Monthly Archives: April 2013

Kilmahew / St Peter’s
have your say here

Artists impression of refurbished seminary chapel (Image: James Johnson)

As an ongoing supporter, you will know that NVA is a registered environmental arts charity that was established over twenty years ago to protect and preserve the natural and built heritage of Scotland.  Over the past few years we have been working on the Kilmahew / St Peter’s project, with local people and organisations, to find a permanent solution for the derelict St Peter’s seminary buildings and the surrounding Kilmahew Estate, situated by the village of Cardross.  The seminary was designed and built in the 1960s Modernist style and is Category A listed.  However, despite its protected status and international architectural significance, it has been abandoned for over twenty-five years.  The buildings are in a dangerous state, and the neglected woodlands overgrown with invasive species and soon will be unable to support native flora and fauna.

St Peter’s seminary in its current state

In February 2013, a planning application was submitted to Argyll & Bute Council for a proposal that will partially restore the buildings and carry out the necessary conservation repair works to prevent further deterioration.  Works will also be undertaken in the wider estate to re-establish the semi-ancient Kilmahew Woodland and original path networks, and create a modest new building within the original Victorian walled garden that will act as the social hub for the site. The consolidated ruin and importantly the wider landscape works will establish event spaces that will host an annual programme of heritage, learning, cultural (public art, events, performances) and environmental activities – bringing life back to the estate and creating a valuable community asset.

We need your help to make all this happen. As we get closer to gaining the financial and political support necessary for this ambitious project it is vital that the views of as many individuals and groups as possible are expressed (residents, heritage/cultural/arts organisations, public bodies and agencies, interested individuals, community groups, etc).
Please help to save this historic estate and contribute to the project by taking ten minutes to complete a short survey which can be accessed here before Friday 3rd May 2013.

Funds have already been secured to purchase the site, and Historic Scotland has awarded their maximum grant towards the restoration costs.  We are currently working with key partners Heritage Lottery Fund and Creative Scotland, and a number of trusts and foundations, to secure the remaining funds.

Participants in Invisible College activities June 2012 (photo: Neil Davidson)

The survey is being managed by EKOS, an independent organisation, who will analyse and prepare a report that will be used to support the Business Case for the project.   All responses are confidential and a good response rate will help us to build a strong case and help identify what people want to see happen at the estate.

For more info on NVA and the project go to the following websites

For queries about the survey contact NVA on 0141 332 9911 or EKOS on 0141 353 1994.

We hope that you are able to spend ten minutes to complete the survey, and thank you in advance for your support.

First referenced in the 17th century by the natural philosopher and scientist Robert Boyle, the concept of The Invisible College was initiated by a group of intellectuals dedicated to furthering knowledge through experimental investigation. It was described as an “institution without walls” with no fixed home or declared identity.

Nearly four centuries later, the idea of the college is given a new twist with a research network that connects academics, educationalists, contemporary artists and a wide range of individuals.

Live research is being led by different arts & humanities disciplines each year including geography, history, social anthropology, environmental art, landscape architecture, architecture and philosophy. It is using the woodlands and the partially ruined form of St Peter’s Seminary as a new centre of learning that is fluid and adaptive in its structure and programme.

The research follows an inspiring programme of seminars, talks, research projects, debates and creative commissions. Operating as a flexible learning system, it is building creative connections between diverse communities (academic, artistic, local, national and international). Breaking away from traditional higher education models, research is undertaken with individuals from the across the academic spectrum, from professorial academics to local primary school children.

Each summer the public is able to take part in cultural activities that bring the previous season’s research to life through events, installations, performance, concerts, exhibitions and publications. The Invisible College is publishing its findings here, to a wide audience, demystifying the academic world and revealing dynamic new thinking that refreshes our understanding of and insight into the world around us.

Supported by Creative Scotland. Visit



BLDG BLOG posted this work titled A Small Area of Land (Kaka‘ako Earth Room) by Sean Connelly recently which had been installed in Honolulu at a gallery called ii Gallery.  This earth prism created out of 32,000 pounds of volcanic soil and coral sand stands at 7′ tall and 9′ long.  It has a dramatic angled side that is cut in accordance to align with the sun and moon on a specific day in Hawaii’s calendar.  To read more please visit BLDG BLOG.


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This work by Sean Connelly reminds me of the Walter De Maria Earth Room in the DIA Center in New York.  The power of installing what surrounds us inside our manmade structures has an incredible resonance with myself and others.  Whilst Sean Connelly’s work references the valued commodities of Hawaii dirt and sand and how these can highlight environmental decline of these islands.  I feel the Earth Room in NYC reflects more global concerns.  Though both works are meditative and really deliver such simple root material in a way that they manage to rise above their sometimes forgotten status. With Sean Connelly’s piece it is only temporary and it shows signs of cracking and falling apart.  This allowance of a work to deconstruct is quite powerful and something I admire, where an artist allows for a work to undo itself.  This silent performance by the material and construction speaks loudly about concerns about the environment we exist within.  Similarly with Walter de Marias’ Earth Room the ongoing upkeep of this room is an incredible endurance of a work.  The custodian in charge not only there to monitor and educate those who visit but also to be watch full of an work that people insist on disrupting either obviously or slightly underhand.

DIA Foundation





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Aint Bad Magazine is featuring work of the French artist, Michel Le Belhomme and his series titled, The Blind Beast.  These works transform mans living space into an object displaying the harmony with nature yet documents its dramatic return to savagery.  With his series “The Blind Beast” Michel Le Belhomme tackles mans delicate and painful loss and sometimes partial destruction of home questioning an ongoing nightmare of current Man.

“This work is indeed pertinent because of its power of suggestion – for nothing is said directly – which takes us from the personal anecdote to the existential anguish that is more universal: no one is safe from the swell that can carry us both towards reason and towards delirium. Beware of the inner storm!”

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I am currently in the closing stages of my degree here at Edinburgh College of Art.  Final casts are being made for the pieces I intend to present in the degree show that opens end of May 2013. Georgina Boltons’ work from last year at ECA and her degree show springs to mind when I see work that was successful and its good to see her work currently on show at the RSA New Contemporaries in Edinburgh.  If you cannot make it to the RSA show then have a look at Georgina’s blog and website to see further works. Click Here