While the Pathfoot Building is closed, the Art Collection will each week focus on an object of interest. You can also search our entire collection online here.
Pursuit of Knowledge (Cottrell Memorial Sculpture)
by Iain McColl
(Fibre glass, 2003)
This sculpture is situated at the front of the Pathfoot Building, which is the first building you see up on the slope on your left as you enter the campus by the main entrance. Affectionately known as the ‘Blue Boy’, it was commissioned by the University in memory of Dr. Tom Cottrell, first Principal, who died suddenly in post in 1973, at the age of 49.
Selected from a shortlist of three, the sculpture, created by Iain McColl, celebrates the pursuit of knowledge and depicts a young man, seated on the edge of a plinth, looking intently into a crystal. Although the crystal represents the search for knowledge, as well as the idea of a young person looking with hope into the future, it was a particularly appropriate choice for the memorial as Cottrell’s specialism was crystallography (this was a happy accident as McColl was unaware of this when he designed the piece).
The model for the sculpture was Michael Visocchi, who is himself now a well known sculptor.
You will see from the photo that the plinth is currently wrapped in a length of brightly coloured wool. This piece was created by staff, students and visitors to the Pathfoot Building who were invited by artists Heidi and Peter Gardner to create an art installation with their Peacemakers Loom, installed for one week in the Crush Hall. Passers-by joined the artists in a repetitive, simple action of knitting and to building peace through actions and kind words. This shared action produced a single textile piece, symbolic of the conversations and the temporary community of peacemakers created around the loom.