Artist behind The Glasgow Effect a ‘middle class punchbag’

Picture: Facebook
Picture: Facebook
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AN ARTIST awarded £15,000 by Creative Scotland not to leave Glasgow for one year has defended her controversial project.

Ellie Harrison said she did not regret calling her work The Glasgow Effect - an academic term referring to unexplained long-term public health problems affecting the city.

I was aware of the issues around class this would throw up

Ellie Harrison

The 36-year-old said she had become a “middle class punchbag” after an online backlash against her work erupted on Monday.

“I was aware of the issues around class this would throw up, but I wanted to expose the tale of two cities which is highlighted by two similar sounding phrases: The Glasgow Miracle - commonly used in the artworld to refer to Glasgow’s post-industrial renaissance as a global centre for culture, and The Glasgow Effect, which, as we all know, is its antithesis in PR terms,” she said in an interview with the Common Space website.

Asked if she regretted the title of her project, Harrison said it was “the role of the artist to stick their neck out in order to raise important social and political issues.”

She added: “Although I’ve had to deal with a barrage of personal attacks, making myself into a middle class punchbag, I don’t regret the decision to change the project title to The Glasgow Effect.”

Harrison, a lecturer in contemporary art practices at Duncan of Jordanstone College in Dundee, posted on Facebook last week the experiment not to leave Greater Glasgow for one year would enable her “to cut her carbon footprint and increase her sense of belonging, by encouraging her to seek out and create local opportunities.”

But it soon prompted hundreds of sceptical comments from members of the public.

“Doesn’t this disrespect everyone who doesn’t have that luxury of being funded to create art and who lives here because they can’t afford to move away?” said one.

Harrison’s previous projects include Eat 22, in which she photographed everything she eat for one year. She is also responsible for the Bring Back British Rail campaign, which calls for the renationalisation of rail services in the UK.

A Creative Scotland spokesperson said: “Ellie’s project met the criteria for Open Project Funding to develop her practice and we await with interest, the outcome of her project.”

READ MORE: Is the Glasgow Effect already a failure?