How does it make you feel? An investigation into artist moving image in public space as a catalyst for political and social change. 

Devised for MRes Human Geography: Space, Politics and Ecologies at the University of Glasgow, this research project asks: Can artist moving image in public space become a catalyst for political and social change? 

Grounded in a feminist transdisciplinary approach, this research project identifies initial understandings of how viewers react, respond, and interact with installations and interventions in public space, focusing on artist moving image and projection to trace the potential ramifications for political and social engagement. In this moment of political global upheaval, when the screens in our pockets seep into our consciousness, a cycle of disaster following disaster, alternative narratives are necessary. This project proposes that critically reflexive feminist practice that foregrounds the voices of the viewers can unpick if public art has the capacity to expose the conflicts that underlie public spaces and global political discourse.  

In the initial manifestation of this research, I critically analyse this position, strategically exploring multi-methodologies and literatures to underpin this positionality, and demonstrate the potentiality of artist moving image as a platform for highlighting the imbalances that form public space and make comment on geopolitical narratives. I trace the potential impacts of this productive relationship between feminist geopolitics, emotional geographies, public space and public art practices, highlighting how politically motivated art practice can begin to invoke social change through awakening of awareness, responsibility, and critique within the viewer. I explore that in order for research and public art practice to determine the effects of artist moving image in public space, then they must engage with the viewer in an open dialogue and that now is the time for such undertakings. 

Full length copies of this research project available upon request. Revised editions for publication coming soon. 

Thanks + Acknowledgements 

This research project is humbly indebted to a range of individuals and groups that have supported its progression. I am very grateful to the following:

This research project is indebted to 4 years worth of trial, error, practice and co-production with Eileen Daily as part of our Picture Window project. 

Cayley James for inviting Picture Window to take part in Document Human Rights Film Festival, triggering a line of enquiry that led to this project and Eileen’s role as co-director of the festival.

Heather McLean for overseeing this project, her unwavering support and solidarity.

The New Glasgow Society  for their generous support through the use of their space, facilities, mailing lists and website.

The School of Geography and Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow for the tuition fees contribution scholarship to study on the MRes in Human Geography degree programme

NVA for their ongoing support, both financially, intellectually and practically. 

Marina Burka for her unwavering support, dedicated assistance, and creative thinking.

Emmie McKay and Helen Trail for their solidarity. Jill Powell for always listening. Martin Alexander for being an unwavering feminist ally. 

The many members of Ladies Salon for being a constant source of inspiration and encouragement.

Workshop research participants: Emmie, Angeli, Alison, Rosie, Marina, Martin, Marcus and Louis for being so candid with your emotions and experiences and insightful with your words and observations.

The many research interviewees. Thank you for your thoughts and for sharing your ideas, I hope to find space for your contributions in future research projects.

This research project is dedicated to the memory of Jean Luxford, and the line of women following her radical path.

Further Information 

Mres Human Geography: Space, Politics, Ecologies programme at the University of Glasgow.

Research Supervisor: Heather McLean

Research workshop host: New Glasgow Society

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