ROBERT GORDON UNIVERSITY, GARTHDEE PUBLIC ART & THE RIVERSIDE CAMPUS

PUBLIC ART STRATEGY ONLINE QUESTIONNAIRE FEEDBACK -

DRAFT

Prepared by Ian Banks Director of Atoll Ltd & RGU Public Art Consultant 5th July 2012

RGU Public Art & the Riverside Campus: Introduction

The Scottish Government's International Design Summit on 29/30 May 2012 launched a consultation on their 'Policy on Architecture and Place for Scotland'. In this, and exploring the notion of 'Culture, Economy and Place', Chief Executive of Creative Scotland Andrew Dixon spoke about the importance of cultural initiatives engaging locals, animating the city, and putting right 100 years of underinvestment to "bring people back to the river". Creative Scotland believe that Scotland hasn’t celebrated its cultural strengths and sense of pride enough. So, considering this strategic viewpoint, a new Public Arts Strategy for RGU, once agreed and adopted, hopes to look and focus both on the 'internal' riverside campus at Garthdee as well as it's 'external' relationships. A separate RGU Cultural Engagement Strategy is currently also under consideration, and this will be informed by any newly adopted Public Art Strategy. In short, this new public art strategy aspires to bring people back to the river.

RGU Public Art & the Riverside Campus: Survey Monkey Questionnaire

In the short term phase, practical outputs might include applied artwork and 'artistic technology' in or around the main entrance to the new Garthdee Campus buildings - including the new Library Learning Tower; Beyond this (and of course subject to agreed priority, and sustainable business & fundraising plans over the longer term) RGU hopes to to then consider a wider series of creative art, design and technology projects, ranging from those dealing specifically with the architectural and landscape environment; to others aimed at creating collaboration between disciplines; or engagement with local communities and partners. It is envisaged that some of these cultural 'outputs' will be permanent, whilst others will be of a temporary, durational, or performative nature. As such, the following 6 questions were set and issued via a SurveyMonkey Questionnaire on 22 nd June 2012. It was sent to 54 largely internal RGU stakeholders, and 27 online responses (54%) were initiated by the 29 th June. The following pages record the general questions asked and the consensus reached so far (where one exists). The intention hereafter will be to engage more widely following production of a final strategy.

Q1. Introduction: Response Summary
NOTE: This question tried to establish a fundamental point – is public art important to RGU, and if so, is it just the campus it should apply to or a wider city. The results were reassuringly positive.

Q1. Do you recognise the strategic importance of developing a sustainable public art and cultural strategy for Robert Gordon University?

Q1. Introduction: Consensus
0 out of 27 (0%) felt that a public art strategy should link to just the RGU Garthdee campus, or thought it a bad idea in any way. 23 out of 27 (85.2%) respondents to this question felt that the sustainable public art strategy was both important and should link itself to the wider city of Aberdeen. 4 out of 27 (14.4%) felt that a sustainable public art strategy was important but with certain provisios (see below) 10 out of 27 (37%) respondents raised the following conditional points and provisos:

• • • • •
• • • • •

Partnerships should be beyond RGU Links to wider city and immediate community should be explored Different approaches made to any campus and city strategy Requirement for engaged and receptive stakeholder community Need for close relationship to Public Art Aberdeen and the 'public art tool kit – and which can help inform future policy (i.e. Cultural Assets Plan) Provide ‘welcome to the campus’ but also contribute to an economic, social and cultural region Importance to explore RGU's collection and contribute to new city cultural quarter Very welcome in principle, but only be worth doing if properly resourced in terms of management, sustainability and quality Opportunity should be taken to add to broader cultural development of university and community Must of course link to RGU strategy and key objectives of the institution

Q2. Art Form Priority: Response Summary
NOTE: This question tried to establish if there was any deemed preference or priority to artform types. What came out of this, were certain practical ‘weightings’ prioritising hard and soft landscaping, permanent sculpture and community engagement etc, but none were so that highly or lowly rated as to set them apart or exclude them.

Q2. As applicable, what do you see your personal art form priority being for any 'public art and cultural strategy' and it's relative 'weighting' of importance? Rate from this alphabetical list, between 0 and 11 loose 'art form‘ types (or feel free to add your own).

Q2. Art Form Priority: High Priority
Out of 24 respondents, the most important areas are seen as:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Hard & Soft Landscaping & Trails - 14 out of 23 (60.9%) Community Engagement & Participatory Arts - 13 out of 24 (54.2%) Permanent Sculpture & Visual Art - 10 out of 23 (43.5%) Architecture, Design & Technology Collaborations - 10 out of 24 (41.7%) Temporary Art & Design Installations - 9 out of 23 (39.1%) Arts, Health & Well-Being - 9 out of 23 (39.1%) Performance & Festival Arts - 8 out of 23 (34.8%) Lighting, Sound or Electronic New Media - 5 out of 22 (22.7%) Design, Craft & Graphic Arts - 5 out of 23 (21.7%) Video, Film & Literature - 3 out of 22 (13.6%) Land or Ecology Arts - 3 out of 23 (13.0%) Other – 0 out of 2 (0%)

Q2. Art Form Priority: Medium Priority
Out of 24 respondents, the moderately important areas are seen as:

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Design, Craft & Graphic Arts - 14 out of 23 (60.9%) Arts, Health & Well-Being - 13 out of 23 (56.5%) Land or Ecology Arts - 13 out of 23 (56.5%) Permanent Sculpture & Visual Art - 12 out of 23 (52.2%) Architecture, Design & Technology Collaborations - 12 out of 24 (50.0%) Lighting, Sound or Electronic New Media - 11 out of 22 (50.0%) Performance & Festival Arts - 11 out of 23 (47.8%) Temporary Art & Design Installations - 10 out of 23 (43.5%) Video, Film & Literature - 9 out of 22 (40.9%) Community Engagement & Participatory Arts - 7 out of 24 (29.2%) Hard & Soft Landscaping & Trails - 5 out of 23 (21.7%) Other – 0 out of 2 (0%)

Q2. Art Form Priority: Consensus
Out of 24 respondents, both medium and high important areas are seen as: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. Permanent Sculpture & Visual Art - 22 out of 23 (95.7%) Arts, Health & Well-Being - 22 out of 23 (95.6%) Architecture, Design & Technology Collaborations - 22 out of 24 (91.7%) Community Engagement & Participatory Arts - 20 out of 24 (83.5%) Design, Craft & Graphic Arts - 19 out of 23 (82.6%) Hard & Soft Landscaping & Trails - 19 out of 23 (82.6%) Performance & Festival Arts - 19 out of 23 (82.6%) Temporary Art & Design Installations - 19 out of 23 (82.6%) Lighting, Sound or Electronic New Media - 16 out of 22 (72.7%) Land or Ecology Arts - 16 out of 23 (69.5%) Video, Film & Literature - 12 out of 22 (54.5%) Other – 0 out of 2 (0%)

Q2. Art Form Priority: Consensus
Based on the limited consultation to date there is no real stand-out preference or priority, whether you look at high or medium priority artform types. What becomes clear however, is that when you join the two to take a mean average of both high and medium priority, a pattern emerges that, whilst illustrating a slight leaning towards certain artforms, does not discount other artforms either. This seems to suggests a desire for a balanced range of artform, based on the limited consultation to date. 2 out of 24 (8.3%) respondents raised the following conditional points and provisos: • • • • Public art should make a difference to people's experience of place. Hard/soft landscaping,lighting, sculpture priority with community engagement and participatory arts on a small scale Banffshire Coast Festival shows temporary installations can be a major cultural tourism draw Need to link to RGU strengths and highlight activity RGU are engaged in that is often unnoticed in the community

Q3. Artistic Outcomes: Response Summary
NOTE: Though this question confused slightly in terms of whether relative ‘importance’ was to do with desire or urgency, it tried to establish thinking about the need for a comprehensive long-term approach, plus the focus of deciding what sort of artistic programmes should be pursued as a first priority.

Q3. In terms of the potential for these 13 theoretical 'artistic outcomes' listed alphabetically below, please could you indicate your personal or professional preference in terms of their importance in a short, medium or long term. You may also add your own priorities, plus any other points in the text box below. There are no minimum or maximum responses required to this question.

Short to Medium-Term Priority 1. Campus Riverside & Ecology - 'Environmental Arts in the Park' – 17 out of 21 (80.9%) 2. Creative Engagement - Community Arts & Well-Being – 15 out of 19 (78.9%) 3. School Identity - Artworks Strengthening 'Sense of Identity' – 16 out of 21 (76.2%) 4. Outdoor Amenity - Arts, Leisure, Sports & Cultural Programming – 14 out of 19 (73.6%) 5. Animation, Wayfinding & Interpretation - Campus Signage, Arts Media & Apps – 14 out of 22 (63.6%)

Q3. Artistic Outcomes: Consensus

Medium to Long-Term Priority
6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Cultural Masterplan - New River Bridge & Trails, Creative Use of Old Buildings etc– 16 out of 21 (76.2%) Strategic - Links to Wider City, City Garden Project, City of Culture – 16 out of 21 (76.2%) Artistic Collaboration - Interdisciplinary Creativity – 15 out of 20 (75.0%) Art & Architecture - Iconic Gateways & Beacons – 15 out of 21 (71.5%) City Outreach Pilots - Student Volunteering, Partnering & Skills Development – 15 out of 21 (71.4%) University Collections - New Public Showcase(s) – 14 out of 20 (70.0%) Exploratory - 'Experimental' Projects in Public Realm – 14 out of 20 (70.0%) Indoor Space - 'Learning & Welcome' Cultural Programme – 15 out of 22 (68.2%)

Q3. Artistic Outcomes: Consensus
There was some confusion expressed from a minority about whether the priority was to do with desire or urgency 3 out of 22 (13.6%) respondents raised the following conditional points and provisos:

• • • • • • •

Making the campus functional and inspirational - internally and externally Using art to create beacons/signals of confidence and intent Avoiding "white elephants“ to RGU and community The "how" or process is as important as the outcome Engagement with students/colleagues and wider community is key. Public art inspires and challenges and represents RGU Need to continually review the strategy - long term priority now may lose or gain in importance

Q4. Major Project Priorities: Response Summary
NOTE: This question confused slightly in terms of the meaning of priority, but what it set out to test was what sort of ‘actual’ and ‘practical’ projects might be developed – and again, what sort of timeframe and ‘big picture’ these might fit into.

Q4: More specifically, in terms of any potential live projects of a larger scale, please tick any that you feel are particularly important (or none at all). You may also add your own priorities, plus any other points in the text box below. There are no minimum or maximum responses required to this question.

Q4. Major Project Priorities: Consensus
Higher Project Priority 1st Gallery Space for RGU Collections Exhibition – 17 out of 21 (81.0%) nd 2 River Dee Pedestrian and Cycle Bridge – 13 out of 21 (61.9%) rd 3 Library Learning Tower - Lighting & Media Installation – 12 out of 21 (57.1%) Medium Project Priority 4th/eq Learning Cafe & Atrium Commissions – 11 out of 21 (52.4%) th/eq 4 Main Site Entrance & Lobby - Permanent Sculptural Work(s) – 11 out of 21 (52.4%) th/eq 4 Outdoor Cafe & Multi-Function Campus Gallery – 11 out of 21 (52.4%) 7th/eq Campus Arts Festival Programme(s) – 10 out of 21 (47.6%) th/eq 7 Sculpture Park or Trail – 10 out of 21 (47.6%) 9th/eq Garthdee Campus Pavilion(s) – 7 out of 21 (33.3%) Lower Project Priority 10th/eq House for a Visiting Artist - New Residency Space(s) – 5 out of 21 (23.8%) th/eq 10 Lighting & Projections - Teaching & Arts Drum etc – 5 out of 21 (23.8%) 10th/eq Performance Bowl & Viewing Terrace – 5 out of 21 (23.8%) th 13 Individual School Commissions (Internal and/or External) – 3 out of 21 (14.3%) th 14 Other – 1 out of 21 (4.8%)

Q4. Major Project Priorities: Consensus
Again there was some confusion expressed from a minority about project priority 2 out of 21 (9.5%) respondents raised the following conditional points and provisos: • • • • • • Suggestions are assessed for impact - what impact will each have - on staff/students/wider community Not just permanent activity but also animation and temporary/changing activity Strong student/alumni engagement given RGU is a university Re performance bowl/ viewing terrace - Cross engagement public spaces for collaboration and participation opportunities. Examples could be local community engaging with Grays, cross faculty Public art purpose to open up what RGU do with wider public but allow local agendas to inform the context that RGU approach learning

Q5. Visioning Availability: Response Summary
NOTE: This question was trying to see if there was interest in participating in a visioning session. The consensus was that there was, but that timings over the summer was likely to be an issue.

Q5: Following this questionnaire and production of a first draft strategy, RGU intends to host a 2-hour visioning session to first present and then test and discuss the developing ideas (at a RGU venue to be agreed). As such, would you be interested in attending this session? The following alternative seven dates have been set aside tentatively for this.

Q5. Visioning Availability: Consensus

For all the dates and times given, the highest numbers of attendees was 6 out of 17 (35.2%) that answered this question The general consensus was essentially that this was too short a notice and that maybe an August date might be more appropriate.

Q6. Personal Statements: Response Summary
NOTE: This totally optional question gave stakeholders a free reign to feedback with any thoughts, ideas or constructive criticism. The outcome was some interesting insights, and a clear wish to raise the bar and make RGU Garthdee much more inclusive.

Q6: As an optional conclusion, please feel free to summarise your own personal or professional viewpoint and suggestions here. Please in not more than 2000 characters, write or cut-and-paste in your own supporting thoughts and observations on the strategy (or this questionnaire). You may leave this section blank if you prefer.

Q6. Personal Statements: Consensus
8 out of 27 (29.6%) respondents raised the following conditional points and provisos (in abridged summary): • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Stimulate this debate and achieve best riverside campus in Europe Pursue practical steps that make this a reality Restore areas of the landscape after the construction work Create environment uplifting for all of stakeholders and users Long term strategy needs to be flexible and should be circulated to all staff and to student reps Fully endorsed approach of PARC to provide RGU with a framework strategy to engage locally and nationally Active walks throughout it's entire length with lots of pleasant vistas including public art Bridge link to Waterside Farm would transform the potential impact for university & the city of any park/ public art space Promotion and establishment of flexible but clearly defined facilities within campus Promotion (by any means) of health and wellbeing message Shared understanding of acceptable risk with threats to core activity minimised, but not conflict with flexibility or creativity High degree of communication and cooperation starting at the earliest stages to avoid problems and meet objectives RGU tends to be very practical and this is fabulous opportunity to engage hearts and minds Create a very special campus as well as provide leadership in a city with too little public art as energy capital of Europe The how needs to be considered as well as the what There's a fabulous opportunity to build community here Results need to combine permanancy and change, challenge and inspiration Need a process and outcomes that create a positive sense community Signals of RGU's ethos Need to engage all students/alumni - and not just Gray's and Scott's Great opportunity for RGU (primarily Grays) to re-engage with city and have bigger role in shaping it's future and culture Garthdee location is a barrier encouraging disconnect with the cultural institues/venues Lack of participation is reflected in the vibrancy and perception of the city Opportunity to look at creative ways of engaging Grays with city RGU public engagement strategy Development of a public art strategy as best practice to engaging immediate and wider community Examples of Aberdeen University's surrounding community that have a sense of pride in that institute on their door steps. Artwork represent the different focus within the Faculties

Summing Up: Strategic Blueprint
A number of immediate recommendations come out of this survey – either as direct recommendations, or as creative interpretations of the Public Art Consultant. What is clear is a desire and a need for RGU to up it’s game both artistically and practically, and for it to use such a public art programme to attempt to ‘bridge’ with the city much more than before. Whilst it is easy on the one hand to vision a number of dream scenarios, there are of course a number of considerations, not least of which is a need to manage expectations and build gradually and sustainably. Where there are potential conflicts, these are mainly regarding practical funding, procuring and managing. Priority / Strategic / Immediate 1. Align to Creative Scotland and Aberdeen Cultural Aims & Objectives (Including City of Culture / City Gardens etc) via further RGU Campus Arts Development Panel placements and participation on City panels etc 2. Commission an ongoing revisit, review and updating of the Garthdee Masterplan in the light of current build and ‘decant’ programme and cultural/creative economy 3. Review and align public art strategically to Aberdeen Public Art Toolkit and develop protocols and concords with Aberdeen City. Also invite Aberdeen City regularly on campus to engage (and not just via Grays) 4. Consider carefully providing a ‘city’ shop-window presence for RGU and Collection in light of future School Hill sell-off etc. 5. Review wider RGU cultural and business ambassadors and champions and initiate targeted engagement 6. Engage RGU internally for school capacity for sustainable, creative collaboration programme via public art 7. Agree curation and programming of future Library Learning Hub public programme for post April 2013 8. Formally agree RGU Public Art & Riverside Strategy and priority projects and influence on developing Cultural Engagement Strategy. The future amenity and ecology of both campus masterplan and the River Dee should feature in this. 9. Ring fence any agreed Public Art Endowment Levy and establish future fundraising strategy and business plan to enable this 10. Agree creative and collaborative management system to facilitate nad maintain this – external or internal to RGU as desired

Summing Up: Creative Way Forward
Short-Term - Project Priority • • • • • • • Develop the Library Learning Tower commission as a priority – and seek additional funding should the Creative Scotland be unsuccessful (Decision due October 2012) Develop and look to fund permanent cultural engagement and animation programme(s) and events to foyer and Library Learning Hub Work closely with Aberdeen City Arts Development Team to practically develop joint working project briefs with students and community linked to Public Art Aberdeen blueprint and protocol and focusing on Garthdee and Dee corridor Develop creative wayfinding and interpretation strategy and project fund – for campus wide, Garthdee and city linked to loop walk/cycleway Linked to above, develop other public art briefs and budgets for integrated sculpture park linked to agreed Garthdee landscape masterplan Develop a next tier of school & faculty based project briefs with them as collaborative clients (internally and externally) Negotiate with Scott Sutherland, Grays and other interested schools to explore collaborative programme linked to temporary installations and creative participatory events – in art, craft, design, technology, engineering and architecture etc

Short-to-MediumTerm – Enabling tasks to help vision and explore medium-long term goals • • • • • Commission detailed review of and feasibility for University Collections and need for permanent Gallery and public visitor attraction Commission feasibility for Outdoor Cafe & Multi-Function Campus Gallery - possibly linked to RGU Collections Commission feasibility for re-use (including temporary) of Grays or new build on site – possibly linked to RGU Collections Commission feasibility for estasblishing permanent RGU Riverside Festival (annual, biennial or triennial) Commission feasibility exploration into international collaborative design competition for new Dee footbridge PLUS Shakey Bridge renovation fundraising via Arts & Business and Angel-shares Crowdsourcing

ROBERT GORDON UNIVERSITY, GARTHDEE PUBLIC ART & THE RIVERSIDE CAMPUS

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