On 1st February 2017 an exhibition opens in the Library Foyer at RBGE displaying work which was produced through association between RBGE and Edinburgh College of Art and inspired by our research collections. This exhibition will run until the first week of March.
In October 2016, the Edinburgh College of Art 2nd year Illustration course, were assigned a 5 week project based on the Herbarium, Library, Archives and Living Collections here at Edinburgh. This collaboration is part of a concerted effort by RBGE in seeking new audiences for our collections, in addition to the traditional taxonomic researchers and was valuable for strengthening the relationship between organisations.
As we curate such a potentially overwhelming amount of material to choose from, we decided on a geographical focus, based on some of the scientific projects that are currently active at RBGE. The students were divided into groups and allocated one of the countries highlighted on the map.
Each student group was given a tour of our research collections and a session with one of our taxonomists who specialises in the flora of their designated country. These experts gave the students an overview of their current research, including anecdotes from their fieldwork emphasising the need for habitat conservation and showed them herbarium specimens and living material to be inspired by.
The work displayed was chosen from all the material submitted by the students. We have included the sketchbooks to illustrate the research that is such a significant part of the artistic process and to give the viewer an insight into how each student created the final artwork. The herbarium specimen and living collection images seek to put the work into the context of the RBGE collections.
You can view a small selection in our archive cabinet in The John Hope Gateway at the West Gate of the Botanics and the main exhibition is in the Library Foyer of the Balfour Building (10am-4pm). There is directional signage in the Garden.