The Campus as Inspiration

Explore Our Campus this week looks at the campus and University collections as the inspiration for new works of art, music, sound and writing.

No one who spends any time at Stirling does not stop every so often and appreciate the beautiful surroundings. The Art Collection are committed to finding new ways for visitors to engage with art and the natural environment at the University. This week’s blog looks at several projects which have drawn on the campus and collections as inspiration

During the course of the 50th anniversary year in 2017 Suzy Angus and Janieann Macracken spent the year recording the sounds of Pathfoot building. The resulting sound installation reflected the architecture and fabric of the Pathfoot building as well as the people who work and study within.  

Loch Bridge by 2017 artist in residence Alan Dimmick

In the same year photographer Alan Dimmick was the Art Collection’s Photographer in Residence. His remit was to capture a ‘Portrait of the Campus’, exploring the unique natural, built and human environment of the University. Whilst the University archives and Art Collection held a collection of fine photographs from the early days of the University in the 1960s and ‘70s, relatively little had been done to document and explore the changing physical and human landscape of the campus in recent decades.  Alan’s residency contributed to redressing this balance.

Ally Wallace was artist in residence at the University in 2017. He spent two days a week at the Pathfoot Building for six months, making work that focused on the building – its Modernist architecture, art collection, relationship to surrounding picturesque parkland and its occupants. His exhibition Low-Rise High-Function at the University showcased work created during his residency. The Art Collection acquired two pieces Pathfoot Roof Ladders and Hanging Mobile from this time for our permanent collection.

Bertoia chairs were bought for every University office in 1967. There are several on public display in the Pathfoot Building. Film created by Ally Wallace during his residency at Stirling

The Pathfoot Building has been the location for the creation of other works including a series of still motion photo montages, which are part of the Red Shoes project (a Get Scotland Dancing activity run in conjunction with the Macrobert Arts centre). Three works including Pathfoot 2 below were added to the Art Collection in 2013. They are the work of Brian Hartley who studied illustration at Glasgow School of Art (1992-95) and is a Glasgow based artist whose multi-disciplinary work combines visual art and design, theatre and dance and extensive work in arts education.

Pathfoot 2 by Brian Hartley. University of Stirling Art Collection
Art Collection Curator Jane Cameron talks about the Loch Bridge which she loves architecturally and is inspired by

The Art Collection is regularly used by staff and students as inspiration for the creation of creative writing, art and music. We annually host the Pathfoot Project working in conjunction with the M.Litt in Creative Writing at Stirling who create wriiten pieces inspired by our exhibitions. This work is performed at our annual open day which also showcases musical compositions by students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

During lockdown our campus and collections have continued to inspire. We have been working with University Museums in Scotland (UMIS) on a joint project Capturing Lives in Scotland’s Communities. This project is particularly targeted at those from more disadvantaged areas throughout Scotland, encouraging them to explore their local communities using different forms of art. The 110 participants come from regions across Scotland, from the Borders all the way to the Orkney Islands. Participants have used the collections as inspiration, learnt new art skills and are working towards an Arts Award Explore qualification.

Last week’ theme was Public Art and Archaean by Barbara Hepworth was one of the featured public art pieces used to start pupils thinking how to create their own pieces of public art.
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