ok so here is a post I put up on my own blog a while ago in response to the merger of the the separate colleges in Edinburgh. I had held off on posting this up here as I had worried that it might not be appropriate but to be honest I cant think of anywhere more appropriate for it to be posted so here it is……
The realisation that I am to be the last resident artist on the AIRetc programme at Telford college in its current guise before merging with Stevenson and Jewel and Esk on Monday 1st of October to become part of Edinburgh College has added gravitas to the position I currently occupy as artist in residence here at Telford College. This programme of inviting former students to take up residence within the college, producing work, and engaging with the students is extremely important for the artists, the students, and the college as a whole. It helps to build upon the professional practice of the artists selected, allowing them the opportunity and time to pursue various lines of artistic enquiry in their own work and builds connections with staff and students.
Having previously studied at Telford and then returning here to start this residency I can honestly say I feel a connection with the identity of the college as a whole, an Identity that I feel proud to have been a part of despite its change of address and use of fairly odd tag lines for marketing the college, one of which very much becoming a by-phrase for shit (You Can Tell Its Telford…). But I guess that’s it, you could tell it was Telford, somehow “the south campus of Edinburgh College” doesn’t strike me full of inspiration or doesn’t hint at the history behind the college itself. With this in mind I hope that the homogenisation of these three colleges does not negatively impact upon the output of the students or the staff in their abilities to impart their own knowledge and skills. Having studied in several institutions that have merged over the years I am always wary of mergers which seem to be ostensibly and solely done to cut costs and the first things to get cut always seems to be staff and equipment.
I don’t know what the future of the programme will be after the merger but I would hope that the AIRetc residency will continue to exist, it would be a shame in these cutting times to lose something that costs very little if anything but is of great benefit to those that are involved be it the students, the lecturers the invited artists or the institution itself.