Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Arts lottery funding imbalance 'requires urgent address', say arts leaders

Arts lottery funding imbalance 'requires urgent address', say arts leaders
Lottery funds have disproportionately benefited most prosperous and arts engaged communities in England, report reveals

The Guardian's Culture Professionals Network explains...

http://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2014/apr/28/arts-lottery-funding-imbalance-place-report?CMP=new_1194


Last Friday The Place Report was launched. It argues that arts lottery funds are fundamentally different from grant-in-aid funding – those provided to maintain the core national cultural infrastructure – and it questions Arts Council England's (ACE) stewardship of those lottery funds, provided for different purposes and for far wider public benefit.

The report draws particular attention to five of the directions issued by DCMS for the lottery (pdf):

"Arts Council England shall take account of the following in distributing national lottery funds:

• The need to increase access and participation for those who do not currently benefit from the cultural opportunities available in England

• The need to foster local community initiatives which bring people together, enrich the public realm and strengthen community spirit

• The need to support volunteering and participation in the arts and community arts

• The need to involve the public and local communities in making policies, setting priorities and distributing money

• The desirability of ensuring equality of opportunity, of reducing economic and social deprivation and ensuring that all areas of England have access to the money distributed"

Other lottery distributors in England have acted upon similar directions to prioritise disadvantaged communities. ACE appears, at best, to have given the directions no priority and at worst, systematically ignored them, placing at serious risk of failure the local infrastructure of facilities, organisations and programmes that are the bedrock of national cultural life.
The Place report shows that the arts lottery has disproportionately benefited the most prosperous and "arts engaged" communities in England, often also those contributing least to the lottery. At the same time, some of the least "arts engaged" and poorest communities, contributing most heavily to the arts good cause, receive the least return.

Of England's 326 local authorities, the 33 where people are least engaged with the arts (10% of the total with a combined 6 million people) have received £288m arts lottery funds since 1995 or £48 per head of population (php). The 33 areas with the highest levels of arts engagement (4.8 million people) have received £1.33bn over the same period – over £1bn more and at £275 php.

Lottery proceeds are increasingly supporting organisations and regular programmes of work that were previously funded through grant-in-aid. That's a vital point when you consider additionality, the guiding principle that arts lottery funds should be for "new and additional" activity and not a substitute for grant-in-aid.

The largest recipients of ACE grant-in-aid are now among the largest recipients of arts lottery funds and many of these organisations are also the largest beneficiaries of private philanthropy and sponsorship of the arts. Arts funding has become a closed system.

ACE has argued that "subsidy per attendance" is a "more representative measure" of benefit from public funding, as opposed to measures of geographical distribution. What we've found is that affluent people who live within easy reach of major cultural institutions and who can afford regular attendance derive by far the most benefit from funds sourced from taxpayers and from lottery players.

Arts lottery funding to the five largest London recipients (The Royal Opera House, Royal National Theatre, English National Opera, Sadler's Wells and the Southbank Centre) totals £315m since 1995. This is in addition to annual funding of over £80m that between them they receive from taxpayers. These five organisations have received more arts lottery funding than the 33 local authority areas whose communities are least engaged with the arts.

In a time of austerity, cultural organisations with very substantial public funding and with the greatest capacity to raise resources from paid attendances, sponsorship and philanthropy might be expected to make a lower call on public funds.

The sheer scale of these imbalances in the distribution of arts lottery funds across the country and between beneficiaries requires urgent address. But how? The report offers a simple illustrative proposition of a tripartite framework for the arts lottery.

Respecting the directions, the proposed framework would operate through three programmes focused differentially on: the social priority of engagement with areas of disadvantage; the economic priority of dispersed cultural production; and the artistic priority of support for artists' practice across all disciplines. Decision-making would be devolved to appropriate structures operating at regional or multi-authority level with weighted allocations that recognised advantage and disadvantage in terms of geographical, economic and social factors.

Peter Stark, David Powell and Christopher Gordon are co-authors of The Place Report

ACE have responded to the PLACE report, and this can be read at

http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/what-we-do/research-and-data/our-response/

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Verity is given a makeover!


Following my recent blog posts about the intervention in Glasgow Green, my friend Gary sent me a link to another public intervention, this time in North Devon.



"The controversial 60 ft bronze sculpture, Verity by Damien Hirst has stood at the harbour mouth of Ilfracombe in North Devon, England since 2012. But unusually, at dawn this April Fools Day 1 April 2014, she was revealed to be sporting a giant pair of striped legwarmers.

The knitted garments mysteriously appeared overnight and although rumours abound amongst locals as to who is responsible, no one has yet owned up to the prank. Some believe Hirst himself to be behind it, while others think that the mariners aboard a warship that was docked nearby at the time must be involved. The woollen garments remained in place for 24 hours, being removed by the harbour master the next day, but the council and locals alike took the event in good humour and shops in the town reported that business had picked up.

Tonia Sears, owner of The Periwinkle knitting shop and cafe which opened in Ilfracombe November 2013 denies any affiliation, but comments that she finds it ‘brilliant that people are exploring artwork with yarn and the community are getting involved’. Her venue hosts craft workshops and clubs and she has been spreading the yarn art knowledge, recently teaching 45 members of the ‘Combe Crumpets’ (Ilfracombe’s Womens Institute group), the art of Tunisian Crochet.


The covert yarnbombing craze continues to spread, with comical positivity in its wake."



http://cover-magazine.com/news/verity-yarnbombed-on-april-fools-day/

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Pidgin Perfect




My previous blog post prompted a number of kind people to get in touch with me and reveal who created the beautiful cable tie intervention in Glasgow Green - Pidgin Perfect.



"Pidgin Perfect is an award winning multi-disciplinary creative studio based in Glasgow. We bring together people, clients and place to help build better communities for everyone.

Pidgin Perfect have a unique multi skilled approach combining participation, research and design that places the community at the heart of our projects.

We believe that meaningful participation, strategic research and socially driven design are interdependent, the best results are achieved when these three elements combine and having fun is a serious part of this process.

Through collaboration, storytelling and a unique understanding of context Pidgin Perfect deliver socially rich outcomes. From installing a temporary cinema in The Barras Market; to developing visual briefs for key projects; designing a theatrical banquet in Venice; or landscaping public green space in Pollokshaws and delivering permanent public realm works; Pidgin Perfect create architecture that truly allows for engaging experiences, building lasting relationships, bringing communities together."

'Speedworks' with PEEK Projects


Through ‘Speed works’ a group of young adults from PEEK Projects designed and created an intervention within the public realm using cable ties; a simple, everyday object.

PEEK works with children and young people aged 5-25 living in the East End of Glasgow and North of Glasgow – giving them the motivation, self-confidence and skills they need to change their lives.

In collaboration with Pidgin Perfect, the group made changes to a small area of the Barras Market, creating an intervention that makes people stop and think during their daily journeys.

The intervention links into the proposal currently being developed by an artist for the nearby Greendyke Square site on London Road which explores similar themes of play, route, context and pace.

This collaboration with PEEK Projects was made possible through the Velocity: ABC Commission

For more information please visit http://pidginperfect.tumblr.com

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Intervention at the Barras

A friend sent me an email today with a couple of photos of an intervention he had spotted at the West side of the Barras.

Knowing how partial I am to stripes, he wondered if it was me that had been busy with the cable ties, but alas it was not!



Friday, 18 April 2014

Gi diary - Friday 18th April

After work this afternoon I met up with Michael Stumpf in the Mackintosh Gallery to discuss his current exhibition This Song Belongs to Those who Sing It at Glasgow School of Art. Exhibitions Director, Jenny Brownrigg and Exhibitions Coordinator Talitha Kotzé have invited me to write a response to the exhibition, and bearing this in mind, I had a few questions to pose to Michael.

I then battled my way through the crowds on Buchanan Street (the sun was shining so everyone was out), along to 42 Carlton Place to see the exhibition of work by Christina Ramberg.

Ramberg is best known for imagery of bound, fetishised hands and bodies, and for schematised torsos that can shade into ‘pure’ diagrammatic abstraction.

Once again, 42 Carlton Place offers something refreshing to the Gi programme, an exhibition of drawings and paintings that are immediate and intimate.

Rowena and I then popped into The Modern Institute on Osborne Street to visit the current exhibition by Tobias Madison, Emanuel Rosseti and Stefan Tcherepnin. The most interesting part for me was the painted doorway and facade to the building that nods to the aesthetic of ghost trains and set design.

We then went to Alistair Frost's makeshift nail bar where people can get motifs painted onto their nails. These motifs are picked from a selection of paintings and objects produced by Frost which are installed throughout the space. I felt a little cheated as neither was the artist nor the nail technician there, and therefore was hardly a functioning social atmosphere which the artist is supposedly investigating.

At Glasgow Print Studio, by far the most interesting work for me, was the rectangular block of sand that was in the centre of the space. A triangular shape had been stencilled onto the top surface using metallic spray paint. One corner of the work slab had begun to collapse as the conditions forced the sand to dry out and crumble. How this piece related to the other works in the exhibition is beyond me!

Mary Mary presents an interesting exhibition of ceramics by London-based Jesse Wine. "Amidst an array of traditional materials and methods, Wine’s practice has a strong engagement with the process of making, which sees him pursue a line of chance and surprise in the final outcomes. The works are gestural with Wine pushing the boundaries of how clay, glazes and ceramic forms act when the maker relinquishes control of the end result."

The final exhibition stop of the day was to Universal Studios, part of Open House (a Gi fringe festival). The two-person exhibition featured collages, pin-hole camera photographs, a video and the pinhole cameras themselves.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Bricolage at The Pipe Factory

Ashamedly, today was my first visit to The Pipe Factory, a beautiful brick building at the heart of the Barras market in the East end of Glasgow. The third floor is where a number of recent graduates have their studios, but for the duration of Glasgow International, the whole building (5 floors) are used as exhibition spaces.




On the ground floor, a semi-transparent inflatable breathes gently. This alien form acts as father figure to another unfamiliar creature. The zooming sound that fills the room seems to relate to the furry blob of wool on the floor. I imagine the 'wool-ball' zipping around the space making these noises, but only when no-one is in the space. Who knows how many others are lurking in the loft or beneath the floor boards.

 

Talking of floor boards, I could not fail to be attracted to the stairway, with its earthy colours and interesting textured wall.


De Re Aedificatoria, the 1st floor exhibition by Made By Me immediately appealed to me with the repetition of simple forms to construct an inviting space in which one can explore.

Fold Up Snap On is an exhibition by recent GSA graduates. I enjoyed that the artists have embraced materiality, and obviously have an interest in materials and the hands-on making process.             











Sunday, 13 April 2014

Glasgow Open House

Yesterday I ended my day of exhibitions at 1 Royal Terrace, with the opening of Below The Spillway, a solo exhibition by Augustus Veinoglou as part of Glasgow Open House, the art festival with the aim to "offer an alternative format for public interaction with art outside of the gallery, generating discussion around the way art is exhibited and consumed both in and out of doors." 


The small group of Glasgow School of Art graduates that make up the Glasgow Open House committee began planning the festival in the Summer of 2013. They were "keen to engage with new audiences by opening up their living and working environments to neighbours, fellow artists and the public."

There was an open call for exhibition proposals, and as a result, "the 2014 programme of visual arts, performance and music includes the work of over 80 artists scattered across 32 venues in every corner of Glasgow. It includes exhibitions and events in flats, gardens, sheds and other unexpected locations, reflecting the work of individual artists, collaborative groups and organisations."

For more information about the festival, visit http://glasgowopenhouse.co.uk/#

Today I ventured to Westerton for A Secluded Sketching Ground, an exhibition by Lynn Hynd and Sara Barker.



"Using the visual framework of the garden & wooden shed, Hynd & Barker explore the languages of flatness & space, painting & sculpture, and the thresholds between interior & exterior space, collapsed and re materialized through an active engagement with ‘process’.

The garden is an extension of the artists’ studio, the brink at which the external world is contemplated. The garden’s enclosures, platforms, stages, grounds, surface, colours and roots create an adaptive environment for, and blurr the boundaries of the work itself.

An obsession with surface is everywhere in a garden & the artists’ respective practices are linked in their exploration of the perception & palpability of material , as the blurring of boundaries allow the values of indoor space to escape to the outdoors, evoking a conversation between structure & activity."

I look forward to exploring more Glasgow Open House exhibitions over the next week.







Saturday, 12 April 2014

What goes on in your head

I really like this diagram showing the different activities happening in different compartments in the head.



Friday, 11 April 2014

Opening of the Reid Building

GSA staff and students piled out of the Mackintosh Building and moved over the road to official opening of the Reid Building along with thousands of invited guests.



A lively duo of Johnny Roger and Sam DeSantis acted as compares for the opening proceedings, introducing speeches by the current and former GSA Directors, Scottish funding council and GSA alumni, Robbie Coltrane.




Makar and GSA alumni Liz Lochhead played her part by writing the words to the song that the talented GSA choir performed with excellence.

From past student, to present and future as a current Architecture student and youngster from a local school were given the honour of launching the Rube Goldberg machine.

Neil McGuire gave a running commentary of the knock on effect style machine as it whizzed around the building, finishing with the release of balloons and confetti.


With the formalities over, we were invited to share a celebratory drink, enjoy some delicious street food, and explore the Reid building.

I particularly liked the installation by Petter Yxell, with its strong connections to architecture, the built environment and history.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Creative Scotland launches 10-year plan to 'unlock potential'


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-26943163

A 10-year plan and revamped funding approach for Scotland's creative industries have been announced.

Creative Scotland said the new model would "unlock the potential" of the country's arts, screen and creative industries.

Funding processes have been made simpler, with just three streams for applications rather than 300.

More than 1,000 leading artists and organisations were asked for their input on the scheme.

The vision sets out "clear ambitions" for the future, according to the agency's chief executive Janet Archer.

New phase

Information sessions will be held across the country to explain the details of the plan.

The high-profile announcement was billed as being a new phase for Creative Scotland.

It follows complaints that the funding body was over-complicated and bureaucratic and a public row about funding, which resulted in the resignation of the previous chief executive.

Named Unlocking Potential, Embracing Ambition the new scheme sets out five targets that will frame the work of Creative Scotland over the next 10 years, underpinned by a set of 15 priorities which will be immediate targets for the next three years.

Janet Archer, Creative Scotland's chief executive, said: "Today marks an important moment for the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland.

"I'm delighted to launch the 10-year plan which sets out a vision and a set of clear ambitions for arts and creativity in Scotland.

"I'm particularly pleased that the plan has effectively been 'crowdsourced' - bringing together more than 1,000 voices from across the arts, screen and creative industries."

She added: "Our plan is bold and it is vital that we work in partnership with people and organisations across Scotland to deliver its ambition."

The agency has also outlined a funding programme to deliver "stable" three-year support for organisations and a simplified website has been designed to make it easier for artists to apply for funding.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said the plan "sets out a vision and ambition for the arts, screen and creative industries that we can all work towards".

She added: "Importantly, the plan has not been developed in isolation - nearly 1,000 people and organisations from across Scotland and from across the arts, screen and creative industries contributed to its development through open consultation and dialogue."

Creative Scotland will host a series of nine information sessions across the country to help anyone in the arts hear about the strategy and learn about funding.

The sessions will be in Inverness, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stornoway, Birnam in Perthshire, Dundee, Shetland, Aberdeen and Peebles.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

PGCert in Learning and Teaching (Creative Practices)and Ron Barnett on being scholarly

On Friday I submitted my final assignment to complete part 1 of the PGCert in Learning and Teaching (Creative Practices) course that I have been studying since January. 

The course has been fantastic - very interesting, useful and enjoyable. The group comprised academics and support staff from Design and Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art and a few others from external institutions.

"The purpose of the Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (Creative Practices) is to enable staff in UK HEIs and related professional fields to develop their knowledge and skills of teaching practice in higher education in the creative disciplines. This PgCert is specifically built around the concept of the critically reflective practitioner. The programme encourages students to engage with the principles of student-centred learning and major concepts and theories of learning and teaching. It asks students to reflect on their own role and practice in teaching and supporting students in a changing higher education environment, and facilitates the development of an individual programme of Continuous Professional Development.

The focus of the PgCert is the translation and application of generic pedagogical research to the creative practices, as well as the introduction to and exploration of research in the pedagogy of creative practices in higher education."

http://www.gsa.ac.uk/study/graduate-degrees/pg-cert-learning-teaching/

I have done extensive reading around the subject, and am going to select some extracts that I would like to share with you.

Ron Barnett on being scholarly:

Read a little

Write a little

Think a little

Share a little

every day

Monday, 7 April 2014

Le Swimming

The underground car park, a relatively recent addition to the abundance of art spaces in Glasgow, has undergone a transformation, starting with a coat of pale blue paint on the walls. 



"A disused underground car park under a modern tower in Glasgow’s City Centre imagines it was a swimming pool in an alternate history. Subverted through a vision of a past non-existent utopia, the car park becomes a doorway to another world, twice removed from its current status of abandonment. Artists Nadège Druzkowski, Sukaina Kubba, Jenny Lewis, Philippe Murphy, Alys Owen and Beth Shapeero transform this space into a body of a swimming pool, with works that explore the idea of ‘Other Spaces’ on the one hand, and react to the transformation of the car park on the other.

The introduction of a fictional past (swimming pool) to an existing heterotopic space (underground car park) harkens to the utopian origin of modernist residential towers, where open spaces freed up by the piling up of apartments, were envisioned as spaces of leisure and recreation. The abandoned car park highlights the abandonment of otherwise profitable urban spaces due to the current economic conditions; while the fictional pool is both a comment on the lack of non-commercial public spaces in the city centre, and the dissolution of the follies of modernist housing."



Unfortunately I was unable to attend the opening of the exhibition so missed the performance that was part of Philippe Murphy's work. There were, however, hints of what went on.

Three plastic chairs were positioned on the boundaries of the 'swimming pool', with a whistle left on each of the seats. 

The performance involved six lifeguards, three of whom sat at each of the chairs, and the remaining three circulated the perimeter of the room scanning for any emergencies. In this exhibition context, an emergency situation was, for instance, when someone got too close to an artwork, or started to touch the work. Such an occurrence prompted the lifeguard-come-invigilator to blow their whistle, which in turn prompted the other lifeguards to blow their whistles (each of which was a different pitch). What a good way to deter people from touching the artwork.


Beth Shapeero's sculptures certainly tempt the viewer to touch. Three huge vats are filled with three different liquids, industrial paint, varnish and household gloss.

A skin-like layer had formed on each of the surfaces, in the same way that a crust forms on a bowl of custard.



Saturday, 5 April 2014

Skyscraper-sized Tetris kicks off Philly Tech Week

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/skyscrapersized-tetris-kicks-off-philly-tech-week-9242008.html

Tetris fans in Philadelphia were able to play their favourite video game on an epic scale when it was projected onto a skyscraper.



Using a joystick, players were able to move images of supersized shapes displayed on two sides of the 29-storey Cira Centre.

The mirrored tower, which has hundreds of LED lights embedded in its glass facade, normally displays colourful geometric patterns at night.

And organisers hoped that Saturday’s spectacle, which kicked off a citywide series of events called Philly Tech Week, would inspire onlookers and players to think about the possibilities of technology.

The display also celebrated the upcoming 30th anniversary of Tetris, which was created by Russian computer programmer Alexey Pajitnov in 1984.

The game challenges players to rotate and arrange falling shapes into complete rows.
Frank Lee, a digital media professor at Drexel University, said Tetris is a game revered as the epitome of elegance and simplicity

The game designer, who oversaw creation of the giant display, said putting it on an office building is like making a huge virtual campfire.

“What I wanted to create was essentially a shared moment for the city of Philadelphia,” he said.
This won't be the first time Tetris has been played on a building. But the 100,000 -square-foot (9,300-square- metre) “ screen” - which includes the north and south faces of the structure - could be a record.

Lee already holds the Guinness World Record for the world's largest architectural video game display for playing Pong on one side of the Cira Centre last year. Pong is an electronic version of paddleball developed by Atari in 1972.

Tetris became a global phenomenon in the late 1980s after game designer Henk Rogers, who had seen it at a trade show in Las Vegas, acquired the rights and struck a deal to put it on Nintendo's original Game Boy.

Mr Rogers said he cannot believe the longevity of Tetris, which decades later continues to mesmerise players on more than 30 platforms.

“If a game lasts a year, that's amazing,” said Mr Rogers, now managing director of The Tetris Company.

“They usually go out of style very quickly.”

He said several new Tetris products and initiatives are planned for release around its 6 June anniversary.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Hidden Door Festival

As Glasgow counts down to the opening of Glasgow International 2014, the world-renowned biennial festival of contemporary art, Edinburgh is host to its very own festival, Hidden Door.

Hidden Door is a not-for-profit arts production company. It was set up in 2010 by David Martin to provide exciting and inspiring opportunities for emerging and breakthrough talent in Scotland that would encourage a D.I.Y attitude to arts production that didn’t depend on government funding to operate.




From 28 March to 5 April 2014 the 24 Rediscovered vaults on Market Street, Edinburgh will be unlocked to showcase some of Scotland’s best breakthrough talent

80 visual artists, 50 live music acts, 40 film makers, 30 poets, 30 performers, 20 animators, 9 unique parties, 2 live music vaults, 2 bars, 1 theatre, 1 cinema, 1 secret music venue, 1 site, 1 chance.

For more information, please visit http://hiddendoorblog.org