Swansea Met Lecturer becomes art on the fourth plinth

May 31, 2014

A Head of School from Swansea Metropolitan University’s Faculty of Art and Design has given the most unusual lecture of her career, on top of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

The Fourth Plinth is the name given to the empty plinth in the north-west corner of Trafalgar Square in London, a place normally reserved for Kings and Generals. One and Other is a live artwork by sculptor Antony Gormley, who has invited people to apply for a place on the Plinth to become a living monument, by occupying it for one hour, without a break, for 100 days.

In total there are 2,400 places for the project, which is being broadcast on the Sky Arts channel, and there have been over 33,000 applicants. Sue Griffith, Head of the School of Contextual Studies and Visual Communication at Swansea Met, was one of the chosen few and took her place on the Plinth recently.

She explains: “In May, I gave a lecture to my students about the Fourth Plinth, its history and the art which has been shown on it over the past few years. I mentioned the latest work by Gormley and suggested that they apply for a place. Of course, I thought I had better put my money where my mouth was and apply myself – then I got selected and there was the problem of what to do up there for an hour!

“I thought I should do what I’m known for, and give an art history lecture, but I wanted to do something a bit quirky, and as a cat lover, hit on the idea of a history of the representation of cats. It turned out to be totally fascinating and, actually, with more seriously theoretical content than I imagined. I feel very privileged to have been chosen, it was both terrifying and exciting and certainly an experience of a lifetime. This year in my Plinth lecture I can include myself!”