28 King Street
Glasgow
Scotland
G1 5QP

Transmission (b.1983) is an artist-run organisation that supports and is supported by its membership and surrounding communities in Glasgow and beyond.

Operating in multiple capacities, Transmission works with artists in the production of exhibitions, events, exchanges, residencies and publications. It also shares various resources with its membership in order to facilitate activities outside of its own programming. As the longest standing artist-run space in Glasgow, it houses an archive of materials connected to the activities of the gallery and its membership, whilst remaining active a present-day social hub.

Transmission labours under the banner of autonomy - but is deeply (inter-)dependant on a variety of factors and players that determine the operational parameters of the space and its activities. As a registered charity, it is held together by a combination of state funding, voluntary labour, and the on-going construction of its community. It is constitutionally engrained that all Transmission activities and resources remain free, and that each and every person that works with it receive fair pay, now and forever. It is one of the inherent contradictions of Transmission that whilst dogmatically enforcing fair pay for artists and creative practitioners, it is managed and programmed by a voluntary committee of six people, each of whom joins successively and may serve for a maximum of two years.

Anyone can become a member of Transmission. The membership is currently comprised of around 300 artists and interested parties in Glasgow and further afield. As a whole, it constitutes the collective body that shares, cares, and thinks critically around the programming and functioning of Transmission, forming both the primary audience and users of the space.

Transmission is deeply committed to fostering qualitatively different working conditions for artists. In eschewing the dogma of productivity, performance targets and qualitative evaluations of artistic merit, it strives to nurture the infinite amounts of background work that goes unrepresented and overshadowed by the final, delivered 'product'. Transmission seeks to avoid creating frameworks that directly or indirectly encourage competition or competitiveness and actively discourages artists from performing ever more uncompensated administrative work. It does not have an open call procedure for programming and only accepts brief expressions of interest rather than fully formed proposals.

Transmission was set up in 1983 by graduates from Glasgow School of Art who were dissatisfied with the lack of exhibition spaces and opportunities for young artists in Glasgow. It provided a platform for new artistic practices that where under-represented in the city at the time. More recently Transmission has been looking for ways to redefine the role it already plays within the city, and to open up potential new functions it can perform in order to better utilise it's status, organisational autonomy and relative institutional power.

Become a Member

Transmission's membership body is at the core of the spirit and mission of the organisation.

The membership forms an active community and critical audience around the gallery's activities and management. Currently there are over 300 members living in Glasgow, the UK, and Internationally with varied levels of engagement depending on their interests and location.

Anyone can become a member for an annual fee which may, if preferred, be paid in kind by invigilating during an exhibition or by volunteering in another capacity. Please don't hesitate to contact us with what this in-kind volunteering could be and we will strive to meet everybody's access needs.


Benefits of Membership

The membership forms an active community and critical audience around the gallery's activities and management. Currently there are over 300 members living in Glasgow, the UK, and Internationally with varied levels of engagement depending on their interests and location.

Anyone can become a member for an annual fee which may, if preferred, be paid in kind by invigilating during an exhibition or by volunteering in another capacity. Please don't hesitate to contact us with what this in-kind volunteering could be and we will strive to meet everybody's access needs.

Cost of Membership

Membership Type Cost
Regular £20 or pay in kind
Student £10 or pay in kind
Unemployed £10 or pay in kind
International £35 (to cover postage costs)

For legal reasons we must ask that members choose either a full or associate membership: full members are requested to attend Transmission's Annual General Meeting

Committee

Transmission is run and programmed by a voluntary committee of six people who are accountable for all decisions made. The committee acts on a rolling basis, with each member working for a maximum of two years, after which new committee members are invited through recommendations and nominations.

The following is a list of everyone who has served as a Transmission committee member from 1983 to the present day. The second committee entirely replaced the first but after that the groupings are less defined. Some people stayed for the standard two years (occasionally more), others left after a few months. At times there were only two people on the committee, the standard is now six.


The current Transmission committee is:

  1. Alex Sarkisian
  2. andrew black
  3. Winnie Herbstein
  4. Alberta Whittle
  5. Adam Lewis-Jacob
  6. Camara Taylor

First Committee (1983 - 1986):

  1. Alastair Magee
  2. Lesley Raeside
  3. John Rogan
  4. Michelle Baucke
  5. Alistair Strachan

Second Committee (1986 - 1988):

  1. Gordon Muir
  2. Malcolm Dickson
  3. Carol Rhodes
  4. Peter Thompson
  5. Simon Brown
  6. Douglas Aubrey

Rolling Committee (1988 - Present):

  1. Douglas Gordon
  2. Alastair Magee
  3. Lesley Raeside
  4. John Rogan
  5. Malcolm Dickson
  6. Carol Rhodes
  7. Douglas Aubrey
  8. Richard Walker
  9. Jayne Taylor
  10. Tommy Lydon
  11. Billy Clark
  12. Karen Strang
  13. Gillian Steel
  14. Scott Paterson
  15. Anne Elliot
  16. David Allen
  17. Christine Borland
  18. Mike Ellen
  19. Pete Gilmour
  20. Euan Sutherland
  21. Anne Vance
  22. Craig Richardson
  23. Claire Barclay
  24. Elsie Mitchell
  25. Roderick Buchanan
  26. Katrina Brown
  27. Jackie Donachie
  28. Martin Boyce
  29. Simon Starling
  30. Kirsty Ogg
  31. Eva Rothschild
  32. Will Bradley
  33. Toby Webster
  34. Tanya Leighton
  35. Judith Welk
  36. Caroline Kirsop
  37. Toby Paterson
  38. Sarah Tripp
  39. Robert Johnston
  40. Ewan Imrie
  41. Julian Kildear
  42. Lucy Skaer
  43. Sophie Macpherson
  44. Rose Thomas
  45. Alan Michael
  46. Frederik Pedersen
  47. Anna McLauchlan
  48. Danny Saunders
  49. Alex Pollard
  50. Clare Stephenson
  51. Lorna Macintyre
  52. Laurence Figgis
  53. Lotte Gertz
  54. Lucy McEachan
  55. Lynn Hynd
  56. Iain Hetherington
  57. Michael Hill Johnston
  58. Michael Stumpf
  59. Cara Tolmie Esq
  60. Morag Keil
  61. Giles Bailey
  62. Laura Aldridge
  63. tim Facey
  64. Victoria Skogsberg
  65. Salomeh Grace
  66. Levi Hanes
  67. Helen Tubridy
  68. Conal McStravick
  69. “JENS” Sssssssssssttttraandberg!!!
  70. sophie mackfall
  71. Rebecca Wilcox
  72. Tom Varley
  73. Amelia Bywater
  74. Mark BRIGGSY Briggs
  75. Carrie Skinner
  76. Claire and Guiseppe Shallcross and Mistretta
  77. Chris Dyson
  78. Darren Rhymes
  79. Hannes Hellstrom
  80. Emilia Muller-Ginorio
  81. Kari Robertson
  82. John Nicol
  83. Nick Thomas
  84. Gordon “The Disappointment” Douglas
  85. Jennifer Bailey
  86. Josee Aubin Ouellette
  87. Sophie Pitt
  88. Joe Sloan
  89. Adam Lewis-Jacob
  90. Alex Sarkisian
  91. Winnie Herbstein
  92. andrew black
  93. Camara Taylor
  94. Alberta Whittle

that supports and is supported by

The cellophane-wrapped mug tree had always felt sure of herself. She lived an easy life amongst the other cellophane-wrapped mug trees, which she regarded as friends, but with whom she did not want to get too involved. She enjoyed her freedom.

All this changed one day when she was unwrapped and mugs were hung on her branches.

At first the burden was unbearable; unsteadied by the asymmetrical weight, she wondered what she had done to deserve this fate. She quietly cursed the ceramic vessels.

Over time the mugs displayed their appreciation for the mug tree’s support, explaining how vulnerable they felt without her. These exchanges eased the burden and the mug tree began to find comfort in her new role. It wasn’t always easy, sometimes she felt quite off balance, but she began to understand something of the mugs, learning which ones required more space and which ones a stronger hold. She felt quite lost when she was bare. She thought of her youth and considered how her responsibility for the mugs and the relationships that she had developed with them had enriched her life.

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exchanges

Exchanges require that the people participating are open to one another’s ideas. Trying to convince someone not to do something when their mind is made up, can make the exchange difficult.

https://vimeo.com/68236462.

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artist-run

While artist-run spaces are called so because artists usually run them, the artists doing the running, more often than not, have jobs to support themselves. Therefore, Transmission could also be described as a support-worker-, baker-, chef-, barista-, waiter-, unemployed-, art-supplies-shop-assistant-, graphic-designer-, bar-staff-, artist-assistant-, cleaner-, administrator-, picker-packer-, florist-, gardener-run space.

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voluntary labour

You’re not doing it and I’m doing it.

I don’t know if you’re not doing it because you don’t want to, because you don’t know how, because you’re nervous, because you don’t think it needs doing or because you’re doing something else. Maybe you’re not doing it because I’m doing it.

I don’t know if I’m doing it because you’re not doing it, because I want to point out the fact I’m doing it and you’re not, because I think it should be done or because I think I should be doing something. Maybe I’m doing it because I want to do it.

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on-going

Life is an on-going process. I realise this at certain moments, often when I find myself wanting something I could never have imagined wanting before, like a child, or not wanting something I thought I would always want, like a menial job with no responsibility. And I think to myself, Oh yes, life is on-going. I am constantly changing. And then I forget it and go back to thinking that everything is stable and that what I want now is what I’ll always want. This continues until there is another development, like I notice the newly acquired carpentry skills of someone I have known for a long time, and I think, Oh yes, life has been on-going since I last had that same thought. People are constantly changing. And so on. Life is on-going but perceiving that life is on-going is not on-going.

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background work

My name is Siân Robinson Davies and Transmission gallery commissioned me to write these footnotes for the launch of their new website in December 2015. The footnotes will stay up for a year, following which they will be replaced by a new set, written by another artist writer.

At the time of writing, I am coming to the end of a two and a half year period of being on the voluntary committee at Rhubaba, another artist-run space, in Edinburgh. Writing these footnotes has offered time for reflection on what I have learnt while working closely as part of a group in a relatively non-hierarchical way for an extended period of time and how that work has framed my thinking about other aspects of my life.

Thanks to Sarah Tripp and Daisy Lafarge for the thoughtful feedback and editorial suggestions.

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competition

Life is a constant battle against competition. Life vs. competition. When I encounter a position that seems wrong to me and I make an effort to understand it, rather than bashing it with judgement, that’s one nil to me. Beat that, competition.

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competitiveness

But it’s not easy. Competitiveness is fast, it’s beating you before you even get started; it’s got you before you can even say your own name. You need to be crafty; you need tricks up your sleeve. Never drop your guard, keep your eye off the game.

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redefine the role it already plays

In my family there are ingrained patterns of behaviour that result in certain people criticising others. The criticism might take the form of a correction of a perceived mistake, or a kind of bossing around, but it’s a game that everyone is complicit in; those who are criticised assume the role of the victim, enabling the charade to go on.

In the past, this has played out between myself and my mum, whose insecurities I have used against her. However, over the last couple of years my mum has started to stand up for herself, disagreeing with me and explaining her own reasons for doing things. This has been a conscious effort on her part and it’s a relief to know that she has taken that power away from me. I feel closer to her and am now better at focussing on her strengths.

Redefining our behaviour is difficult with 29 years of practice to undo but is possible through awareness and effort.

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committee

We leant into the greeting awkwardly, leaving a noticeable gap between our ears and I timidly patted his upper back. We had almost reached the peak of the lean, the forwards movement about to be reversed, when something changed and he pulled me in closer, in a “oh come here” kind of way. Our chests met and our arms became heavy over each other’s bodies. Warm, I closed my eyes and we both exhaled. We stayed there for a while, supporting each other’s weight. The embrace was comforting, until I noticed a stiffness beginning in the back of my neck, and I shuffled slightly. He strengthened his arms and I pressed my chin into his shoulder in an attempt to get comfortable again, but we couldn’t settle. It had gone on too long really and he started to pull away, but I didn’t want him to go so I gripped tighter, trying to prevent the loss with a desperate clinging. At first he gave a muffled chuckle, but then began to wriggle and said, “What are you doing? Let me go!”, which I did of course. He straightened his glasses and I adjusted my jumper. We looked at each other differently.

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decisions

Earlier this year I took a course on Group Facilitation, to learn about group decision-making and consensus building methods. The course consisted of a number of exercises with one person playing the facilitator, guiding the rest of the group through certain processes, enabling us to come to a decision together. An essential role of the facilitator is to illicit rather than to lead.

There was one woman on the course who spoke loudly and frequently, often going into detail about situations she had encountered in her own workplace. It started to become clear that a second woman was frustrated by the talkative woman’s behaviour, by way of passive aggressive comments muttered under her breath.

On the last day, the final exercise involved us trying to come to a group decision on how best to deal with someone who is being obstructive in a meeting. The second woman was facilitating and the talkative woman, in a let’s-work-this-out-by-trying-it-for-real move, took it upon herself to play the role of an obstructive participant, which was a mere extension of her previous behaviour. The woman facilitating tried to silence the talkative woman, a strategy that only led to more resistance and in the end the facilitator became so angry that she shouted that she hated the talkative woman and had done so since the first moment they had met.

It occurred to me how difficult group decision making must be, if a room full of people who are voluntarily coming together to learn consensus building methods, end up wanting to scratch each other's eyes out.

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The current Transmission committee

I don’t know the ins and outs of how these people work together. I don’t know who has a tendency to be more dominant, with an ability to articulate ideas quickly and confidently; who is tentative, listening and trying to pull half-formed thoughts together in time to join in the conversation; who drives things forwards; who highlights potential problems; who is nervous; who is stubborn; who is good with numbers; who can sustain uncertainty; who needs clarity; or who mediates. I don’t know where the unresolved conflicts lie or where the unspoken words are kept. The balancing act between individual needs and the responsibility to the group is an inherently conflicted process, and, in a voluntary organisation where the committee is stretched, there is rarely enough time to talk through all the feelings that arise. Despite the difficulties, these people, who are all different, work together towards a common goal. They support and are supported by one another and, out of choice, give a substantial amount of time to an organisation they believe is worth keeping on going.

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engagement

Engagement is to be invested in something, allowing the thing to challenge my ideas and therefore change my thinking about the world in some way, following which I’m able to question the thing, to find out where its assumptions are, and back and forth and so on. This is a transformative process and requires time.

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invigilating

My first invigilation job was at the White Cube gallery in Hoxton Square, while I was at art college. Dark Matter, an exhibition consisting of monotone works, was on and contained one particularly valuable painting by Ellsworth Kelly, positioned on the far wall of the long gallery. We were told the work had been borrowed from a museum, was insured for over a million pounds and that on all accounts, we must stay close by to ensure its safety.

One quiet morning the gallery was empty and there were three of us on duty. A woman and a toddler came in and the toddler stumbled over to the Felix Gonzalez Torrez work, a stack of black paper, and started jumping up and down on it as if it were a stage. We all moved quickly towards the toddler, the mother grabbing him and us inspecting the artwork. The top sheet of paper was removed and calm returned. I was just regaining my composure when I heard the sound of small footsteps running. I looked up to see the child charging towards the end of the gallery where the Ellsworth Kelly painting was waiting, with the mother starting to follow, prompting me to give chase, shouting. The kid made it to the painting and slammed his two little hands, one of which was gripping a jagged plastic toy, into the expanse of the grey canvas.

http://whitecube.com/exhibitions
/dark_matter_hoxton_square_2006/

After the initial drama had subsided, it didn’t worry me much. There were no repercussions for us, we only heard rumours from upstairs: the painting was going to be repaired; it had to be destroyed; the museum would never lend to the White Cube again. I never could induce the reverence required to understand why that expanse of grey paint on fabric was worth so much, when I was being paid minimum wage to protect it.

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