I undertook a four month ‘placement’ at the Arthur Conan Doyle Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland. The placement was modelled on a way of working in places other than studios and galleries first devised by a group called the Artist Placement Group in the sixties. The importance of the Artist Placement Group has been garnering increasing interest recently in contemporary art circles as a way to bring art into people’s lives in a meaningful way, particularly when they are at work – which is where many of us spend the majority of our waking hours.
The final exhibition was a presentation of a set of artworks responding to encounters with staff and people who use the centre professionally. I feel I can make a case for a more fugitive kind of creativity in the workplace that evades harnessing and evaluation but is nevertheless vital. Anything hard to pin down, evaluate or name is a prime candidate to be the subject of an artwork because art can handle space, unknowing and ambiguity. The Arthur Conan Doyle Centre and the people who work there have been inspirational – it’s no ordinary workplace for sure but then I have found that none are once you spend time in a place – people from all walks of life have the ability to surprise and enchant.
I’ve made several artworks exploring ideas about the centre as a workplace and the workers who spend time here. Using encounters with people I have met along the way I’ve developed some responses which are both in some ways personal to them but also very much speak to shared themes and values for the community of people who use the centre professionally.”
Shereen Fazeli, Centre Manager said of the experience: “She really managed to encapsulate the individuals but also made the entire exhibition so clearly about the Centre and our ethos. I think everyone was overwhelmed at how much they connected with the art.”