‘Practicing Landscape’: Land, Histories and Transformation, 6 Nov – 11 Dec 2020

The symposium Practicing Landscape:  Land, Histories and Transformation is organised by the Reading Landscape Research Group, formed by artist-academics from the School of Fine Art, Exhibitions Department and Design History Theory at the Glasgow School of Art.

It will take place over six Fridays, from 6 Nov – 12 Dec 2020.  The symposium comprises of two Keynote speakers – Ingrid Pollard and Dr Louise Purbrick – and four thematic sessions, each with three 20 minute presentations, chaired by a respondent from the GSA. Read the speakers biographies here

The symposium asks: How do contemporary art and other interdisciplinary practices engage with (and expand) the themes of Land, Histories and Transformation? How can such practices work with contested histories, identities and remoteness in specific locations? What do land and other material practices reveal in terms of transformation, heritage and sustainability?  Which practical, creative and critical theoretical frameworks are currently being utilised to interrogate the politics of Land, Histories and Transformation? How can a reflexive curatorial process activate these themes?

The Symposium has four key themes:

  • Wild spaces (including peripheral territories, deserts, forests or ideas of remoteness);
  • Histories (including land ownership, commons, cultural perspectives, border territories, heritage and preservation);
  • People and Place (including alternative voices and experiences of landscape including embodiment and auto-ethnographic practices);
  • Contentious Landscapes (including sustainability, interventions, conservation and ecology).

Schedule (please select links to book free tickets via Eventbrite):

SESSION 1: Fri 6 Nov 2020, 1.00-2.15pm         

Keynote Ingrid Pollard, Respondent Dr Tiffany Boyle (GSA)

SESSION 2: WILD SPACES, Fri 13 Nov 2020, 1.00-2.15pm

Dr Elizabeth A. Hodson, (Lecturer in Fine Art Critical Studies, GSA), ‘The Posthuman Sublime: The Art Practice of Katie Paterson’

Dr Nalini Paul, (Lecturer in Fine Art Critical Studies and Design History and Theory, GSA), ‘Embodying Language in Wild Spaces: Place, Memory and Transformation’

Sam Nightingale (PhD Candidate, Goldsmiths), ‘Salt: a crystal image of time’

Respondent Justin Carter (GSA)

SESSION 3: HISTORIES, Fri 20 Nov 2020,  1.00-2.15pm      

Seán Laoide-Kemp (Masters by Research Student, IADT Dún Laoghaire), Landscape as Witness: Aftermath Photography, Oral History, and Ethnography in Representing the Public Works Scheme of the Great Irish Famine

Joe Crowdy (PhD Candidate, Oslo Centre for Critical Architecture Studies), Writing Rack Fen: 1583-1606 and 2019-20’

Dr Frances Robertson (Lecturer, GSA) ‘Alien Introductions: trees, memory and landscape history’

Respondent Michail Mersinis (GSA)

SESSION 4: Fri 27 Nov 2020, 1.00 – 2.15pm    

Keynote: Dr Louise Purbrick (School of Humanities, University of Brighton), Respondent Dr Marianne Greated (GSA)

SESSION 5: PEOPLE AND PLACE, Fri 4 Dec 2020, 1.00-2.15pm          

Dr Nicky Bird (GSA), ‘Raging: Revisiting Raging Dyke Network’

Jordan Whitewood-Neal (MRes student, University of Brighton), ‘Epistemological Hinterlands: Non-Normative Embodiment and Sublime Perceptions of Landscape’

Dr Jo Vergunst (Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen), ‘Exploring landscape decision-making with the arts: agency, scale and temporality’

Responsdent Dr Frances Robertson (GSA)

SESSION 6: CONTENTIOUS LANDSCAPES, Fri 11 Dec 2020, 1.30-2.45pm        

 Minty Donald (Professor of Contemporary Performance Practice, University of Glasgow), ‘Erratic Drift: approaching human geological performance’

Jane Brettle (Visual Artist, in collaboration with Robin Mason: Musician) ‘Mine – walking’

Jasper Coppes (Artist / Tutor Royal Academy of Art, The Hague), ‘Mud’

Respondent Susan Brind (GSA)

Tickets are free and via Eventbrite for each session.

Practicing Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation symposium: Speakers biographies

KEYNOTES

Ingrid Pollard

Mixed-media artist and researcher, Pollard uses digital, analogue and alternative photographic processes, also incorporating printmaking, image-text and artist books, installation, video and audio. Pollard studied Film and Video at the London College of Printing and MA in Photographic Studies, University of Derby and holds a PhD from the University of Westminster. She was one of twenty founding members of Autograph (the Association of Black Photographers), and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. In 2018, Pollard was the Inaugural Stuart Hall Research Fellow in the same year. She has worked as an artist-in-residence at a number of organisations, including Project Row Houses, Houston Texas, US, 2004; Croydon College of Art, 2011; and Glasgow Women’s Library, 2019. Her work has been exhibited widely, including Tate Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum & Photographers Gallery, London; NGBK, Berlin; the Caribbean Cultural Centre, New York; the National Art Gallery of Barbados; and Camerawork, San Francisco. In 2019, she received the BALTIC Artist Award and was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award.

Ingrid Pollard has been in residence at Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL), as part of Glasgow International, now 2021. Having taken part in GI2018 with Deep Down Body Thirst, curated by Radclyffe Hall, Ingrid returns to Glasgow and the festival with a new exhibition exploring Lesbian history and culture.

‘Parabiosis’, from Landscape Trauma series, (2001), Ingrid Pollard

Respondent: Dr Tiffany Boyle (GSA) is a researcher, curator and writer, based in the Department of Design History & Theory at GSA and working as part of the curatorial duo Mother Tongue. Forthcoming projects include ‘7×7’ – a solo presentation from artist susan pui san lok for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2021. Between Spring 2019-2020, she was a Postdoctoral and Senior Scholar Research Fellow with the Hauser & Wirth Institute NY.

Dr Louise Purbrick

Louise Purbrick is an academic, activist and artist based at the University of Brighton. Principal Lecturer in the History of Art and Design at the University of Brighton, her work is devoted to understanding the sites of extraction and incarceration; she investigates the material culture of conflict and everyday life. . With Xavier Ribas and Ignacio Acosta, she is part Traces of Nitrate, which examines legacies of mining colonialism and political ecologies of extraction.

Image credit: Plate 7, Series of Open Trenches’ Oficina Alianza and Port of Iquique 1899, Album 12, Fondo Fotográfico Fundación Universidad de Navarra/Museo Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona

Respondent: Dr Marianne Greated is Acting Head of Drawing and Painting at The Glasgow School of Art.  Through her painting practice Greated explores how sustainability manifests within the landscape. Her work addresses landscape painting, constructing uncertain narratives around human intervention into the landscape. The paintings focus on renewable power structures, displacing the notion of the site and redressing histories of landscape painting. Greated’s research includes field trips, such as a site visit to Southern India from which these paintings stem, and ongoing explorations of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The visual representations of the environment are informed by the complexities of sustainability, public and political influence and how the landscape is forged by industry and power.

WILD SPACES

Dr Elizabeth A. Hodson

Dr Elizabeth A. Hodson is an anthropologist (PhD Uni. of Aberdeen) working in the interstices between contemporary art, anthropology and art history. She has conducted ethnographic research on art in Iceland and Scotland, exploring a range of topics including drawing, interdisciplinarity, alterity, the imagination and materiality. From 2013-2016 she was a Research Fellow on a five year ERC-funded project at the University of Aberdeen called ‘Knowing from the Inside: Anthropology, Art, Architecture and Design‘ (KFI, 2013-2018), led by Professor Tim Ingold. Recent publications include: the edited volume ‘Imaginations – Interiors – Surfaces: An Exhibition of Artefacts’ (2017); ‘Drawing’s Alterity’ in Collective and Collaborative Drawing in Contemporary Practice, ed. J. Journeaux and H. Gørrill (2017); ‘Cracked Glaze’, in An Unfinished Compendium of Materials, ed. R. Harkness (2017). Elizabeth has also published with the Journal of Material Culture, Journal of Visual Art Practice and ART/E/FACT, amongst others, and written on the art practice of Margrét H. Blöndal, Haraldur Jónsson, and Steingrímur Eyfjörð. Alongside her written work she has also curated a number of interdisciplinarity exhibitions both here in the UK and abroad including: ‘Jaðarsýn’ (2010), at Kling og Bang Art Gallerí, Iceland; ‘Beyond Perception’ (2015), University of Aberdeen; ‘Drawing the Anthropological Imagination’ (2016), University of Durham.

Dr Nalini Paul

Nalini Paul’s poetry is inspired by natural landscapes, walks and memory. Born in India, she grew up in Vancouver, Canada, and has been living in Scotland for most of her adult life. She is widely published and has collaborated across various art forms. She was George Mackay Brown Writing Fellow in Orkney from 2009 until 2010, where she worked with dancers, musicians, visual artists, archaeologists and the RSPB. Her first poetry collection, Skirlags, was shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Award in 2010. Her collection, The Raven’s Song (2015) is inspired by raven and crow myths from Orkney, Shetland and Canada.  Nalini’s poetic work for stage with Stellar Quines Theatre Company, Beyond the Mud Walls, is set partly in 1940s India and was showcased for ‘Rehearsal Rooms’ at the Traverse, Edinburgh, in September 2016. She was a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellow in 2017, spending a month at Grez-sur-Loing, France writing poetry partly inspired by The Bhagavad Gita. Nalini undertook a residency in Lewis and Kolkata as part of the ‘New Passages’ project (2017-18), exploring connections between India and Scotland. Since December 2019 Nalini has been working with Enough! Scotland on an artistic response to climate change, which includes writing exploring language, memory and belonging. She works as a lecturer in Fine Art Critical Studies and Design History and Theory at The Glasgow School of Art.

Sam Nightingale

Sam Nightingale is an artist and researcher working in environmental media. He uses experimental forms of photography and speculative fieldwork to explore ‘spectral ecologies’ and the geopolitical interface between history, ecology and the image. His work explores how ‘spectral ecologies’ trace human and nonhuman histories and events enmeshed within organic and inorganic life, of salt, soil, and plants, as well as in the built environment. The work draws as much on technical media as it does on a biophysical environment’s capacity to act as ‘elemental media’ or ‘natural media’. 

Nightingale is involved in various interdisciplinary projects, including running field-labs, and working with rural communities, scientists, geographers and social scientists in Europe and Australia. Residencies include Røst AiR, Norway; Ecology of Senses (Bioart Society, Finland); Practicing Deeptime (TimeSpan, Scotland); Dark Ecology, (Sonic Acts, Russia/ Arctic Circle). Recent publications: ‘Para-photo-mancy: notes on biochemical images,’ Antennae (2019); ‘Cinétracts – cinematic cartography in the Australian Mallee’, Living Maps Review, (2019) ‘Photochemical Alchemy,’ CAA Art Journal Open (2019). He is also co-editor of A Guide to Experimental Fieldwork for Future Ecologies (Onomatopee, under contract). His artwork is held in public and private collections. Nightingale is undertaking a practice-based PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London. 

‘A Crystalline World’, Sam Nightingale (2018), photographic salt print

Respondent: Justin Carter is Reader in Contemporary Practice: Art and Environment and Lecturer in Sculpture & Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art. “My research is an attempt to understand the natural environment we are part of. How do we sense it and make sense of it?How can a connection be made with a particular place and shared with an audience or viewer? The artwork is an attempt to make this connection tangible”.

Justin has been artist in residence at Tate Liverpool (2001), Grizedale (2002) and Berwick Gymnasium (2004). In 2013 he was commissioned by Trust New Art to make a response to Leigh Woods in Bristol where he developed a project which sought to reconnect the urban museum with the rural wood through the practice of walking. More recently, in 2018 he worked on a residency at Fermynwoods Contemporary Arts in partnership with the Forestry Commission where he made a series prints alluding to habitat loss and species extinction. These prints were produced using ink made by combining rust from giant excavation equipment with oak galls from local trees.

HISTORIES

Seán Laoide-Kemp

Seán Laoide-Kemp is a photographer based in Ireland, who completed his studies on the BA (Hons) Photography programme at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dún Laoghaire (IADT). He has also recently completed a practice-led Masters by Research course in IADT. Laoide-Kemp practices mainly in the genre of Aftermath Photography (the photographing of dark events after they have taken place). This particular genre combines two of his great passions in life: history and photography. An example of this union can be seen in his ongoing project, Landscape as Witness, which aims to visually represent the constructions that were built as part of the Public WorksScheme in North Clare during the Great Irish Famine (1845-52). The project consists of images takenof these constructions and their surrounding landscape, accompanied by oral history and ethnographic accounts. By using these methods, Laoide-Kemp hopes to shed light on histories that are at risk of being forgotten.

‘Landscape as Witness’, Seán Laoide-Kemp (2019)

Joe Crowdy

Joe Crowdy is a PhD candidate at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, researching the built environment of the Fens as it became the object of intense speculative development in the early seventeenth century. His research – provisionally titled The Anti-Projector Anew: The Administrative, Vegetal, and Rebellious Architectures of the Seventeenth Century Fens – responds to the words and practices of those who opposed the newly imposed architecture of drainage and enclosure, who rejected depictions of their environment as a barren wasteland in need of ‘improvement’, by asserting its existing economic and ecological vitality.

Crowdy holds an MA in Architectural History from the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and a BA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design, UAL. Prior to his PhD studies, he worked in London as an artist – producing installations, performances and texts for exhibitions and commissions in the UK and Europe – and a gardener, and these practices continue to inform his academic research.

Still from ‘Writing Rack Fen’, Joe Crowdy (2020)

Dr Frances Robertson

Dr Frances Robertson teaches at Glasgow School of Art. She researches practices of drawing and print with reference to the history of technology, visual communication, and the constructed environment. Recent publications include: Print Culture: Technologies of the Printed Page from Steam Press to eBook (2013); ‘Power in the Landscape’ in Kjetil Fallan, ed. The Culture of Nature in the History of Design (2019). Her landscape observations are carried out in words and through drawing—in parallel investigations of the interactions between landscape representation, notions of national and regional identity and the cultural politics of design and landscape shaping in Scotland.  In her drawing practice she aims to develop an immersive contemplative practice of being in the environment through such long-duration drawings as that in the Practicing landscape exhibition currently in the exhibition at the Lighthouse.  Previous projects include exhibitions and workshops with the art collective ‘Composition’ project and artist book publication 2004-2007, funded by Glasgow City Council Cultural Fund and the National Lottery Awards for All Scheme working with the poets Nalini Paul and Gerry Stewart with exhibitions at Tramway, Glasgow; Glasgow Women’s Library; the Mitchell Library; and book launch at the Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh.

PEOPLE AND PLACE

Nicky Bird

Nicky Bird is an artist work considers contemporary relevances of ‘vernacular’ photographs and latent histories of specific sites, investigating how they remain resonant. She is interested in a key question: What is our relationship to the past, and what is the value we ascribe to it? Her work incorporates new photography with oral histories and collaborations with people who have significant connections to the original site and its photographic archive. Alongside commissioned projects she has exhibited nationally and internationally, with whose published essays on themes of erased place and digital exchange of photographs. Nicky is also a Reader in Contemporary Photographic Practice at The Glasgow School of Art.

Jordan Whitewood-Neal

Jordan Whitewood-Neal is a MRes student and independent researcher currently exploring relationships between disability and landscape infrastructures through autoethnography. Having previously completed his undergraduate degree at the Canterbury School of Architecture, Jordan then went on to work for Stirling Prize winning practice de Rijke Marsh Morgan, before then starting his Part 2 at the University of Brighton. Over the past 2 years he has developed research interests in the themes of body, pedagogy, semiotics and epistemology and completed his first Masters thesis on Spatially Augmented Machine Intelligence.

His current work is design-research based and is currently conducting a series of derives in the Ashdown Forest. These derives are documented via a bespoke filming device which uses the unique distortions created via the wheelchair to project speculative augmentations of the landscape at varying scales. Alongside this work he is also writing an extended research study on body and tools in reference to objectivity, and is studying the work of theorists such as Ranulph Glanville, Paul Feyerabend and Donna Haraway. The hope being to establish a new understanding of how his personal disability affects more general epistemological understanding of place and self.

‘Blackhill Autoethnographic Study’, Jordan Whitewood-Neal (2019) Photo: Simon Beames

Jo Vergunst

Jo Vergunst’s anthropological research is about people’s relationships with their environments. Most of his fieldwork has been in Scotland and he focuses particularly on the intersection between everyday experience and wider political circumstances. Vergunst’s early work was on farming and rural development, and over recent years he has worked on a wide range of themes – from walking in rural and urban areas, to landscape history and heritage, and wood as a craft material and landscape. He is especially interested in anthropology that works with artists and through creative practice.

Postcard of Bennachie from the collection of Peter Smith, Premnay

Dr Frances Robertson (GSA), see HISTORIES

CONTENTIOUS LANDSCAPES

Minty Donald

Minty Donald is an artist, researcher and Professor of Contemporary Performance Practice at the University of Glasgow. Her practice-research, which she regularly undertakes with artist, Nick Millar, explores interrelationships between humans and the other-than-human environments that they shape, build and inhabit; environments that also, reciprocally, mould and permeate them. Her practice takes multiple forms, determined by the context in which she is working, but often entails performance, sculpture, participatory events and writing. In her practice, she treats other-than-human matter as a collaborator, acknowledging its liveliness and agency, while also recognising the limits and inequities of human/other-than-human collaboration. Recent practice-research focused on interrelationships between humans and watercourses. Current interests see a shift towards human-geological interrelations. Projects include: THEN/NOW a public art project with/for the Forth and Clyde Canal in Glasgow (with Nick Millar and Neil McGuire), 2014—20 http://www.then-now.org ; Guddling About, an iterative performance practice with water (with Nick Millar), 2013— http://www.guddlingabout.com; Erratic Drift a participatory performance and installation (with Nick Millar), Architecture Fringe, 2019.

‘Quarry Drift’, a performance for Architecture Fringe, Glasgow, June 2019. Minty Donald and Nick Millar with the stones of Glasgow. Image credit: Minty Donald

Jane Brettle

Jane Brettle studied Fine Art at the West of England College of Art, Fine Art and Photography at the University of Sunderland and MA Photographic Studies at the University of Derby. She lives and works mainly in Edinburgh and in South West Cornwall. Her work is a response to the way in which our man-made environment defines us through the construction of institutional and domestic spaces – more recently through landscapes that appear to be ‘natural environments’ but are culturally ‘managed’ for our education and pleasure.

Awards and Bursaries include the Arts and Humanities Research Award, SAC Artist Award(s) and a Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Trust Bursary. Commissions, include the National Galleries of Scotland, the Royal College of Surgeons London, Glasgow Year of Architecture and Design, and Photo 98. She has exhibited and published nationally and internationally and has work in various public and private collections including the Deutsche Bank Art Collection, City Art Centre Edinburgh, National Galleries of Scotland, and Royal College of Surgeons, London. She is currently developing a work in collaboration with musician Robin Mason, supported by St Andrews University, The Hope Scott Trust and Help Musicians UK.

She was Associate Lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art and Associate Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University involved in developing the Contemporary Photographic Practice Course, teaching theory and practice at undergraduate and postgraduate level. She has worked as External Examiner, PhD Supervisor and Course Adviser and occasionally writes on Photography.

In 1984 she established the Education Project at Stills Gallery, Edinburgh and in 1987 co-established Portfolio Gallery, Workshop and Magazine in Edinburgh.

She has been a board member of several arts organisations and awards and consultancy panels and invited to chair, speak and lecture at numerous academic and art/photography events.

‘mine Lothian’ (2020), still, Jane Brettle with Robin Mason (20mins 30 secs duration)

Jasper Coppes

Jasper Coppes (NL, 1983) questions the dominant stories we tell about the natural environment in his work. Long-term dialogues with specific sites, people and other entities form the basis of his practice. Coppes’ works take shape across a variety of different media, such as, film, writing, sculpture, architecture and sound. Recent exhibitions include: ‘Calling for times to Come’ ITGWO, Vlieland (2019), ‘Cabinet Interventions’ Glasgow International Festival, Glasgow (2018), ‘Flow Country’ Glasgow Short Film Festival, (2017), ‘Roineabhal’, Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam (2015). Coppes is a tutor at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, MA artistic Research – and at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.

‘Aasivissuit’, (2020) camera: Ulannaq Ingemann, director: Jasper Coppes

Susan Brind (GSA)

Susan Brind is a Reader in Contemporary Art:  Practice & Events based in the Dept of Sculpture & Environmental Art at The Glasgow School of Art. She co-leads, with Nicky Bird, GSA’s Reading Landscape research group and is also a member of the Creative Centre for Fluid Territories (CCFT), an international interdisciplinary research group undertaking practice-led research focused on constructions of place identity.  Within her collaborative practice with Jim Harold, she is interested in how our first-hand experience of different places allows us to reflect on culture, on geo-politics and, most importantly, upon ourselves as beings. 

Practising Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation Symposium, 19 & 20 March 2020

Professor Ross Sinclair prepares for the Symposium, 8 March 2020

Postponed due to COVID 19.

Practising Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation is a symposium organised by the Reading Landscape Research Group, formed by artist-academics from the School of Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art. The symposium was due to take place on 19 and 20 March 2020, as the closing event that informs an exhibition of work, under the same title, by Reading Landscape Research Group members. Both the exhibition (which ran until Tuesday 17 March 2020) and the symposium were to be held together at The Lighthouse, Glasgow. Ticket costs £20 and £70, with allocation of free tickets to GSA Postgraduate Taught and Research students.

The symposium will be re-scheduled later in the year. 

The format of the Symposium includes two invited Keynote speakers – Ingrid Pollard and Dr Louise Purbrick – followed by thematic sessions chaired by a respondent from the Reading Landscape Group.

Presentations contributing to the Symposium, were selected through an open call and double peer review process. The symposium continues to draw on themes informed by an exhibition.They further the discussion of four key themes of interest:

– Histories (including land ownership, commons, cultural perspectives, border territories, heritage and preservation);

 – Wild spaces (including peripheral territories, deserts, forests or ideas of remoteness);

 – People and Place (including alternative voices and experiences of landscape including embodiment and auto-ethnographic practices);

 – Contentious Landscapes (including sustainability, interventions, conservation and ecology).

About the Speakers:

Keynote: Ingrid Pollard

Mixed-media artist and researcher, Ingrid Pollard uses digital, analogue and alternative photographic processes, also incorporating printmaking, image-text and artist books, installation, video and audio. Pollard studied Film and Video at the London College of Printing and MA in Photographic Studies, University of Derby and holds a PhD from the University of Westminster. She was one of twenty founding members of Autograph (the Association of Black Photographers), and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. In 2018, Pollard was the Inaugural Stuart Hall Research Fellow in the same year. She has worked as an artist-in-residence at a number of organisations, including Project Row Houses, Houston Texas, US, 2004; Croydon College of Art, 2011; and Glasgow Women’s Library, 2019. Her work has been exhibited widely, including Tate Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum & Photographers Gallery, London; NGBK, Berlin; the Caribbean Cultural Centre, New York; the National Art Gallery of Barbados; and Camerawork, San Francisco. In 2019, she received the BALTIC Artist Award and was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award.

Ingrid Pollard is presently in residence at Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL), as part of Glasgow International 2020. Having taken part in GI2018 with Deep Down Body Thirst, curated by Radclyffe Hall, Ingrid returns to Glasgow and the festival with a new exhibition exploring Lesbian history and culture.

Keynote: Dr Louise Purbrick (Principal Lecturer, History of Art, University of Brighton)

Louise Purbrick is an academic and activist who works on sites of political and ecological violence. With Ignacio Acosta and Xavier Ribas, she is part of the Traces of Nitrate collective that has examined the historical legacies of nitrate mining the Atacama Desert, Chile. Their recent photographic installation, Trafficking the Earth (2017), has been exhibited in London, UK, Santiago, Chile, and Huesca, Spain (tracesofnitrate.org). Louise has written widely on the remote or neglected places of exploitation, conflict and imprisonment. She is an editor with Jim Aulich and Graham Dawson of Contested Spaces: Sites, Histories and Representations (Palgrave, 2007) and co-author with John Schofield of ‘Brixton: Landscape of a Riot’ published in Landscapes (2009). She is currently completing a book, ‘An Architecture of Conflict: A History of the H Blocks’. Louise Purbrick is Principal Lecturer in the History of Art, University of Brighton.

Histories:

Seán Laoide-Kemp (Masters by Research student, IADT Dún Laoghaire), Landscape as Witness: Aftermath Photography, Oral History, and Ethnography in Representing the Public Works Scheme of the Great Irish Famine. 

Joe Crowdy (PhD student, Oslo School of Art and Design), ‘Writing Rack Fen: 1583-1606 and 2019-20’ 

Dr Frances Robertson (Lecturer, Design History & Theory, The Glasgow School of Art) ‘Alien Introductions: trees, memory and landscape history’

Wild Spaces:

Dr Nalini Paul (Lecturer, Fine Art Critical Studies and Design History & Theory, The Glasgow School of Art), ‘Embodying Language in Wild Spaces: Place, Memory and Transformation’

Dr Elizabeth A. Hodson (Lecturer in Fine Art Critical Studies, The Glasgow School of Art), ‘The Posthuman Sublime: The Art Practice of Katie Paterson’

Sam Nightingale (PhD Candidate, Goldsmiths, University of London), ‘Salt: a crystal image of time’

People and Place:

Nicky Bird (Reader in Contemporary Photographic Practice, The Glasgow School of Art), ‘Raging’

Jordan Whitewood-Neale (M. Arch student, University of Brighton), ‘Epistemological Hinterlands: Non-Normative Embodiment and Sublime Perceptions of Landscape’

Dr Jo Vergunst (Senior Lecturer, University of Aberdeen), ‘Exploring landscape decision-making with the arts: agency, scale and temporality’

Contentious Landscapes:

Minty Donald (Professor of Contemporary Performance Practice, University of Glasgow, artist), ‘Erratic Drift: approaching human geological performance’

Jane Brettle (Practicing Artist) ‘Mine – walking’

Jasper Coppes (Artist/ tutor, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague), ‘Nature Represents Itself’

While the exhibition had at its heart contemporary art practice and practice-led research in diverse visual disciplines, the Symposium also welcomed proposals from a diverse range of disciplines – such as archaeology, architecture, design, ecology, geography, literature, music, virtual reality etc – and reflected in contributions from the selected twelve speakers that respond to the themes in inter-disciplinary ways.

Symposium: Keynote Speakers

The Glasgow School of Art’s Reading Landscape research group is delighted to announce two keynote speakers, Ingrid Pollard and Louise Purbrick, for the symposium Practicing Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation symposium, 19 & 20 March 2020 at The Lighthouse, Glasgow.

Mixed-media artist and researcher, Ingrid Pollard uses digital, analogue and alternative photographic processes, also incorporating printmaking, image-text and artist books, installation, video and audio. Pollard studied Film and Video at the London College of Printing and MA in Photographic Studies, University of Derby and holds a PhD from the University of Westminster. She was one of twenty founding members of Autograph (the Association of Black Photographers), and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. In 2018, Pollard was the Inaugural Stuart Hall Research Fellow in the same year. She has worked as an artist-in-residence at a number of organisations, including Project Row Houses, Houston Texas, US, 2004; Croydon College of Art, 2011; and Glasgow Women’s Library, 2019. Her work has been exhibited widely, including Tate Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum & Photographers Gallery, London; NGBK, Berlin; the Caribbean Cultural Centre, New York; the National Art Gallery of Barbados; and Camerawork, San Francisco. In 2019, she received the BALTIC Artist Award and was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award.

Ingrid Pollard
Photo: Emile Holba

Ingrid Pollard is presently in residence at Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL), as part of Glasgow International 2020. Having taken part in GI2018 with Deep Down Body Thirst, curated by Radclyffe Hall, Ingrid returns to Glasgow and the festival with a new exhibition exploring Lesbian history and culture. 

Louise Purbrick is an academic and activist who works on sites of political and ecological violence. With Ignacio Acosta and Xavier Ribas, she is part of the Traces of Nitrate collective that has examined the historical legacies of nitrate mining the Atacama Desert, Chile. Their recent photographic installation, Trafficking the Earth (2017), has been exhibited in London, UK, Santiago, Chile, and Huesca, Spain. Louise has written widely on the remote or neglected places of exploitation, conflict and imprisonment. She is an editor with Jim Aulich and Graham Dawson of Contested Spaces: Sites, Histories and Representations (Palgrave, 2007) and co-author with John Schofield of ‘Brixton: Landscape of a Riot’ published in Landscapes (2009). She is currently completing a book, An Architecture of Conflict: A History of the H Blocks.

Louise Purbrick is Principal Lecturer in the History of Art, University of Brighton.

TOP IMAGE: (top) Alan Currall, ‘Four Pools, Wanlock Dod’ (2019)

Early 20th Century women photographers and filmmakers in Scotland

The main aim of this ongoing research is to show the breadth of work the women made, inspired by highland and island landscapes, as well as Scotland’s city life.


Jenny Brownrigg (The Glasgow School of Art)

Research themes include how the women recorded communities; the ways in which they captured historically significant moments and often changes to ways of life, work and industry; how they observed; how they observed place and nature; and how they recorded the place of women in both rural and city society. This research will result in a survey exhibition at City Art Centre, Edinburgh, in early 2022.

Brownrigg is currently researching thirteen women, including Edinburgh photographer Violet Banks (1886-1985). Veronica Fraser, an archivist at Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) wrote about Banks’ life in
‘Vernacular Buildings’ (P67-78, ‘Vernacular Building 32’, Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Group 2008-2009, ISSN:0267-3088):

Violet Banks (1886-1985) was born near Kinghorn, Fife and educated at Craigmont, Edinburgh, and at ECA (Edinburgh College of Art). In 1927 she was senior arts mistress at St. Oran’s, a private school at Drummond Place, Edinburgh’.

Banks’ photographs of the Hebrides were the result of a tour she made during the late 1920s / early 1930s. In 1935, Violet Banks established her own commercial photography studio in Edinburgh, going on to take numerous photographs of Scotland’s capital city.

A Day in Edinburgh, (1934, Grant & Murray), Photographs by Violet Banks and J. Campbell Harper, writing by H.B. Kay

In Practicing Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation, Brownrigg presents ten original photographs that Banks’ produced as postcards as well as one brochure entitled ‘A Day in Edinburgh’ (1934, Grant & Murray). Brownrigg has collected these items via separate eBay purchases, an action mirroring the precarity of women’s work in archives. Indeed, Banks’ own photography of the Highlands and Islands only came to light when discovered by John Dixon of Georgian Antiques, in a drawer in a sideboard that had been part of a furniture purchase and then gifted to Royal Commission for the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) to become The Violet Banks Collection.

Exhibiting Artists: Shauna McMullan

Shauna McMullan considers time and landscape. SITTING is an ongoing series of actions created for and in response to specific locations on the edges of Europe; places with complicated historical, geographic and political landscape identities.

The first SITTING took place in Agios Sozomenos, Cyprus, next to the UN controlled Green Line separating the south and north of the island. The second was in Telavag, on the edge of the west coast of Norway; a village deleted from maps during World War II by German occupation forces.  On 31stJanuary 2020, coinciding with the Practising Landscape Exhibition in the Lighthouse, she marked what was Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s last day in the European Union, by sitting on the Scottish / English border at Scots’ Dike.

SITTING – Agios Sozomenos, Cyprus
33°3’57”N 33°26’18”E      
25 March 2018 (10am – 5pm)      
Photo: Duncan Higgins

The deserted village of Agios Sozomenos is 30km east of Nicosia in Cyprus.  Until 1964, the village was mixed, inhabited by Greek and Turkish Cypriots, but the last residents fled during the 1974 conflict and were displaced to nearby villages.  The UN controlled Green Line, which divides the north and south of the island, runs along the side of the village and a UN look out post situated on this line was McMullan’s point of focus throughout.

SITTING – TelavagNorway 
60°15’46”N 04°59’11”E      
14 November 2018 (9.30am – 4.30pm)       
Photo: Jane Sverdrupsen 

Telavag is a fishing village situated on the very west coast of Norway. The village was deleted from maps during World War II by German occupation forces and subsequently rebuilt by surviving families who returned following the end of the war. Looking west is the North Sea and Shetland, to the east is Bergen, central Norway and Sweden.  The small hill from where villagers were taken, on 30thApril 1942, to watch the burning of their homes was McMullan’s point of focus throughout.

SCOTLAND AT MY TOES, ENGLAND AT THE TIPS OF MY FINGERS
Scots’ Dike, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland / England
NY 3307 7367 NY 3872 7319
31stJanuary 2020 (10am – 5pm)
Photo: Shauna McMullan

On 31stJanuary McMullan marked what was Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland’s last day in the European Union, by sitting on the Scottish / English border at Scots’ Dike.  Scots’ Dike is a three and a half mile long, low, interrupted earth ditch, constructed by the Scots and English in 1552 to mark the division of the Debatable Lands and to define a section of the border between Scotland and England. It is currently under mixed land-use. 

TOP IMAGE: Shauna McMullan GONE SITTING
2 colour photos, stool, text.

Installation view. Photo: Jack McCombe

Portal

Hugh Watt’s work aims through a practice-led research approach to explore the relationship between nature, culture and spirituality within the Scottish landscape.

Hugh Watt (The Glasgow School of Art), Martin Wildgoose (Archaeologist / AOC Archaeologist Group) 

portal-bone passage 02 red 2

Portal-Bone Passage 57° 12’ 50’’ N, 6° 0’ 40’’ W, (2019/20), Hugh Watt

Through inter-disciplinary enquiry with archaeologist Martin Wildgoose, Watt has been undertaking field trips to two locations on Skye, namely High Pasture Cave and Cave of the Seed. Watt is interested in how these sites, from mid bronze age, through to the Iron age, were occupied and used during the mid-bronze age and iron age, prior to its closure in 80 BC. In particular, Watt’s research has drawn on the use of these underground spaces as ceremonial spaces. For the exhibition Practicing Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation, Watt shows new video work which explores the notion of a threshold or liminal space, within landscape that connects the physical with the spiritual. In addition, he exhibits a new piece which works with a 3D scan of, the cave’s area known as ‘Bone Passage’. Watt has experimented with having a scaled down 3D print, cast in plaster, which is about the size of a human spine. He is interested in how this print can make reference to the human body and also tree roots, trees being that which was understood to sit between the physical and the spiritual.

Portal-Slippage, (2019-20). 2 channel video, 200cm x 226cm, Hugh Watt

 

TOP IMAGE: Hugh Watt, Portal-Bone Passage 57° 12’ 50’’ N, 6° 0’ 40’’ W, (2019/20), (Detail)

Revisiting two works: Raging Dyke Network (2012) and Heritage Site (2014–2016)

The aim for revisiting two works for the exhibition Practicing Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation was to demonstrate how the vernacular postcard has been instrumental in leading to alternative voices that reveal a landscape’s latent histories.

Raging Dyke Network: Nicky Bird (The Glasgow School of Art), Alice Andrews (volunteer, Glasgow Women’s Library)

Heritage Site (2020, Version 1): Nicky Bird, Stuart Jeffrey, Clare Graham & Mike Marriott (The Glasgow School of Art), Calder History Group, Mark Daniels (New Media Scotland), Isabella Mason Kirk and family.

This research takes two existing works in which the vernacular postcard has been instrumental in leading to alternative voices that reveal a landscape’s latent histories. By revisiting Raging Dyke Network (originally 2012) and restaging Heritage Site
(originally 2014-2016
) in 2020, Bird considers the passage of time for both works, and the collaborations so essential to their realization. For Heritage Site, this has shifted from living memory to history as the work’s storyteller – and her generation – has now passed. For Raging Dyke Network, the cultural landscape of LGBTQ and accompanying discourses have evolved significantly.

Raging Dyke Network (RDN) was commissioned by Glasgow Women’s Library. Raging Dyke Network was a group of radical separatist lesbians active in the late 1990s. It spanned across 52 locations from the UK, Europe, Canada and USA. At the network’s centre was an activist in Norwich, who donated materials – including personal letters and zines –o the Glasgow Women’s Library and the Lesbian Archive in 2000. The postcard series represents the network’s scale and makes visible an overlooked history, without revealing personal and political content of a group who identified themselves through their separatist gender politics.

Installation detail, 20 January, 2020
Heritage Site (2020, Version 1) by Nicky Bird

Heritage Site (2014-2016) centred on an industrial heritage landmark known as the ‘Five Sisters’ on the edge of West Calder, West Lothian in Central Scotland. 240 metres high, these spoil heaps, products of the oil shale mining industry active in the 19th century until the early 1960s, were given Scheduled Ancient Monument status in the 1990s. Heritage Site responded to local community memory of a house that is buried deep within the Five Sisters. Prompted by an Edwardian postcard of Westwood House and the memories of Isabella Mason Kirk, the project asked how can art and heritage visualisation practices come together to investigate a site of layered histories, memory and imagination?

TOP LEFT IMAGE: Raging Dyke Network, 2011: No 2 of 20, Nicky Bird with Alice Andrews
Courtesy the artist and Glasgow Women’s Library

TOP RIGHT IMAGE: Heritage Site, 2014-2016, Nicky Bird
Photographic postcard, photographer R. Braid c.1910. Courtesy the artist and Davie Rennie

National Islands Plan — Embedded Artist

Following work undertaken on the ‘Law, Arts & Island Resilience’ project, Susan Brind and Monica Laiseca (GSA) invited visual artists living on Scottish islands to apply for a Residency and Commission responding to the development of Scotland’s first ever National Islands Plan. The selected artist, Saoirse Higgins, joined the consultation team on a number of events taking place on different islands in the summer of 2019. Higgins is producing new work based on this experience for exhibition.

Monica Laiseca, Susan Brind, (The Glasgow School of Art), Islands Team (Scottish Government)

Saoirse Higgins, the artist selected to be National Islands Plan – Embedded Artist, is based on Papa Westray; a small island in Orkney with a population of 88 people. She brings an environmental focus to her work as well as extensive experience of working in community settings. Her work is directly focused on environmental concerns and the sustainability of island life. In addition to undertaking this commission, she is currently in the process of completing PhD research by practice under the title, ‘Survival tools for the Anthropocene’.

Commission funded by Scottish Government.

Exits and Entrances

To find audience-facing forms for translating an ongoing dialogue, between artist and writer, around ideas of the invention of a romantic mythos of a specific landscape.

Alan Currall (The Glasgow School of Art) and Professor Emeritus Colin Cruise (Aberystwyth University)

Over the course of a year, and along a regular walking route, Currall produced a series of photographs of small, but modestly spectacular, hill pools in the Scottish Southern Uplands. These pools, formed as a result of historical lead mining activity in the area, sit atop the hill that stands behind Currall’s home.

When a friend and former tutor, Emeritus Professor of Art History, Colin Cruise saw these photographs he felt compelled to respond through a collection of poems written from the perspective of these pools. Currall’s own existing research around ideas of knowledge, belief and perception found a provocative foil in Cruise’s interest in the Romantic, and the imaginative potential of invented mythology. During an extended period of dialogue they worked on several ideas for the future development of this project, which may include a publication and/or exhibition.

In this particular work, for the Practicing Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation exhibition, Currall has reworked a number of these photographs for video, and created a soundtrack to accompany Cruise’s own readings of a selection of his poems.

Installation View. Alan Currall, ‘Exits and Entrances’, 2020; Video with sound (20 mins)
Photo: Jack McCombe

Exits and Entrances, 2020 from Alan Currall on Vimeo.

TOP IMAGES: Alan Currall, stills from the video Exits and Entrances, (2020)