Scottish artists explore the BBC archives

Earlier this year BBC Scotland commissioned six Scottish artists to create their own moving image works inspired by both classic and less well-known programmes in their archives. Set up in partnership with Creative Scotland and the LUX arts agency, the Artists and Archive: Artist Moving Image at the BBC initiative marks the start of the BBC’s on-going commitment to allow artists access to archives. The finished works will be hosted online at bbc.co.uk/arts and around the country.

Jonty Claypole, Head of Arts for BBC Productions, says: “We were bowled over by the quality of moving image artists in Scotland and are looking forward to seeing what the chosen six are able to produce. The BBC Archive is a rich and unrivalled resource so this is a unique opportunity for some of Scotland’s most interesting artists to create an eclectic mix of new works. We want to learn from these artists and see the archive used in new ways.”

Among the selected artists is New Zealand-born Kate Davis, who lives and works in Glasgow. Davis, who has previous experience of working with museum and archival collections, works across a wide range of media, including drawing, installation and photography as well as film. She uses her art as a means of reconsidering and reinventing what certain histories could look, sound and feel like.

In 2011, Glasgow Women’s Library commissioned 21 women artists selected to produce new work inspired by items or artefacts in their collections to commemorate its 21st anniversary in 2012.

Kate Davis, Not just the perfect moments, 2012

Kate Davis, Not just the perfect moments, 2012


This photograph was Davis’s response. The British artist Jo Spence (1934-92), whose significant autobiographical text Putting Myself in the Picture is the focus of this print, often asked who owned images, and especially images of the body. Davis reinstates such questioning here by treating Spence’s publication as the subject, and Glasgow Women’s Library as the subject’s stage.