Riffs for the Riff Raff


The last few months at Collective have been busy and full of action. On top of the normal admin, marketing and gallery maintenance tasks, organising and completing other projects and events has taken lots of my time and effort. However, my whole Collective experience has been really insightful and fascinating, and essentially a crucial step towards my next position. Here’s a sum of what I’ve been up to during my placement:

In April Collective organised ‘Play Summit’, a three-day event with artist Nils Norman and art & architecture collective Assemble. I travelled to Glasgow to join talks and playful workshops discussing the state of play in Scotland and beyond. A symposium brought together leading thinkers and practitioners working in play from around the world. I found the few days very inspiring and fun, discovering how researchers and professionals work with play. I realised I want to bring more playfulness in my everyday life and I made a plan to visit an adventure playground.

Play Summit

I was given a small research budget and I decided to do a brief training at Stills. During a six weeks course Video Compositing with Adobe After Effects I learned the secrets of After Effects led by artist Rachel Maclean, who works mainly with video and green screen. The course was really useful and motivating. I gained a lot of practical skills and identified the endless possibilities of the software. I decided to create a blog journal for my future projects and evolution. I had some funds left from my training budget so I did few webdesign sessions with a former Voluntary Projects Assistant Faith Limbrick. She taught me the basic HTML/CSS and WordPress + webhosting. Meanwhile, I’ve also been developing the layout and content of my portfolio in InDesign.

Christine and I organised a volunteer event in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, which she describes in more detail in her blog post. We’re also trying to re-establish a network between visual arts volunteers in Edinburgh so we will throw another meeting once the new Projects Assistants have started.

Collective is producing a film project with artist Florrie James, who has developed the film work with residents in the east end of Glasgow. The film is set in year 2034 in Dalmarnrock Glasgow and raises a question what the future will be like for the city. My role in the project has been researching props and filming locations, participating a site visit trip to the  Commonwealth Games Athlete’s village in Glasgow, and finally being a runner on the actual filming days.

Site visit to Glasgow

In June we stayed open for LeithLate, a two day multi-arts event that took place over multiple venues in Leith area. Our Satellites Program exhibition, an installation and a research project by Critical Discourse Intern Laura Yuile, was open during the event. We also witnessed an odd view when a vintage double-decker bus drove up and down the Calton Hill..!

While working on my other duties, I’ve also started developing my own video project. I wanted to take an opportunity to contextualise my course at Stills to Collective and develop my own artistic practice. I’m producing about 5-10 minute experimental video project about Calton Hill and the City Observatory. The film will be screened as part of an urban art festival in Finland in August, in a screening named ‘Variations of Space’. Later on, I will continue working with the project and film the whole Collective site. Potentially the outcome will be useful for the gallery’s fundraising purposes.

The City Observatory building itself is very inspiring and remarkable space. It has been unoccupied for several years, but a selection of stuff has been left inside. For example there’s two massive telescopes, newspaper comic strips about astronomy and a painting of the Big Bang. When imagining how the space will look like after transformation into a gallery space I get very excited. At the moment, the atmosphere captured in my camera is quite bizarre and a bit creepy.

After Effects

Few weeks ago we had a big opening night for the GENERATION programme, a series of exhibitions celebrating 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland, which was at the same time preview for our festival show ’20 Years of Real Life’ by Ross Sinclair. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Glasgow-born Ross Sinclair’s Real Life projects and to celebrate he is giving away instruments for teenagers to start five new bands. The bands will work with Ross over the next year to write and perform new music.

’20 Years of Real Life’ installation makes the City Dome space look bigger than ever. A stage full of instruments, colourful banners and lights make people say WOW! when they enter the space. There’s also a common room that imitates a recording studio and extra set of instruments which people can play Saturday afternoons between 1-5pm. Teenagers and random visitors love to play and sing, and it happens sometimes the players are truly skilled. So far the most popular song to play is ‘Seven Nation Army’ by The White Stripes, known for its underlying riff which plays throughout the whole song over and over again …

I feel my placement at the Collective has fulfilled my desired skills and confidence. I’ve gained experience in dealing with the public, gallery admin and marketing tasks, event management and working with artists at different stages of their career. I’ve helped in hanging and installing gallery exhibitions, arranging artists travel and accommodation, managed the gallery’s primary email account, documented shows and edited photographic content, carried out various promotion and marketing tasks, and simply been given a chance to observe how other people in the industry work and learn from their knowledge and skills.

Definitely one of the most enjoyable element of my placement has been working as part of the Collective team. The highly professional and friendly staff has always supported me in my everyday tasks and provided valuable advice for my personal aspirations and goals.

Voluntary Projects Assistant

Viika Sankila


Three months on


The exhibition which has recently closed in Collective’s City Dome building was David Osbaldeston’s The Measure of All Things, a complex meditation on representation, language and the production of meaning. For myself, the main charm of this exhibition lay in the methods and materials of its production: the appropriated Ikea LACK tables and the sculptural pieces produced by a 3D printer. I gingerly transported these delicate plastic shells all the way from the Glasgow Sculpture Studios to Collective, clutching the box white knuckles and scowling at any commuter who dared to get too close.

Continue reading “Three months on”

Collective support


My placement at Collective started in the City Dome building, which opened to the public for the first time in its history in January. This unique building was never used for astronomical purposes but finally opened its doors this year to exhibit art. The first show Faire le mur was a video work by a French artist Bertille Bak.

As a recent arts graduate volunteering for an organisation that supports new and emergent artists, it is a great opportunity to develop my own art practice and gain confidence. I contribute creative and practical support for the gallery, using skills that I already have, developing them further and working on projects that I am personally interested in. Continue reading “Collective support”

Work in Progress


For the sake of full disclosure, I should first say that this is my first attempt at blogging. This month, my first month as Voluntary Project Assistant at Collective, has been a time of new experiences. As with any new job this entails an introductory period fraught with uncertainty, in which the smallest task (like operating the enormous and unpredictable photocopier) can be a source of utter incomprehension. With that in mind, this entry will be a record of my first impressions, which I will aim to re-visit and re-develop over my time at Collective. Continue reading “Work in Progress”

Volunteer Placement

My involvement with Collective all began with an informal challenge I was set by a visiting artist during my course at college. This challenge involved finding an opportunity driven by your own interests, and pretty much just going for it, in the sense of building for yourself a network of experience. This of course, I took seriously and stumbled upon a voluntary position with Collective’s offsite project at Meadowbank Stadium – Game Changer, part of the All Sided Games. Collective was always a gallery I had visited when spending time researching for projects and going to gallery visits in Edinburgh – there was always something about that wee gallery up Cockburn Street that was so different and exciting. Continue reading “Volunteer Placement”