PRESS RELEASE: Looking In - Looking Out Lectures

13th April 2012



Spring Fling ‘Looking In – Looking Out’ lectures offer a unique insight into the connection between creativity and location

Book now for three-part, three-theme series featuring an outstanding selection of artists and guest speakers

The illustrator of the new covers for the seven Harry Potter books, a sculptor who has worked with Henry Moore and a glass artist who has just exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London are just three of the speakers at an innovative Spring Fling lecture series starting next month.

Following on from the success of last year’s ‘Art of Place’ lectures, Spring Fling - Dumfries and Galloway’s annual art and craft open studios festival - is once again teaming up with The University of Glasgow’s Solway Centre for Environment and Culture to present ‘Looking In – Looking Out’.

Celebrating the work of artists and art professionals from the region and beyond, and focusing on the themes of ‘Memory’, ‘Land’ and ‘Sustainability’, the three-part series of will explore the relationship between creativity and location. Each of the evening lectures features four highly-talented artists who have participated in Spring Fling over the past 10 years. They will be talking about their work in the various creative disciplines, and practice in Dumfries and Galloway. In addition, arts professionals from outwith the region will also be speaking.

With tickets costing only £2.50 per lecture, the three events will be held from 6pm to 7.30pm in the University of Glasgow’s Dumfries campus at the Rutherford McCowan Building on Bankhead Road.

The series kicks off with ‘Memory’ on Wednesday 18th April which looks at Dumfries and Galloway’s artistic legacy and the inspiration or influence artists living and working in the region today take from their forerunners from the past. Spring Fling artists jeweller Natalie Vardey, installation artist Will Levi-Marshall, painter Patti Lean and sculptor Elizabeth Waugh (who has worked with Henry Moore) will be joined by guest speakers Dr Maggi Toner Edgar, a designer and writer from Cumbria, and Glasgow-based artist Stina Wirfelt.

The second lecture, ‘Land’ on Wednesday 25 April focuses on how the landscape plays an integral part of the artistic process. The Spring Fling speakers who’ll talk on how the land provides a starting point for creating artwork are artists Angela Lawrence, Ross Fulton, Jeremy Carlisle and Silvana McLean. Guest speakers will be Dr Paul Scott, Artist and Lecturer at Oslo National Academy of the Arts, and Dr Jan Hogarth of Wide Open, Dumfries and Galloway.

And finally, ‘Sustainability’ on Wednesday 2 May looks at sustainable working and the importance of building links outwith the region. Textile designer Morag Macpherson, visual artist Hope London, (Harry Potter books’) illustrator Clare Melinsky and glass artist (and Saatchi Gallery exhibitor) Amanda Simmons will be the Spring Fling artist speakers. The guest speakers are Emma Walker of Edinburgh-based CraftScotland, Hannah Stewart of Freerange Artists in Cumbria and artist Justin Carter from Glasgow School of Art

The three evenings will have a Pecha Kucha 20 x 20 format (with each of the speakers showing 20 images and speaking for 20 seconds on each) followed by a question and answer session. Dr Valentina Bold of The University of Glasgow’s Dumfries Campus will lead the speakers.

Dr Bold, Director of the University's Solway Centre for Environment and Culture, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Spring Fling again this year to present this exciting new lecture series. ‘Looking In – Looking Out’ will provide a rare opportunity to hear directly from a wonderfully talented group of local artists and makers as well as some exceptional guests from the wider world of arts. It’s a chance to hear them their personal perspective on their work and what inspires their creativity.”

Spring Fling is a Community Interest Company. The core event is funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council. The Springboard Project, which the ‘Looking In – Looking Out’ lecture series is part of, is funded by The Dumfries and Galloway LEADER Programme and The Holywood Trust. And the public art project is funded by Creative Scotland. 

Spring Fling Chair Hazel Campbell commented: “Last year’s Spring Fling lecture series proved extremely popular and I’m sure ‘Looking In – Looking Out’ will be an even bigger hit. This year - the Year of Creative Scotland – Spring Fling celebrates its 10th birthday so everything has been planned to make it our best yet. We’re extending it to four days – 2nd to 5th June – and we’ve a full programme with the core open studios trail, a magical mystery tour, bike rides and guided walks, a ceilidh and hog roast, and a wine tasting event. Other highlights are a young artists’ mentoring programme and a wonderfully quirky art installation involving a traditional cottage being wrapped in fabric. It’s definitely an event not to be missed!”

Tickets for the lectures can be booked in three ways - by contacting Phillipa McNeill of the University of Glasgow on 01387 702 131 or ,

through the Spring Fling webshop at www.spring-fling/shop or Spring Fling’s Eventbrite page:


Notes to Editors

• A preview of Spring Fling 2012 and the outstanding talent of its 76 artists, the event will showcase is currently being provided at the Taster Exhibition at Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries. It runs until 12 April before transferring to Stranraer Museum from 21 April to 19 May.

• Running alongside the Taster - to commemorate Spring Fling’s 10th birthday - is a Retrospective Exhibition celebrating the success of the festival and the number of visitors who have supported it through the past decade. The Retrospective features a newly commissioned film by Picto Productions which conveys the elements key to the event’s popularity – the region’s great richness of artistic and creative talent combined with its stunning scenery. Visitors are invited to decorate a ‘Memory Wall’ by noting their memories on paper people. Artists and makers who have participated in previous Spring Flings have also submitted pieces of work made specifically for the Retrospective.

• A total of 76 artists, makers and designers are taking part in this year’s festival. The diverse range of outstanding works visitors will see in their studios during Spring Fling 2012 spans painting and photography, jewellery and textiles, glass, ceramics and furniture. 

• Spring Fling 2012’s attractive brochure, with lively cover artwork by illustrator Lesley Barnes, is available in a first for Spring Fling - its new Smartphone app. Available on iPhone and Android platforms, this has been created to help visitors navigate studios, route-plan their event days out based on studio locations or artists’ disciplines, as well as access drop-down data on artists. It also enables searches for local attractions recommended by Spring Fling artists and signing up as a Friend of Spring Fling. The app – the full version of which will be available to download in April - has also been designed as a year-round guide to the hottest artists, makers and designers connected to Spring Fling and it will display Spring Fling Twitter and Facebook feeds as well as those of its artists.

• For full details of the programme and the artists, makers and designers taking part, see the website at



Media information

• For enquiries, interviews etc. contact Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or Ellen Drummond Ferroni on 07801 820757

• A backgrounder with additional details on Spring Fling accompanies this release.

• Free-to-use images are available from the Spring Fling website.