Tate Modern courses

On the edge Led by Richard Martin and Lucy Scholes

© Sarah Jones, courtesy Maureen Paley, London

What happens on the edge?

This six-week course explores the potential excitements, challenges and dangers that being on the edge entails – in art and life. The course itself moves across conventional boundaries to encompass discussion of modern and contemporary art, cinema, cities, literature and a diverse range of cultural theorists. Topics of discussion include precariousness, migration, imbalance and cultural innovation, which are examined through the work of artists, film-makers and writers such as Andrea FraserTania Bruguera, John Akomfrah, Ali Smith and Adam Phillips. Through group discussion and using a range of materials, our aim is to expand an understanding of edges, both physical and psychological. From the edgelands between the urban and rural, through cultural associations of mental instability to the more 'edgy' elements of art and culture - this course will think about the edge as a productive space where new things happen. 

The course includes visits to the collection displays and the Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition, featuring works marked by their sharp and colourful edges, as well as a screening of the acclaimed British film Fish Tank, a collaborative mapping exercise on edges in London, and class discussions within a supportive and dynamic environment. No prior knowledge is required - anyone with an interest in examining these topics in more detail is welcome. 

Ultimately, this course considers where cultural innovation takes place today – on the edge or at the centre?

Richard Martin is Collection Research Coordinator at Tate. He gained his PhD at Birkbeck, University of London, and has taught literature, film and critical theory at Birkbeck and Middlesex University. His first book, The Architecture of David Lynch, will be published by Bloomsbury in 2014.

Lucy Scholes has a PhD in English Literature from Birkbeck, University of London, and used to teach in the English Department at Goldsmiths. She is now a freelance literary critic, writing for a variety of publications including Critical Quarterly, Untitled Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Daily Beast, The National, The Independent and The Observer. She is also a contributing editor at the literary website and online magazine Bookanista.

Richard and Lucy previously taught the Tate courses Projecting Desire: Sex, Psychoanalysis and Cinema, Hidden, and The Apathy Complex, while Lucy also taught The Critical I and The Art of Storytelling.

Tate Modern

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit


31 May – 5 July 2014 at 12.00–17.00

7 June – 5 July 2014 at 12.00–17.00

14 June – 5 July 2014 at 12.00–17.00

21 June – 5 July 2014 at 12.00–17.00

28 June – 5 July 2014 at 12.00–17.00

5 July 2014 at 12.00–17.00

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