1 September – 31 December 2009, organised by Collective
Local artists – Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich
International artists – Sreejata Roy and Mrityunjay Chatterjee (Delhi)
Bank of Reason | Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich
Through this programme selected local artists Zoe and Neil developed The Bank of Reason to map the ecological and economical diversity of the square mile of Edinburgh through tailored walks delivered by an ecologist and economist.
Participants were invited to join the walks and then be involved in discussions afterwards. Documentation from this was then deposited in The Bank of Reason. The walks were central to generating ideas for the discussion which were around alternative value systems and the search for a happier marriage between economy and ecology.
The events produced for The Bank of Reason were two weekends of walks, discussion and workshops free and open to the public. Taking place on November 28/29 and December 5/6.
Zoe and Neil developed the walks with ecologist Sam Harrison from Open Ground and economist Robert Morris from Edinburgh University. Individuals then contributed to the event by acting as orientation points to the walk and providing focused talks on specific sustainable businesses, green and public spaces. Contributors to the walks were:
Cathy Bell – RBGE
Josiah Lockhart – Greyfriars Community Project
Julie Logan – SOOT
Julian Warman – Scottish Wildlife Trust
Sam Rascombe – Lothian Conservation Volunteers
Dereick Rushton – The Engine Shed
Marie Duguld – The Melting Pot
The Sunday events included a talk by an invited speaker as well as a participatory performance from two Edinburgh College of Art students – Natalie Wilson and Andrew Thomson that aimed to invigorate debate. Speakers included:
David Korowicz – The Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability
Tim Nichols – founder of The Brixton Pound
Julie Logan – SOOT
Members of the Old Town Development Trust
Brian O’Hare – Transition Edinburgh
At each of the events, participants were asked to write on a Bank of Reason printed note their thoughts and ideas in view of what had been seen, heard and discussed that day. Individuals were then asked to speak their written statement into a voice recorded and the audio was then uploaded onto Collective’s website to be heard by all forming a juke box of thoughts and ideas.
One of the main strengths of the project was the strong visual identity artists Zoe and Neil developed. A large Bank of Reason appliqué banner was produced that headed the front of the walks around the city. Previous to the events, costume workshops were held in the gallery with students from Edinburgh College of Art and discarded foliage from the Royal Botanic Garden was pinned along with Bank of Reason notes to floor-length coats forming huge money-bush costumes. These costumes were worn by the pole bearers who carried the Bank of Reason banner (please see imaged). Strongly standing out when walking through town, the banner and costumes attracted a lot of participants who were able to dip into the project by joining us for part of the walk, flyers for the events were also distributed during these walks which helped to market and build a larger audience for the Sunday events.
Publik Booth | Sreejata Roy and Mrityunjay Chatterjee (Joy)
Sreejata and Joy were on residency with Collective for six weeks from the beginning of November – middle of December. During this time Sreejata and Joy undertook a period of research and exploration of the city centre square mile. They became very interested in the many named markets around the locality and were keen to gather information on how these spaces had evolved over the years and if they were still used as areas of public exchange.
Working closely with Nelson Hall Community Centre heritage group they delivered narrative and reminiscent workshops recording and gathering stories from members which related to these spaces. They also held a weekly stall at the Saturday Farmers’ Market and spent time with both shoppers and traders as well as setting up regular meetings with businesses in the Grassmarket. Collective held a day-time and evening event which invited individuals to drop-in to the gallery to find out more about the project and potentially contribute their own story.
Alongside much research with the city’s libraries, discussions with Collective and Sam Harrison, Sreejata and Joy developed the collected narratives along with their own visual work to form a newspaper (8 page, colour, A3) which could be distributed at the focus points of the project, namely the Farmers’ Market, Grassmarket, libraries and community centres. To launch the newspaper, a storytelling event was held at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with guest speakers from Nelson Hall Community Centre.