Alison Chisholm curates the exhibitions for the Travelling Gallery and has overall responsibility for the service. It’s a unique job which has taken her and the TG team to some far flung corners of Scotland – squeezing the big beautiful bus into school playgrounds, on and off ferries and up and down the A9 with its precious cargo of contemporary art onboard.

Scotland has had a Travelling Gallery fairly continually since 1978 when the Scottish Arts Council put the very first one on the road which was an old bus conversion. Now with a fairly fancy custom-built gallery designed by Sutherland Hussey architects the Travelling Gallery continues the tradition of bringing art to the people with support from Creative Scotland, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the City of Edinburgh Council.

The previous exhibition, Drawn In, which toured from the Borders to Shetland and back again for 4 months, included newly commissioned works from Katy Dove, Rob Churm and Franziska Furter – and saw an average of 140 folk per day onboard – not bad for a wee space that doesn’t stay still for long. The next exhibition, Waste Management, is expected to be just as popular and is a collaboration between Edinburgh based Jonathan Owen and Glasgow based artist Charlie Hammond. Here Alison talks us through the background and installation of Waste Management before its launch on Thursday 25th August at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh.

I first approached Jonathan Owen about having an exhibition in the Travelling Gallery about 2 years ago. I’d been a huge fan of his work since seeing an elegantly carved gasmask at an Embassy Gallery exhibition some time ago and then later on he had a one person show at Doggerfisher which included more carving of readymades (Habitat coatstands and wine racks) and erased book pages of statues (see

I was happy for him to have a solo show but also suggested that he could choose a second artist to share the exhibition with – providing there was some link between both practices. Generously, Jonathan embraced this idea and that resulted in us both meeting Charlie Hammond for the first time in the storage cupboard of the Sorcha Dallas Gallery in Glasgow at the beginning of the year.

Putting 2 artists together who had previously never met and asking them to work together on one exhibition in a small, challenging space could’ve been a risky move. However, Jonathan and Charlie seemed to hit it off straight away and were soon in the pub discussing various ideas. They were both very keen to do a collaborative work for the exhibition and as Charlie had recently tried his hand at screen printing the plan was to create a poster for the exhibition which we would also use to promote the tour and combine with an interpretative leaflet that all visitors could take away with them.

The screen print process soon took hold though – both artists found it the ideal medium for combining ideas and layering up images – and what started out as one poster has resulted in a whole series of one-off collaborative prints which have become the core of the exhibition.

Initially disappointed that we probably wouldn’t have room for any of Charlie’s paintings or Jonathan’s erased book pages, once I saw the prints I was very happy that we will have a truly collaborative and cohesive installation. The prints are great!

We started preparing the space for installation last week and while Dave and Paul our technicians made the frames for the prints, Charlie and Jonathan decided how the space would be used. Jonathan produced a Tupperware box from a Tesco shopping bag and inside was a brand new carved wooden sculpture – originally a monk pouring wine which he bought on eBay – but now much more intriquing. The next day Charlie arrived with 3 chairs he made from old school chair frames and wheelie bins. On Thursday they didn’t appear and instead spent the day in Jonathan’s studio spray painting onto used fawny brown carpet tiles…

Tuesday 23rd: Two days to go and Charlie and Jonathan are fitting the stencilled carpet tiles. They really bring the exhibition together and surprisingly make the space look bigger – they do smell a bit though. The screen prints are all now beautifully framed – 6 on the wall so far and another 9 waiting to be placed. I like this exhibition.

Waste Management will be parked outside the City Art Centre and open to all from 12noon until 6pm on Thursday 25th August. It will then visit the following venues in the City.

Thursday 25 August City Art Centre, 2 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DE, 12pm – 5pm
Friday 26 August Modern Art Two (Dean Gallery), 10am – 6pm
Saturday 27 August Portobello High Street, near Bank of Scotland, 11am – 6pm
Monday 29 August Hawes Promenade, South Queensferry, 11am – 5pm
Tuesday 30 August Lochside Place, Edinburgh Park, 11am – 6pm
Wednesady 31 August Craigmillar Community Arts Centre, 10:30 – 3:30pm


Edinburgh Art Festival 25 – 31 August
Skye and Lochalsh 6 – 10 September
Highlands 12 – 23 September
Perth & Kinross 4 – 8 October
East Ayrshire 17 – 21 October
Scottish Borders 24 – 28 October
Dumfries and Galloway 31 October – 4 November
East Ayrshire 7 – 11 November
West Lothian 14 – 18 November (tbc)
Midlothian 28 November – 2 December
Edinburgh schools 5 – 9 December

The Travelling Gallery is a custom-built, mobile, contemporary art space supported by Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to bring world class visual art to schools and communities throughout Scotland.

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