Why all the backlash at artist-academic Ellie Harrison for receiving funding from Creative Scotland to explore and discover what it means to spend a year in Glasgow - lock down in Glasgow for a year – yes please? What is wrong with Glasgow? It is only the second city of the empire - an empire that is dead and gone mind you. Have we all gone mad? Are we so opposed to exploring new ways of seeing and doing that the prospect of funding an artist/academic to research what it means to stay local and explore her sense of belonging as a useless waste of money? In a world of mass migration where people are moving between space and place at an unprecedented rate, one may consider the possibility that the artist might have something to say about what 'local' means. The bigger picture is that local has now become global in many ways due to migration and our quick and fast access to new spaces and information.
What if agency's like Creative Scotland did not support artists and social commentators such as Ellie Harrison? Can anyone remember Glasgow before it became recognised as an international City of Culture? Art and the many artists who have chosen to live and contribute to the community and culture of the city have transformed Glasgow’s cultural identity.
Let us not forget our creative forefathers/mothers - how the hell did the scientists and artists of the past discover or invent anything - well perhaps it was because they explored – new and innovative way of looking at the proposition of 'What If' - what if I tried this or did that - yes they stepped outside the boundaries - they challenged the status quo - that is how and why we not only have knowledge, but it is how we as a community expand on our capacity to find meaning and understanding through observing the everyday. Rethinking or reimagining everyday life through the practice of artistic research can only help adjust our vision, and our way of seeing the world and our fabulous city, - it is absolutely crucial that we support our artists and academics with the aid of public funding, to rethink and test the space and places that we call local.
I am an advocate for the visual as a means of exploring the world that surrounds us and as such I support all artists who are involved in artistic research - it's an alternate way of doing the business of research. But what if we choose to stay true to the traditional spheres of knowledge production, the tried and tested archaic ways of doing and testing – what will happen? A dull and unproductive winter of discontent waits. I propose that ‘we’ [collectively as a community and culture] should support innovative and creative responses that question every aspect of who we are in relation to the spaces we occupy. A creatively oriented method of research that shares and acknowledges ‘our stories - our people and our place’ has the capacity to shape the local into the ‘glocal’. So in that vein – support artistic research even when it does seem a wee bit twee.
#painting in the expanded field #practice based research #materiality and painting # abstraction