This Must be the Place

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract / Description of output

I will be presenting this project:

‘This Must Be The Place’ 17th-21st September 2012

‘This Must Be The Place’ is an orientation week programmed and managed by Relay: Society for Contemporary Art and is initiated and led by Relay member Erin Kennett with support from the MFA Programme staff.

The purpose of ‘This Must Be The Place’ is to introduce new MFAs to the School of Art, to their peers and to the visual arts in Edinburgh. Much of the week will consist of self-allocating studios, setting up studio committees for each studio and building the studio spaces and shared facilities. Artist Tobias Sternberg will be working with you on this through the week as well as the MFA staff. MFA2s have also arranged a gallery visit day for Wednesday of Week 1 where you will get to see and meet all of the galleries and organisations you will be working with this year.

This Must be the Place is concerned with the vital educational role of ‘place-making’, with how contemporary art students develop resources for their practice through the processes of orientation and socialisation. The orientation project is innovative in bringing together art students with non-academic partners for the purpose of introducing all of us to postgraduate education. It will allow MFA students to find platforms that suit our practices and so develop a generative context for work from the first week of the programme.

By collectively constructing their studio spaces MFAs will gain an invaluable practical lesson in how to establish a studio with limited resources and find a practical solution to the ‘fit’ of the studios. This relates to the perennial problem of ‘allocating’ studio space, something nominally done by staff rather than students. The allocation of spaces is normally conducted before staff have had a chance to ascertain our radically different requirements as artists. RELAY propose that MFA2s should first collaborate with new students to design and build the common studio spaces in Week 1 as a key component of the orientation project. Collectively designing the the studio space will also ensure that all students get exactly the space they require. Part of this aspect of the project will involve the construction of the Green Room with common, shared tools and resources and a means of ensuring that the social bonds cemented in the first week remain intact.

The initiative aims:

- To facilitate MFA student-led orientation by supporting a comprehensive and innovative hosting programme for new postgraduate students in the School of Art that is designed by their peers.

- To socialise and inspire 1st and 2nd year MFA students via an ambitious collaborative project that immediately engages and combines the considerable artistic resources of The University of Edinburgh, The City of Edinburgh and its environs.

- To engender a DIY ethic within the MFA programme by engaging fellow students collectively in the design, construction and allocation of collective studio spaces that are fit for purpose.

- To design and produce a comprehensive Orientation Handbook that will be adaptable by future MFA cohorts.

- To open the two key exhibitions that emerge from the Project to all students in the University of Edinburgh.

- To generate a city tour programme for MFA students and Relay members.

The initiative’s broader objectives are:

- To enable the School of Art’s masters students to learn how to orientate and host artists who are new to their environment through programming a series of site-visits and group projects as well as a schedule of talks and events.

- To encourage students to manage and broaden shared resources and networks of the expanding MFA programme in an informed and sustainable manner under the auspices of the Relay student society.

- To provide a solid foundation for Relay’s further collaborations, exhibitions and related forms of knowledge exchange within UoE, Edinburgh and across Central Scotland.

- To allow the School of Art’s masters students and Relay members to establish valuable social and economic networks that will serve them well in their chosen careers as artists, critics and curators by generating an adaptive, geopolitical intelligence.

- To use the public face of the project as a means of recruiting new members of Relay: Society for Contemporary Art.

- To focus the attention of all UoE students on the qualities that make Edinburgh a uniquely vital centre for contemporary art.


This project is supported by the Innovative Learning Initiative Grant and the School of Art.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2015
EventGearing Up for Transitions - John McIntyre Conference Centre, Pollock Halls of Residence, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Mar 20155 Mar 2015


ConferenceGearing Up for Transitions
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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