Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Sound Thought

Sound Thought
The Arches
Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd March

Urban Space IIII was selected for inclusion in an exhibition in Sound Thought at the Arches this weekend.

Weight and Sound is a collaborative project initiated by Emily Shepherd which features work by Ragnar Jonasson, Helen Shaddock and Alison Joan Stockwell.

Through considering an object’s spatial and material qualities and interpreting these through sound, the project emerges as an alternative to traditional methods of interpreting sculpture, creating sound accompaniments that serve to enhance the viewer’s experience and offer new avenues of exploration.

Weight and Sound

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by a group of artists if they could use some of my artwork for a project they are involved in at the Arches, Glasgow.

I have met with them a number of times, and am pleased to announce that Urban Space IIII will be featured in Sound Thought next week.

Here is how they describe the project:


A collaborative project initiated by Emily Shepherd in conversation with Thomas Leyland Collins, Fiona Teresa Keenan, Benjamin Parkes, Amy Pickles, Adam Scarborough and Alison Joan Stockwell
Featuring work by Ragnar Jonasson, Helen Shaddock and Alison Joan Stockwell

How can we disseminate sculpture through sound?
What does this bring to our experience of sculpture?

Weight and Sound seeks to investigate these questions, not to arrive at a definitive conclusion but to open up this idea as a line of enquiry, an interpretative tool for discussing sculpture.

Through considering an object’s spatial and material qualities and interpreting these through sound, the project emerges as an alternative to traditional methods of interpreting sculpture, creating sound accompaniments which serve to enhance the viewer’s experience and offer new avenues of exploration.

The exhibition at the Arches serves to document and demonstrate this conversation through a visual map of our enquiry.

Object as sound. Sound as mass. Weight and Sound.

Archive by Joachim Froese

The following image caught my eye as it incorporates my love of books with my visual attraction to layers.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Gi Primer - Richard Wright

Gi Primer
Richard Wright
Wednesday 22nd February 2012
Wolfson Medical Building, Glasgow University

“the world is already a painting or sculpture” Richard Wright

When the work is out of the way, the action of reaching the work becomes important and this journey is part of the work

The temporary nature of Wright’s work heightens their existence

“The performative aspect of the work is not the making of the work, it is the moment of the work” Richard Wright

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Andrew Eaton-Lewis: Most towns don’t have an Alasdair Gray or an Alex Kapranos to make a fuss - News - Scotsman.com

Andrew Eaton-Lewis: Most towns don’t have an Alasdair Gray or an Alex Kapranos to make a fuss - News - Scotsman.com

Published on Monday 20 February 2012 in The Scotsman

GLASGOW’S artists, writers and musicians made so much noise about the new Criminal Justice and Licensing Act last weekend that you could be forgiven for thinking the law was only going to affect that city, rather than the whole of Scotland. It took four more days for the rest of the country to wake up to what is potentially a bombshell for the arts.

In case you missed all this, as of 1 April this year all exhibitions will need to pay for public entertainment licences, even if they’re free and in a temporary space. If rigorously enforced, this law could destroy grassroots culture as we know it in Scotland – not just art but comedy, music, poetry readings, film screenings, parties, and any other events put on by people who want to express themselves, experiment, create a scene and inspire and entertain those around them, but who don’t have the money to shell out over £100 per event for an entertainment licence, or the time to get bogged down in weeks of bureaucracy.

It’s easy to see why Glasgow woke up to the problem first. Much of the city’s cultural identity, in recent years, has been built upon its world-renowned DIY art and music scene. Franz Ferdinand famously played their first gigs in a derelict warehouse called the Chateau, which staged gigs and exhibitions that were talked about internationally – and not just because of the Franz connection.

The Chateau went on to become part of the Glasgow International art festival, as did numerous artists and curators who had found their feet by putting on shows in whatever free spaces they could find, from disused shops to their own homes.

The sense of community and possibility created in a place like this, where Turner Prize winners and famous bands mingle informally with a younger generation of artists and musicians, passing on knowledge and contacts, is one of the main reasons why the city’s artists are so successful.

Glasgow City Council seems to recognise the value of this and looks as if it will take steps to protect it. This, hopefully, will set a precedent for decisions made across the rest of Scotland. At time of writing a national campaign is gathering pace, having begun not in Glasgow but Edinburgh, a city whose artists know all too well how difficult it is to create a thriving grassroots scene, as venues constantly close to make space for offices or flats.

Please support this campaign. Most towns don’t have an Alasdair Gray or an Alex Kapranos to make a big public fuss. Instead, they need emails and letters to councillors. Lots of them. So write one.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Scrap Arts Tax meeting number 1

My head is still buzzing after today's Scrap Arts Tax meeting which was held at Glasgow School of Art in the Mackintosh Lecture Theatre.

As expected, the lecture theatre was packed with individuals from a range of backgrounds, interests, ages and locations. It was great that some people from Edinburgh had travelled through, emphasising the notion that this is a national issue rather than purely a Glasgow issue.

The meeting began with a number of introductory speeches by prominent people in their respective fields e.g. Francis McKee, Sarah Lowndes, Peter McCaughey (for the Scottish Artists Union SAU), Councillor Frank Docherty and Steven McGowan (director of Licensing at Lindsays law firm).

Some key points were:

Policies need to be made in consultation with those who will be affected by the legislation

The SAU are:
- supporting the petition
- wanting Scotland-wide policies to be implemented rather than local authority policies
- enabling students to become associate SAU members if they meet certain criteria (had several exhibitions)

Why did we not know about this licence before Thursday?

There needs to be some representation from Glasgow School of Art

Steven McGowan mentioned the temporary event provision which is used in England. Artists inform the council of their plans for a one off event and it is presumed that the event will go ahead unless the council get in contact to raise any concerns they have

We broke off into working groups each of which discussed a different topic and then we met together to report back from the working groups.

Some points of importance that I took from today:

1. Thursday 23rd February at 9:30am there will be a Glasgow City Council Licensing Board meeting in the Burgh court discussing the PEL. Artists are encouraged to have a presence at this. The entrance is via John Street.

2. All artforms should work together. I was really pleased that the meeting was attended by all manner of creative beings. I believe that we should work together - currently we are fairly independent; different unions etc

3. Get audiences to support the protests - we need to raise public awareness about the issue and how it will effect them. Once they know that their weekly watercolour class will be affected by the licence, for example, I think they will be outraged by the licence

4. Establish a web presence that is non-facebook - not everyone has, or likes facebook. Need another way to disseminate information such as a website

5. Continue to contact councillors

6. We need to decide how disruptive we are going to be - is striking a good option? do we do more of the activities that will be affected?

7. A different name may be more appropriate for the group - Arts is too restrictive, it is not a tax, not restricted to Glasgow, could be used for more than the licencing issue

So, lots to consider and plenty of work still to do.

An email list was circulated and the debate will continue.

Next meeting is on Saturday 25th February at 11am at Kinning Park Complex, Glasgow

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Scrap Arts Tax Meeting

There has been a slight change of plan for the Campaign against Glasgow Entertainment Licence meeting. The confirmed details are:

LOCATION - The Mac Lecture Theatre, Mackintosh Building, Glasgow School of Art, 167 Renfrew Street
TIME - 12pm-3pm
DATE - Saturday 18th February 2012

Once we have all met there we will be breaking up into working groups so we can use space in the Union and potentially the Barnes building.

Be there!

Campaign against Glasgow Entertainment Licence on the BBC

BBC News - Worry over licence fee for arts http://bbc.in/zN99uD

My lovely friend Ashley Holdsworth at Made in Glasgow clearly explains her confusion about the new Glasgow Entertainment Licence to the BBC.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Response from Nicola Sturgeon re Entertainment Licence

From Nicola Sturgeon (Deputy First Minister):

Thank you for your email about Glasgow City Council's proposed changes to its policy on Public Entertainment Licences, which are due to take effect on 1 April 2012. I understand your concerns about this matter and wanted to take the opportunity to outline my understanding of the issue.

The Public Entertainment Licensing regime was amended by the Criminal Justice and Licensing Act 2010 to give local licensing authorities the ability - if they so choose - to include free to enter events within the terms of licensable activities. This change in the law was in response to concerns that had been raised about the lack of control that local licensing authorities had over large scale free-to-enter events such as raves.

However, it is important to stress that the new law does not mean that local licensing authorities are required to insist on free-to-enter events having a Public Entertainment Licence. The discretion lies entirely with the local licensing authority - in this case Glasgow - to determine what types of events they licence. The public entertainment licence is a discretionary licence. It is for the local authority therefore to decide whether to licence public entertainment and if they do, what specific types of entertainment they wish to include.

As I understand it, there is nothing whatsoever in the law to prevent Glasgow from exempting all or certain categories of free to enter events from the requirement to have a public entertainment licence. Indeed they already have exemptions in place in relation to school halls, church halls, fetes and gala days and there is no reason why other events cannot be added to this list of exemptions.

The cost of the licence is also for the licensing authority to determine and therefore, even if the local authority decided to insist on certain free-to-enter events having a licence, it would be open to them to charge a lower fee than would be charged for commercial events.

I share your concern about the potential implications of Glasgow City Council's new policy. I am also concerned that there appears to be a suggestion that the council has no discretion in this matter and that the detail of its policy is somehow mandated by the Scottish Government - that is not the case.

I have therefore asked for an urgent meeting with the Licensing department to discuss the concerns that are being expressed to me by constituents and I would be happy to let you know the outcome of this.

In the meantime - if you haven't already done so - you may also wish to write to your local councillors about the matter.

Kind regards


Against Public Entertainment licence

Today I found out that a bill has gone through Westminster REMOVING the need for licences in venues with a capacity below 200 people. This was after an impact study revealed that £1.9m a year was being lost due to legislation strangling innovation. Unfortunately, this only applies to England and Wales, so it could be argued that Scotland should be the same.

However, I am conscious that it could lead to galleries restricting audience numbers in order to save money on getting the licence, and this would limit the potential of art to reach many people.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Meeting to be held to campaign against licence changes for public events

By Katy McCloskey

Campaigners have rounded against changes to licensing laws which will see organisers of free public events and shows having to pay.

A meeting is to be held next weekend to campaign against new rules for public entertainment licences in Glasgow.

As of April 1, new laws set out in the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act of 2010 will mean that an entertainments license must be sought for any public shows, exhibitions and community events such as local festivals – even if the events are free.

Costs for the licence will range from £26 to £7,300, depending on the type of event and size of the crowd and the penalty for operating an event without a licence is £20,000 or six months in prison.

Activists across Glasgow have set up a petition against the changes and have dubbed it a tax on arts and entertainment. They say it will damage the foundations of Glasgow’s arts community – where pop up exhibitions and displays thrive in unusual venues.

Petition organiser Kris Haddow said: “Glasgow City Council must urgently review this and scrap the proposed fees, particularly those to be imposed on free events and on temporarily licensing small venues.”

Hundreds of people have taken to Facebook to condemn the changes, with comments such as “Absolutely ridiculous, counter productive, and plain idiotic. For a city trying to encourage the arts to put this kind of restriction in place is simply greedy and over complicated.”

Sinead Dunn, President of the Glasgow School of Art students' association organised the public meeting. She said: "This will have serious implications on Glasgow School of Art students. A subject we teach is art in the community and this change will have the effect of criminalising students for their work.

"Many of our students and recent graduates are doing what they do out of love for their work and not money. Stifling fees like this will close the art scene down.

"Many of our students often put displays on in disused shops and there has been no clarification over the official list of what's affected in the last couple of days."

Until now, a licence was only required for events with an admission charge and the arts community is worried that the time needed – six weeks - to apply for a licence could prevent artists from performing or displaying their work.

The changes come as the city prepares itself to host the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art.

Boxing events, judo and karate shows, circuses and discos alongside events in pool halls will also be affected, but gala days, fetes, events in church halls and school halls will be exempt.

The list of events or public activities which will be included in the changes was determined in the 1980s when the Civic Government Act was passed.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: "This is not just an issue for Glasgow as the change to the law applies across the whole country.

"We were very clear in our submissions this change would lead to a wide range of free events that would require a public entertainment licence."

The public meeting will take place on February 18 at 1pm in the Glue Factory in Farnell Street.

Scrap Arts Tax Poster

Please download and print a copy of this poster then display in prominently in your gallery, venue, space, living room window, workplace, union — ANYWHERE that the public might pass.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Saturday, 11 February 2012

PETITION - Glasgow City Council: Scrap Public Entertainment Licence Fees

A petition has been created in response to the Glasgow City Council's decision to implement a new Public Entertainment licence.

It has already attracted a huge response with over 3000 people already signing it.

Some excellent comments have also been left giving reasons why individuals have signed the petition.

The petition can be accessed via


Campaign against GCC Public Entertainment License Meeting

Saturday, 18 February 2012
1pm - 4pm
The Glue Factory
22 Farnell Street, G4 9SE Glasgow

As of 1st April 2012, Glasgow City Council will be changing their 'Entertainments' License, to include all free events, including Exhibitions.
After this date, all proposed public exhibitions, regardless of scale, will need to submit a tedious application along with a hefty fee, 6 weeks prior to the date, as well as public notification, 6 sets of lay out plans, and will involve consultation with Strathclyde police, Strathclyde Fire Brigade, Building Control, Environmental Health, local councillors, local community councils, and local area management committees.

It's a ridiculously bureaucratic process which is being introduced at a particularly uncertain period, weeks before the start of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art - GI2012.

At a time were Glasgow creative community is the subject of extensive research, being branded the "Glasgow Miracle", and when 2012 is being marketed as the "Year of Creative Scotland", this will have a crippling impact on many small scale, non-profit, emerging organisations, artists and practitioners.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Outrage at Glasgow City Council Art Licence

Please excuse the quality of english and grammatical correctness in the following post. There is a reason... I am angry and outraged

I have just found out that Glasgow City Council are introducing a law which states that any premises providing entertainment (and apparently Art is a form of entertainment) will need to pay £600 to have a licence for doing so. At the moment a Public Entertainment licence is required only if there is an admission fee to the premises hosting the entertainment, but as of April 2012, any premises offering entertainment, regardless of if there is an entrance fee will need the licence.

A number of thoughts are spinning round my head:

If premises have to apply for a licence, then does this mean that the Glasgow City Council has the power to reject an application and therefore impose some kind of censorship

Surely the council realise that Glasgow has built up its reputation as an exciting city to be an artist in because of the number of pop-up exhibitions, DIY attitude, artist run galleries etc, and that by introducing such a licencing law, these things will no longer be able to happen - those in the arts have no money!

The new law has been cunningly announced only a few months prior to Glasgow International, the major visual art festival that sees many unused buildings and public sites used as contexts for exhibitions.

Is art entertainment?
According to Dictionary.com entertainment is "something affording pleasure, diversion, or amusement, especially a performance of some kind".

I have been to many an art exhibition where I have not come out smiling nor did I find it a pleasurable experience - was I entertained at these galleries?

I strongly believe that the artistic community needs to, (and will) stand up to the Council.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Featured artwork in The List

The latest edition of The List magazine was posted through my door this morning. With excitement and anticipation I flicked through the Visual Art pages, and on page 121 saw the small feature on my artwork.

Unfortunately the image is dark, and the colours of the sculptures do not appear as vibrant as they are in real life. All the more reason to try to see the work first hand!

Friday, 3 February 2012

commission installed

I recently completed a commission to go in a lounge on the fireplace.

I was provided with a rough colour scheme and size guide to fit with the rest of the decor and in the space.

I have been sent pictures of the sculptures happily installed in their new home.

Please contact me if you are interested in a commission