Curatorial development in Scotland

Jan Verwoert workshop

Jan- “How do you value your practice?”
“What resistances and obstacles do you encounter?”

Me-   “I value it when… when the creative process can be socially useful… I mean I don’t want to sound like a complete hippy but, erm, well there you go- I’m interested in art’s
potential, well at least exploring it’s potential to be useful, socially useful…

…and the obstacles?… well feeling like I’m a complete hippy”

A glance away and discussion on the roots of socially engaged practices, Labour, socialism, the failures the successes, then more discussion on the importance of discussion around the artwork then…

Jan-    “Right I’m going to return to you (pointing at me)… this term hippy…”

Jan is very good at pushing you, I’ve never felt so hot and embarrassed in a casual crit situation.  He’s brilliantly direct yet charming and confidence enhancing.  I needed the pushing, I now realise it has been a long time since I have been made to dig deep and really challenge, why and why and why.

The afternoon picked at (the ones that resonated most for me) artistic integrity, loosing and keeping curatorial values, institutional logic and the importance of interruptions, problems and processes of collaborative curating, transparency- how much and why.  The key phrase I’ll use in my, wanting to be potentially useful practice is, “the gay uncle”.  When you’re in a project, say for example with a group or youth kids and it’s your time to get out, (funding, contracts, pain) bring in the gay uncle as a distraction- the kids love him, they forget about you and you can leave, quietly through the back door.

Framework’s first session for me was the fantastic cliches: inspirational, mind expanding, invigorating.  Hard work too. Cove Park was stunning, the artists in residence focused, friendly, thought-provoking.

Thank you very much Framework, the cobwebs of my brain are slowly being brushed away.

Rocca Gutteridge is an Artist, currently in residence at the Mela Festival and working with socially engaged organisation Deveron Arts