Read the ‘Artist-Led Organisations in Scotland: Survey and Mapping of Activity’ research report, undertaken by Scottish Artists Union on behalf of Creative Scotland.
Artist-Led Organisations in Scotland: Survey and Mapping of Activity
This research document is part of a larger research project designed to support and enlarge a piece of work that Creative Scotland has been undertaking to explore artist-run and artist-led activity in Scotland (with a core focus in visual, applied and social art practice). This work is designed to connect directly with current artist-led organisations through mapping research, a survey to artist-led organisations and a series of online workshops to:
- Create a stronger understanding and greater visibility of the range, uniqueness and reach of collective artist-led practice across Scotland – to develop a fuller picture of both urban and rural/island activity;
- Develop and share an understanding of existing models and practices of artist-run spaces and organisations – to include the breadth of experience, opportunities and challenges that exist.
The mapping has identified 248 artist-led organisations and 120 artist-led spaces in Scotland.
This project is supported by Creative Scotland and carried out through the Scottish Artists Union by artist and researcher Chris Biddlecombe. The development of the project was assisted by a collaborative advisory group who met regularly throughout the research process - Amanda Catto (Head of Visual Arts, Creative Scotland), BD Owens/Lynda Graham (President/s, Scottish Artists Union), Natalia Palombo (Director, Deveron Projects), Chris Biddlecombe (Researcher, Scottish Artists Union), Kirsten Body (Learning Organiser, Scottish Artists Union).
One Shared Owner: how artists talk about working together
As part of the larger research, survey and mapping project we hosted a series of six online workshops. In the spirit of artist-led activity the workshops have been documented as a series of conversational notes that try to capture the open spirit of sharing at the original events.
This diverse creative activity is incredibly important. The work is about artist self identity - this can be oppositional, marginal, independent and linked to other countercultures. Groups often appear to manage multiple identities and roles - there is an adoption of individual forms of management, community engagement and ownership - safe responsive spaces are created through friendship and mutual support. This process is about re-evaluating, unlearning and learning.
The six conversations include:
01 ARTISTS TALKING ABOUT ALTERNATIVE INCOMES WITH NARTURE (Ayr)
We need to understand how arts graduates integrate into wider arts ecologies locally – how do we value artistic labour? Should we explore other circular economy systems?
02 ARTISTS TALKING ABOUT KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER WITH GENERATOR PROJECTS (Dundee)
There’s basically no written rules on how to be a committee member – committees are constantly re-establishing relation- ships – every committee member learns from shaping their role.
03 ARTISTS TALKING ABOUT FLATTENING HIERARCHIES WITH DEVERON PROJECTS (Aberdeenshire) & GLASGOW ARTISTS’ MOVING IMAGE STUDIOS (Glasgow)
At some point you need to ask what community am I wanting to serve and how do I genuinely represent that space – how do you identify your common values?
04 ARTISTS TALKING ABOUT CONNECTING COMMUNITIES WITH GAADA (Shetland)
Embrace the messy and difficult within small communities – be prepared to reframe the idea of ‘Art’ to connect with an isolated audience.
05 ARTISTS TALKING ABOUT REPARATIVE ECONOMIES WITH RHUBABA (Edinburgh)
We need to have conversations about the design of our working systems and who we support – the attractiveness of creative labour can disguise the exploitation of the work.
06 ARTISTS TALKING ABOUT PROPERTY MATTERS WITH THE STOVE NETWORK (Dumfries)
Use creativity as a tool to actively involve the local community in shaping future social planning – who is the space for and how can they access it?
To request a hard copy of this publication (card folder with a set of six A2 posters), please email your address to [email protected]
This project is supported by Creative Scotland and carried out through the Scottish Artists Union Learning Programme.
Image left - right: Chris Biddlecombe plus Siri Black & Rhia Laing from Market Gallery, workshop at the Hive conference, Leeds, May 2023
Design & print: Manuel Fernández Rodríguez, Good Press, Glasgow, 2023