Susan Mowatt (programme director for Intermedia) and students are collaborating with Edinburgh Museums and the team at Lauriston Castle during this academic year (2016/17).

In this short article Susan outlines what this new project involves.

In their third year, art students at ECA are asked to consider the interaction between artists and social situations, and to identify and use appropriate methods and strategies in the presentation, documentation and dissemination of their work. They all undertake an external project and are asked to create work for a particular context. In this particular project they have been asked to respond to an aspect of Lauriston Castle, and to research and develop work for an end event or exhibition.

Lauriston Castle is a rich and diverse site for students to respond to: whilst some students have chosen to respond to the history of the building itself, others have chosen to research the owners, an individual object or collection of objects. There are students looking at specific rooms, the textiles on display, pattern, the assortment of trees in the gardens and the croquet players that play on the lawn outside. One student is attempting to recreate original smells that would have been present when the Castle was last used as an Edwardian home.

Students specialising in Painting, Sculpture, Intermedia and Photography are all taking part in the project so we are expecting a variety of works ranging from performance and video to books, painted objects and ambient works.

It is an invaluable experience for students to place their work in the public domain, sometimes for the first time. They have to rise to the challenge of making work to a professional standard and engage with members of the public who can often react to artworks in a very different way from their peer group in college. Students also have to negotiate certain constraints and health and safety issues, which they may not have encountered before. These experiences give them an insight in how they might operate as an artist after they graduate from art college.

Lauriston Castle is a wonderful and easily accessible site for them to test their ideas out on and it is fantastic to work with such enthusiastic and welcoming partners on this project

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