Our Writing Scotland Programme 2014
The participants at Moira Jeffrey's writing workshop, December 2013
As our Writing Scotland Programme comes to an end, we summarise and celebrate the work the participants have done
With the advent of the web, anybody can write about contemporary art and reasonably expect to find an audience.
But there’s still a skill to doing it well and, if you’re an aspiring writer, more pressure than ever to stand out from the crowd.
Our Writing Scotland project offered five writers a structured opportunity to learn the tools of the trade, under the expert guidance of three experienced tutors. It also involved a publishing partnership with the influential web platform this is tomorrow and the opportunity to write for Axisweb.
Moira Jeffrey, freelance arts journalist and art critic for The Scotsman, led a workshop session on interviewing and reviewing techniques, with a strong emphasis on the practicalities of writing for publication. If the participants didn’t appreciate the importance of abiding by ‘house-style’ at the start of the session, they certainly did by the end.
Neil Mulholland, director of taught postgraduate programmes at Edinburgh School of Art, ran a discursive, experimental and at times disruptive session, which involved a collaborative piece of writing based on a text by Robert Smithson. By way of homework the participants were encouraged to revisit and remix this ‘work in progress’.
Sarah Tripp, artist, writer and lecturer, put the participants through their paces with a series of live writing exercises that involved doing various acts, writing about them and then reading out what had been written. She followed this up with shorter, individual meetings.
Laura Campbell, Valerie Norris, Alexander Storey Gordon, Sarah Rose and Guo-Liang Tan all agree that the programme has boosted their confidence and sharpened their technical know-how.
“I feel that the programme has challenged me to expand my range and I feel more confident in writing different kinds of text,” says Valerie Norris. Laura Campbell agrees that the programme has exceeded expectations: “I now feel I have a varied and substantial portfolio to build on, which will help me publish in the future.”
All five writers have already published work in a pamphlet coordinated by CCA, in response to the show ‘Speaking in Tongues: Sonia Boyce| Pavel Buchler | Susan Hiller’.
Take a look at the pamphlet >
See below for a run down of other work the participants have written and articles they have in the pipeline:
Laura's also currently writing a piece about Glasgow's film heritage for Glasgow Film Theatre. Although this wasn't organised through Writing Scotland, the course gave her the confidence to go after the commission.
Alexander Storey Gordon
This is tomorrow
Review of Beatrize Santagio Munoz at Transmission Gallery
This is tomorrow
Review of Seeing Things, Courtroom Café, Glasgow
An article about her experiences visiting The Bothy Project on the Isle of Eigg
Thanks to Chris Sharratt, CCA Glasgow and Creative Scotland
We are grateful to journalist Chris Sharratt, whose strategic oversight of the project played a large part in ensuring its success.
We would like to express our gratitude to Francis McKee, director of CCA in Glasgow, for helping us select the participants and to his colleague Ainslie Roddick for supporting the publication of their responses to ‘Speaking in Tongues: Sonia Boyce| Pavel Buchler | Susan Hiller’. (PDF)
Thanks also to Creative Scotland for supporting the project.