The North

Visual and Material Practices and the Cultural ‘North’

This experimental workshop will consider how ideas about ‘northernness’ are embodied in contemporary art and design practices, as well as exploring the recent proliferation of specially themed research networks , scholarly and public events that examine representations of the ‘cultural north’ in historic and contemporary visual and material culture. Building on the success of these events, participants in this workshop will consider how questions and issues arising from recent projects that practitioners and scholars at ECA and the University of Northumbria have conducted (as well as future projects they are planning) may contribute toward the development of new projects/networks/collaborations that are concerned with ‘northerness’ in creative practice as they relate particularly to Northeast England, Scotland and Scandinavia.

The practices and projects discussed in the introductory part of the workshop will span the disciplines of contemporary art, film, and material culture studies, and the audience will be asked to actively contribute to discussions.


There will be 4-5 short presentations from practitioners and scholars about recent/planned projects that explore ‘northernness’ in a number of different ways. Following this, we will have a roundtable discussion about these and future projects bearing the following questions in mind:

-What is ‘northernness’?
-How has recent creative practice and scholarship addressed this?
-How can new networks/projects/collaborations at ECA and other institutions be developed around this theme?

The final part of the afternoon will include a summation of ideas and a preliminary sketching out of ideas for research projects, networks and potential external funding applications.

The workshop will take place from 1-5 pm on 26 May, 2.15 EvoHouse, Edinburgh College of Art.