15 October 2016
The Courier (p.19)
Artist critical of public reaction to £15,000 project.
Ellie – who is taking time out of her job at Dundee University – is in the 10th month of her “action-research” experiment, which involves her living in Glasgow for a year without leaving the city.
So far, she has published an essay calling for a radical shake-up of higher education, as well as a report calling for the return of British Rail, which was to be presented at the Houses of Parliament on October 13.
She has also given a number of talks, including a presentation at the recent AGM of the Scottish Artists Union.
Since The Glasgow Effect launched in January, Ellie has been heavily criticised for apparently using Creative Scotland funds to “go on a sabbatical”, with some accusing her of not having created much art so far.
But at the union AGM, she said she could “count on one hand” the number of days she has taken off since the start of her project, adding that it has exacerbated the issue of loneliness and long hours faced by most freelancers.
Ellie said: “Unfortunately, these two things have got worse for me this year, as I’ve been working on a little project called The Glasgow Effect. Firstly, because of the weight of responsibility and the sheer volume of scrutiny that I received as a result of accepting that public money. I successfully aligned the interests of an entire city with a common goal of taking the p**s out of me.
“The one thing that annoyed me the most was the myth that was being perpetuated of the lazy artist, because it could not be further from the truth.
“I can easily count on the one hand the number of days I’ve had off this year; and because I’ve taken on so much I’m just going to have to work and work until December, ploughing through until the very end when I’ve got the privilege of going back to my actual work.”