20 Oct 2014

"Be realistic, demand the impossible"

Create + Sustain

Last week we warmly welcomed the first of our Create + Sustain speakers to the GSA; Ellie Harrison. London born and Glasgow based, Ellie’s work explores the complex relationships between art and the economy, environment and morality – a perfect opener to our series.

In the bustling main bar of the Students’ Association Ellie spoke of the combination of external forces and events that inspired her work and forced her to reconfigure her skills as an artist, helping her to realise she wanted her work to impact on a greater social level. Events such as the 2009 International Climate Summit in Copenhagen cemented this thinking and Ellie spoke of her interest in how much impact she could make as an individual, compared to that of large corporations. This led to the creation of her self imposed Environmental Policy (link) and a growing interest in campaigning – she was interested in more than just climate change and wanted to campaign for specific issues that could help people make more sustainable choices.

This led her to start the Bring Back British Rail campaign (link), which has grown to over 86,000 members of late. Ellie contemplated what it meant for a young female artist to be the figurehead of such a prolific campaign, particularly in a sector full of “overweight, middle aged men”, and came to the realisation that it actually made the campaign more accessible to the wider public.

Following discussion around her background and interests, Ellie went on to explore three pieces of her work in greater detail: Early Warning Signs, The Other Forecast and Anti Capitalist Aerobics, addressing issues of climate change, capitalism and a broken economy.

After her presentation a lively discussion around self promotion, collaborative working and networking followed. A successful first event in our Create + Sustain series!