Tom arrives in Edinburgh in 1786 to study law. He’s young and idealistic; the city is a lively place to be. He takes law exams and is called to the bar. He starts his career and develops a political voice along the way. However by 1793 the Establishment in the city think of him as a trouble maker rather than anything else and they turn on him kicking him out of his job, taking him to court and finally throwing him in jail.
Relationship with Place
I was raised in Glasgow and brought up to devalue Edinburgh. This is a running joke between our two cities. It wasn’t until I travelled abroad that I started to appreciate how visually impressive Edinburgh is. How many cities are built around a medieval castle perched on top of a volcanic plug? Despite living less than an hour away by public transport I don’t travel there often. It’s a garrison city loved by tourists. In September 2013 Edinburgh College of Art invited applications for an Artist in Residence based off campus in Charlotte Square. I viewed this as a real opportunity to improve my understanding of Edinburgh and was given the job. Over the next year I ran a number of research projects with students. We took a dérive, mapped the area, made interventions in public space and ran a symposium at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the Radical tradition.
Thomas arrives in town with a reputation as a difficult student after being expelled from Glasgow University for supporting Professor Anderson after his dismissal. However he has a recommendation from John Millar his old professor, and David Hume the Chair of Scots Law and nephew of the enlightenment philosopher, takes him on. Tom sees redevelopment projects right across the city underway. Drainage of the Nor Loch partially complete and the New Town project employing thousands of workmen. Southbridge is under construction and the University are looking over their plans for a new campus designed by Robert Adam. Tom sticks in at college and works hard to integrate himself into the city.
Between September 2013 and September 2014 I was employed by Edinburgh College of Art as artist in residence. Working with local property developers, the Charlotte Square Collection, I was commissioned to work with students across the school of art, design, music and architecture. Office space was donated in exchange for the cost of my project plus the university charitable status used to argue the case for rate reduction on a property that was liable for business rates but which was in legal dispute.
Materials budget: £5000