Summer School

FIELDWORK is an annual 2.5 day discursive, residential summer school that brings between 50 and 80 participants to camp in the grounds of Hospitalfield to participate in a programme of presentations, workshops, discussions and outings. It is an intensive experience, which brings people together to think about a central theme or question developed by the selected programmer.

FIELDWORK is a platform that provides Hospitalfield with the opportunity to work with a programmer from outwith our team. This is a call for a programme outline for FIELDWORK 2019; the core idea should connect with current questions within visual art practice and consider how such concerns intersect with wider experience and disciplines.

2021: Now What: A Living Newspaper organised with Bik Van der Pol

Summer School
Friday 13 August, 4pm to Sunday 15 August 9pm

Scoring a Living Newspaper

Saturday 31 July,10am – 1pm, & Sunday 1 August, 10am – 2pm
Online Writing Workshop led by writer Laura Haynes in preparation for FIELDWORK. Free to attend.

FIELDWORK International Summer School returned to Hospitalfield on site through a participatory programme of workshops, talks and performances focussing on The Living Newspaper. Participants were invited to camp and eat with us on site and join this experimental programme of collective learning.

The Living Newspaper, ran in the USA from 1935 – 1939, as part of the federally funded arts program established under the Works Progress Administration under President Roosevelt’s New Deal. This was the white heat of the depression after the Wall Street crash in 1929 and this approach to theatrical performance rejected the conventions of Broadway Theatre, and instead encouraged social justice through the telling of stories of the day. With its roots in earlier European theatre, the programmes that emerged were ambitiously scripted productions which focussed on contemporary conditions such as housing, labour, disease and social stigma. It was disbanded by the US Government in 1939 after it was deemed too political by the Un-American Activities Committee.

The programme brought us together to focus on all the parts of the Living Newspaper production process; writing, costume and prop making, performance, videography and reflection.

The Programme included a keynote presentation from choreographer and performance artist Ania Nowak, costume making workshops led by theatre designer Anna Orton and costume designer Alison Brown, filming and editing workshops led by artists Bik Van der Pol and a presentation and discussion with artist and writer Morgan Quaintance.

In the lead up to the Summer School, we are hosted an online two-part writing workshop titled Scoring A Living Newspaper led by writer and editor Laura Haynes. The intention of the workshop was to create scripts and scores to be used in the Summer School.

A Living Newspaper Online Study Groups: March – April 2021

The online study groups took a performative format and invited participants to use the (zoom) model to imagine and rehearse for the possible futures that lie ahead through the model of living newspapers. Each Study Group invited a contribution from an academic or artist to demonstrate ways that artists and writers may interpret ‘the news’ in theatrical, artistic or performed work. The contributors included writer and scholar Rania Karoula, and artists Simon Bedwell and Liz Magic Laser. Participants were invited to ‘bring the news’ through short and easy exercises during the study groups on which stories were enacted in a contemporary ‘living newspaper’.

2020: Now What? Programmed with Bik Van der Pol

FIELDWORK International Summer School 2020
4-5 September online, 10am-2pm GMT
Programmed with Bik Van der Pol
Documentation and Full Info on Contributors

Hospitalfield invited Rotterdam based artists Bik Van der Pol to work with us to programme the FIELDWORK International Summer School for 2020. The ideas and conversation emerging from this year will then be extended in to 2021 when we can hold the School once again at Hospitalfield. We are looking forward to working with Bik Van der Pol over these two years with the opportunity to develop the programme in 2021 as a response to the discussion this year.

Contributors to the online programme include curators Binna Choi, Galit Eilat, Tessa Giblin, and artists Ashanti Harris and Olivia Plender. In addition, the film What is Democracy? by film-maker Astra Taylor was screened.

Now What?
“Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.”
From: Parable of the Talents, 1998, Octavia E. Butler

2020 marks the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. One of Scotland’s most important historic documents; it is a letter from the Scottish nobles sent to the Pope in Avignon in 1320 from Arbroath Abbey. The document seeds the first ideas of democracy by declaring the desire to be disentangled from hereditary rule which was dominated by the relationship with English monarchy.

Near Arbroath, in the Meffan Museum & Art Gallery in Forfar is a ‘scold’s bridle’; a torture device that was used until the early 1800s. It is an iron mask with a bit that would tear a person’s tongue if they attempted to talk. In Scotland these were intended to be used on non-conforming people cast to be witches, most often, women. The act of ‘making mute’ or not having voice in society has been written about by feminist activist and political theorist Silvia Federici specifically in relationship to women: “In many parts of the world, women have historically been seen as the weavers of memory—those who keep alive the voices of the past and the histories of the communities, transmit them to the future generations and, in so doing, create a collective identity and profound sense of cohesion […] They are also those who hand down acquired knowledges and wisdoms. […] It is in this way that women have been silenced and to this day excluded from many places where decisions are taken.” (Witches, Witch-hunting and Women, PM Press, 2018).

With the help of participants and invited speakers we ask, think and talk through what ‘muteness’ is at the present time: What are possible consequences of making mute, of silencing, of suspension, for people, species and the earth? How can we, in times of the pandemic crisis, take advantage of collective silence, and actively take care of the world we share and pass on? Do we stumble to the next crisis, or do we listen? What would care look like? What would we like to see not coming back, and what would we like to see develop? How can histories and experience of the past and of others help us to organize our thinking and acting wisely? What would you like to speak about or hear now?

Departing from objects and documents described above, participants and invited speakers are invited engage in a collective dialogue, to understand place and bodies as carriers of experience, as archive and scene. Considering loss of voice and silence as a political imperative, we propose to rethink this as instigator and potential for alternative learning for the future, and to increase the volume of the stories that must be told.

Moving towards eventually creating a scenario, a speculative narrative that takes place here, now and in the future.

In 2021 a three day residential summer school on site at Hospitalfield will further the conversations begun and continue to consider questions of democracy now.

Image: Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Allegory of Good Government. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

2019: Wild Orchards Will Overgrow Us programmed by Anastasia Philimonos and Panos Kompatsiaris

In 2019, after an open call selection process, we invited Anastasia Philimonos and Panos Kompatsiaris to programme the Summer School titled Wild Orchards Will Overgrow Us at Hospitalfield from 28 – 30 June 2019.

Wild Orchards Will Overgrow Us explores questions of ethics, politics, and aesthetics in human relations with animals and other nonhuman worlds.

The programme includes contributions from:
Talk by philosopher Keti Chukhrov (Moscow and London)
Workshop by artist Sybille Neumeyer & curator and anthropologist Tahani Nadim (Berlin)
Talk by artist Bryony Dunne (Athens and Dublin)
Collective reading with writer and editor Filipa Ramos (London)
Interactive lecture by anthropologist Karin Ahlberg (Stockholm and Chicago)
Live art work by artist Scott Rogers (Glasgow)
Game Deep Unlearning created by Sascha Pohflepp & Chris Woebken (2018)
Screening of Cane Toads: An Unnatural History (1988)

Keti Chukhrov’s talk Post-humanism, Technocentrism and the Collapse of Secularity dwelled on the theoretical and social motives of trans, post and in-humanisms, that acquired visibility in the recent 20 years in humanities, natural sciences, technologies, art and culture. Tahani Nadim and Sybille Neumeyer’s workshop entangled histories took the form of a ‘site-sensitive environmental reading’, consisting of a series of readings that relate ‘situated stories’ to ‘entangled histories’ and allowed participants to actively weave together environment, histories, texts, bodies, with the geological history of the Arbroath area; Filipa Ramos’ Wild Words was a collective reading session of artists’ texts about animals. Focusing on poetry and storytelling, the session relied on participant’s suggestions of texts and references in order to draft a shared map of how artists have been using, bending, expanding and testing language as a method to understand, become or imagine animals. Bryony Dunne discussed a selection of her own and other artists’ work, interlinking the impact of occidental expansionism on ecology and human, animal and plant migration. Speculating on the possibility of a hybrid knowledge that combines human and animal perspectives in an effort of building an inter-species solidarity in the face of environmental catastrophe. Chris Woebken and Sascha Pohflepp’s Deep Unlearning is a playful self-alienation card game that aims to a tiny measure of access to the ways of knowledge of the not-us. Chris and Sascha kindly made the cards and instructions available to us. Karin Ahlberg’s interactive lecture considered the idea of Invasive Alien Species (ISP) in relation to Lesseption migration, the Suez Canal and the wider thalassopolitics of governance. Glasgow based artist Scott Rogers created a new live work titled ‘Proposal for a Hunt Without Killing’ to examine the complex deployment of hunting techniques in regard to wildlife management.

The opening event of the School was the screening of mockumentary Cane Toads: An Unnatural History – a hilarious story on the multiple understandings of the figure of the pest. A themed ‘nonhuman’ party was organized with a live set by DJ ‘Le Vangelis’.

2017: Shoulder-to-Shoulder Co-programmed with Gordon Douglas and Cicely Farrer

Shoulder-to-Shoulder drew on the everyday production of art and politics in the contemporary multitude and invited practitioners from a variety of positions to consider these never ending performances. It was an opportunity to dislocate from the activity of individual practice and share new and existing methods of performance that can help us communally devise action within a political climate characterised by division and moralistic opposition.

Shoulder-to-Shoulder presented the first screening in the UK of Lynn Hershman Leeson’s film Tania Libre (2017), documenting renowned Cuban activist and performance artist Tania Bruguera’s experience following an 8-month house arrest in Cuba after her plan to re-stage her performance Tatlin’s Whisper #6 in Havana. Possessing a rare fluency in technologies as they evolve, Hershman Leeson is celebrated for her feminist art practice spanning five decades. Dmitry Vilensky, the founding member of performance collective Chto Delat (What is to be done?) came to the summer school from St Petersburg, Russia. Since 2003, Chto Delat have been producing projects that aim to merge political theory, art and activism. London-based artist Samson Kambalu, introduced his film-making approach, Nyau Cinema, through a new collaborative performance-lecture with Edinburgh-based composer and cellist Atzi Muramatsu. Kambalu’s work is autobiographical and approaches art as an arena for critical thought and sovereign activities. Wojciech Kosma collaborated with a working group towards the facilitation of an open, large group conversation. Always working with others, Kosma develops staged and sporadic performances that aim to collectively draw out and challenge group production of values. Ash Reid produced a role playing game (RPG)-inspired mixtape for communal car/train/bus journeys to Arbroath. Reid forms her research through public and private collaborative attempts at communicating beyond or around the boundaries of language. The mixtape preceded the summer school as part of an instigated carpool, through which participants were invited to organise shared transport.

2016: Not Every Tent is the Same, Co-Programmed with Bisan Abu Eisheh

Not Every Tent is the Same used the tent as a theme provided us with a potent image that bears many and various different associations. The programme drew upon the work of artists whose practice is a vehicle for their investigation of socio-political daily matters and was devised by Hospitalfield with Guest Artist Bisan Abu Eisheh.

Not Every Tent is the Same is a quote from Um Saad (Mother of Saad), a novel written by the late Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani, who was killed in Beirut 1972 by the Israeli Mossad. When Um Saad said to her son Not every tent is the sameshe was referring to the similarities and differences between two states. One is the passive state of waiting and hoping, which conjures up an image of a refugee under a makeshift structure; the other, more active state, is about replacing waiting with taking initiative, resisting the difficult circumstances or the status quo.

The immediate image of a tent is of flexibility and mobility; a light weight, convenient, portable shelter. There are other more metaphorical uses of this image: a gathering of people under canvas; likeminded, choosing to be together in a hospitable place; another is of a crowded, fragile, cloth, make-shift shelter, vainly straining to provide protection. There is a conflict of association with this simple everyday image, from desperate tragedy to the romantic.

The programme took place over three days and investigated the diverse roles of art practices in relation to our socio-political daily matters. Contributors to the programme elaborated on cultural and artistic practices, which investigate issues such as: migration & refuge, injustice & the insidious acceptance of stereotypes. The programme highlighted some of the ways that art and its processes engage with, activate and negotiate many different states; identities, geographies and conditions. In considering these conditions, space was added to discuss the questions – personal and political – about the changes in the EU that have come further to the fore.

Not Every Tent is the Same included contributions from different geographies and backgrounds, such as the artist Michael Rakowitz, the artist Neil Cummings and the curator Andrea Thal and her team at CIC Cairo, who generously shared their expertise on a personal and professional level with the rest of the participants. Curatorial Studio took an active part in opening up and propelling wider discussion during the summer school.

Fieldwork 2016 took place mostly at Hospitalfield and offered the opportunity for participants to attend talks, screenings, workshops, walks and performances. There was a lot of attention given to the planning of hosting and catering for such a large number visiting Hospitalfield for these annual events. We had accommodation for some to stay in the house but the majority of participants brought a tent.

2015: Talking About Influence, Co-programmed with Pavel Büchler

Talking About Influence was a programme of conversations, talks and workshops thinking through the relationships between education and influence.

The summer school included contributions from Ami Barak, Penelope Curtis, Bik van der Pol and Pavel Büchler, among others, to discuss the significance of peer groups, visitors, exploration and institutions when considering influence.

The starting points for Pavel’s conversations with his invited speakers were:

  • What can an art school be at the time when there are no privileged ways of making art?
  • What can we learn from each other when there are as many models of practice as there are artists?
  • How can we recover the art school as an open social space where we can do something together while each of us doing something different?