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Travelling Gallery rolls into design territory

Travelling Gallery

The Travelling Gallery has been taking art to remote parts of Scotland for 36 years, and is currently hosting V&A Dundee’s first touring exhibition. Now on its third vehicle, the mobile gallery started its latest tour, Design in Motion, in February.

Alison ChisholmTravelling Gallery Curator, talks about the origins of the organisation and how the current tour is a rare move away from the groups roots in contemporary arts. 

V&A Dundee Design in Motion: Interview with Alison Chisholm, Travelling Gallery from V&A Dundee on Vimeo.

Where did it all begin? 

Travelling Gallery started out in 1978 as a pilot that the Scottish Arts Council set up. It toured the Borders for a few months and was so successful, that they decided to get a custom-made vehicle. We are now on our third custom-built bus, which changes its livery according to the exhibition. 

  • Alison Chisholm  
  • The V&A in Inverness  
  • Design in Motion Exhibition Tour  
  • Anarkik3D Design by Lizzie  
  • Design in Motion Exhibition Tour  
  • Design Scotland App  
  • Digital Lace  
  • Digital Design Studio  
  • Lynne Maclachlan  
  • Sophia George  
  • Design Scotland App  
  • Easter Monday Visitors  
  • Holly Fulton  
  • HIE  
  • Nocturne  
  • Design Scotland App  

    It was first set up to give people in areas that don’t have art galleries, access to what artists were doing and that’s more or less what we are doing now. There are still lots of areas in Scotland that don’t have access to contemporary art. 

    Who are some of the organisations you work with and how do you work together?

    Generally we work with artists directly to curate the exhibitions and, when we’re planning a tour, we get in touch with lots of local authorities, schools, arts organisations.

    We work with them to come up with a tour, which could be in schools or public venues. That brings art, or in this latest case design, to people who otherwise may not have the opportunity to see it. Our current exhibition, for instance, will tour not only cities such as Glasgow and Aberdeen, but also rural locations across the Highlands and Islands, including Lewis, Harris and Skye. 

    The current exhibition, Design in Motion, was developed in partnership with V&A Dundee and generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, The Mathew Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, The Scottish Government, and City of Edinburgh Council.

    Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee said: "Design in Motion allows us to share the excitement, innovation and breadth of design with audiences across the country. 

    Through this national tour we can showcase some of our most extraordinary contemporary designers and raise the profile of design and its benefits to society across Scotland. It helps demonstrate that design is a wonderful and very viable career choice for young people and there is a broad range of disciplines to consider. 

    The exhibition is just a snapshot of the creative riches that V&A Dundee will showcase, allowing us to get out and talk to our audiences and build real excitement towards opening in 2018."  

    How is the current exhibition Design in Motion a departure from what you normally do? 

    Design in Motion is unusual for us because it’s design-based rather than showing contemporary art. We worked with the V&A Dundee team to come up with the exhibition, which showcases seven different contemporary Scottish designers. What they have in common is that they all use digital technology to push the boundaries of their discipline. Whether they are a fashion designer, a game designer or a jewellery designer, they all use digital technology to expand their processes and develop their work in truly innovative new directions. 

    Design in Motion allows us to share the excitement, innovation and breadth of design with audiences across the country.- Philip Long, Director, V&A Dundee

    The mobile gallery features a reworking of William Morris’ Strawberry Thief pattern, which inspired the computer game of the same name by designer Sophia George, while she was Game Designer in Residence at the V&A. Her game is one of seven exhibits in the Design in Motion exhibition, which is visiting more than 70 locations across Scotland before heading to London in June.

    Ann Marie Shillito, a designer, artist and co-founder of Anarkik3D, has developed a touch-based software system for 3D modelling and printing. The design software allows designers and artists to feel what they are creating on screen by using the software with an off-the-shelf- '3D haptic mouse'. The creations can then be brought to life using a 3D printer. 

    The Digital Design Studio (DDS) is a post-graduate research and commercial centre of Glasgow School of Art, specialising in real-time 3D capture, 3D sound, modelling, motion capture and animation. DDS has developed a world-leading reputation through their participation on the Scottish Ten project, which utilises 3D modelling and visualisation for heritage conservation and management. This partnership with Historic Scotland and the organisation CyArk has created highly accurate digital models of Scotland’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a further five significant heritage sites worldwide. This technology allows us to experience the past virtually, through the visualisation of cultural heritage that may no longer physically exist. 

    Other featured designers include fashion designer Holly Fulton and product designer and artist Geoffrey Mann, whose 3D printed sculpture was inspired by capturing the movements of a moth in flight around a light. 

    Lynne MacLachlan, jeweller and metalwork designer, uses computer software as a craft tool to help shape her design concepts. MacLachlan has used digital technology to push her aesthetic in new directions, developing a technique of generating 3D forms that create flickering optical effects. Sara Robertson and Sarah Taylor have collaborated to explore their joint interest in technology and textiles. Digital Lace is a contemporary interpretation of a traditional lace table runner using smart materials combined with traditional processes.

    Where is the tour heading?

    So far the exhibition has toured Dundee, Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, Falkirk, Stirling, Angus, Fife, Perth, Aberdeen, Elgin and Inverness. The remaining public venues and dates are:

    27   April – 1 May


    Mon 27 April

    Lews Castle College

    Tue 28 April

    Ann Lanntair

    5   - 9 May


    Tue 5 May

    West Highland College, UHI, Fort William

    Fri 8 May

    Argyll College, Oban

    Sat 9 May

    Campbeltown, Aqualibrium

    11   - 15 May


    Mon 11 May

    West College Scotland, Clydebank Campus

    18   - 22 May


    Wed 20 May

    Glasgow School of Art

    Thur 21 May

    The Lighthouse Centre

    Fri 22 May

    Pacific Quay

    25   – 29 May


    Wed 27 May

    Paisley County Square

    1   – 5 June


    Mon 1 June

    The Barony Centre, West Kilbride

    Wed 3 June

    Dick Institute, Kilmarnock

    Thur 4 June

    MYB Lace, Newmilns & Newmilns Primary

    8-12   June


    Mon 8 June

    Moat House Brae, Dumfries

    Tue 9 June

    Dumfries and Galloway College

    20-21   June


    Sat 20-Sun 21 June

    Victoria & Albert Museum, South   Kensington

    What next? 

    Our next show starts in August and will be dedicated to Scottish artists who have won the Turner Prize. We are organising this in association with the Tramway in Glasgow, who is hosting this year’s Turner Prize. The exhibition will run until December.

    More info

    To find out more about the Travelling Gallery and their work, visit their website, follow them on Twitter @artinabus and find them on facebook.

    Travelling Gallery is one of 119 organisations receiving Regular Funding from Creative Scotland across 2015-18.   

    This article was published on 29 Apr 2015