CLiC Blog: Contemporary Artists Making Connections

Our Advocacy and Development Lead Moira Jeffrey shares her latest blog post on our CLiC project (Cutatorial Leadership in Collections) partner Emma Nicolson’s activity at Climate House (formerly known as Inverleith House) at Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh.

Visitors to the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh this month have been rather surprised by a new addition to the garden’s familiar flora and fauna. The giant golden snub-nose monkey climbing the exterior of Inverleith House, is an inflatable art work, The Golden Monkey by the artist Lisa Roet.

Under the stewardship of Emma Nicolson, Head of Creative Programmes at RBGE, Inverleith House is now known as Climate House and is dedicating its creative programme to the climate crisis. “Artists can help us connect, build empathy, and raise awareness,” Emma explains. “ The Golden Monkey by Lisa Roet is drawing attention to the very serious issue of habitat loss and its impact on global warming and biodiversity loss. “

Climate House, whose work is supported by a Transformational Grant by innovative funders Outset Contemporary Art Fund, is just one example of how contemporary artists work with public collections to tell new stories for our current age and how contemporary artists drive powerful and necessary conversations. Emma is part of our Curatorial Leadership in Collections project (CLiC), which aims to explore, capture and share that learning. 

“At Climate House we want to provoke new ways of thinking and responding to the ecology of our planet. We believe that people will act through having a relationship with the environment, “ says Emma. “If that connection is not there they won’t care, it is not just about relaying messages, but creating engaging experiences.”

Since 2018 the CLiC programme founded by Dr Kirstie Skinner in partnership with SCAN and with advice and funding from Art Fund, Creative Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland, has been supporting contemporary art curators to think about the civic role of our museum collections, about working with contemporary artists and what kind of leadership we need now.

The network brings together 10 partners from across the country, from Glasgow Women’s Library to  the McManus: Dundee’s Museum and Art Gallery. Throughout the project we’ll share the thinking of our partners and invite you to explore the issues with us, through our public events programme.