Kitchener's Memorial, image by Sue Brind

Kitchener's Memorial

In a Place Like That – Between Orkney and Odda >

Research Themes:
Contemporary Art & Curating

Research Staff:
Sue Brind
Shauna McMullan (phase 1 only)

Partner Organisation:
Bergen Academy of Art and Design

Funding Body:
Creative Scotland

In a Place Like That – Between Orkney and Odda is a collaborative research initiative between Glasgow School of Art and Bergen Academy of Art and Design, supported by Creative Scotland. It will establish an artistic research programme to promote and examine how art can play a significant part in questioning modes of understanding and the representation of place identity. The project is one of a number of practice-led initiatives emerging from the research group ‘Reading Landscapes’, established by Susan Brind and Dr Nicky Bird.

This project looks to examine particular ‘Place Identities’ and how art can play a significant part in constructing, questioning and negotiating particular ideas of social memory, modes of understanding and the representation of place. In doing this, it seeks to propose a wider questioning of art practice, educational utility and the notion of place for others. It will also question the accepted mode of the artist ‘residency’ by seeing journeying between centres and margins as a means of arriving at understandings about the readings of different place(s). It will use the journey itself to prompt further research into the role of art in relation to landscape, and the impact of both on our understanding of place. The overall objective of the research is to open a space for dialogue between historical fact, rational thought, embodied knowledge, and the poetic space of language and imagining.

Rather than looking for ‘like for like’ relationships between Bergen and Glasgow it was felt that a third space/place could provide a challenging and stimulating meeting point to prompt the production of new artworks. Places away from the city, places with strong social or historical narratives or more marginal rural places was a common theme. Two places were chosen to provide the context for both a reflective and productive meeting point:  The Brough of Birsay on Orkney and Odda on the Hardanger fjord in Norway, both UNESCO listed sites. Phase 1 of the project was a journey – by air, train and boat – made by three artists over the course of 7 days between Bergen, Odda, Orkney, Glasgow, returning to Bergen. Each artist brought academic text(s) to the trip to frame discussions and their physical experience of each place. Research material was gathered in the form of text, sound and image, and a set of questions identified for discussion at future seminars/symposia. Among the projected outputs of the project are exhibition(s) at the Reid Gallery, GSA and ‘Rom8’ Gallery’, Bergen Academy of Art & Design.

The principle artists are Susan Brind (GSA) and Duncan Higgins (Research Professor, Bergen Academy, and University of Nottingham), with Shauna McMullan (GSA) also participating in Phase 1. 

Project papers on RADAR:

Detours Discussion: A one-day symposium about programme and place - Sue Brind, 2012