neil cummings


Shift/WorkDevised and convened by Neil Mulholland, with Dave Rushton of the Institute of Local Television, I contributed to......

Shift/Work: Developing participatory workshop models for educating contemporary artists.

Studio C02
School of Art, University of Edinburgh
74 Lauriston Place

I shared come of my experiences of working as part of Critical Practice.

Shift/Work is an ongoing knowledge exchange between the School of Art, University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop that develops and shares open educational resources for artists and art educators.

The purpose of this workshop is to enable its participants to develop their own models of collaborative practice-based learning.

Developing new sites in which art can be produced and expanding the ways in which production is supported are central to learning how to practice as an artist.

To facilitate this, art education conventionally combines ‘structured’ historical and theoretical scholarship with ‘open’ practice-based learning agreements. This incoherent approach perpetuates the legacy of Romanticism, producing ‘autonomous’ auteurs rather than artist-learners.

This does not prepare artists to participate in today’s artworld, a horizontally integrated network that is highly dependent upon reciprocal altruism.

Re-imagining the learning environment is key to facilitating the kinds of knowledge that artists now require. Developing an iterative action-based approach to artistic learning that is at once theoretical and practical is imperative.

Shift/Work aims to examine and reconfigure ways in which we can facilitate comprehensive workshop-based approaches to artistic production that are theoretically informed, practical and participatory. Shift/Work will facilitate new experiential knowledge, practices and tools for artists and art educators to adapt and implement.

Structure and Format

The workshop will be hosted in three studios in the School of Art, Edinburgh College of Art. It will accommodate up to 30 participants, two speakers and their facilitators. It will consist of a morning and afternoon session.

The workshop would begin with two presentations - one by Neil Cummings and on by Dave Rushton - followed by two break-out sessions.

A rota-based approach to curriculum design will focus attention on the workshop as a convivial means of knowledge production and distribution. Learning and exchange will be developed through ‘on-the-job training’, engaging the participants in a collective approach to learning.

10:00-10:30 Arrival Tea & Coffee served in Studio C02

10:30 Presentations: Neil Cummings and Dave Rushton will give presentations on their considerable professional experience of workshop models in art education. Following the presentations, the two speakers and one of the workshop facilitators will then each chair a small break out group (3 groups in total).

11:30 Briefing for Group Work 1

12:00 Group Work 1: The break-out groups will examine the models presented by the speakers with the specific aim of generating a set of conditions, desires and prohibitions that would govern a workshop-based curriculum. Yellow Group - Studio C02 (with Neil Cummings), Green Group - Office D02a (with Dave Rushton), Blue Group  - Office D02b (with Neil Mulholland)

13:00 ////// BREAK: Light lunch in Studio C02

13:30 Feedback 1: The three groups reconvene in the main studio. The group chairs feedback the conditions, desires and prohibitions to the whole workshop. From this, the workshop iterate and agree a shared set of guidelines.

14:00 Group Work 2: The break-out groups reform and use the guidelines to collectively develop a workshop.  - Studio C02 (Blue Group with Neil Cummings), Yellow Group - Office D02a (with Dave Rushton), Green Group  - Office D02b (with Neil Mulholland)

15:30 Feedback 2: The three groups reconvene in Studio C02. Their chair presents the model and further proposes means by which it might be implemented and adapted in the form of a workshop.

16:30 Conclusions: The participants will have a holistic view of the entire process and will be in a unique position to put it to work as a means of generating their own workshop models. We will discuss which model we would like to implement in the next Shift/Workshop.

Finissage: At the end of the discussion there will be a public finissage in the main studio. This will make the immediate evidence of the workshop (video footage the presentations, feedback sessions, diagrams and notes) available to staff and students in Edinburgh College of Art.


Related events include Transacting,  PARADE or Truth is Concrete, and Prospectus


55.94589, -3.199543

United Kingdom

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