28 King Street
G1 5QP

The Self that Cannot be Othered: the Power of the Past in the Present

Ranjana Thapalyal

  • Location : Transmission Gallery
  • Date : Saturday, 29 February
  • Time : 13:00 - 17:00
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Not all is justified by the name of old,
Nor is the new poem never extolled-
(the wise) examine, then select the best from both,
but fools merely parrot other’s quotes.
From the Sanskrit play ‘Malavika and Agnimitra’ Kalidasa, c 500 CE.

This workshop proposes that knowledge of intellectual traditions of the global south is intrinsic to the setting of viable challenges to mono-culturalism in mainstream academic institutions. Self-care includes self-knowledge, at cultural, political and ontological levels. Self-confidence includes the ability to extract from imperfect cultural systems the tools required to critique it and to inter-weave a new language.

The vibrant critiques of cultural institutions presented here call for new ways of being, learning and creating, based on mutuality of responsibility, on shared awareness of each other as individuals and artists from many different fields. This becomes a particularly poignant aspiration in the face of high levels of individuality expected of contemporary artists, as a given in seeking professional status.

Can sensitivity to others and a respectful relationship to community be nurtured alongside critical reflection and the identification of personal voice? And what radical futures can be imagined by critically engaging with the past that may not have been present in our education and training?

Towards answering these questions, in the workshop we will work with a few specific examples from ancient Indian and ancient African philosophies, focussing on their concepts of self in relation to work and community. We’ll see how these manifest in myth, art objects, and the remarkably contemporary feel of their inter-disciplinary mindsets and cultural languages. Then we will see where this flight leads, by applying the concepts to our individual ways of negotiating the world around us, and to the creative work through which we speak.

The first part of the workshop will consist of a talk with slides, the second of small group discussions, and the third of quiet personal reflection on each participant’s own creative work.


Ranjana Thapalyal is artist and academic based Glasgow. Her practice includes ceramics, painting and ephemeral mixed media assemblages. She is the author of Education as Mutual Translation-A Yoruba and Vedantic Interface for Pedagogy in the Creative Arts (Brill 2018). Previous publications include feminist readings of ancient Indian aesthetic theory (2007), and papers combining critical perspectives on ancient traditions with issues in education and equality (2004).



Train: 11-20 minute walk/wheel from trains at Central Station and Queen Street Station; the stations have lifts and level access entrances

Buses: Eastbound buses 2,18, 60, 60A, 61, 64 stop on Trongate just before King Street, then it is a 1-5 minute walk/wheel. Westbound buses 2,18, 60, 60A, 61, 64 stop on Trongate before Stockwell Street, then it is a 3-7 minute walk/wheel back eastward.

Parking: There is an NCP paid car park south of the gallery at Osborne and King Streets, which is about a 3-7 minute walk/wheel to the gallery. There is also metered street parking on the streets near the gallery, though these tend to be busy on a Saturday.



Level access from street via two non-automatic doors (1.1m and 0.82m, one after the other; there is a slight lip before the first door); wheelchair-accessible and genderless toilet (door width of 0.85cm; space dimensions of 2.15m x 1.6m; lowered sink height of 0.71m; toilet height of 0.48m; fixed assistance bars on both sides of the toilet and sink plus an additional drop-down assistance bar to the right of the toilet; emergency cord to the right of toilet); moveable seating; combination of natural and overhead, on/off fluorescent lighting.



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