SCAN Decades: Vron Ware and Cicely Farrer, Thursday 18 May

Thursday 18th May, 6.30pm
The McManus Museum and Art Gallery, Dundee
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An invitation to writer and photographer Vron Ware from curator Cicely Farrer to share her critical insights into the multi-dimensional politics of the rural.

There is a long and distinguished history of focusing on small places as a means to explore the impact of powerful forces and movements, whether industrial capitalism, war, colonialism, gender oppression, racism, class conflict or the degradation of the land itself. A radical ecological approach – dig where you stand – is open to the connections between places, however near or far, and attentive to the details of what makes them unique as well as similar.

But while a focus on the past, in relation to place, might tell us how we got to this point in human history, how might we adapt this method to prepare for what is to come? What can artists, producers and institutions learn about our common future by starting with the soil beneath our feet?

This event will pay particular attention to geographies of militarism, a sometimes visible and frequently audible aspect of daily life in rural Scotland. Drawing on Vron Ware’s most recent book – Return of a Native: Learning from the Land – and her current research on the historic army base on Salisbury Plain, the event will invite the SCAN network to consider how the military cultures embedded in lived experiences of a place might be questioned or made visible in art and culture.


Vron Ware is a writer, photographer and former academic. She has taught at the University of Greenwich, Yale and Kingston University and her published work has focused mainly on the politics of gender and race, the social construction of whiteness, anti-racist feminism, colonial history, national identity, the cultural heritage of war, and ecological thought.

Her most recent book – Return of a Native: Learning from the Land (Repeater Books, 2022) – demolishes the fantasy that the English countryside exists as an escape from the mounting crises of modern life (“The perfect book for anyone who has had enough of mournful elegies to England” Patrick Wright).

Cicely Farrer is a curator based in the North East of Scotland for nine years. She is Programme Manager at Hospitalfield, a contemporary art organisation based in Arbroath founded in 1902, where she manages and facilitates artist development programmes and residencies since 2019. Previously she worked at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design on the Cooper Gallery programme as well as exhibition, events and learning programmes across the college and University. As a curator, she is interested in questioning the role of art as a mechanism for political action – in whichever place one may situate themself. Previous archival research led her to consider the practical forms of feminist administration, care and consciousness raising to help inform she facilitates groups and works with artists and colleagues. Cicely is an alumni of the Curatorial Studio programme 2016.


The McManus is situated in Dundee city centre – 10 minutes’ walk from the bus and rail stations. Two disabled parking bays are located to the north of the building. There is level access to both north (rear) and south (main) entrances to the building. There is full wheelchair access to all public areas of the building and a lift to all floors. Wheelchairs are available for loan from the reception area which is also fitted with an induction loop.

Guide dogs, hearing dogs and other assistance dogs are admitted.

The room is accessible from street level by for those with mobility needs.

This event will be live captioned.

Travel Bursaries

We are able to offer a small number of travel bursaries. To apply, please send an email to [email protected] with a note of your travel costs and circumstances by 18th April 2023.

Please contact [email protected] if you have any queries.