Jonathan Baxter

Artist and …

Reading towards action

Reading Towards Action (2009-ongoing) is informed by the writings of Paulo Freire and was kick-started by reading Brian K. Murphy’s book Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World: An Open Conspiracy for Social Change. By reading texts together in the crossfire of interpretation, Reading Towards Action opens up a space for critical reflection and encourages collective action on issues of personal and political concern.


Reading Towards Action, Dundee Artists in Residence, 2011

As an artist working in the context of peer-education, Reading Towards Action has mostly focused on texts relating to art, ecology and cultural activism. Action has taken the form of individual and collective artworks, performances, curated exhibitions, festivals, and others forms of cultural and political action.

Time's Rope, Performing Worlds, Dundee Artists in Residence, 2012

In addition to work undertaken with D-AiR (Dundee Artists in Residence) and OSP (On Site Projects), Reading Towards Action was also programmed as part of the Nomas* Projects exhibition, Reflections on the Incarnation. It also informed the Arts and Communities Programme (Aberdeen) and a follow-up reading group entitled, Support Structures.

In 2019 Reading Towards Action will commence in Edinburgh as part of the slowly emerging EH8 programme.

This current round of Reading Towards Action starts with Suzanne Lacy’s influential essay, ‘Debated Territory: Toward a Critical Language for Public Art’, before moving on to texts that explore human-induced climate change, the role of art in a time of ecological emergency and the relevance of new social movements such as Extinction Rebellion.

Four sessions are scheduled to start the process and after that we’ll decide a collective way forward.

When: 7-9pm, 6th, 20th June, 4th* and 18th July.

SESSION ONE: See Lacy. Scroll down to page 171 and you’ll find Lacy’s essay, ‘Debated Territory: Toward a Critical Language for Public Art’. Session one will be a ‘getting to know you’ session, using Lacy’s text as a starting point for discussion.

SESSION TWO: See Marshman. This essay, by Jennifer Marshman, entitled, ‘Communing with bees: A whole-of-community approach to address crisis in the Anthropocene’, is a good overview of the literature. It offers a grounded approach to inter-human and interspecies relationships through a place-based, integrated and participatory model of eco-social justice and equity.

SESSION THREE: Pending. (Focus: Artistic responses to the climate and ecological emergency.)

SESSION FOUR: Pending. (Focus: New social movements and Extinction Rebellion.)

Where: White Space, 76 East Crosscauseway, Edinburgh, EH8 9HQ.

Cost: Free

Everyone is welcome – even if you think this may not be for you! The only criteria for inclusion being a willingness to engage with the texts and listen to different points of view.

To find out more or sign up to the programme email jb4change[at] If you don’t sign up you can still read the texts and come along on the day!

* 4th June is likely to be an off-site reading session so if you’re coming late to this website and planning to attend on the 4th please drop me an email or call 07954123543.












































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