Fife Contemporary’s virtual office closes at 5pm on Tue 21 December 2021, and reopens on Wed 5 Jan 2022. Staff will only be checking email intermittently.
It doesn’t seem 12 months since I last posted details of our festive closure dates – but it is! And it’s been another strange/’one-off’ year.
Like many organisations, while we are now quite used to Zoom or Team calls instead of face-to-face discussions and meetings, we do miss really ‘seeing’ people. With the Omicron variant now spreading rapidly, who knows exactly how 2022 will work out? However, looking back at 2021, here are some of our highlights.
Our first major project of the year was Resolve to Make it New for StAnza Poetry Festival. This was the first year, pretty much since the festival began in St Andrews decades ago, that we weren’t able to contribute a physical exhibition. Instead, we hosted an online exhibition about ‘repair’ – either in the form of actual remade items (images of!), or short poems. We had an amazing response from the public with contributions coming from as far away as the south of England to all over Scotland.
Shortly after, we launched our Artists’ Environmental Resource & Sharespace to support artists trying to make their practices more sustainable. This will be updated regularly and we hope to share further examples of good practice in 2022.
The summer was busy as we launched a digital version of our Summer School for senior Fife school pupils. A hundred packs were sent out to 12 schools for distribution. Artists taking part were Ade Adesina and Stefanie Cheong and we’re most grateful to them, and also recent graduate Michelle Currie, for creating short films to accompany the packs.
The summer also saw the realisation of an outdoor project, Trail of Thought at Falkland Estate. Featuring playful words carved on windfallen timber, around the upper reaches of the estate, the Trail encouraged mindfulness and the enjoyment of the landscape below the Lomond Hills. Sebastian Chaloner and Lesley Acheson created the Trail for us, and also put together the short film below. The artworks will remain in the landscape until they fall apart naturally.
By this time, we were also able to send out the Craft Pods which had had to sit unused during 2020. We are delighted to have work by ceramic artist and sustainability researcher Sara Howard on display. So far the tour has visited the Ecology Centre at Kinghorn, several Fife secondary schools and libraries, and St Andrews University main library. Currently they’re at Kirkcaldy Library until mid-January.
In October we marked #BlackHistoryMonth with an online talk by Fife-based artist and tattoo-ist Abz Mills. She shared a fascinating and very honest account of what she does and how she got there, including her large-scale works for last year’s #BlackLivesMatter mural trail. You can listen to her conversation with Diana Sykes here.
Our Materialise programme for new craft & design graduates or makers continues to grow, with the addition of Zoom meet-ups for participating artists. This year 7 of the artists also were featured in the Materialise 4 online exhibition.
We also expanded the CARE range of products, made artists in partnership with carers in Fife. This project, supported by The Robertson Trust, should’ve been completed in 2021 – but with Covid making planning and delivery anything but straightforward, things are a little behind. The new jewellery range was designed by adult carers in Fife with Stefanie Cheong, and is available online (as are the remaining earlier products).
As 2021 nears its end, we look forward to a long-awaited exhibition about the Circular Economy – REsolve: a Creative Approach to the Circular Economy. For this show, we are also creating a series of INSIGHTS – mostly short conversations between curator Mella Shaw and some of the artists. It is due to open in Kirkcaldy Galleries later in February (Covid-willing!). Mella, and artists Sara Howard and Carol Sinclair, also took part in a COP26 online event with Glasgow University’s College of Arts. You can still watch the film here.
Thank you to the artists and organisations we’ve worked with this part year, and to the lovely people who have engaged with what we do, in person and online. We look forward to ‘seeing’ you again in 2022 and wish you a safe and happy festive season!