Artist paid £15k to live in Glasgow for a year

AN ARTIST’S pledge not to leave Scotland’s largest city for one year as part of a research project has prompted a backlash on social media.

AN ARTIST’S pledge not to leave Scotland’s largest city for one year as part of a research project has prompted a backlash on social media.

Ellie Harrison was awarded £15,000 by Creative Scotland to fund The Glasgow Effect, which aims to challenge the “demand for travel” facing artists and academics.

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The 36-year-old, a lecturer in contemporary art practices at Duncan of Jordanstone College in Dundee, said the experiment would enable her “to cut her carbon footprint and increase her sense of belonging, by encouraging her to seek out and create local opportunities.”

Harrison will not leave the Greater Glasgow area until 2017, except in the event of the ill-health or death of a close relative or friend.

But critics soon took to the project’s Facebook page to question the project’s objectives, with its title attracting particular concern.

The Glasgow Effect is a term regularly used to describe the city’s poor public health record when compared to other places in the UK and Western Europe with similar recent histories of economic deprivation and desindustrialisation.

“I know literally hundreds of people who’ve been creating art of all descriptions in Glasgow for years and funding it from our day jobs or from hosting fundraisers,” said Kenny Leckie in a post on the project’s Facebook page.

“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?”

Cara Connolly said: “There are undoubtedly many people who will never have left Glasgow due to long term unemployment and poverty, and surely they themselves could better tell their experiences instead of some artist?”

Others supported the project. Lesley Cunningham said: “I think it’s an immersive, expansive and interesting idea and personally can’t wait to see the results.”

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.”

Harrison told The Scotsman she had been “overwhelmed” by the reaction to the project. She added she would explain it in more detail via a series of blog posts planned for later in the week.