Marcus Jack

PhD Cohort 2022

HEI: Glasgow School of Art, University of Glasgow

Funding: AHRC DTP

Project Title: Artists’ Moving Image in Scotland: Production, Circulation, Reception, 1970–2021 

Supervisors: Prof Sarah Smith, GSA, Prof Sarah Neely, School of Culture & Creative Arts, and Kitty Anderson, LUX Scotland

What was your research about?

The changing critical, economic and institutional contexts for artists’ film- and videomaking in Scotland after the devolution of cultural policy. 

Still from Lesley Keen, Invocation, 1984. 16mm film, colour. Courtesy of the artist.
Front cover of Tamara Krikorian, Eye to Eye: Two installations by Tamara Krikorian (Edinburgh: Scottish Arts Council, 1979). Held at: Dundee: University of Dundee, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, REWIND Archive.

What made you apply for the SGSAH AHRC DTP?

To address, with a personal and political conviction, a persisting sector-wide amnesia about recent histories, challenge dominant narratives and form a dataset from which I and others could develop further projects. 

Which aspects of your PhD did you enjoy the most?

The first-hand research: trawling through physical archives, handling the material of history and finding connections between evidence, interviewing exceptional artists, curators and educators on their experiences. 

How has your PhD helped you to decide on a career path?

The PhD forms both a beginning and an end: it brings one body of interest to a close, having fulfilled its purpose, whilst having also given me the time to develop new tools, theories and approaches which can be transferred to new areas. I am keen to see how long a career half in the art world and half in academia can be sustained, and I want to model a trajectory which exchanges the virtues of each whilst mitigating against their well-known sins.  

And now?

I’m only a couple of months post-viva and am determined not to feel beholden to career panic. I am lucky to be working part-time at the Scottish Contemporary Art Network as Programme Lead which gives me the freedom and time to think and write as I wrangle with potential postdoc directions and tend to new projects. 

One piece of advice you would give an incoming PhD researcher?

Write, write, write. Learn to love the crafting of an argument, the iterative process of simplifying and editing as a creative process. More importantly, however, put your health and wellbeing first: work regular hours, take weekends off, plan holidays—and remember to back-up everything (in three different places). 

Where can people find you?

SGSAH; SGSAH ResearchTwitter: @MarcusFJack