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Group Shot of New Social Art School

Lindsay Gordon, Eva Merz, Andy Dobson, Alejandra Rodriguez-Remedi and Bob Steadman at the launch of 'Get a fucking job', Aberdeen Cyrenians, Summer Street, April 2006. No evil.


Collaborative, Political Public Art Made in Scotland, 2004 - 2010

It all started with a group of skateboarders and an artist interrogating political decision-making behind some barriers erected on a favourite skate spot in the city-centre of Aberdeen. The group, which became known as Aberdeen Street Skaters, made action, artwork and PR, communicated and associated with the city council, and effectively made changes. It was an example of successful collaborative arts practice rooted in the reality of a local community. This cooperation with non-professional artists presented a broad but meaningful method of collaborative arts practice. It made great sense to continue working with a variety of people in an open environment for collective, informal learning in various artistic projects.

New Social Art School is obviously not a typical art school; we have got no specific location, no teachers in the traditional sense, no curriculum and no money. What we have is a small group of collaborators with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. With individual skills, knowledge and ideas people contribute on various levels, and the collaborations are strengthened through the relationships which develop in the process. Projects are inspired and informed by local politics, often social issues, that we have something to say about. The work progresses naturally through research, discussion and dialogue with people rather than being preconceived by artistic notions or job arrangements.

New Social Art School should be seen as a ‘movement’, striving against the standardisation of the art world and its restrictive models for understanding, producing, circulating and consuming art. We intend to communicate issues of common interest directly to the public, and through collective creativity we hope we can encourage others to take part in the social and political debate and thus renew participation in and understanding of the arts. The specialised arts audience can always see the work later, and theorists enclose it in a contemporary art context - or not. New Social Art School should, in time, be defined by the work through which it manifests itself. It's about people, places and politics...

Merz / Rodriguez-Remedi / Vykoukal, 2007

It is the citizens who create and develop culture in the community.
This culture should be supported, not obstructed by the authorities.
Always remember - never forget!

from Aberdeen Street Skaters Manifesto, 2004

New Social Art School was founded in Aberdeen, Scotland, 2004 and active until 2010

Nuno Sacramento and Andy Dobson, Aberdeen 2006