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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

NOTES on a return

Collier, Mike (2010) NOTES on a return. In: NOTES on a return. AEN (Art Editions North, Sunderland, pp. 53-68. ISBN 978-0-9557478-6-1

Item Type: Book Section


In 1986, when taking part in New Work Newcastle, the artist, Alistair MacLennan said:
Society is no abstraction. (it is me and you)
We recite in a language we don’t understand
There was an ‘is’ where ‘can’ now stands
Rich or poor, misfortune stalks our door
The fallen rise
A growing business may also be cancerous
As one blind man can ‘see’ another ….. the DRIVEN drive
(Alistair MacLennan – Driven; Lie to Lay)

These words seem remarkably prescient now

Between 1986 and 1989, Collier (in collaboration with Projects UK) presented three Festivals of Performance Art called New Work Newcastle. The mid 1980’s was a period of considerable divisiveness socially and politically. The aim of NWN was to bring critical practice centre stage – away from the cultural margins and engage local democracy. Many of the performances either directly or indirectly challenged the political ideas of individualism and hierarchies of power and control being pursued at the time.

Amongst other things, NOTES on a return examined what New Work Newcastle (and by default what Performance Art) achieved (apart from temporary notoriety and a highly visible public presence) and placed the ideas explored then by Collier and the artists within a contemporary context – considering seriously, for the first time, the value and context of Performance Art in the eighties and comparing it to what is now often called ephemeral practice. At the same time, NOTES on a return considered the importance and relevance of archival exhibitions and looked at new ways of dealing with and exhibiting archival material

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Depositing User: Mike Collier


Item ID: 1506
ISBN: 978-0-9557478-6-1
Official URL:

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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2012 16:24
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 15:33


Author: Mike Collier

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Art and Design


Fine Art > Art in Context

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