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Peacock Visual Arts - With The North Sea

Peacock Visual Arts is a contemporary arts space in Aberdeen. This year, they brought together five practitioners working in their area for Scotland’s first fully-funded Curatorial Fellowship for visual arts.The poster for With The North Sea

The result of this groundbreaking programme was With The North Sea, a series of events, workshops and screenings, at The W OR M, their printmaking department, digital studio and gallery/project space, as well as various other external locations from the 6th of February. This series aimed aimed to explore the North Sea through a poetric, economic and political lens.

The programme was organised by Nuno Sacramento, Peacock Visual Arts Director, and Shadow Curators Naoko Mabon and Rachel Grant, who were both members of the first cohort in 2018. Mónica Núñez Laiseca, Senior Lecturer in Curatorial Practice (Contemporary Art) at Glasgow School of Art, acted as advisor and oversaw the programme.

The 2019/20 curators were Joss Allen, Caitlin Dick, Phoebe McBride, Svetlana Panova and Abby Beatrice Quick.

A group shot of the fellows

They told us about their experience, and the importance of the Fellowship.

Svetlana Panova

“With The North Sea combines the creative interests of all five fellows in a very organic way, which is also an essential discourse of Aberdeen as a city.

As the Fellowship programme progressed, we had the opportunity to find - though trial and error and lots of shared knowledge by our contributors, the ways of practicing in a collective that work for us as a group. Deciding to present an active final programme means we have the constant opportunity to refine this knowledge and find better and more efficient ways to work together.

One of the biggest and best surprises from the With The North Sea programme is the fact that for every event so far we have had a different audience.

When we decided to take on the challenge of presenting a series of events instead of a single show, we really wanted to keep the audience engaged for the full duration of the programme, giving them a good reason to come back to the space over and over again. It is incredibly rewarding to see this in practice.”

Caitlin Dick

“The Curatorial Fellowship has been a significant opportunity for me to exchange skills and use PVA’s programme as a platform for collective learning. This has allowed me to develop my practice as an Aberdeen based artist-curator while meeting fascinating individuals which have impacted and influenced my process of thinking and curation of events in the city.

I have been able to see the landscape of Aberdeen through a new set of eyes, this has introduced political, social, economic and environmental concerns which I had not considered prior to participating in the Curatorial Fellowship.”

Phoebe McBride

“Our programmeWith The North Sea has been able to bring together a selection of contributors reaching from the central belt across to Orkney and Riga. It has been incredibly fulfilling to be a part of establishing these lasting connections that help to highlight the North-East region as an area of cultural and artistic significance.

These are connections that would have otherwise been challenging to make had we not been working under an established arts organisation such as Peacock Visual Arts.

The Fellowship has provided a practical, collective learning experience that operates outwith the confines of an institutional education.”

Artwork on white paper hanging in a windowAbby Quick

“The programme unfolded in an especially organic way, with its strong focus on collective thinking and support.

In some ways, the constant shaping and re-shaping of its content echoes the tidal patterns and narratives that are embedded within our final show, With The North Sea.

I am so fortunate to have worked alongside an inspiring group of young curators and will be forever grateful for the knowledge shared from such an active and alternative educational platform.”

The W OR M, as well as the main building of Peacock Visual Arts, has been closed to the public since 17 March 2020, in response to the current pandemic and in an effort to delay the spread of Covid-19 and protect the vulnerable.

The program was therefore cut short and the organisers are currently in discussion to decide in what form and when ‘With The North Sea’ will return.

Any related updates will be announced via Peacock Visual Arts' website and social media channels. The fellows would like to express their gratitude to all practitioners and audience members who participated in the programme thus far.

Peacock Visual Arts Website

Peacock Visual Arts Facebook

Peacock Visual Arts Twitter

Peacock Visual Arts Instagram

The group of Fellows stand in a circle outside a large multistory building

Images courtesy of Peacock Visual Arts


Peacock Visual Arts is a Regularly Funded Organisation.

Regularly Funded Organisations make a significant contribution to the current health and future development of the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland and play a key role in helping us deliver against our overall ambitions.

Find out more about the Regular Funding Network

This article was published on 06 Apr 2020