Part 5, Gleniffer Braes Country Park
Friday 14 February 2020
Meeting Point: The Briggait, 141 Bridgegate, Glasgow G1 5HZ, from The Briggait we will walk together to Glasgow Central Station for the 10.42am train to Paisley Canal.
Claire Shallcross started her Friday Walks series from a desire to create space for discussion that didn't feel static, at a time when having a studio practice felt very quiet and isolating.
"I usually found I thought about new ideas and developing work whilst doing another activity, like cycling to work or the studio. So to mix up my week a bit and involve a different space for learning I decided to go outdoors and invite people to come with me. Walking in a group or with another person allows for a different type of conversation, it allows for pauses, silence and for discussions to take different paths or loop back on itself. I decided to use the walks as a tool alongside my practice."
Join us on Friday 14 February 10am at our meeting point at The Briggait, Glasgow where we will travel together to a walk that Claire has planned for the artist union; a group walk in Glennifer Braes through Tannahill Walkway to the hidden waterfall. On the walk, we will think about and discuss the idea of undoing and unlearning by making space for silence and thought. Without the typical structure of a workshop format, this walk doesn't have a theme or a pre-prescribed itinerary other than a beautiful planned route.
"Revisiting this project has made me relate to it in a different way, I am now a mother with different working conditions and time structure. Carving out time and creating space outwith the home is very important to me. The isolation I now feel is in part due to a distance I feel from my practice, which I had slowed down for my daughters first year. Using the walks as a tool to unravel these working conditions and making space for conversation about work is once again important to me."
The walk is named after Paisley weaver, poet and songwriter Robert Tannahill. It takes a circular route on good paths, is labelled easy* and will take approximately 2 hours 30 minutes. We will go through the park, pass the hidden waterfall before passing the Glenniffer Gorge. From here the walk passes through the Robertson Park Car Park with spectacular views over the city.
*Walking grades are very subjective and some people will find easy walks hard and others will find hard walks to be easy. However, this grade gives an indication of how long a walk is or how much climbing is involved. An "easy" walk will generally involve up to 8km of walking and and up to about 1000ft of ascent on good quality paths and trails.
We will travel together from the meeting point at The Briggait and the union will cover participant's travel costs to and from Glennifer Braes back to Glasgow city centre.
Increasingly, it seems more and more difficult to make a living from art, to make artwork around our personal lives and commitments, to strive for change without burning out, and make an artistic practice a viable career choice. The School of Unlearning offers us new tools in our ongoing struggle to maintain a career - over 6 workshops, we will examine aspects of contemporary work in order to establish common values and plan for change that we can all work towards. The workshops will cover a number of work-related issues such as busyness (striving to remain constantly visible in highly competitive conditions), attachment (the need for investment versus detachment from commercial interest), habits (the entwinement of our bodies and minds to environments and practices that have slipped our rational analysis), professionalism (the idea that the workplace is no space for emotion), and failure (fear of fallibility in art, organising and activism). The practice of unlearning will be presented as a new skill that can be developed to increase our capacity to think clearly about and challenge the conditions we are working in.
Who is this for?
Open and suitable to all of our members (Graduate, Artist and Associate) who are fed up with an unequal and exploitative art world who don’t want to give up on art completely and want to get involved in union organising and work-based activism. Artists who are making political and/or socially engaged artworks. Artists who are worried about how their creative practice will survive the future and want to develop strategies and alternatives.
Why should I come?
To meet new people to work with and collaborate with, to replenish creative energy, to get new ideas, to tell the union and your fellow members about what you are already doing and how we could help. Lastly, to eat delicious food and enjoy great conversation.
Why is it called the School of Unlearning?
The term "Unlearning" takes cues from Gayatri Spivak's "unlearning one's privileges," where the process of unlearning denotes an active critical investigation of normative structures and practices in order to become aware and get rid of taken-for-granted "truths" of theory and practice in order to tackle inequalities in everyday life.