Studio Conversation with Duncan Robertson, ESW Studio Holder for 22 years

What do you do here, in the studio? 

I organize things and I do the work downstairs in the Casting Workshop. We’re not allowed to use plaster in the studio, it’s very dusty.

When did you start to work here? 

I started here in the year 2000, around when I was making these bronze dresses. My studio, since then, has become very busy and full.

Actually, I’m moving. I’ll leave this studio at the end of May. I’ve just put it off to the last minute. I’m going to try and start moving things soon. I’ve got my sewing machines there already. I do these little embroideries, I think you’ve seen some probably on my website.

I’ll do some interventions on them sometimes just doing free hand. I’ll take them out the frame, then I’m sewing an embroidery on top of them. I’ve been inserting weapons, tanks, nuclear explosions, and things like that.

 Are there pieces here that you haven’t finished yet, and they wait for you to have time?

 Well, there are many things that are not finished. The last piece that I did was this bronze gas mask.

Who is this guy? 

That’s me. It’s a self-portrait. That’s an idea in progress which I am going to get done before I leave a project I have underway with visually impaired participants. I do a lot of education work with the National Galleries as well, so that needs lots of new ideas.

These are my last months here. I quite like having the empty new space, but every time I’m there, it’s like, oh, my things are there, and I always want to come back here. I don’t feel comfortable in the new studio yet but I will get used to.


Studio conversation between Studio Holder Duncan Robertson and Mihaela Coman on February 2023.

More about Duncan’s work here