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'Curious Arts No. 6' (a collaborative artist book work) Published by CCA, Glasgow, 2013. ISBN: 978-0-9576732-1-2 The book work, 'Curious Arts – No. 6', results from a period of residency and research in the private library at Hospitalfield House in Arbroath on the North-East coast of Scotland. The original owners of the house, Patrick and Elizabeth Allan-Fraser, were both dedicated to the ideals of art and nature and, following their deaths in the late nineteenth century, the House has been run as a trust dedicated to developments in the visual arts, literature and music in Scotland and internationally. Given the owners’ original ideals, the House, its library and the ensuing years of residencies hosted by the Trust, have secured Hospitalfield as a part of Scotland and the UK’s cultural heritage: it is a hidden gem. Brind & Harold engaged with the House and its collections over a 6-year period. While the intention of this book is, in part, focused by the ethos of the Allan-Fraser’s, the House, its library and collections, 'Curious Arts – No. 6' is a visual and textual analysis of the qualities of the place, particularly those of the eclectic holdings of the library, that focuses on the ideals associated with nature and landscape. The archive comes alive as soon as one asks the question: how might this historical knowledge inform our contemporary understandings of the natural world? To help answer this Brind & Harold commissioned a human geographer, Dr. Nina Morris (Edinburgh University), and the academic and curator, Dr. Francis McKee (CCA, Glasgow) to join their researches into the House and its holdings. The resulting 52 page publication includes their responses as texts, as well as a visual essay by the artists, and includes an introduction by Lucy Byatt, Director of Hospitalfield House. Published by CCA, Glasgow, 'Curious Arts No. 6' has been produced with substantial financial support from The Royal Society of Edinburgh, along with funding from the Glasgow School of Art’s Research Development Fund, with the intention that it be freely gifted to Scottish public libraries and libraries within institutions of higher education in the UK, and selected art libraries internationally. Whilst we live in an age where the internet is proliferating as one means of knowledge storage and dissemination, private and public libraries remain invaluable as models of knowledge-gathering systems and as archives vital to our deeper understanding of the world. By gifting copies of 'Curious Arts No. 6' to libraries, Brind & Harold hope to symbolically connect the knowledge held in a small private library in Arbroath with libraries and readers elsewhere.
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