Learning from Locality: an international residency

International residency programme visits the Creative Campus

Students from Belgium, France and Scotland came together in Findhorn and visited the GSA’s Highlands and Islands Creative Campus last week for a vibrant residency programme.

The GSA’s campus outside Forres has opened up new opportunities for staff and students to visit the area to research, work and study.

“We enjoyed the tranquillity of the GSA’s Highlands and Islands Creative Campus. It introduced us to other aspects of Scotland’s landscapes and environments,” explained Mark Luyten from Sint Lucas Antwerpen College of Art and Design.

Group of students and staff on residency on Findhorn Bay

Students and staff from the Locality II Residency visit Findhorn Bay. Image credit: Michael Mersinis

The residency, entitled Locality II, brought together postgraduate students from the areas of Fine Art and Design to discuss and respond to the theme of locality. Considering the Scottish landscape, its history and setting was central to the research. Students focussed on the importance of space and place in relation to their own work and that of the wider group.

The aim of Locality II was to ‘rupture the classical definition of specialism and to allow collaboration between different specialisms, schools and countries’. Students joined the residency programme from three schools across Europe: The GSA, École européenne supérieure d’art de Bretagne (EESAB) in Quimper, France and Sint Lucas Antwerpen College of Art and Design.

“We visited Forres and were shown around the Creative Campus staying for the afternoon where we all enjoyed student presentations,” explains Eimer Birkbeck from EESAB.

Learning in locality

Residency organisers chose the Forres location as an ‘ideal platform’ to explore the north of Scotland and immerse students in diverse aspects of locality. As well as time on campus, the students visited Culloden Battlefield, the Sueno’s Stone, the Falconer Museum in Forres and Findhorn village where the group stayed for the week. 

Small cottage nestled amongst trees and a field

Grounds around the campus: an inspiring location for artists and designers. Image credit: Paul Campbell

 Students considered themes including:

– Inhabited land
– The weather as a mechanism of forming the land
– The use of land within agriculture
– History of the natural landscape

“The opportunity to be displaced and placed again within a land that has its own rhythm and rules was a great privilege. There are certain qualities in the Scottish landscape that are truly unique. This particular sense of place permeated our thoughts and actions during the residency”.
Michael Mersinis, The Glasgow School of Art

The residency was the second part of a three year project, with the first part having taken place in Le Guilvinec in France and the third part taking place in Antwerp in Belgium.

What next?

For more information on Locality II please contact the GSA’s Michael Mersinis, Lecturer in Fine Art Photography, [email protected] or Thomas Greenough, Head of International Academic Development, [email protected].

Find out more about The Glasgow School of Art’s Highlands and Islands Creative Campus.

*Featured image of Findhorn sunset by Oliver Pilcher

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Categorised in: GSA Highlands and Islands, Teaching, The Glasgow School of Art