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A-N Assembly Aberdeen
11:00 on 4 July 2019
The Anatomy Rooms – Dissection Room, Marischal College
Assembly 2019 returns to Scotland with a day of presentations, discussions and workshops in Aberdeen, programmed alongside curatorial initiative Tendency Towards. Marking the first a-n Assembly to be organised by a collective, the event will hear from a range of collaborative projects from across the UK, focusing on the increasing necessity of artists communities to operate in this way.
Since the oil price crash of 2014, Aberdeen has been in the grips of a concerted effort to diversify its economy – and shift its identity – away from the energy sector. This has resulted in the majority of the city’s large-scale cultural venues closing for a period of renovation, including Aberdeen Art Gallery which is currently undergoing a long-delayed expansion project. In place of this institutional presence, grass-roots artist and cultural activity has blossomed, defined by a deeply collaborative community of projects.
The Tendency Towards’ programme highlights collective modes of operation as a radical and necessary approach towards energising, narrating and distributing artists’ agency across communities and geographies.
During the day, invited collective projects and practitioners from across Scotland and the UK will show us how to cultivate communities with endurance and stability, and a circuits-style activation workshop will keep us on our toes. The day provides an opportunity to share collective strategies and foster connections between invited projects, those in attendance and Aberdeen’s developing community of artist-led initiatives.
Welcome and introduction to the day
11.00 – 11.30am
a-n Programmes and Partnerships Manager Wing-Sie Chan introduces a-n, highlighting the Paying Artists Campaign and a-n’s 40th Anniversary in 2020. This will be followed by an overview of the day’s activities from Tendency Towards.
Dain’ Hings: Circuits
11.30am – 12.30pm
Dundee based project Dain’ Hings will open the day with a circuits style activation, inviting audience members to move between three different material exercises. Expect to be woken up before the day’s discussions!
Dain’ Hings was initiated by Duncan of Jordonstone fine art students Jek McAllister and Saskia Singer as a way to invite fellow artists ‘to get back to the basics and just dae hings!’ Started in their local pub, The White Dove, to side step the planning necessary for gallery shows, they have recently worked with Bread Arts Laboratory, Ayr.
Panel Discussion: Cultivating Communities
12.30 – 1.30pm
Focusing on approaching communities as authors, the day’s first panel invites Jo Capper, Collaborative Programme Curator at Grand Union, Birmingham and Shetland-based artist-led project Gaada to discuss their approaches to programming and community narration.
As an artist, educator and community developer, Capper’s practice has been based around local communities for 10 years. At Grand Union she has been working with residents of the Digbeth area to understand the cultural capital within the neighbourhood and to shape the collaborative programme within the gallery.
Gaada is based in Burra, Shetland and led by artists Amy Gear and Daniel Clark. Together they work with local groups, as well as invited individuals from the mainland to work in venues across the Shetland Isles, working to connect with the region’s unique heritage through contemporary means.
1.30 – 2.15pm
After an energetic morning it’s time to refuel for the afternoon! Vegan and gluten free options will be available.
A+E ecology clinic
2.15 – 4.15pm
In the context of ecological crisis and its fraught political entanglements, we face new challenges in terms of negotiating how to live in a way that prioritises the wellbeing of our own and other species. As the author and scholar Donna Haraway argues, we need to develop a collective ‘praxis of care and response’ in the ‘ongoing multispecies worlding’ that occurs on our damaged planet. By focusing on mental health within the anthropocene, A+E will lead a workshop exploring practices of dialogue, meditation and biofeedback techniques in reaction to recent texts on intimacy and the ethics of coexistence.
A+E are a Glasgow based artist collective, who describe themselves as a ‘multi species solidarity generator’. Their research and projects focus on increasing anxieties around agency, responsibility, risk and loss in relation to the developing global climate emergency.
Break 4.15- 4.30pm
Panel Discussion: Tipping Point
4.30pm – 5.30pm
Aberdeen based projects D2, Underpinning and Wagon end the day’s discussions in a panel chaired by Tendency Towards. Reflecting on the day’s topics, the conversation will consider strategies to further build endurance and stability within Aberdeen’s growing grassroots community as new developments such as the expanded Aberdeen Art Gallery reopen, access to space continues to be an issue, and the city grapples with a ‘post-oil’ identity.
Screening: Workers!, Petra Bauer & SCOT-PEP
5.30pm – 6.15pm
Workers! is a new film initiated by Collective, Edinburgh in 2016, between Swedish artist and filmmaker Petra Bauer and SCOT-PEP, a sex-worker led organisation in Scotland.
Workers! is filmed in the Scottish Trade Union Congress, a building rooted in workers’ struggles for rights and political representation. During their one-day occupation of this institution, conversations unfold that centre the voices of sex workers demanding to be seen as experts on their own labour and lives.
The collective approach developed for the production of Workers! has been inspired by feminist film practitioners who emphasise the importance of making films with their subjects, not about them. Regular workshops supported this process, enabling SCOT-PEP members and Petra Bauer to share their varied experiences of film and sex work.
Lunch and refreshments are provided as part of the day. This is a full day event. Booking is required. Tickets are free for a-n members and £10 for non-members.
For more info and to book visit: a-n.co.uk/assembly/assembly-aberdeen/