The LUX distribution collection is the UK’s largest collection of films and videos made by artists with over 5,000 works from the 1930s to the present day, including numerous works by artists based in Scotland. Works from the collection are available to loan for screenings and exhibitions, both in the UK and internationally, and LUX collects rental fees on behalf of the artists that are represented.
Works enter the LUX Collection through quarterly acquisition meetings with a rotating panel of internal and external advisors. External advisors include an artist who is already represented in the collection and an external curator, both of whom serve for one year. For more detail about how works enter the LUX Collection, please read this statement written by Benjamin Cook (Director, LUX) in 2018.
Since LUX Scotland’s inception in 2014 we have been exploring the possibility of establishing a distribution collection of artists’ moving image for Scotland. In 2017 we held a series of public events that explored the key ideas behind the project, which demonstrated considerable interest from the sector.
Funding applications to support the development of this project were submitted in 2018, 2019 and 2021, but none of these were successful. As the current economic climate makes this kind of investment increasingly unlikely we are now exploring alternative ways to map this significant part of Scotland’s cultural heritage, ensure sustained accessibility and address long-term care and conservation of this work.
This work currently consists of five key areas:
1. Working with the LUX Collection to advocate for the collection of works by artists based in Scotland
In 2022 LUX Scotland’s Director joined the acquisition panel for the LUX Collection in order to actively contribute to the discussion around the representation of artists based in Scotland.
2. Working with other collections across Scotland to advocate for the collection of artists’ moving image.
In 2020/21 LUX Scotland worked closely with the National Library of Scotland to advocate for the collection of a newly commissioned work by Margaret Salmon. The work has now joined the NLS collection and we hope to encourage further acquisitions in the future.
We are also in touch with other collections around Scotland about commissioning work specifically for collection, so that it has a permanent home after its initial presentation.
3. Working with other collections across Scotland to support the collection of artists’ moving image.
In 2019 LUX (London) secured funding to support a new curatorial network for collecting institutions working artists’ moving image in the UK, enabling the sharing of skills and knowledge in a complex and dynamic area of contemporary arts practice. Although delayed due to the pandemic, LUX Scotland will be participating in the re-initiation of this network in 2023/24.
4. Advising artists on the collection of their work by other collections.
We are regularly approached by artists and organisations for advice on the pricing and editioning of moving image work as well as how to budget for production of moving image works across scales. We are keen to support these conversations, encouraging the collection of AMI work and addressing the disparity between the cost of producing moving image works and the potential for recoupment.
5. Encouraging artists based in Scotland to utilise the LUX Collection to inform their own work.
In 2022 we launched a new bursary programme for researchers (including artists, curators and programmers) who work with the moving image and are based in Scotland. The quarterly bursaries allow three researchers free digital access to the LUX Collection for a two-week period.