Core Group Presentations: Group 3, Kate Gray

Seminar 4: A public conversation

(pdf: Kate Gray)

Kate Gray:  I am here because I am working with the Collective Gallery for three years on a programme called ‘The One Mile Programme’.  It is a programme that I applied to work with because of a shared interest in what ‘public space’ might be and how artists might work in a public space.

My work has always been hand-in-hand making things myself and trying to work with other people to make spaces where people can come together and exchange and potentially make things together.  That is why I was drawn to this project.

In the conception of this project, I made sure that there was a long research and development phase in order to work with groups and individuals.  I should tell you a little about how the parameters for the One Mile Project came about.  It was basically that the director of the Collective Gallery, Sarah Munro, using a map of Edinburgh, stuck a compass in the gallery and drew a radius of a mile around it and then said, ‘Ok, this is our public for three years that we want to investigate’.  So, on one level, it is a very physical, geographic space.  But it was also opening out the Collective Gallery to people who were already part of existing groups working within that one mile area.

The first year was really a research and development phase to look at who was already identifying themselves as groups within that one mile.  We asked them if they wanted to meet and work with us, making a space where things could develop.  The idea was to try and make spaces where people could come together and work with artists to make work of mutual interest.  It was to try and set up a process where there was a possibility that, because nothing was fixed from the outset, that people could develop from both sides an idea, developing something that was mutually interesting.

Kate GrayMy involvement – I am called a lead artist.  I am making work myself within the project, but also facilitating, curating – I was described earlier as a curator – I have also been described as a producer of other people’s projects or other group projects.

I am sitting in front of a poster which was a drawing made by one of the artists that is working on the project, Dave Sherry.  I thought it exemplified what kinds of spaces we are looking at – it is how these two kinds of spaces (public space and artistic personal space) may, or may not, move together.

What we are hoping for is that the project is capable of reintroducing the notion that people can engage in the public sphere through culture.  We hope that this may lead to a critically aware public that can produce itself through acts of cultural exchange.

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