Sharing Little Sparta

2018 Resident Artist

John Farrell

Language as Landscape

John Farrell (born 1990) is interested in the notion of language as a form of landscape. He declares an affinity with Finlay’s work and plans to spend time in the garden to experience the physical aspect of language as a ‘landscape’ at Little Sparta. He will also spend time in Finlay’s library and visit other collections of his written and printed work. Keeping with the spirit of Finlay himself, John intends to work collaboratively with other artists and makers on a small artist book.

John is based in Bellshill in Scotland’s post-industrial central belt. He graduated with a first class honours degree in Fine Art Photography from Glasgow School of Art in 2015 and won the Hope Scott Trust Visual Arts Award in 2016.

Recent exhibitions include: ‘Coal, Steel and Earth’, Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life, Coatbridge (2018); (INTER)TWINE, Supernormal, Singapore (2018); Focas India, Document, The National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar, India and Trongate 103, Glasgow (2017); ‘An Interval of Time’, New Photographers Guild, Trongate 103, Glasgow (2017); RSA New Contemporaries, Royal Scottish Academy Galleries, Edinburgh (2016).

Sharing Little Sparta

2018 Residency Programme

John Farrell (born 1990, Bellshill, Scotland) is an artist and writer based in Glasgow. His practice utilises photography, text, video, found/archival imagery and sound. He has exhibited internationally and throughout Scotland since graduating in 2015. His work often begins as a response to a specific historical or cultural signifier and he is drawn to forgotten places and histories. 

Most recently John has been working on ‘Traces and Edges’, a new longterm investigation into the former Ravenscraig Steelworks, which culminated in the exhibition ‘Coal, Steel and Earth’ at Summerlee Museum in 2018. His critical writing has been published in a number of books and journals, including NOTES and the Scottish Society for the History of Photography journal Studies in Photography. He has written extensively on the work of Robert Frank and organised the Scottish premiere of Laura Israel’s acclaimed documentary ‘Don’t Blink’ at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow as part of Glasgow Zine Fest, May 2017.

The Little Sparta Trust is grateful to the Trustees of The Bridge Awards for supporting this residency.

Sharing Little Sparta

2017 Residency Programme

Gerry Loose, Martin Parker and Sarah Tripp.

Gerry Loose (born 1948) is interested in the key role Sue Finlay played in the development of Little Sparta and has stated that ‘(her) plants are crucial to place and poem, informed by both.’ During his residency he will explore Sue’s approach to planting in the garden and consider the ways this was done in relation to both the reality of the landscape itself and to the essential interplay between the plants, poems and the site. Gerry will refer to documentation in the library at Little Sparta and to archival material held in Edinburgh, focusing upon the ideas that informed this collaborative project and led to the creation of what he describes as ‘Scotland’s ultimate site specific artwork as a whole; neither plant more poem may be removed from place without irreparable damage to that whole; a syntax of landscape not met elsewhere.’

Gerry Loose lives on the Isle of Bute. He is a poet, editor and gardener and has been poet-in-residence at the Botanic Gardens, Glasgow, and at the Jardin des Plantes, Montpellier. His poetry is informed by his extensive knowledge of agriculture, horticulture and his experience of designing and making gardens; he has written that ‘My poetry is as likely to appear in these (and ungardened landscapes) as on the page.’

Principal publications include: The Elementary Particles (Taranis Books, 1993), Tongues of Stone (Mariscat Press, 1998), Eitgal (Mariscat Press, 2001) Printed on Water: new and selected poems (Shearsman Books, 2007), Ten Seasons (SPL & Luath, 2007), the deer path to my door (Oystercatcher, 2009), that person himself (Shearsman Books, 2009), Fault Line (Vagabond Poets, 2014) and An Oakwoods Almanac (Shearsman Books, 2015).

Martin Parker is a sound artist and composer based in Edinburgh. His interest in Little Sparta revolves around the idea of cultivation and the parallels between the practices of a gardener and a musician. The gardener works with nature by controlling it and thereby encouraging it to be itself. Musicians work in a similar domain where the wild and the practiced make a necessary partnership.

Parker’s work at Little Sparta will begin with the development of a series of short film loops: ‘Images of organic matter, gently activated by wind, rain and heat (will be) accompanied by entirely synthesised sound that is shaped by the small movements we see. In doing this I expect a poetic resonance to emerge between two seemingly opposing words.’ These works will be shared via social media and, ultimately, will occupy a dedicated website where visitors can pause and resume the films to create a unique audiovisual pattern. The final stage of this project, beyond the residency itself, will take the form of a sound installation where visitors can freely arrange different kinds of loudspeakers with different sounds growing within them. The careful arrangement and shaping of a landscape of speakers is analogous to Finlay’s work in creating and cultivating his garden and Parker has stated that ‘I regard the deep knowledge that is embedded in computing technology and expressed in digital art as making a powerful connection with the references to human history and knowledge that Finlay’s garden reveals.’

A composer, improviser and soloist with laptop, Parker’s work focuses on encounters between computers, people and places. Based in Edinburgh, he has performed and collaborated internationally with theatre companies, symphony orchestras, visual artists and ensembles; recent projects include ‘Songs for an airless room’, an ‘opera’ for cinemas performed by Joby Burgess and Phil Minton. Martin has been Artistic Director of Edinburgh’s Dialogues Festival for over 10 years and is one third of free improvisation trio Lapslap. He is Academic Director of the University of Edinburgh’s MSc in Sound Design.

Sarah Tripp is a visual artist based in Glasgow. During her residency Sarah Tripp will focus upon Finlay’s desire to maintain the garden as an artwork by caring for its temporal as well as its spatial boundaries: the Little Sparta Trust preserves this by opening the garden to visitors between June and September only, when the plants and trees are flourishing and in full leaf. In this way, Tripp will approach Little Sparta ‘as a work composed from poetry and framed by a narrative of seasonal changes.’ She will draw upon Finlay’s library at Little Sparta, and archives held elsewhere in Scotland, to explore the potential for events – created and delivered by herself and other artists –  synchronised to the opening and closing of the garden.

Sarah’s artworks have taken multiple forms including: publications, solo performances, public events and films. Often they take more than one form simultaneously or evolve through a number of forms moving from text to public event to film. She writes highly compressed prose works intentionally keeping dénouement suspended in order to invite a reader to imagine, and reimagine, endings. Customs, gestures and moods are reoccurring themes in her artworks which draw from literature and psychoanalysis. Tripp often uses an eclectic mix of materials and sources, seeking out people to interview and undertaking in-depth research.

Sarah completed a BA in Fine Art at The Glasgow School of Art in 1994 and an MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art in 1996 before returning to Glasgow to practice as an artist, writer and curator, and join the committee of the Transmission Gallery. In 2016 she completed her practice-led PhD at Edinburgh University in writing character studies using a cyclical, reflective methodology. Recent projects include: Selected recent projects include: ‘Making People Up’, Artists Moving Image Festival 2016, LUX Scotland, Tramway (Glasgow); ’Listening to Strangers’, Eavesdropper, CCA (Glasgow), 2015; ‘Dr Sinclair’s Drawer’, Flat Time House (London) and Book Works (London) 2014; ‘You Are of Vital Importance to the Art Community, CCA (Glasgow) and Book Works (London), 2014; ‘24 Stops’, Camden Arts Centre (London) with UCLH Arts, 2013 and ‘Adaptation’, Collective (Edinburgh), 2012. She is currently developing a new work of fiction with Book Works (London) and a collaborative publication of lectures with Dr Kate Briggs (Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam) exploring forms as they appear in writing.

Sharing Little Sparta

2016 Residency Programme

Thomas A. Clark, Peter Manson and Sarah Rose

Thomas A. Clark
(born Greenock, 1944) is a poet, editor and curator based in Pittenweem, Fife. His poetry collections include Farm by the Shore (forthcoming from Carcanet), Yellow and Blue (Carcanet, 2014), The Hundred Thousand Places (Carcanet 2009), The Path to the Sea (Arc 2005), Distance & Proximity(Pocketbooks 2000) and Tormentil & Bleached Bones (Polygon 1993). His involvement from he mid 1960s with the international concrete poetry movement led to close associations with Ian Hamilton Finlay, Edwin Morgan and Dom Sylvester Houedard. In 1973, with the artist Laurie Clark, he founded Moschatel Press, publishing work by Finlay amongst many others. In 1986 he and Laurie went on to launch the Cairn Gallery, specialising in Land Art, Minimalism and Conceptual Art. His work as Director of the gallery, now located in Pittenweem, and his association with artists such as Roger Ackling, Hamish Fulton and Richard Long, has directly influenced his most recent work and collections of poetry on Scottish landscape and culture.

Peter Manson (born Glasgow, 1969) lives in Glasgow. He is a poet and translator of poetry. His books include English in Mallarmé (Blart Books, 2014), Poems of Frank Rupture (Sancho Panza Press), Adjunct: an Undigest and For the Good of Liars (both from Barque Press), and Between Cup and Lip (Miami University Press, Ohio). Manson has delivered numerous talks and lectures on his work on Mallarmé and his publication Stéphane Mallarmé: The Poems in Verse (Miami UP) was shortlisted for the Poetry Society’s 2013 Popescu Prize. His poetry has appeared in many national and international anthologies and journals. Between 1994 and 1997 he co-edited eight issues of the experimental/modernist poetry journal Object Permanence, which published and reviewed a wide range of writing from the UK and North America. Manson has been invited to read from his work at many UK and international centres and festivals, including most recently Boise State University, Idaho (2016), Hi Zero (Brighton, 2016), Oxford Brookes University (2015) and the Universities of Bydgoszcz and Poznan, Poland (2010). You can see a collection of Manson’s blog posts from his residency in our digital archive

Sarah Rose (born London, 1985) is a visual artist based in Glasgow. Recent solo exhibitions include Difficult Mothers (SWG3 Gallery, Glasgow, 2016) and The Printer’s Devil (CCA/Intermedia Gallery, Glasgow, 2015). Hew work has been included in many national and international group exhibitions in centres such as Auckland, Edinburgh, Munich and New York. She has taken part in several acclaimed residency programmes, such as Hospitalfield Arts (Arbroath), Seoul Art Space (Korea) and a thematic residency led by Will Holder at the Banff Centre (Canada). She currently co-hosts tenletters, a publishing project based in Glasgow, and is part of the ongoing collaboration lightreading. Both of these projects are concerned with art, writing and publication. Rose graduated with a Masters of Fine Art from The Glasgow School of Art in 2012, and a Bachelors degree majoring in Fine Art and Writing Studies from the University of Auckland.

Sharing Little Sparta

Sharing Little Sparta

The Little Sparta Trust launched Sharing Little Sparta in 2016. Working in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the National Galleries of Scotlandand the Scottish Poetry Library, this new project aims to improve and enhance access to Little Sparta, both for the public and for artists.

Sharing Little Sparta is developing new ways for the public and artists to engage with the garden, promoting intellectual, creative and virtual access through a wide variety of means. The project aims to bring a new openness to the garden, whilst maintaining the vital balance between what is an enjoyably secluded place and a work of international cultural influence.

This website showcases several new digital projects designed to enhance and enrich the experience of visitors to the garden and to enable audiences world-wide to engage with Little Sparta. Working with Edinburgh College of Art’s Design Informatics department, new visual, audio and interactive material is in development to share information and provide alternative perspectives on Little Sparta and the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay.

Little Sparta Residency Programme

The Little Sparta Residency Programme is a new series of funded residencies for visual and performing artists, sound artists, poets and writers based in Scotland.

The residencies enable artists to engage with Little Sparta and the ideas that informed and were generated by it. The artists have supported access to the garden, Ian Hamilton Finlay’s personal library and collections of his work held at the National Galleries of Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library. The programme offers a unique opportunity for artists to be based at and produce work within an exceptional and inspiring environment.

Sharing Little Sparta

Little Sparta Residencies

The Little Sparta Residency Programme is a new series of funded residencies for visual and performing artists, sound artists, poets and writers based in Scotland. The residencies enable artists to engage with Little Sparta and the ideas that informed and were generated by it. The artists have supported access to the garden, Ian Hamilton Finlay’s personal library and collections of his work held at the National Galleries of Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library. The programme offers a unique opportunity for artists to be based at and produce work within an exceptional and inspiring environment.