Final programme for “Giving up the Archive?” study day announced

We now have a final programme for ‘Giving up the Archive?’ study day on 1 July examining the archives of arts organisations – see details and information on bookings below:

Giving up the archive?

Reflections on the creation, examination and dissemination of arts organisations’ archives.

1 July 2013, White Cube Gallery, Bermondsey SE1 3TQ

Many arts organisations are interested in locating and exploring their archival heritage. What are the driving forces behind this interest? How much archive material survives, where and in what condition? What can archives tell us about the history of these organisations and how important are they to their contemporary activities? This study day aims to explore these questions, providing reflections and case studies from academics, curators, artists and archivists.

Organised by ARLIS\UK & Ireland in partnership with The Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Art.  Supported by funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

10.30-11.00 Coffee and registration

11.00-11.20 Welcome: ARLIS

Introduction to the morning session: Dr Dominic Paterson (Chair)

Dr Dominic Paterson works at the University of Glasgow where he teaches 20th and 21st century art and theory.  He wrote his doctoral thesis on the place of aesthetics in the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault, and his research interests include critical theory as well as modern and contemporary art.   Dominic organised and introduced a series of talks and film screening events as part of the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art , which expanded upon the Festival’s theme of ‘past, present, future’. Including artists Susan Phillipsz, Gerard Byrne and Jimmie Durham.

11.20-11.50 Stories from the archive: Dr Francis McKee

Francis McKee will examine the process of archiving both the Third Eye and CCA material in Glasgow which ranges from 1973 to the present. He will look in particular at the discovery and digitisation of 150 video tapes from the early 1970s and how they transform our understanding of that period in terms of Scottish and British video art history. Following on from this he will look at the wider understanding the archives give us of the development of contemporary UK art over the past 40 years and the genesis of the national and international networks that enabled this growth.

11.50-12.20 The artist’s voice : Ross Sinclair

Working in Glasgow and internationally as a practicing artist, Ross Sinclair has utilised sculpture, video, painting and text to interrogate how different formal approaches can contribute to the construction and dissemination of meaning and the paradigm of art practice in context in relation to audience. Sinclair is currently looking back on the development the dynamic and critically respected art scene in Glasgow over the past twenty five years through the methodology of interviews with his artist peers.  A selection of extracts with artists such as Martin Boyce, Susan Philipz and Douglas Gordon will be screened for the first time, alongside a reflection of Sinclair findings during his research.

“What lies at the heart of any situation, any scene, any place, any history, any geography, any relationship? How do we come to understand it? What elements have inexorably bound together to form it’s essential core and how can we begin to unravel it, dissect analyse and contextualise the meaning? Is this Miracle-ism to be seen in relation to what came before…and what happened after – and what is happening now, and what might develop in the future…?”

12.20-13.00 Keynote: Gerard Byrne, Case Study: Loch Ness (Some possibilities and problems)

Revisiting and reanimating historical moments to be considered in the present, Gerard Byrne’s work has been exhibited at Documenta 13, the 54th Venice Biennale, and in previous Sydney, Gwangju, Lyon, and Istanbul biennales. Recent solo exhibitions include Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 2013, Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, 2012, IMMA, Dublin, the Renaissance Society, Chicago (2011), and at the 2007 Venice Biennale, where he represented Ireland.  In 2006 he was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn award. He is represented by the Lisson Gallery in London, Green on Red Gallery in Dublin, and Nordenhake Gallery, Stockholm. He has been a professor at the Royal Danish Academy for Fine Art since 2007.

13.00-14.00 Lunch

14.00-14.10 Introduction to the afternoon session: Dr Julie Bacon (Chair)

Julie Louise Bacon’s research focuses on the relationship between: aesthetics and politics, art and philosophy, technology and consciousness, mythologies and archiving.  Julie Louise has curated wide-ranging events including: the art and network technology symposium SIGNAL (La Chambre Blanche, Quebec, 2012); the public art symposium The Clearing (London, 2010) ;the five-part AHRC conference and exhibition series Performing the Archive (sites throughout the UK, 2006-07), the Fix performance biennial (Catalyst Arts, Belfast, 2004), The Suicide of Objects (Catalyst Arts/The Ulster Museum, Belfast, 2004).

14.10-14.40 Archiving new media:  Beryl Graham

CRUMB is a resource for curators of new media art, and includes a web site and a discussion list with over 1300 international subscribers. How can such ‘crowd-sourced’ knowledge be digested and re-presented? Given that many art forms and archives are participatory, including new media systems, how might audience-generated archives reflect a future ‘history of exhibitions’? Beryl Graham is co-editor of CRUMB, co-author with Sarah Cook of the MIT book “Rethinking Curating”, and recently edited a book on “New Collecting” for Ashgate Press.

14.40-15.10 Documenting the visual arts in Ireland: Donna Romano

Donna Romano is Acting Librarian at the National College of Art & Design Ireland, which is home  to The National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL), a public research resource dedicated to the documentation of 20th century and contemporary Irish visual art and design.  NIVAL collects, stores and makes accessible for research an unparalleled collection of documentation about Irish art in all media.  NIVAL’s collection policy includes Irish visual art from the whole island as well as Irish art abroad and non-Irish artists working in Ireland.   Information is acquired on artists, designers, galleries, arts organisations and institutions, critics and other related subjects.

15.10-15.40 Shared archives: Marysia Lewandowska

Marysia Lewandowska is a Polish born artist based in London since 1985 who, through her collaborative projects, has explored the public function of media archives, collections and exhibitions in an age characterized by relentless privatization. She has been collaborating with Neil Cummings 1995-2008. Research has played a central part in all her projects which include the book The Value of Things (Birkhauser/August 2000), Capital at Tate Modern (2001). Enthusiasm project has been shown at the CCA Warsaw, Whitechapel,London, Kunst Werke in Berlin and Tapies Foundation Barcelona in 2005-2006. The film Museum Futures: Distributed Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 2008, and Tender Museum at the Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz, 2009. Intellectual Property was a subject of How Public is the Public Museum? Moderna Museet, Stockholm 2010.  Since 2003 she is a Professor of Art in the Public Realm at Konstfack in Stockholm.

15.40-16.10 Panel discussion (afternoon’s speakers including key note)

16.10       Drinks reception


When: 1 July 2013, 10am-4pm approx.


ARLIS members £75

ARLIS students £43

Non-ARLIS £90

Non-ARLIS student £53

Email the giving_up_the_archive_booking_form to or post to Lorraine Blackman, ARLIS Administrator, GSA Event, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL.

Refreshments will be provided during the day: a drinks reception will be provided after the event, please indicate in your booking email if you do not wish to attend.


Needlework Development Scheme: Symposium

_IGP1531Last Wednesday we had the pleasure of attending a symposium about the Needlework Development Scheme held at Edinburgh College of Art/University of Edinburgh.

The Needlework Development Scheme is an important and overlooked part of Scotland’s textile history. Founded by Scottish thread manufactures J&P Coats in 1934 with the specific intention of educating through study and practice, a collection of over 3,500 embroideries was distributed when the scheme disbanded in 1961, between Edinburgh College of Art, Glasgow School of Art, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, Grays School of Art, The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Embroiders Guild and The Royal Scottish Museum.

Edinburgh College of Art has, like the other institutions involved, a beautiful collection of antique textile samples, once part of the ambitious Needlework Development Scheme (NDS) that aimed to “encourage interest in embroidery and raise the standard of design and technique.” ECA’s collection has been lying inert in boxes, hidden in the ECA board room wine cellar, only rediscovered in 2011, exactly fifty years since the Scheme ended in 1961.

A project entitled Revival and Re-invention, embroidery heritage in the 21st century, is currently underway. The main objective of this project is to re-establish connections between these institutions, re-linking the collection and scoping focal points to ensure an exciting future for the collection with relevance for education in the 21st century.

Frances Lennard, senior lecturer in Textile Conservation at the University of Glasgow, inspecting an item from ECA's NDS collection

Frances Lennard, Senior Lecturer in Textile Conservation at the University of Glasgow, inspecting an item from ECA’s NDS collection

_IGP1539Last week’s Symposium was the first of hopefully many attempts to get all the institutions with NDS collections together to discuss the future of the NDS. In the morning, Lindy Richardson, Programme Director of Textiles at ECA, and invited speakers, including Frances Lennard, Senior Lecturer in Textile Conservation at the University of Glasgow; GSA’s Archivist Susannah Waters, and Matthew Jarron, curator of  Museum Services at the University of Dundee, spoke about the history of the scheme, the idiosyncrasies of the various institutional NDS collections, and the conservation of textiles. In the afternoon we had a chance to view items from ECA’s NDS collection, then we had group discussions about the potential, for example, to reinstate the scheme; to create an online resource; and to provide wider access to the collections. The event was a great success: We all learned from each other about the care of our collections; shared best practice and exchanged knowledge about the history of the NDS and about how the collections can be used in the future.

As part of a tour of the country’s NDS collections, Lindy Richardson and Lucie Whitmore from Edinburgh College of Art visited us a few months ago to view GSA’s NDS collection (see our previous blog post).

Visit the Revival and Re-invention project website for more details. You can also view a selection of Glasgow School of Art’s NDS pieces on our flickr.

Visit from ICON conference delegates

On Wednesday afternoon we welcomed a group of 23 ICON (The Institute of Conservation) Conference delegates to the School.

The ICON Conference is a triennial event, this year taking place at the University of Glasgow. This year’s theme is “Positive Futures in an Uncertain World” and it’s hoped the event will inspire conservation professionals and all those working in the increasingly challenging and uncertain circumstances of today’s heritage sector. In light of funding cuts and staff losses, the conference will explore and debate how to respond in uncertain times.

Our group visited Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Hill House in Helensburgh in the morning, followed by a visit to the School in the afternoon, where they enjoyed a customised tour of the building exploring the intricacies of balancing the demands of conserving the Mackintosh Building with that of welcoming thousands of visitors each year and all the while continuing to function as a working art school. We then welcomed our visitors to the Archives and Collections Centre to view a selection of our varied holdings, including textiles from the Needlework Development Scheme; Mackintosh watercolours; architectural drawings by Eugene Bourdon; metalwork; and GSA student registers and ephemera relating to events at the School. The afternoon was rounded off with a visit to the Willow Tea Rooms, a Mackintosh building currently in dire need of conservation itself.

The conference is now almost over, but we do hope the conservators enjoyed their pre-conference visit to the School.

The conference programme is available here.