Alastair MacLennan:

Beyond the Archive


A collaborative project between the Alastair MacLennan Archive at DJCAD (University of Dundee), Leisure and Culture Dundee, Bbeyond in Belfast and GENERATORprojects in Dundee.

In 2023, Alastair will celebrate his 80th birthday, in the run up to this we are planning a programme of wider events and commissions that reflect on MacLennan’s historical connections by continuing to forge links between Dundee and Belfast. To this end we are working with two independent artists’ collectives, GENERATORProjects in Dundee and Bbeyond in Belfast, for two artists’ commissions to develop new performance-based projects in response to, and using material from, the MacLennan archive. These will be presented in Dundee in October 2022. The selected artists will be engaging directly with Alastair MacLennan at the archive in Dundee as part of their research. They too will extend the concept of the living archive when their documented projects also become part of the archive. The ensuing works will be performed/displayed/exhibited at a range of public venues to be decided within the remit of Leisure and Culture, Dundee.

During this activity we will exhibit a series of archival images of MacLennan’s seminal CAN’T CANT performance at the McManus Galleries in Dundee, the home of its 1992 debut. In addition, Alastair will complete the circle with a new commissioned work which, in turn, will be documented as part of the MacLennan Archive. This will form an important aspect of a new documentary which will include interviews with the artists and MacLennan and will be featured on the MacLennan website and on a monitor at the entrance of the archive at DJCAD.

The project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

Principal Investigator: Adam Lockhart

Co-Investigators: Arthur Watson & Calum Colvin