Mapping the Future: Public Art in Scotland

A series of inspirational presentations of successful public art projects set the broader context within which artists, theorists, designers, planners, commissioners, users and funders could debate contemporary issues. The discussion concentrated on representation and critique of the current 'moment of practice' - the intersection between the perspectives of artist/practitioners, and the perspectives of the 'people who want'. Underlying this were important questions about how and why perspectives might differ, and what the theoretical, practical and political implications of such differences might be.

Mapping the Future: Public Art in Scotland stems from conversation between friends and acquaintances; in this case, a conversation that questioned national situations from the perspective of individuals’ own practices, disciplines and remits. All actively involved in the making, commissioning and policy surrounding public art, Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen, and Graham Fagen as colleagues at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD); and Ruth Barker as Producer of Public Art Scotland (PAR+RS) recognised the untapped value of the organisations’ collaboration, and the possibility of a new partnership. DJCAD is focussing upon an element of its artistic practice and research to contribute to the national development of public art, as is PAR+RS, an organisation that aims to promote excellence and innovation within public art, whilst also addressing an aspect of its original remit – to work alongside higher education. In Sarah Smith of Creative Scotland we found a champion of the most expansive idea of public realm, committed to supporting and promoting the role that public art can play in society.

Dr Ken Neil’s report

Mapping the Future website

Ruth Barker’s blog

Dundee Contemporary Arts and Visual Research Centre, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, Scotland, 2010

3 international symposia looked at the future of public art in Scotland, framed within a programme of artist-led actions and interdisciplinary talks, with a published report

A DJCAD, Public Art Scotland, Creative Scotland partnership