Show Us Your Tools

At the beginning of May, Open Jar Collective were in residence at Scottish Sculpture Workshop, investigating the history and philosophy of land based tools.  Here are some of the questions we’ve been asking:

What brings a tool to life?

What is a dead (end) tool?

What are the tools of your trade?

What isn’t a tool?

Are tools inert and useless without human agency?

Do tools represent human ‘control’ over nature?

How do tools disrupt or enhance our ability to inhabit our environment?

We’ll be back at SSW in September to continue the research.


Open Jar Collective call for new members

We are seeking new members to join the collective for our next project ‘Broth Mix’, which is part of the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art supported programme.

Open Jar will be resident in the Kinning Park Complex for the two weeks of the Glasgow International Festival of Art, creating ‘Broth Mix’, a space for conversations and action with both the local community and the wider creative community in Glasgow and the festival audience, and curating a series of events that bring people together through the common connection of food.

Open Jar is a collective of socially engaged artists and designers who use food as a lens through which to view the world. The group produce collaborative art work, host communal meals and stage unique pop-up events that stimulate and inspire new ways of thinking about our food culture, trade, economics, and the environment. Open Jar aim to contribute to the growing debate about how we can develop a more equitable and sustainable food system in Scotland. Find out more about us at

Skills that would be great to add to the team are graphic design, web design, construction and film-making. Membership is open to all creative disciplines and you can be an associate member, joining us on an ad hoc basis for individual projects or a full member, taking part in the running of the collective.

If you think your interests and skills fit our objectives and you are passionate about food and want to find out more contact us for details on applying at:

Open Jar Collective members are currently Clem Sandison, Alex Wilde, Hannah Brackston, Daniele Sambo and Emily Chappell.

On Sunday, we launched our Milk Bar in the Gatehouse of Fleet area of Dumfries and Galloway. We were greeted by cheery holiday makers and knowledgable locals who were more than willing to come and share a glass of milk with us and contribute to the conversation about milk and dairy farming.

We had set up a free Milk Bar with photo-laden milk cups, listening posts (to hear farmers talking and the sounds of dairy farms), and tags (to write down experiences. memories and questions to raise).

Back in early summer, we were asked to undertake a research project for the Environmental Arts Festival Scotland (EAFS), and our response was to visit farms in the Gatehouse of Fleet region, and find out about the current state of dairy production and distribution.

We felt that a conclusive installation was not suitable, as we have only scratched the surface, so we decided to set up a space for rumination and conversation, in the form of a Milk Bar, that would add to our understanding of current issues.

On the Sunday evening we setup the bar at the EAFS event, ‘Gathering #3 – The Land and Us’, in the Cairnsmore of Fleet area. There, we met people who were directly involved in the festival and contributed a different perspective on our research.

Thank you to the farmers and local farm workers, artists, families, and visitors who came along to share their thoughts on dairy.

EAF (Environmental Arts Festival Scotland) Research Trip, Part 3

On our site visit to the Cairnsmore of Fleet area, we took photos and considered what shape our project should take for presentation at the festival An installation, treasure hunt, sculpture….? Perhaps to use this space or to setup in an space further into the Gatehouse of Fleet area…?

We happened to spot a great opportnity to go for a dip in the clean, bracing waters of the river underneath the viaduct.

All work and no play…

Stay tuned to follow our production phase for the event on 1st September…

EAF (Environmental Arts Festival Scotland) Research Trip, Part 2

The second trip we took down to the Gatehouse of Fleet region, the whole team were present. We split into two research teams and tried to fit in as many visits as we could with a two day time frame. We held interviews and recorded sounds and imagery, as well as the odd onsite sketch. Barstobrick and Littleton Farm, the Dairy Research Centre and Locharthur farm and visitor centre were on the cards.

It was a pleasure to get a behind-the-scenes insight into dairy farming, Most people that were interviewed were keen to show us where the cows eat, sleep, and are milked. It was encouraging to get the impression that animal welfare was fundamental and integral to the milking process, even at the non-organic sites.

It was also really interesting to hear farmers’ plans for the future – technological advancements, expansion/reduction, as well as plans for their own families and their legacy.

Part 3 to come…

EAF (Environmental Arts Festival Scotland) Research Trip, Part 1

Here’s some pictures from our visit back in June to Cream of Galloway, an organic dairy farm in the Gatehouse of Fleet area . At this stage in our research we wanted to visually record activities at the farm, record interviews and generally get a closer look at the dairy industry in this area.

We wanted to mainly get the farmer’s perspective on the industry and to encourage them to share both their passions and concerns.

Initially, we thought that we would focus on the processes involved in dairy farming (imagery of heavy machinery and food miles Vs. natural and local), but we soon discovered that the stories, hetitage and perspectives of people were much more engaging.

Part 2 to come…