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Research Projects

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) £312,327 05.2005 – 04.2008
Dr Euan McArthur, Principal Investigator

The Demarco Archives
The Demarco Archives
The Demarco Archives
The Demarco Archives
The Demarco Archives

Accessing a 40-year dialogue between Richard Demarco and the European Avant-Garde

Main project collaborators

Dr Euan McArthur, DJCAD, University of Dundee (Principal Investigator)
Prof Elaine Shemilt, DJCAD, University of Dundee (Co-Investigator)
Arthur Watson, DJCAD, University of Dundee (Co-Investigator)
Stephen Robb, Demarco European Art Foundation (Project Manager)
Ann Simpson, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

The Demarco ArchivesDJCAD Team

Dr Euan McArthur (Principal Investigator)
Prof Elaine Shemilt (Co-Investigator)
Arthur Watson (Co-Investigator)
Matthew Davis (Project Archivist)
Aileen McGibbon (Digital Scanning Specialist)

Context and background

The Demarco Archives‘Richard Demarco is without doubt a remarkable man, an Italian Scot, a founder of the Traverse Theatre, a man who is an artist, a writer, a philosopher. He is a man who has brought contemporary visual arts to the Edinburgh Festival. He has been involved in more than 50 Edinburgh Festivals, and has brought great artists like Joseph Beuys and Kantor to thousands of people. He has also brought the visual arts from other parts of the world, from Eastern Europe, long before other people were interested. And he has inspired us all. . .’ – Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate Gallery, 2000

The archives created by Richard Demarco are held by the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (SNGMA) and the Demarco European Art Foundation (DEAF). Together, they contain more than 250,000 photographs and many more thousand documents and other printed items, books and artworks.

The archives are a unique visual record of Richard Demarco’s career from the late 1950s to 2006. They contain material of international range and significance, and include his interactions and collaborations with some of the foremost artists of the time and his important work with Eastern European artists.

Aims and objectives

The purpose of The Demarco Digital Archive project was to create an on-line archive and searchable database of some 10,000 records by digitising selected material along with supporting documents and original artworks. This would enable the content of the archives to become more accessible to the public and for scholarly research.

The project aimed to increase awareness of the historical importance of the archives, particularly in bridging the avant-garde of Eastern and Western Europe during and after the Cold War. It also aimed to fill important gaps in current knowledge of the work of several major European artists and to address the paucity of published information about the arts in Scotland in the 1960s and 1970s. The on-line archive would reunite material held in the DEAF Archive and the Richard Demarco Archive at SNGMA.


The Demarco Archives The key outcome from the project is a digital database linked to a dedicated website which catalogues and images a selection of work from the two archives. The digital archive is publicly accessible on-line or through computers located at the University’s Visual Research Centre at Dundee Contemporary Arts, and at the National Galleries of Scotland (Dean Gallery and Playfair IT Gallery). A physical repository for the digital archive can be found located within the Visual Research Centre and this is accessible to academic researchers and the public.

Further outputs include exhibitions drawn from the The Demarco Digital Archive project. The Demarco Festival was held at Scottish National Portrait Gallery from 28th July to 2nd September 2007 and Focus on Demarco, celebrated the completion of The Demarco Digital Archive Project and ran from 26th April to 22nd June 2008 at SNGMA. A further achievement of the project has been the creation of an international network of institutions and individuals with a common interest in the digital documentation of modern and contemporary art, of which The Demarco Digital Archive is exemplary.

The Demarco Archives - click here to download PDF description