The Team

Professor Anne Douglas, Director

Anne DouglasAnne Douglas is a visual artist and research professor whose work has focused on the dynamic role of the artists in the public sphere. She is founder director of the On the Edge Research programme. Her practice-led doctorate (completed 1992) entitled Structure and Improvisation focused on the artist’s creative process, working within a network of international artists on a range of issues including artistic leadership; contemporary art and remote and rural cultures; the aesthetics and ethics of working in public. She developed parallel strands of inquiry: investigating her own practice of sculpture and its process of change within a post industrial context alongside the potential of art practice to open up new trajectories and methodological approaches to research. Recent publications include the Artist as Leader co-authored with Chris Fremantle; and The Artistic Turn, co-authored with Kathleen Coessens and Darla Crispin; and Calendar Variations, co-authored with Kathleen Coessens . Douglas is an associate Senior Research fellow of the Orpheus Research Centre in Music, Ghent.

Caroline Gausden

(February 2013 – ) Feminist Manifestos and Socially Engaged Practice
Supervisors: Professor Anne Douglas and Dr Alexandra M Kokoli

Caroline GausdenMy research is in corroboration with the thesis that certain works of art may be considered as feminist manifestos thanks to their reception, function and interpretation, with a focus on visual arts practice associated with the second wave and later feminist movements.

The research considers the Manifesto as an interstitial form between word and action a compelling performance that creates new subjectivities. It suggests that certain feminist manifestos have taken the form away from the necessity of engendering heroic and radical breaks with history. Arguing for an other feminist position in relation to questions of social change that can be seen within socially engaged and relational practice.

The research methodology aims to enter into dialogue with contemporary artists in the field of social practice and with the archival histories of that practice to find traces of a feminist position and articulate its value as an artistic approach towards social change.

Dr Jon Price

Jon Price is a cultural theorist and discourse analyst who also works as an evaluator for cultural programmes and an advisor on arts funding, policy and management. Jon co-ordinated the AHRC project Cultural leadership and the place of the artist for On The Edge (2015-16), organising research seminars in Edinburgh, Brussels and London. His IDEAS funded Ph.D. The discourse of cultural leadership, completed in February 2016, was shortlisted for the ENCATC Research Award on Cultural Policy and Cultural Management and received a special commendation from the international jury (December 2016).

Jon PriceJon’s research investigates the theory and practice of cultural leadership in the context of political, social and economic changes emerging from the global financial crisis. His work builds on the Artist as Leader strand of research which was initiated in 2006–9 through an AHRC Creativity award. Among the issues being explored are the influence of policy on cultural practice and the relationships between artists, the state and the public. The research asks how artists can respond to social and political change and what their role may be in influencing such developments.

Jon began his professional life as a stagehand in the theatres of Eastbourne, moving north to pursue journalism, gig promotion, and DJ work on the Leeds alternative scene of the 1990s. He spent the next decade running the city’s Arts & Regeneration Unit, promoting cultural participation for communities and supporting the growth of creative organisations. He has operated both as funder and fundraiser, running events, festivals and youth projects, directing the Find Your Talent programme for Leeds as part of a national initiative from 2009-11 and co-ordinating community engagement with the Olympic Torch Relay in 2012. He also works as an external expert for the European Commission on programmes such as Creative Europe and Horizon 2020. Jon continues to support a number of arts organisations in voluntary roles near his West Yorkshire home.

Dr Helen Smith

(2011-14) Understanding Change: Connecting Communities through the Arts
AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with Woodend Barn, Banchory, Aberdeenshire

HelenHelen Smith, visual artist and founder director of Waygood Gallery & Studios , is the doctoral researcher for “Connecting Communities through the Arts”, an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award with Woodend Barn Arts Centre, Aberdeenshire; Gray’s Art School; and the Centre for Entrepreneurship, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University. After graduating in Fine Art from Sunderland Polytechnic (1985) and Newcastle University MFA in 1994, Smith founded Waygood Gallery and Studios as an artist-led initiative in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne as a programme of critical contemporary art presented in the context of an artist’s venue. With a substantial track record of exhibitions, Smith will  research the Barn as a significant organisational model that connects in multiple ways with its local community groups within Banchory and beyond. She will address a series of research questions such as How is creativity channeled and provoked by the presence of an artist? How can processes of creativity (artistic and organisational) best address the pressing social and economic issues of sustainability, social responsibility, coupled with self-reliance, to lead to social and individual well-being in its fullest sense?

Chris Fremantle

Chris FremantleChris Fremantle’s current research draws on his work as a producer, researcher and project manager in art in public contexts. Profile on Researchgate.

He is active in the field of arts and health. Current projects include Working Well: People and Spaces, Therapeutic Design and Art Strategy for the New South Glasgow Hospitals (as Project Manager with Ginkgo Projects). His research focus in this field is on the role of art and nature in healthcare environments.

Fremantle is also active in arts and ecology. He established as a platform for research and practice in 2010 and has worked with PLATFORM on Remember Sarowiwa and produced Greenhouse Britain: Losing Ground, Gaining Wisdom with Helen Mayer Harrison, Newton Harrison and David Haley. His research in this field is focused on the conceptualisation and testing of an aesthetic relevant to practices characterised by process and ecology, seeking to challenge the focus on the interpersonal, experiential and anthropocentric.

Fremantle has been associated with On the Edge since its inception in 2001, co-authoring with Douglas numerous papers including AHRC funded Artist as Leader Research Report.