fellowship will take place from 1st February 2014 for eight weeks.

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with Woodend Barn, Banchory

Understanding Change: Connecting Communities through the Arts.

Grays School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, Scotland.

Helen Smith, founder director of Waygood Studios, Newcastle upon Tyne, has been successfully appointed as the doctoral researcher at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, working in collaboration with Woodend Barn, Banchory, Aberdeenshire and the Centre of Entrepreneurship, Aberdeen Business School.

She embarked on this research in October 2011.

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