Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Landscape of Heritage

In July 2016 with assistance from my good friend and fellow artist Roberto Gianinetti I began my project Migration as Art with the workshop titled The Landscape of Heritage at Studiodieci City Gallery,VERCELLI, ITALY.  Below is a link to the Museum.


Over sixty thousand years ago humans migrated out of Africa leaving genetic traces still visible today. Genetic anthropology uses a combination of physical evidence and DNA to answer the question French artist Paul Gauguin wrote in the upper left hand corner of his famous painting, D’ou Venons Nous/Que Sommes Nous/ Ou Allons Nous (Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?)

Migration as Art workshops provides the opportunity for the participants to answer Gauguin’s questions.

The Migration as Art Museum is currently seeking a location in Europe.

Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author, who founded the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul, was a keynote speaker at the 2016 International Council of Museums (ICOM) conference in Milan. He said that in the future we need "small and economical museums that address our humanity”. Pamuk suggested that the great national museums “construct a historical narrative of our society and community as a narrative of faction, nation and state.”

He argues that, “In museums we have History, but what we need is stories. In museums we have nations, but what we need is people. We had groups and factions in museums, but what we need is individuals. Concluding that, “We need are small and economical museums that address our humanity.”   First published by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica

The Landscape of Heritage

Artist Book’s Workshop

The aim of this heritage workshop is to develop in the students the attitude that research and art have a twofold purpose. To investigate your heritage through the notion of the book involves research that touches on a form of journalism…interviewing your parents, finding family stories; revealing perhaps some hidden in myth, story or separation.

The workshop introduces students to geography, and more poetically the landscape maps of our human traces and patterns. The history of a past generation can be educative to the deeper construction of individual identity through history, objects, memories, perspectives and the stories which define us as humans inhabiting a particular culture and place at a certain time and epoch.

Students are encouraged to create artist books that reflect, think critically about how best to communicate stories through form and symbol, i.e. understanding how to be visually narrate and communicate across cultures through the creative language and medium of visual art and aesthetic production. The workshop engages and motivates students to be reflective, think objectively and subjectively, critically analyse, problem-solve for full engagement and ownership of their creativity in the backdrop of global diversity in the 21st century learning environment.

The course content:
Day 1. Lecture and slide presentation on artist books, demonstration of art  materials (wax release, recycling book methods, encaustic techniques and  printing methods on various papers). Students will share and discuss  heritage material.

Begin with selection and experimenting of approach to format and materials.

Day 2. Personal, individual discussion and demonstration with student. Hands on making and experimenting with heritage material.

Day 3. Analyzing and completing the artist book, exhibition and collaborative
discussion of final artist books.

Students will require the following:

Students will require photocopies of maps, letters, heritage material, family photographs and any images of significant landscapes. Any images/objects relating to personal family background and history.

Many thanks to the wonderful students and collaboration.

@Stephen Copland 2016

I will keep you posted on future workshops and if you or your institution is interested then please contact me.


  1. Thank you Stephen. Some really wonderful examples created by the workshop participants. In fact, this was more than just an art workshop. The theme of 'Migration' and where we come from is intrinsically linked to our developing identities and the wider global issues we are currently facing across countries and continents. One of the outcomes of this type of artistic workshop is its potential to cross more than just geographical and historical boundaries. but also those of other disciplines, including the mind and the soul. Memory survives death in so many different forms - the subconscious mind with its multi-sensory capacity absorbs information on the most subtile of levels. Such experience; familial and environmental impact on and influence the way we think and communicate with others, in our everyday interactions, and shaped by the beliefs and values we hold.
    All these define our identity and who we are in the various communities in which we live.
    However, the next big challenge for society is to demonstrate how we embrace our identities and use our individual heritage positively towards multi-cultural understanding, the wider good and the integration of migrated / displaced people in their ‘newly’ adopted cultural environments. The construction of a shared dialogue through artistic expression, such as in a workshop of this type is the perfect vehicle towards creating a cohesive narrative on Migration, past, present and future.

  2. Thank you Audrey for your perceptive and informative comments.