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Drawn North – a truly collaborative exhibition

Drawn North
The culmination of three years’ work by talented Architecture students to reimagine waterfront areas in Aberdeen and Orkney will be virtually exhibited in a collaboration with Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums (AAGM) and The Pier Arts Centre in Orkney. Find out more from Head of School, Professor David McClean, in his community story.

The work of the Master of Architecture students has, for some three years, focused on the complex challenges of re-imagining Aberdeen’s waterfront including the harbour, beachfront, and links, with a view to enhancing city living through a range of community facilities and public amenities. By contrast, but equally real in its challenges, others explored opportunity within the Orkney islands for economic and social development in the context of an incredibly rich, sensitive, and globally important archaeological and cultural heritage.

Following the autumn re-opening of Aberdeen Art Gallery, extended and transformed, the School submitted an application to hold an exhibition of the students’ work this summer. The re-imagined Gallery has reinvigorated discussion about the city’s architecture and development, and this, along with the under-representation of the discipline within the city’s cultural programme, provided the conditions for the idea to quickly develop. However, ironically, it is perhaps the lockdown and the closure of the physical gallery that allowed the idea to develop with such immediacy in a virtual form. A strong collaborative partnership was quickly built with the Gallery, and this was soon extended to include Orkney’s Pier Arts Centre, itself designed by Visiting Professor Neil Gillespie of Reiach and Hall Architects, Edinburgh. It is hoped that this year’s exhibition, to launch on 17 July, will be the first in a longer-term collaboration.

This highly creative, detailed, and research-informed work has involved input from a range of external agencies and, whilst hypothetical and ambitious in nature, posits ideas that are entirely achievable. As a result they are deserving of a public audience to stimulate thinking and promote constructive debate.

At a time when employment opportunities are currently constrained by the pandemic, it seemed an appropriate gesture to employ a group of graduating students to design and organise the exhibition, working closely with both galleries. This was made possible by the Scott Sutherland Fund.

We would invite you to take the opportunity to explore ‘Drawn North’ from July 17 by visiting www.aagm.co.uk / www.pierartscentre.com

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