A History Class: An A-Z of Dundonian Dissent
Thursday 25 February 2021
The Ignorant Art School, Sit-in Curriculum #1
To launch The Ignorant Art School at Cooper Gallery, artist Ruth Ewan, storyteller Erin Farley and historian Siobhan Tolland will present An A-Z of Dundonian Dissent, offering up playful and sometimes surprising anecdotes from the city’s past, including tales of feminist activists, revolutionary trees and striking school children. This opening event will feature specially selected songs performed by Tayo Aluko, Karan Casey, Tosh Flood and Lorraine Wilson alongside readings from Tam Dean Burn, Sarah Diviney, Poppy Page, Sit-in #1 Associate Occupier Hussein Mitha and playwright John McCann.
This event forms part of Sit-in Curriculum #1.
Tayo Aluko is a playwright, stage and TV actor, and singer born in Nigeria, living in Liverpool, UK. His one-man play about Paul Robeson, CALL MR ROBESON, has taken him as far afield as the North West Territories of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and to New York’s Carnegie Hall. A second play, JUST AN ORDINARY LAWYER, which deals with Black liberation struggles worldwide has also been performed on three continents. Aluko has initiated an international project titled MAPPING “GREATNESS” in which people of the Global Majority worldwide film themselves performing his poem GREATNESS IN A TIME OF COVID in many languages, as a response to Imperialism and the global pandemic.
Actor Tam Dean Burn’s greatest act of dissent was jumping onto the front of the scab bus on the first big Timex picket line demonstration in Dundee. For this he earned the nickname ‘Spiderman’. Following his arrest he was released with the bail condition that he was not allowed to enter the city of Dundee. When he was allowed back in, he moved to Lochee and worked on the worldwide Timex Boycott Campaign in the AEEU office on Union Street. Tam's most recent act of dissent is the song Tree of Liberty with his Burnsian band The Bum-Clocks available on Bandcamp.
Sarah Diviney is an Irish artist and writer based in Glasgow. Diviney's creative discourse focuses on feminism through auto-fictional narrative and explores the position of writing and performance within the gallery space. The inquiry is situated in rural Ireland and the folkloric traditions it contains. Diviney uses narrative to explore the publication of the domestic and its relational transference to performance. Publications include Bloomers Magazine, The Yellow Paper, Visual Arts Ireland, Irish Art Review, District Magazine and New Minds Eye. She has been shortlisted and exhibited for the Visual Arts Awards in Ireland and was in the top thirteen of Irish Fine Art Graduates of 2018.
Ruth Ewan is an internationally celebrated artist whose research-led and critically engaged practice has drawn attention within contemporary art and socio-political history. Engaging with the circulation of radical ideas and social movements, her work explores the processes by which ideas take form and spread from individuals to society.
Ewan’s work is recognised internationally and she has shown extensively at major venues including; Edinburgh Art Festival (2018 & 2020); Pitzhanger Gallery (2020); Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2019); CAPC, Bordeux (2019); Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration, Paris (2019); Victoria and Albert Museum (2018); 32nd São Paulo Biennial (2016); Camden Arts Centre, London (2015); Tate Britain (2009 & 2014); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Glasgow International (2012); Dundee Contemporary Arts and Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla (2011); The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk (2010); the New Museum, New York (2009). She has realised projects for The High Line, New York (2019); Glasgow Women’s Library (2018); Create, London (2012); Art on the Underground (2011); Frieze Projects (2009) and Artangel (2007&2013). In 2016 she was awarded the Arts Foundation Yoma Sasburg Award for Art in Urban Space. ruthewan.com
Dr Erin Farley is the Library and Information Officer for Local History at Dundee Libraries, who hold a large collection of local print, photographic and manuscript collections. She also researches the history of literature and folklore in Dundee and Angus. Outside of work, Erin is a traditional storyteller and one of the hosts of The Beans podcast.
John McCann is a two-time Scotsman Fringe First Award winning playwright, performer, community theatre artist and director who lives in Tayport, Fife. Since May 2018 John has hosted Dundee’s only playwriting scratch night: SCRIEVE. SCRIEVE contributed to Cooper Gallery DJCAD’s 12 Hour Non-State Parade | International Symposium (2019) and Ambiguous Becoming (2020). John’s recent productions include COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, (Ambergris); DUPed (Ambergris); SPOILING (Traverse Theatre); FAMLA (Tinderbox Theatre Company); DANCING AT THE DISCO AT THE END OF THE WORLD (Replay Theatre Company).
Hussein Mitha (they/he) is a writer and artist based in Glasgow. Their writing has featured in The Drouth, Frieze and Radical Philosophy. They have taught workshops at Glasgow School of Art, Central Saint Martins, Market Gallery, Transmission Gallery, and previously led a reading group at Cooper Gallery during The Pleasure of Expense in 2019.
Dr Siobhan Tolland completed a PhD on Dundee's Mary Brooksbank, looking at propaganda as literature, and now (intermittently) writes on modern Scottish politics. She is a political and community activist in Dundee, using art & discussion to encourage people to think about the Scotland they want.
Originally from Dublin, Tosh Flood is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, and producer. He currently plays with The Divine Comedy.
From Dundee, Lorraine Wilson is an author, journalist, singer, and international spy. She currently plays with two small terriers called Lottie & Dottie.
Together they are currently working on their first album under the working title Destroy All Devices.
This event is presented in partnership with the Local History Centre, Dundee Libraries.
Event images are fair use and have been sourced through Dundee Libraries and with kind permission of Tam Dean Burn and Stella Rooney
The Ignorant Art School at Cooper Gallery, DJCAD is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland and the Henry Moore Foundation.