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Talbot Rice Gallery, Saturday 13th October 2012


Shift/Work presented the latest Shift/Workshops at this symposium. The work can be seen at the finnisage at ESW later the same day, 6-8pm.


‘There has to be a common problem and it has to be a genuine mystery.’ Tim Rollins

The day long symposium will take the collaborative working practice of Tim Rollins and K.O.S and his statement about group motivation as a point of departure.


The symposium will explore ideas about art and pedagogy; How do you balance the learning agenda with quality art production and process? What are the ethics of the social encounter in socially engaged art practice? Within the collective production context how is authorship negotiated? (Is it relevant?) What role does inspiration and shared belief play in a learning environment? Can models of collaborative production and learning thrive in mainstream education systems?


A Genuine Mystery: Inspiration and shared belief in collaborative art and education contexts


Symposium / Saturday 13 October / Talbot Rice Gallery / 10am - 5pm


‘There has to be a common problem and it has to be a genuine mystery.’ Tim Rollins


The symposium will take the collaborative working practice of Tim Rollins and K.O.S and his statement about group motivation as a point of departure. The symposium will explore ideas about art and pedagogy;


How do you balance the learning agenda with quality art production and process?

What are the ethics of the social encounter in socially engaged art practice?

Within the collective production context how is authorship negotiated? (Is it relevant?)

What role does inspiration and shared belief play in a learning environment?

Can models of collaborative production and learning thrive in mainstream education systems?


The symposium will be chaired by Susan T Grant an artist and independent arts manager who specialises in collaborative artworks in the public realm. Symposium contributors include Declan McGonagle, Director National College of Art and Design Dublin, Marsha Bradfield Critical Practice, Katie Bruce Producer/Curator at the Gallery of Modern Art Glasgow and Associate Artist Rachel Mimiec, Professor Neil Mulholland and Dan Brown Shift/Work, John Reardon ArtSchool/UK; Rachel Thibbotumunuwe, Hilary Nicoll and Johnny Gailey Artworks Scotland & Talbot Rice Gallery partnership.


The symposium has been made possible with support from the University of Edinburgh’s Principal’s Fund and is a partnership with engage Scotland.


engage Scotland is part of engage, the professional gallery education association promoting access to, enjoyment and understanding of the visual arts in the UK and internationally. engage Scotland’s programme is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.


A Genuine Mystery: Inspiration and shared belief in collaborative art and education contexts


Symposium Programme


9.30        Registration and Tea & Coffee


10 – 10.20    Welcome and introduction from the symposium chair Susan T Grant

Susan T Grant is an artist and independent arts manager based in Edinburgh, specialising in collaborative artworks in the public realm.


10.20 – 11.20    Declan McGonagle - Out of the Fields and Into the Forest - Recoding the Art process

In 1987, McGonagle became the only curator to be shortlisted for the Turner Prize due to his work at the Orchard Gallery in Derry, which included a project with Tim Rollins and K.O.S. He is currently Director of National College of Art & Design (NCAD) in Dublin. Based on his experience, over several decades, as a curator in Derry (Orchard Gallery), in London (ICA) and in Dublin (Irish Museum of Modern Art), in other independent projects and now, as Director of the NCAD in Dublin, Declan McGonagle will explore how the 'total' art process can be reconsidered and recoded as inclusive of issues of distribution, experience and participation, as well as production. He will refer to specific projects and challenges in specific settings in all three contexts, which he believes reveal principles which are relevant for many other contexts and are present in the work and practice of Tim Rollins and K.O.S.


11.20 – 12    The Black Spot: A Metaphor of Survival

Rachel Thibbotumunuwe, Assistant Curator (Equality & Diversity), Talbot Rice Gallery, Hilary Nicoll, Freelance Project Manager, Art Works Scotland at Creative Scotland and Johnny Gailey, Artist and Freelance Educator will present their work together in relation to The Black Spot. Tim Rollins and K.O.S. members Angel Abreu, Rick Savinon and Eric Fernandez led a one-day seminar for artists and educators working in participatory settings. Rollins and K.O.S. introduced their practice from its roots in the South Bronx to recent projects and artworks including new works completed on site in Talbot Rice Gallery with young people from across the Lothian Region. The trio will lead us through highlights of the seminar and subsequent activity including short films, ongoing dialogues between delegates and a digest of the principal concerns that arose.


12 - 12.20    Marsha Bradfield - DEFINITELY NOT THE OPERA - Act 1

This multi-threaded exchange will combine a presentation on peer-to-peer strategies of knowledge production evolved through Critical Practice Research Cluster (Chelsea College of Art and Design) with a hands-on opportunity to explore this approach to creating culture. Since 2004, Critical Practice has networked artists, designers, academics and others and pursued critical practice within culture by taking the cluster's very constitution and organization as legitimate areas for critical inquiry. Critical Practice has a longstanding interest in goods, spaces, services and knowledge in common, and a track record for producing original participatory platforms (events and publications) that explore the disagreeable, contentious, exhilarating, messy, live, improvisatory, provisional and interpersonally-charged nature of co-authorship. Drawing on some of the cluster's recent projects, Marsha will probe the value of its peer-to-peer strategies of knowledge production, foregrounding in particular the bleed between formal and informal education in Critical Practice's participatory platforms.


12.20 – 1.20    Lunch


1.20 – 2        Marsha Bradfield - DEFINITELY NOT THE OPERA - Act 2

This session aims to activate the spatio-temporal margins of the conference by carving out a semi-structured opportunity for dynamic reflection. Attendees will be invited to participate in an experiment in peer-to-peer exchange to investigate the value of producing knowledge through this cultural practice.


2 – 2.30        Katie Bruce and Rachel Mimiec - Mutual Curiosity: reflections on a playful relationship

Katie Bruce Producer/Curator at the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art and Associate Artist Rachel Mimiec will reflect on projects and programmes since May 2011 connected with Rachel’s tenure at GoMA including Playable Spaces programme with offsite projects at Yorkhill Hospital and Red Road Family Centre in addition to a key role in the development of ATELIER PUBLIC.


2.30 – 3        Professor Neil Mulholland and Dan Brown - Shift/Work

Together Professor Neil Mulholland, Director of Masters in Contemporary Art Practice & Theory at eca and Dan Brown ESW Programme Co-ordinator will present their collaborative project Shift/Work. Shift/Work has arisen from a number of learning experiments conducted in Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. Shift/Work supports social actors who are learners within communities of practice. Key to this is an open engagement with practice (work) as a means of both generating and transferring new knowledge (shift). Shift/Work is a collective ontology for practice, creating new process-led pedagogy, critically reflecting upon the learning processes involved, and disseminating research on a share-and-share-alike basis.


3 – 3.30        T & C


3.30 – 4.30     John Reardon – Pleasure, Intensity and Learning

Reardon's contribution will consist of a series of short presentations around different aspects of his collective work including ARTSCHOOL/UK, setting up an MA Art & Politics course at Goldsmiths, his book of interviews ch-ch-ch-changes Artists talk about teaching, the recent Minor Adjustments/Ghost project in Seoul etc. These ‘chapters’ as they are known, will number 6 in total and will each last for approximately 10 minutes.


4.30 – 5        Plenary and Close


After the symposium there is a chance to visit the new Bill Scott Sculpture Centre in Newhaven and view the outcomes of the most recent Shift/Work at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. 6-8pm

Symposium Contributors Biographies


Susan T Grant is an artist and independent arts manager based in Edinburgh. She is currently finishing a two-year residency delivering collaborative projects with Midlothian communities, in partnership with Midlothian Council and Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. This follows an Arts Tasmania International Artists Residency, Australia and a Triangle Arts Workshop on the island of Hoy, Orkney. She has also undertaken a number of public art commissions including design schemes for Grampian Hospital Arts Trust, Aberdeen. Susan initiated and curated the education and collaborative projects programme at Peacock visual arts, Aberdeen until 2004. Since then she has been independently curating collaborative art projects for a range of organisations, including a series of temporary public art commissions for community-led public art initiative Big Things on the Beach and a festival education programme for Amnesty International andthe Royal Scottish Academy.


Professor Declan McGonagle has been Director of the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, since 2008. Prior to that he directed Interface Research Centre at University of Ulster, [ 2004 – 2008], dealing with issues of art, design context and contested space. He set up and directed the Civil Arts Inquiry at City Arts Centre, Dublin, [2001 – 2004], and was the founding Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, [1991 – 2001] following periods as Director of the Orchard Gallery in Derry and Director of Exhibitions at the ICA in London in the period 1978 – 1990. He has been Chair and then a Board member of the Liverpool Biennial [2001 – 2009], and directed New Necessity, the First Tyne International in Gateshead/Newcastle in 1990/1. He has served on several State advisory bodies in Ireland and was shortlisted for the Tate Gallery’s Turner Prize [1987] as well as serving on the jury, [1993] also the juries for the Jerwood Painting Prize, London [2001] and the first Artes Mundi Artists Award, Cardiff, [2002]. He was Ireland Commissioner for the 1993 Venice Biennale and the 1994 Sao Paulo Biennale and served as a member of the broadcasting Council of Northern Ireland and the Healing Through Remembering Project in Belfast. He is a Contributing Editor of Artfroum, New York and a member of the International Advisory Panel of Engage, London, also a Board member of the Derry/Londonderry City of Culture 2013, having chaired the interim Board. He writes, lectures and publishes regularly on art, museum/gallery policy issues, and curates exhibitions with a focus on the relationship between art/artist and society.


Rachel Thibbotumunuwe works as Assistant Curator (Equality and Diversity) at the Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh.  For the 2012 Edinburgh Art Festival exhibition, Tim Rollins and K.O.S.: The Black Spot, Rachel worked with partner ArtWorks Scotland to develop a Seminar for artists, teachers and curators; a range of legacy films; and in collaboration with the artists, an intensive Art and Knowledge Workshop for 24 young people from across the Lothian region.


Prior to this appointment in 2011, Rachel has worked in a variety of roles to develop equalities, education and participation in the visual arts at Peacock Visual Arts, Stills, The Lemon Tree, The Lighthouse and Street Level Photoworks.  She was a Specialist Advisor for Scottish Arts Council Equalities department from 2009-10. Rachel is a practicing artist and graduated from the department of Fine Art Photography, Glasgow School of Art in 1998.


Hilary Nicoll is Project Manager of ArtWorks Scotland, one of 5 research projects across the UK that are exploring professional development and infrastructure needs of artists working in participatory settings. This is a 3 year project funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Creative Scotland.


Trained as an artist at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, she has a special interest in artists practice in the public realm and in education contexts. Between 2003-2012 she was Director of Scottish Sculpture Workshop, prior to which she worked at the Arts Council of England as a Visual Arts Officer at the national office in London from 1996 to 2002, and before that for Glasgow City Council as a Visual Arts Officer. She has worked in various advisory capacities for Scottish Arts Council, Gray’s School of Art, and MAP magazine among others, and is currently a Trustee of the Patrick Allan Fraser of Hospitalfield Trust.


Johnny Gailey is a freelance Cultural Worker based in Edinburgh. He has worked in community arts and gallery education in Scotland since 2000. He was the Education and Exhibitions Officer at An Tuireann Arts Centre on the Isle of Skye, before moving to Edinburgh.


From 2005 until 2011, he ran The Fruitmarket Gallery’s programme of activities for children and young people. Between 2009 and 2011, he project-managed the Lottery-funded Air Iomlaid (On Exchange) educational project, working with over 100 primary pupils at depth, which resulted in an acclaimed exhibition at The Fruitmarket Gallery (Edinburgh) and was nominated for the Clore Learning Award 2011.


Johnny has written for publications and contributed to national debates and sectoral development via advisory work.  He is a member of the engage Scotland Development Group, and sits on the Glasgow Sculpture Studios' Programme Advisory Group.  In 2011, Johnny programmed the engage International conference, held in Margate, Kent, UK, bringing together practioners, artists and academics from across the world to discuss participation.


Currently, his time is divided between the studio: developing projects, researching and writing; the darkroom, printing an exhibition of photography and across the country: working with a range of partners on participation in the arts.


Marsha Bradfield - I'm an artist, educator, curator, writer and researcher. Across these practices, I'm developing a praxis of dialogic art. I define this as art brought into being through dialogues between people as they engage with information, objects and/or each other. I co-author events, publications, installations, etc., that explore the complex interactions through which dialogues unfold. Dialogic art foregrounds authorship as dispersed and contingent, spread across paradigms, practices, processes, products and practitioners. This art holds fast to an expanded sense of cultural production as irreducible to any singular node in the myriad networks that determine the conditions of its possibility. In addition to being a long-standing member of Critical Practice, I am currently working in collaboration with ArtLeaks, Precarious Workers Brigade and Contemporary Marxism Group.


Katie Bruce is a Producer/Curator at the Gallery of Modern Art, (GoMA) Glasgow. She was the Social Inclusion Coordinator at the GoMA, Sept 2002 – February 2012, where she worked on the biennial social justice programmes. Recent work has responded to discussions on health, play and the right to play. This began with the programme and exhibition Blueprint for a Bogey (2011) developing into current work with GoMA’s Associate Artist Rachel Mimiec as part of Playable Spaces.


Rachel Mimiec is an artist with a parallel artistic practice, working on self-directed solo initiatives and collaborative community projects. She is based in Glasgow and has worked for over twenty years in diverse communities contexts, including education and museums environments, creating spaces that explore and support creativity.  In the role of Associate Artist at GoMA she has continued to develop this practice working closely with Katie Bruce on projects such as ‘Atelier Public’ and ‘Artlift’ in Yorkhill Children’s Hospital.


Professor Neil Mulholland is an art historian, art critic and educator. His research focuses on contemporary art practice and theory with particular emphasis on collaborative practice-based learning (Shift/Work), neomedievalism (Confraternity of Neoflagellants) artwriting and ambient cultures. His focus is on the legacies of cultural practices, theories and their institutions emerging since the early-1970s. His work consists of a range of historical, critical and fictional approaches to writing as well as independent curatorial and art practice. Neil studied at the University of Glasgow where he graduated with an MA (Hons) in History of Art (1995) and completed his PhD on Art Britain in the Late 1970s (1998), later published as The Cultural Devolution (Ashgate, 2003). From 1995, Neil lectured at the University of Glasgow and at Glasgow School of Art. He became Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the University for the Creative Arts in 1998 and, in 2000, joined Edinburgh College of Art. He was appointed Reader in Contemporary Art in 2004 and Director of the Centre for Visual & Cultural Studies and Postgraduate Co-ordinator in Art & Design in 2005. In 2010 Neil became Head of Postgraduate Programmes and an Associate Head of the new School of Art. Neil is a regular correspondent for many international art publications such as Art Review, frieze, Flash Art, MAP and Texte zur Kunst and has also written for literary and political magazines, the popular press, television, commissioned monographs and artwriting publications. As an educator, Neil's approach is informed by the legacies of conceptualism and the radicalisation of knowledge that followed in its wake. He considers teaching as the practice of speculative scepticism - not proceeding from the position of knowing what art is; rather, being motivated by speculation on what it might be. His aim is to enable students to understand the practices of making, writing, theorising and organisation as mutually constitutive.


Dan Brown is Programme Co-ordinator at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. Previously he has worked as Visual Art Advisor for the Scottish Arts Council and Professional Development Co-ordinator at ESW. He was a Co-Director of the Embassy Gallery between 2006-08. He graduated with MFA Fine Art from Edinburgh College of Art in 2006 and BA Hons from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in 2004.


John Reardon’s work unfolds collaboratively and generatively through a kind of ‘barn raising’, or ‘community building’, each project producing outcomes, publicity, and further projects that vary from one to the other in form and content but which often use a common collaborative and context-specific approach around an idea, a proposal, an event despite how speculative or at times absurd this may be…

A Genuine Mystery: Inspiration and shared belief in collaborative art and education contexts

neil mulholland
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