Time for research

"British Design: Tradition and Modernity after 1948" cover

“British Design” cover

A number of personal research projects of mine have culminated in publication this autumn.

British Design: Tradition and Modernity after 1948 marks the end of a project that began with my co-curation of the British Design: Innovation in the Modern Age exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2012.

The exhibition raised many questions about the particular relationship between place, time and space that characterises much of the UK’s design culture, and a conference during the exhibition’s run produced the chapters in this book. Continue reading

Share Button

Visiting Shanghai

Shanghai Fashion Week, 2014

If I was a much younger man looking for metropolitan thrills and a glimpse of a future self, I think that Shanghai might be my choice of escape. New York and Berlin (the destinations for my generation) seem so twentieth-century by comparison. Continue reading

Share Button

Hospitalfield

Francis Mckee

Hospitalfield. Image by Francis Mckee (bit.ly/francismckee) used under a Creative Commons license

Yesterday I visited Hospitalfield and enjoyed the hospitality of its enlightened and energetic Director, Lucy Byatt. The historic house in Arbroath was originally founded in the 13th Century, and has been altered and changed by many of its occupants since then. In particular, by Patrick Allan-Fraser, and the family he married into. Continue reading

Share Button

Welcome

Welcome to Art School Head, a blog that reflects on all things Art School and particularly on all things Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). It seems a timely moment to start writing about the culture of Art School life.

The College is just celebrating the third anniversary of its merger with the University of Edinburgh in 2011 and last week the Scottish Funding Council made its formal report on the merger’s progress to Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.

A key line in the report suggested that ‘the identity, ethos, pedagogy, and studio-based culture of the former ECA…has demonstrated a new dynamism and energy’, and that the Funding Council team had ‘identified a sense of excitement and anticipation at the opportunities for collaboration and interdisciplinary working made possible by the merger – a characteristic that increasingly defines the ‘new’ ECA.’

So what is the identity, ethos and culture of ECA now, in its post-merger situation? And how does it relate to the life of the university, the city, the country and the creative network of individuals and institutions that we interact with across the world? In a broader sense, what does it mean to work and practice in an Art School in the early twenty-first century?

I’m privileged to hold the office of Principal of ECA, which provides me with the ideal position from which to reflect on some of these questions, to comment on some of the challenges and to record the very distinctive developments and events that fill our working days. I engage with colleagues and students across our five schools of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Art, Design, History of Art and the Reid School of Music, and with other schools and colleges across the University of Edinburgh.

I represent ECA as it works with Edinburgh’s many galleries, museums, orchestras, festivals and other cultural organisations. And I travel to support partnerships in the UK and elsewhere.

As this blog develops I hope we can generate some dialogue that makes sense of that experience (its everyday rhythms and more spectacular happenings) and enriches the special environment that us Art School people are lucky enough to inhabit.

CB electronic signature

Related links:

Share Button