Ploughing the City

‘A city is more than a place
in space, it is a drama in time.’
Patrick Geddes

Our cities are constantly changing and evolving as are our views on our place within them. Covid-19 and the restrictions on movement it brought, have forever changed how we view our public spaces, what they offer us and what we truly need from them. 

Further, global demonstrations have lifted a mirror to our public art, raising the question on who these pieces celebrate, draw focus on and allow to endure in our minds and on our streets.

In their pamphlet, artist Ruth Ewan and curator Sorcha Carey examine how our cities look, work and evolve through the lens of public art and creativity. 

Content Warnings: Racism, enslavement, mention of historic child abuse. 

A large print version of this pamphlet is available upon request to [email protected]

Ruth Ewan is an artist based in Glasgow. Her work stems from context specific research resulting in a wide variety of forms including events, performance, writing, installation and print. She has worked with collaborators to create music projects, audio guides, radio programmes, design projects, workshops and books. These build on Ewan’s long-term interests in creativity as a tool for social justice, alternative systems and radical histories.

She has exhibited internationally at venues including Yorkshire Sculpture Park, CAPC Bordeaux, Victoria and Albert Museum, Camden Arts Centre, Tate Britain, Kunsthal Charlottenborg Copenhagen, Badischer Kunstverein Karlsruhe, Dundee Contemporary Arts, CAAC Seville, the ICA London and Studio Voltaire. Her work was included in the São Paulo Biennial (2016); Glasgow International (2012); Folkestone Triennial (2011); New Museum Triennial, New York and Tate Triennial, London (2009). She has created public commissions for High Line, New York (2019), Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh (2018 and 2020) and Artangel, London (2013 and 2007). Her work is included in the collections of Tate, The Scottish Parliament, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, FRAC Champagne-Ardenne and CAAC Seville. 

Sorcha Carey is Director of Edinburgh Art Festival, the platform for the visual arts at the heart of Edinburgh’s August festival offering. Each year alongside a rich programme of exhibitions curated by galleries and museums across the city, the festival invites new commissions from leading and emerging Scottish, UK and international artists, with a focus on projects devised for public spaces and historic sites across the city.

Since joining the festival in 2011, she has worked with artists such as Susan Phillipz, Callum Innes, Christine Borland, Monster Chetwynd, Charles Avery, Hanna Tuulikki, Jonathan Owen, Ciara Phillips, Graham Fagen, Roderick Buchanan, Ruth Ewan, Walker and Bromwich, Toby Paterson, Shilpa Gupta and Alfredo Jaar to develop new temporary and permanent projects for the city, with sites ranging from Waverley Train Station to a 75m ship moored in Leith.

She previously worked as Senior Adviser: Arts and Creative Industries for British Council Scotland; and on three editions of the Liverpool Biennial, where she led a programme of publicly sited commissions, including a series of major commissions for Liverpool’s year as Capital of Culture in 2008, by international artists and architects, including Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, Ai Wei Wei, Atelier Bow Wow, Annette Messager and Tomas Saraceno.

She has an MA and Phd from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London; and an MA from the University of Cambridge.

She is Chair of Festivals Edinburgh, the strategic umbrella organization for Edinburgh’s major festivals, and a trustee of Cample Line, an arts organization based in Dumfriesshire.