Painting BA (hons)

Morgan Stevenson

Pivot Turns

Loose bound acrylic paintings, pen and pencil drawings on wood and paper

Keep on moving. Keep on spinning. Keep on creating.

You too can live the life as a Scottish Highland Dancer. Create your own dance from a selection of beautifully structured movements, splashes of tartan and perfect pibroch tunes.  

My book has been inspired by the sixteenth century volvelles from Peter Apian’ Cosmographia. I wanted to introduce the ancient interactive illustrations with my knowledge of Highland Dance.



Source material

Peter Apian Cosmographia, (Paris, 1551)
DiscoverEd URL

Shelf mark

Special Collections: JA 907/2

Playfair location: O*.23.57/2 

Portrait & interview

1. What was it about this project and brief that originally appealed to you?

This project was something that interested me right from the offset. I had originally heard of the Playfair Library in 1st semester in 1st year but never really got around to visiting and experiencing the archives until this project was announced. I have a fascination with the ancient history of Scotland, whilst Edinburgh, as a city, is filled with historical culture it was with greatest interest to find and discover the history within the Universities’ buildings themselves.

2. What was your approach in searching for material that you wanted to work with?

I looked a lot further into what my works/practice in my studios had to offer and it was actually a suggestion through my tutor and group mentor of this project, Jane, that I looked into creating a key and map like system to help the audience understand my practice a lot more clearly.

3. Did you find anything about the project challenging?

I found this project challenging due to the location in which the whole process of looking, observing and reserving the volumes featured and suggested to me through support of the tutors and librarian. The distance to travel to then take part in the overall process into borrowing books, it was very official and made me feel a bit uneasy borrowing and touching these books/volumes.

4. What unexpected discoveries did you manage to make during your research?

I expected to find a lot of movement within the volume I borrowed, with physical interaction inside the book’s pages and chapters. What I didn’t expect was just how in amazing condition the book was, and how it was so perfectly well preserved in physical form. This was a very enjoyable experience and was ideal for me to witness as it helped me improve and develop my art works further with movement, interaction, image, colour, shape and materials.

5. How has this project had impact on your art practice?

It’s had a positive impact on my art practice overall. I’ve managed to develop my work further with experiments with scale, material, shapes and colour too. It’s also helped me experience what content to produce within some final developments.

6. Did your final output end up as you’d envisaged?

I had some issues with my planned outcome but in conclusion it was better than I expected. If I had time managed a little more effectively, I feel my work/book would have been even more clean cut in terms of the content used, informed my audience a little clearer and possibly manufactured the book to have looked aesthetically more professional. But I liked my outcome and was rather impressed with how it came together.

7. What advice would you give to someone doing this project next year?

I would advice anyone taking this course/project next year to perhaps do a lot of physical research into what works alongside your artistic practice, try and closely link the project and your own artwork together. I would also suggest and maybe advice looking into depth of how to collect a certain book more clearly, this was a slight struggle for myself, so I would recommend to time manage this issue.

Copyright & open licence

Copyright © Morgan Stevenson, The University of Edinburgh 2020 CC BY-SA

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

CC BY-SA license