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ReSearch Project Ability Jan 2014 – Mar 2015

Project Ability


The ReSearch Programme 2014 - 2015 2014 saw the start of an exciting new strand to the already developing and existing Volunteers Programme. For the first time, the ‘ReSearch Programme’ offered the opportunity for professional artists to be involved with our organisation, in a residency that engaged them with our practicing Project Ability artists. The ‘ReSearch Room’ provides supported studio space, for these unique exchanges to take place, which are about bringing two artists together, in a unique partnership to work together on an equal footing, sharing, experimenting and learning from each other’s practices and life experiences. The project set no brief or boundaries; these were designed and negotiated around the individuals involved. The outcomes of these unique partnerships were varied, and fantastic. The following documentation illustrates the individual relationships and the work that was achieved.


‘Get Together’ Judith Abubakar Morgane Deffense One of our ReSearch Room projects has been a collaboration between Aspire artist Judith Abubakar and Belgian ceramicist Morgane Deffense. Here, Morgane tells us more about their experience. ‘This project was born from an encounter between Judith and myself. We focused our artistic collaboration on communication. I studied ceramics, and Judith is experienced in painting and textile work. We quickly decided to share and bring our knowledge together and to create with these different mediums. Our work represents the meeting between ceramics and threads, white and colour, a dialogue between two elements…


At first, we made a cast of an everyday object: a cup. We reproduced it several times in clay, and gave it different uses. The cup mimics the surface texture of canvas fabric in ceramic and thus also becomes an embroidery support. This allowed us to build a string telephone, which became the symbol of our exchange.


An ancient Chinese proverb says, “An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.” This project was a beautiful experience for both of us. Thank you Project Ability!’ -Morgane Deffense


This exhibition is the first outcome of Project Ability’s Research Room, featuring collaborative works by ceramist Morgane Deffense and Aspire artist Judith Abubaker. As individuals, we learn from one another and when we work together, we merge into a collective body; this series of exhibitions will demonstrate how these orchestrated and unique working relationships progress. The objects represent moments of understanding between the two artists and are interlocutors for exchange in a work conceived as a meditation on each artist’s practice; their collaborative approach to the work and to the part that they played in the exchange, are imprinted onto the objects.


‘Trading Places’ - Doreen Kay and Celine Mcilmunn Aspire artist Doreen Kay and ReConnect tutor Celine Mcilmunn began a collaborative painting project.


Their starting point was looking at photographs of themselves in various locations and selecting elements they thought would be interesting to paint.

The plan that they have come up with is to make two self-portraits with each artist painting the background location for the other. They will then swap canvases and paint the portraits.


‘Doreen and I have quite different approaches to painting so it’ll be interesting to see how the project develops and how our styles combine.’ -Celine Mcilmunn


“I am enjoying working beside a different tutor, just the two of us. We get on fine and it is a pleasure working with someone like Celine. It was nice to be asked to do something like this.” -Doreen Kay “It’s been interesting working on a collaborative project like this and negotiating how we constructed the paintings together.” -Celine Mcilmunn


It’s hard to believe that Celine Mcilmunn and Doreen Kay have been working together on their collaborative paintings for twelve weeks now. They have been working together Thursday and Friday afternoons each week after Celine has finished working with the ReConnect groups but for the past month Doreen has also been coming in for the mornings and had a couple of hours head start. ‘We finally swapped over the paintings last week, and started working on the portraits. It’s good to see the blank white patches of canvas disappear” says Celine. “It’s been interesting working on a collaborative project like this and negotiating how we constructed the paintings together.”


Our second ReSearch Room exhibition will showcase the work made collaboratively by Aspire artist Doreen Kay and tutor Celine Mcilmunn during their project. The artists started their collaborative project by looking at photographs of themselves in various locations and selected elements they thought would be interesting to paint. They then decided to make two self-portraits with each artist painting the background location for the other, then swap over and paint their own portrait. The ReSearch programme provides artists, of all experiences and abilities, the opportunity to work and learn from each other in a series of creative conversations. The paintings will be on show in our ReSearch Room Exhibition Space


‘Felt Tip’ - Phoebe Barnicoat, Peter Johnston & Euan Stewart The ReSearch Room is proving to be a very successful project! One of the artistic collaborations originating in the ReSearch Room even featured in the Glasgow Open House Art Festival. Below, Phoebe Barnicoat tells us more about her FeltTip Faces project with young artists Peter Johnston and Euan Stewart. “Inspired by a drawing of Cinderella with large crab claws for hands that I saw Peter Johnston making while volunteering at Project Ability, I invited Peter and Euan Stewart to meet once a week and get together to draw with felt tips, building towards an exhibition as part of the Glasgow Open House Art Festival.”


We would meet on Saturday afternoons to draw with felt tips; a medium we all love to work in. We would draw quietly, with little bursts of conversation and jokes, quite often about the misadventures of Peter’s cats.

What I found most inspiring from our weekly meetings was Euan and Peter’s relaxed approach to making art. Neither were concerned about whether their work was good, if anyone would ever see it or what any of it meant. This made me think about how anxious the art world is.


The exhibition offered an opportunity to observe the artistic imagination working freely and meditatively, like a child, just trying things out, playing with ideas and experimenting for themselves alone. We had a fantastic response from the visitors who ended up staying for a tea and joining in doing their own felt tip drawings.� - Phoebe Barnicoat


‘A Colony of Penguins’ - Morgane Deffense and Ruth Mutch Morgane undertook a further ReSearch project with us, this time working alongside our ReConnect artist Ruth Mutch. The duo worked together again exploring slip casting techniques, this time to make additions of Ruth’s signature stylized penguins.


Project Ability are pleased to present a new exhibition in their ReSearch Project Space; a suite of palm-sized ceramic objects, ‘A Colony of Penguins, Icebergs’ by collaborative duo Ruth Mutch and Morgane Deffense.’


‘Trap Door’ - Consuelo Servan and Jonathan McKinstry

Our current ReSearch Room project is a collaboration between artist and tutor Consuelo Servan, and Aspire artist Jonathan McKinstry. "As an artist, I pay special attention to changes in the surrounding environment, such as variations in the quality of light. Since I moved to Glasgow I have been taking photos at dark time. I found them really inspiring, giving me a sort of comforting feeling. So in my next project I decided to use them, as I did before with another project about light: Aluzinaciones (Light Hallucinations).


I knew about Jonathan McKinstry´s work when I came to Project Ability, two and a half years ago. Since then, I admire his ability to draw effortlessly, and also his capability to create and recreate imagined worlds. He is also very into comics, as am I, but unlike him, I don´t use it on my artistic work. So for the Research Room I proposed a collaboration with Jonathan, with the idea that he could fill up the dark of my images with some of his characters, ghosts, and impossible worlds.


We will be using only two of my dark photos, but I have made a series of screen-prints with them so we have plenty of prints on paper and fabric to experiment with. We will see how different the same picture can be, after being intervened. I´m also planning on writing about the Research Room project on my blog, which is about creative experiences in outsider art centres." -Consuelo Servan


Jonathan and Consuelo’s work was showcased at Project Ability’s International Summit for Artists with Learning Dissabilites and their Supporting Studios, in March 2015.


With thanks to all of our volunteers and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Research 2014 2015  

Report on our ReSearch Programme 2014 / 2015

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