A Dundee University lecturer is being paid an estimated £15,000 of public money to stay in Greater Glasgow for a year.
Artist and activist Ellie Harrison will not be allowed to leave the city as she undertakes the controversial year-long performance art piece, which she describes as “action research”.
Entitled The Glasgow Effect, it asks one question: “How would your career, social life, family ties, carbon footprint & mental health be affected if you could not leave the city where you live?”
The project has been bankrolled by Creative Scotland.
Her work is supported in principle by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee but they are not making any financial contribution to the project.
Although she has lectured in Contemporary Art Practices at DJCAD since 2013, she is currently on a period of research leave.
Harrison will enable others to follow her progress throughout the year through extensive use of social media.For more on this story see Wednesday’s CourierThe decision to award the funding for the 12-month performance piece has already come under scrutiny from online commentators.
In a lengthy discussion of the funding award, one named “Loki the Scottish Rapper” described the decision as “obscenely stupid and out of touch” at a time when money for councils and communities is being cut. He said: “What goes on in the heads of people who approve such ridiculous ideas”.
Posters on the project’s Facebook page have expressed mixed views, with some finding it interesting and others less charitable about its nature and its manner of funding.
One wrote: “I want to believe there’s more to this project than meets the eye. That she will use the money to develop some truly engaging projects that she couldn’t have otherwise made on her own.
“However, in every description I’ve seen so far, it literally does just seem like she’s got £15K to continue being an artist living in Glasgow.”
One supporter, however, wrote: “I think this project is highly worthwhile and will provide a fantastic insight into Glasgow’s art culture. I don’t know why people are complaining to be quite honest as £15,000 isn’t that much at all.”
The artist’s challenge began on New Year’s Day and will continue until December 31, with the only allowances made in the event of the ill-health/death of a close relative or friend.
Those interested in the project can follow regular updates from the artist on her “Glasgow Effect tumblr” page.
She hopes that by setting one simple restriction on her current lifestyle, she can “test the limits of a sustainable practice and to challenge the demand-to-travel placed upon the successful artist/academic”.