STONE project.

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9 Why a public carving event?

Milestone, a ‘live carve’ event was STONE Project’s main public research output, and the only public aspect of the project that could be considered innovative. Over a four-week period in August 2009, ten sculptors gathered on the grounds of the Edinburgh College of Art and sculpted beside each other and in public, sharing knowledge with each other and observant visitors.

In sculpture, there is a tradition of sculptors helping each other, and this tradition has helped to preserve a certain inter-dependence.  Each profession, it seems, develops its own personality, perhaps in response to the qualities of the material they use, the shape of the problems they face, and the rhythms of the work they perform.  In the past, and to some extent even today, sculptors learn their craft by observation. In a tradition that lasted for centuries they would work together in studios where they could learn both from the master and older apprentices. Formal education has slowly eroded this ‘family’ aspect of learning.

At STONE Project we are curious about education in general. We are willing to rethink educational structures and are not committed to either the organization that existed in the past or the ways that contemporary education is being structured. We have reached the conclusion that observation is more central to both structured and unstructured learning than has recently been acknowledged. For observation to be possible, demonstration either formal or informal has to be part of the process.

During milestone both participants and public were engaged in observing and demonstrating, each learning from the other. Most members of the public had never seen a sculpture taking form. Almost anyone who attended now knows more about sculpture but they are also more likely to know what specific tool-marks might mean on stones they see around the city. They now know how stone is split and how heavy things are moved.  The public was clearly learning from the artists but also the artists were learning from the public, who were compelled to share their observations, stories and knowledge with the sculptors and with each other.


Milestone live carve village, Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland (photo by Matthew Coombes)Milestone live carve village, Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland

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