Exhibiting the Work of Ruth Ewan

In collaboration with the Queen Margaret Union, the College of Arts & Humanities is delighted to exhibit the work of Glasgow-based leading international artist, Ruth Ewan, as part of the 2023-24 Thinking Culture programme.

Ruth Ewan’s ‘A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World’ will be installed for six months in the QMU’s bar. The jukebox contains 2,000 tracks which address a broad range of social and political issues. Tracks are organised into themes including feminism, land rights, poverty, civil rights and ecology. 

A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World, Ruth Ewan, installed at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark 2011
Women flanging pipes at Alexander Stephen & Son’s Linthouse Shipyard, c 1916.
With permission of University of Glasgow Archives and Special Collections, UGD4/18/2/1.

On September 29, Ruth will host a launch event of song and lyrical story telling, ‘She Works Hard for the Money’, with singer Debbie Armour. They’ll draw upon tracks from the Jukebox which explore ongoing work-related struggles such as precarity, discrimination, reproductive labour and the fight for equal pay. 

The exhibition of Ewan’s work is supported by The Dear Green Bothy and Thinking Culture programmes in the College of Arts and Humanities, University of Glasgow. 

Mark Banks, Professor of Creative Economies and The Dear Green Bothy Academic Lead stated, “We’re delighted that Ruth is bringing one of her brilliant jukeboxes to the University and that anyone can drop in to QMU, select a track, and listen to some of the greatest popular music in history on radical themes of work, protest, feminism and ecology – all of life’s struggles to a musical beat.”

“Glasgow-based artist Ruth Ewan is known for a powerful body of work that is often deeply engaged with social movements and acts of dissent or protest. Across diverse mediums, Ewan’s practice often explores grassroots resistance to structures of power, with particular interests in the politics of time and in music. These concerns are wonderfully embodied in the ongoing ‘Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World’, which invites the audience to actively engage with a long history of protest songs and to hear them anew, in the present tense. We are delighted to be able to present the work in Glasgow at the QMU.” – Dominic Paterson, Senior Lecturer in History of Art and Thinking Culture Lead.

Ruth Ewan is an artist based in Glasgow. Her work addresses ideas of power and questions representations of time, rebellion and repression. Her work grows from context-specific research resulting in a wide variety of forms including events, public works, performance, writing, large scale installations and print. 

Often working collaboratively, she has created music projects, walks, radio programmes, design projects, workshops and books. She has shown extensively within galleries and museums including; The Laing Gallery (2022); Collective (2022 & 2014); The Cooper Gallery (2021); Edinburgh Art Festival (2018 & 2020); Pitzhanger Gallery (2020); Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2019); CAPC, Bordeux (2019); Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration, Paris (2019); Victoria and Albert Museum (2018); 32nd São Paulo Biennial (2016); Camden Arts Centre, London (2015); Tate Britain (2009 & 2014); Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Glasgow International (2012); Dundee Contemporary Arts and Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla (2011); The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk (2010); the New Museum, New York (2009). She has realised projects for The High Line, New York (2019); Glasgow Women’s Library (2018); Create, London (2012); Folkestone Triennial (2011); Art on the Underground (2011); Frieze Projects (2009) and Artangel (2007 & 2013). In 2016 she was awarded the Arts Foundation Yoma Sasburg Award for Art in Urban Space. 

She has taught at numerous art schools and universities and created workshops with museums and galleries, primary and secondary schools, women’s groups, community organisations, hospitals and prisons. 

Her work is in the collection of Tate London, McManus Galleries Dundee, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, FRAC Champagne Ardenne, The Scottish Parliament and CAAC Seville. 

She is represented by Rob Tufnell, Cologne / Venice.