This week on the SGSAH blog we have a series of posts from students who undertook SGSAH funded residencies earlier this year. Yesterday we heard from Katerina Talianni, who was thinker in residence at Deveron Projects in Huntly.
SGSAH Research Residency at Cove Park
Our post today is by Daphne de Sonneville. Daphne is an artist and writer, and a practice-based PhD candidate at the Edinburgh College of Art (supported by the ECA Research Award 2016–19). In her research project The Descend of Significance: Slapstick and Abstraction, she employs slapstick as a method to investigate the relationship between materiality and abstraction in language.
In March 2017 I was a SGSAH researcher in residence at Cove Park. For the duration of one week I had my own pod halfway up a hill on the Rosneath peninsula. It overlooked a pond with Loch Long behind it. There was a duck sitting on a rock in front of my window. He was there every day. A little further, on top of the hill, I had a studio. It was next to the artist centre. There, I did a lot of writing, made a sound work and worked on the beginnings of a video. It was so quiet I could record my voice without any background noise. There was no wifi or phone signal either, allowing me to work without distraction.
To meet other people, I went to the artist centre. This was the only place with internet, making it possible to be in touch with the outside world as well. The artist centre has a large kitchen, living room (with wood stove), library and various sitting and working areas. Coincidentally, there were all kinds of sound specialists (musicians, sound artists) in residence at Cove Park too. That made for socialising and interesting conversations about work. On one of the last evenings we did a jam session in a room with stunning views. Some played an instrument or device and I spoke in the microphone. I had previously written a number of texts of which I wondered how they would sound with music. The jam session lasted a total of one and a half hours, so there was plenty of time to try it. It was beautiful how everything merged together; the music, the environment, my words.
That was by far the most social activity of the week. The rest of the time I spent a lot by myself. Every morning I had breakfast with the duck. I found it very soothing to start my day surrounded by nature. After breakfast I usually walked up to my studio, and for lunch I went back down again. By walking up and down the hill every day, working in my quiet studio and looking at the duck I found myself isolated from the hassle of my daily life. This helped me to concentrate and develop ideas. I don’t think I would have made the same work had I been in my regular environment. The tranquillity and beautiful surroundings of Cove Park provided me with a week of no distractions, resulting in something tangible to take home with me.
You can find out more about Cove Park and Daphne’s experiences in this blog post by Anna Scott, the Knowledge Exchange and Partnerships Manager for SGSAH.
If you are interested in undertaking a residency or internship during your PhD, keep an eye on the opportunities page of the SGSAH website. You can also sign up to their mailing list here, to have all the latest news and opportunities sent straight to your inbox!