CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR CREATIVE BACKGROUND?
I studied art practice, initially at Duncan of Jordanstone in Dundee and then I did an MFA at Edinburgh College of Art. I always worked across disciplines and media and was involved with various Gallery’s and curatorial projects, as well as doing some teaching. During my MFA I became more interested in Institutional Critique and my work became more about the mechanics of exhibition making, and the relationship dynamics that are inherent to the process. My final MFA project was a culmination of this interest and has directly informed the work I currently do at Talbot Rice Gallery.
CAN YOU GIVE US AN INSIGHT IN TO YOUR PRACTICE AND WHAT YOU DO?
I run a strand of Talbot Rice’s activity called TRG3, which is focussed on supporting young and early career artists, and work of a more experimental nature. With their base in the Round Room of Talbot Rice’s Gallery 3, the projects often have an unknown end point or outcome, and have so far resulted in exhibition, performance, texts, screenings, online content and much more. Key to the projects is the unique access we can offer participants to the resources of the University of Edinburgh, be it the wealth of academic staff, exceptional facilities or the University's cast Collections. We hope the period of research and residency offered will prove vital in the artistic development of the participating artist at a key stage of their career. Last year's projects by Steven Anderson, Fabienne Hess and ECA graduates David Haslam and Jordan Piling were all completely different in nature and have resulted in an ongoing dialogue between the artists and the Gallery.
ANY EXCITING PROJECTS OR EVENTS YOU HAVE ON THE HORIZON?
Building on the success of last year we have a full programme of new projects in 16/17. We put out an Open Call in late 2015, aiming to open out the opportunity as broadly as possible and as a result we are working with duo JL Williams & Catherine Street, and Glasgow-based artist Michael Barr. Expect to see interventions, responses and performances from them throughout and around the Gallery over the coming year. We also have big projects coming up this year with International artists Jess Johnson and Stephen Brandes. New-York based Johnson will be showing her work in Gallery 3 during the Festival 2016 period and Cork-based Brandes will be showing later in the year. These will the artist's first exhibitions in Scotland, thus introducing their work to a local audience for the first time. We also have ongoing projects with Berlin-based filmmaker Michael Poetschko and Glasgow-based Kate v Robertson that will come to fruition in 2017. You can follow all the latest details and news in the programme website.
WHAT MAKES EDINBURGH A GOOD CITY TO BE BASED?
I think Edinburgh can provide a good base for young artists. There are many different opportunities, as well as TRG3 we work closely with ECA MFA students at Talbot Rice, and elsewhere in the city Collective’s Satellite programmeoffers excellent professional support to recent graduates. Established opportunities such as the RSA New Contemporaries, and new initiatives like Edinburgh Art Festival’s 'Platform’ are also designed to support young artists. New artist run initiatives are emerging all the time- as well as Embassy and Rhubaba, new spaces like Number Shopand the collective Bargain Spot are really adding to the rich offering in the city. Not only do they offer opportunities and peer support to young artists, they also practically illustrate how such organisations can be created and establish themselves in this city.
More generally, Edinburgh is also a great jumping off point to other places around the UK and Europe. Glasgow and Dundee, that offer a host of different opportunities, are just down the road- and you can be in London, Berlin, Scandanavia etc within a couple of hours.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PEOPLE THINKING OF PURSUING A CAREER IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES?
It's not easy, and there is no specific advice that can cover all bases. I would say it's best to gather as much diverse experience as you can, attempt to find what you are most interested in and passionate about. Working with an artist-run space is real a labour of love, but is really the best way to get direct, first-hand experience. It's an intense 2-year unpaid traineeship that prepares you for just about anything you will face later in your career. It's rare that anything falls on your lap, you need to make things happen for yourself. Keep looking at what and who’s around you- and talk to them.