Assembly 2019 returns to Scotland on Thursday 4 July 2019 for a day of presentations, discussions and workshops programmed alongside curatorial initiative Tendency Towards in Aberdeen.

Marking the first a-n Assembly to be organised by a collective, the event will hear from a range of collaborative projects from across the UK, focusing on the increasing necessity of artists’ communities to operate in this way.

Since the oil price crash of 2014, Aberdeen has been in the grip of a concerted effort to diversify its economy – and shift its identity – away from the energy sector. This has resulted in large-scale cultural venues in the city closing for a period of renovation, including Aberdeen Art Gallery which is currently undergoing a long-delayed expansion project.

In place of this institutional presence, grassroots artist and cultural activity has blossomed, defined by a deeply collaborative community of projects.

The Tendency Towards programme highlights collective modes of operation as a radical and necessary approach towards energising, narrating and distributing artists’ agency across communities and geographies.

The day provides an opportunity to share collective strategies and foster connections between invited projects, those in attendance and Aberdeen’s developing community of artist-led initiatives. a-n Programmes and Partnerships Manager Wing-Sie Chan will kick things off, introducing a-n and highlighting the Paying Artists campaign and a-n’s 40th Anniversary in 2020.

Highlights from the programme include Dundee-based project Dain’ Hings – originally initiated by Duncan of Jordonstone fine art students Jek McAllister and Saskia Singer – conducting a circuits-style activation, inviting audience members to move between three different material exercises.

This will be followed by a panel discussion, ‘Cultivating Communities’, featuring Jo Capper, collaborative programme curator at Grand Union, Birmingham and Shetland-based artist-led project Gaada, who will discuss their approaches to programming and community narration.

Gaada is based in Burra, Shetland and led by artists Amy Gear and Daniel Clark. Together they work with local groups and invited individuals from the mainland in venues across the Shetland Isles, connecting with the region’s unique heritage through contemporary means.

Following a lunch break (with vegan and gluten free options available), Glasgow-based artist collective A+E will lead the A+E ecology clinic. This workshop will explore practices of dialogue, meditation and biofeedback techniques in reaction to recent texts on intimacy and the ethics of coexistence.

The day will end with a panel discussion chaired by Tendency Towards and featuring Aberdeen-based projects D2, Underpinning and Wagon. They will reflect on the day’s topics and consider strategies to further build endurance and stability within Aberdeen’s growing grassroots community as new developments such as the expanded Aberdeen Art Gallery reopen, access to space continues to be an issue, and the city grapples with a ‘post-oil’ identity.

There will then be a special screening of Workers!, a new film initiated by Collective, Edinburgh in 2016, between Swedish artist and filmmaker Petra Bauer and SCOT-PEP, a sex-worker led organisation in Scotland.

Workers! was filmed in the Scottish Trade Union Congress, a building rooted in workers’ struggles for rights and political representation. During their one-day occupation of this institution, conversations unfold that centre the voices of sex workers demanding to be seen as experts on their own labour and lives.

Read the full Assembly Aberdeen programme here:

Assembly Aberdeen takes place Thursday 4 July 2019.
Venue: The Anatomy Rooms – Dissection Room, Marischal College, Shoe Lane, Aberdeen AB10 1AN

Lunch and refreshments are provided as part of the day. This is a full day event. Booking is required. Tickets are free for a-n members and £10 for non-members.

Book here:


1. Assembly Dundee, October 2018. Places of production workshop – Spit and Sawdust, Cardiff. Photo: David P Scott

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