Video produced by the Edinburgh College Granton Learning Resources Video Production Unit.
Thanks to David McLachlan & Mike Chalmers
Video produced by the Edinburgh College Granton Learning Resources Video Production Unit.
Thanks to David McLachlan & Mike Chalmers
Local is an exhibition by HND Contemporary Art Practice (CAP) students from the Granton Campus of the Edinburgh College. The artworks that can be seen in the exhibition at North Edinburgh Arts until February the 23rd are the culmination of a project which was instigated in September 2012 by ourselves, Alan Holligan & Jennie Temple, course lecturers on HND CAP, with priceless support from Lynn McCabe and the North Edinburgh Social History Group.
The Contemporary Art Practice course has been running very successfully since 2007. The course provides a range of excellent opportunities for students to develop a broad understanding of artistic practice. Alan and I had for some time been discussing how to develop a strong working connection between the CAP Course, the local community and surrounding areas of North Edinburgh. Beyond the college location, and the students who came to us who lived locally, we recognised that although we were part of a Community College (then Edinburgh’s Telford College: a stalwart of North Edinburgh for many years) we felt professional connection to our immediate surroundings could be stronger. We acknowledged that we bussed in and out of work every day, passing through the community in which our workplace was rooted, and also acknowledged that this was something we did not feel entirely comfortable about. As a result we started to discuss the possibility of a project for our HND 2nd year students that we hoped would, at the very least, begin a dialogue with some our neighbours.
We initially approached a couple of local groups to see if they would be interested in meeting with us, and subsequently our students. We couldn’t have anticipated the warmth with which we were greeted and quite quickly we were able to establish links and visits with (the amazing) North Edinburgh Social History Group and North Edinburgh Arts (with whom we already had some links). These visits were incredibly informative and allowed us to immediately understand the local area more fully, and in a way that we had never before: An area steeped in history; an area that had once been rich farmland; an area that had been home to a post-war camp; an area that the Duke of Buccleuch had happily called home, and much, much more. The students were instantly engaged and brought a range of rich contributions to the discussions: amongst the group of 11 students the majority was similar to us; they did not know the area very well. However, there is one current student (and we have had several prior) who grew up in the area and who has been able to give a very subjective insight into his relationship with North Edinburgh, alongside a few other students with friends and relatives in the area.
After these initial meetings and an amazing guided mini-bus tour of the area, generously facilitated by members of the Social History Group, we set the students the project. They were to spend two weeks responding to the local area and draw on the information that they had received from the experts. We would then present the resulting artworks to the Social History Group at the College.
At this point, we were all very excited, but could not have anticipated just how successful and stimulating the project would be. The students worked exceptionally hard from the moment the project started and responded in meaningful, thoughtful and sensitive ways. In retrospect, we realised that the students’ sense of responsibility to the Social History Group and the residents of North Edinburgh meant that they approached the project with a strong sense of integrity and a determination to make artworks that did not patronise or misrepresent the (sometimes sensitive and personal) issues that had been discussed within the meetings. The provision of a very unambiguous context for the artwork allowed the students to work in a way that was fundamentally different to normal project work: they had an audience that they did not know very well, and they were making work which they would themselves present to their audience.
As the initial stage of the project drew to a conclusion, we arranged a date for some members of the Social History Group to come and lunch with us and to view the works. The students were understandably nervous and worried: What if they didn’t like what we had done? Quickly it became clear that there was no need for nerves and all of the artworks were exceptionally well received and prompted lively, important and some emotional discussion amongst everyone present. The success and positive reception of the artworks went far, far beyond our expectations and we all knew immediately that we had to take the project to its next logical step: to exhibit the works, beyond the walls of the college and within the local community. And that is where we are now. The exhibition is an exciting opportunity for the staff and students to continue to engage with our local area and we are privileged to be taking part in what we hope to be the first stage of a long and prosperous collaboration between the students and staff of the HND Contemporary Art Practice course and the local residents and communities of North Edinburgh.
The exhibition will run until the 23rd of February at North Edinburgh Arts, Tuesday-Friday 10am-8pm Sat 10am – 1pm, with a day of discussion and art-workshops to take place on Wednesday the 20th February from 10am until 3pm. Places are free but limited and booking is essential. Please book a place by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0131 315 2515
Recruitment is currently taking place for HND Contemporary Art Practice Course at the Edinburgh College, Granton Campus. If you are interested please visit the College website for further information and online application.
There is little doubt that 2012 was among the most eventful years for us at #cap_etc. Multiple highs have been followed by occasional but necessary lows, necessary in so much that they help us recognize and appreciate the highs.
In January the year began with the mixed emotions due to the departure after an extremely successful 4 months of Artist in Residence Paul Diamond who ended his time with us with a fantastic site specific project with students and an excellent exhibition of work developed and produced during the residency at Telford college. The exhibition at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop was very well received. Since completing the residency Paul has gone on to even better things but more of that later.
As January turned over to February the devastating news of Mike Kelleys untimely departure filtered through the studios promoting gasps of disbelief and sadness, we had so enjoyed his exhibition at Baltic during a field trip just a few months before. CAP student Charlie Wilkie-Sullivan who was a particular admirer of Kelleys work wrote a piece for this blog in response to the news. https://contemporaryartetc.com/?s=mike+kelley
Spirits were soon lifted however with the arrival of our next AIR resident Natalie Wilson who began her occupation of ‘the studio next door’.
Natalie’s impact was immediate as she struck up conversations with students and staff, always inquisitive and helpful Natalie had a significant impact on the
course sharing her enthusiasm, knowledge and occasional frustration for all things digital.
Spring saw us embark on the annual CAP trip to a foreign city beginning with the letter B. So far we have only managed Berlin and Basel and until Berlin stops being; the centre off the european if not world contemporary art scene, almost, unbearably cool and wonderfully inexpensive it is doubtful we will revisit Basel or see Budapest, Barcelona, Boston, or Bogota any time soon. Highlights of the trip included, finally getting more than one member of the CAP team on the trip and once again the Boros Bunker.
Spring is always a tense time in the studios as both years are working on their Graded Units and expectant applicants are hammering away at the refresh button on the UCAS website as news of interviews and offers start to permeate the building. The stress although unavoidable, was misplaced however as 2012 will go down in the CAP history books as the most successful year ever as 100% of those applying got an unconditional offer for 1 of their top 2 choices. All applicants got places on degree courses in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Dundee. 1 applicant who already had a degree in a non art related subject was offered and is doing very well on a combined master course in Art & Philosophy in Dundee.
As the tension of anticipated futures subsided thoughts turned to the end of year exhibition. Unfortunately due to the transition between the old and new buildings it wasn’t possible to hold the CAP2 Diploma Show at our usual venue of the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop. Instead the show opened at the Old Ambulance Depot in late May to excellent reviews and record attendances.
The OA Depot is a great venue that has some really strong shows throughout the year, is affordable, well supported and we would certainly recommend to anyone looking for a mid sized exhibition space in the city.
Soon after the show however the disappointment that we couldn’t exhibit in what had become something of a spiritual second home faded as staff and studio reps were invited to the opening of the brand new Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop and it was announced that after a 7 year informal partnership with the CAP course at Edinburgh’s Telford College the 2 organisations had signed a formal partnership agreement which would establish ESW as an Employability Centre for CAP students studying at Edinburgh College guaranteeing students full professional membership, supported access to the workshops facilities, exhibition and professional practice workshops and opportunities. This milestone deal with the course will last for 10 years! Not a bad way to end the 2011/12 academic session!
More good news followed as we attended the fantastic degree shows of many former CAPers throughout June.
In July and August things took a slower pace but soon picked up again with the influx of a new CAP1 group who were madesuitably welcome by the CAP2 devised and executed induction week project! Billed as a tea party it turned into a something more akin to riot in a charity shop! Excellent!
It wasnt long before we were taking advantage of our new parnership with ESW as AIRetc… Natalie Wilson exhibited the work she had developed and produced during her residency with us. The show, only the second ever in the ESW Eduardo Paolozzi Project Space was beautiful and articulate. A very fitting outcome to very successful residency.
Talking of fitting outcomes, I did say we would come back to our previous AIRetc… Artist, Paul Diamond, who started work as the Graduate Studio Assistant at the University of Edinburgh’s world renowned School of Architecture in October.
October was also the month in which CAP1 started their 7 week project at ESW. After 7 years of working with successive CAP1 groups in the old ESW building, which wasnot without its charms, you can be assure it was an absolute pleasure to be in a building with floods of natural light and heating. The outcomes which were exhibited in a staff student collaborative exhibition and review by 2 of the CAP1 participants can be found in the post immediately below this one or by clicking HERE
The third and final AIRetc… Participant for 2012 Gregor Morrison arrived at the the start of October and has been vigorously carving, drawing and printing away in the studio next door ever since. His energy and enthusiasm for printmaking with the the FAD12 students has been infectious providing group and 1-1 support to a range of students. We hope to have news of an exhibition of Gregor’s work very soon.
If anyone is wondering why no mention has been made of the momentus October 1st event that was the merger of the 3 colleges into the newly formed Edinburgh College.
The truth is that other than the momentary consideration being given changing the name from CAPetc to CAPec the truth is that so far at least the course has been unaffected. Whether that remains the case or not, remains to be seen.
The final months of the the year were packed full of activity in and out of the studio particularly particularly for the CAP2 students who participated in an new LOCAL
project. The premise of the project was to engage with the Political, social and geographical history of the area local to the Granton Campus of the college and to produce artwork in response to the engagement and subsequent research. The, ongoing project involved meetings and presentations for and by the North Edinburgh Local History Group at the North Edinburgh Art centre in Muirhouse. News on the next phase of the LOCAL project will be announced very soon!
Not satisfied with the with the already significant demands of Year 2 of the course the CAP2 group took it upon themselves to initiate an exhibition of their work entirely unsupported by the college or the staff. Having been inspired by the previous CAP2 group who graduated in June the show, entitled ‘Crit’, took place once again at the Old Ambulance Depot. The show was a genuine triumph and testimony to the groups talents and ambition.
So, thats about it really in terms of the high points of the 2012, there have been many, indeed the only thing missing has been a wedding! Perhaps this year…………?
Alan Holligan, Edinburgh, Jan 2013