Graduate Fellowship 2017 | Alison Scott

Water Thief | Alison Scott

Timespan’s Graduate Fellowship is a 10-week residency that offers an opportunity for the development, production and presentation of new work for a recently graduated artist in Scotland’s Far North. The recipient of the 2017 fellowship is Alison Scott, who we are pleased to welcome back to Helmsdale following her presentation of performance work Water Thief at Timespan’s True North: Rewriting History conference in March 2016. 

Alison’s work focuses on specific contexts and materials, with overarching concerns relating to our connection to historic subjects and materials – playing with the notion that a material’s meaning and its value are subject to authored histories and to economic change, and exploring the societal life that a material or object has alongside its physical existence. Her work is research-led with performative, written and collaborative practices feeding into the process of art or exhibition making.

Taking Helmsdale’s geologically significant location and the history of geological exploration in the area as a starting point, Alison used the residency to explore the role of the 19th Century amateur geologist in the empirical quest for knowledge production and their position ‘underground’ to institutional forms of learning. A material thread runs through this research, tracing histories of mining in the area and looking at how, in the dual processes of Scottish de-industrialisation and the displacement of people, we view ideas of the exotic and of discovery. This work developed alongside ongoing research into plumes and the female amateur fern collectors active during the Victorian era.

During the residency, Alison participated in Timespan’s Making Museums symposium, leading a workshop “Stratify Yourself: Transposing Terminology” that used movement to explore how the human body might perform geological time. The culmination of the residency was marked by Geoprophesy, an exhibition of new work at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.

Alison Scott graduated in 2014 from Art, Philosophy and Contemporary Practices at DJCAD. Her practice focuses on specific contexts and materials, with overarching concerns of our connection to historic subjects and materials. Playing with the notion that a material’s meaning and its value are subject to authored histories and to economic change, and exploring the societal life that a material or object has alongside its physical existence. Alison’s work is led by research methodologies with performative, written and collaborative practices as an important aspect of the process of art or exhibition making.

In 2016 Alison was the recipient of the Dundee Visual Artists Mentorship Award, presenting a body of work made during this period at Wasps, Meadow Mill, in early 2017. She presented the collaborative project ‘Water Thief’ with Alice Tarbuck at Timespan’s conference in March 2016. Alison participated in the Graduate Residency at Hospitalfield in 2014 and she was part of the committee at Generator Projects between 2014 and 2016. 

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Timespan’s Graduate Fellowship is an annual residency, selected via open call, which offers a supported development opportunity for a recently graduated artist in Scotland’s Far North. This year’s Fellowship is the second offered. The first Fellowship was awarded to Hamish Young and culminated in the exhibition Re-inscribe at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery in May 2016.

Timespan’s Graduate Fellowship is funded through Creative Scotland Regular Funding, with additional support from Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.