This Is Not My Day Job

A work in progress by Rhiannon Dewar, Sarah McCusker, Christian Haynes, Emily Tough and Liv McDougall.

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Rhiannon Dewar 'Telemarketing for the MLM', photo by Kirstin McEwan
Sarah McCusker 'A mother's hands', photo by Kirstin McEwan
Work by Rhiannon Dewar, detail.
ROAM (Space) group at their exhibition with lead artist Kevin Reid. Photo by Kirstin McEwan
Work by Liv McDougall
Work by Emily Tough
Work by Sarah McCusker
This Is Not My Day Job, work by Emily Tough. Photo by Kirstin McEwan
This Is Not My Day Job
Sarah McCusker 'Junk Mail', photo by Kirstin McEwan
Rhiannon Dewar 'Telemarketing for the MLM', photo by Kirstin McEwan
Rhiannon Dewar 'For appearances' (L) and Emily Tough 'Poster' (R), photos by Kirstin McEwan
Christian Haynes 'The Journey to Death is an Empty One', photo by Kirstin McEwan
Christian Haynes 'The Journey to Death is an Empty One', photo by Kirstin McEwan
Liv McDougall 'Toonscape', photo by Kirstin McEwan
Liv McDougall 'Toonscape', photo by Kirstin McEwan
'This Is Not My Day Job' exhibition opening, photo by Kirstin McEwan
Emily Tough '2 do 2 day', photo by Kirstin McEwan
Sarah McCusker 'A means to an end', photo by Kirstin McEwan

This Is Not My Day Job

Gracefield Arts Centre, Room 2, 28 Edinburgh Road, Dumfries, DG1 1JQ
Opening night - Friday 15th September 2023 / 7-9pm
Exhibition open - Saturday 16th September, 11am - 5pm & Sunday 17th September, 12 - 4pm

'This Is Not My Day Job' is a pop-up exhibition by a group of five emerging artists based in Dumfries & Galloway. The exhibition is the culmination of the first year of ROAM (Space), an Upland project that has enabled a small collective of early career artists to work alongside an established lead artist to explore ways in which to exhibit work, exchange ideas, experiment creatively and connect via contemporary art practice.

The project aims to identify gaps that might exist for emerging artists in the region and work with them to consider how they might be addressed.

The work in this exhibition explores themes around the modern workplace, considering the time pressures and constraints of creating artwork in between ‘day jobs’.

The participating and exhibiting artists are: Emily Tough, Joshua Haynes, Liv Kerr, Rhiannon Dewar and Sarah McCusker.


Exhibition Text:



Where do you work? Is your job one you enjoy? No really. Do you enjoy it? Would you be doing it if you weren't getting paid? Does it leave you the time to be passionate about something else? Do you work multiple jobs? For some artists, money isn't an issue. They can afford to be an artist. For the rest of us? Go fuck ourselves and pull yourself up by your bootstraps. How dare you mention the logistics of being poor in the art world. In art schools, students are encouraged to quit their jobs to be able to focus solely on art and are questioned about their refusal to do so. They are told that being a good artist requires the "willingness" to travel the world and told not to be rude after pointing out that this isn't the reality of most people. "This is not my day job" is artwork angrily thrown together, with no time for the love and passion we all want to be able to give to our works.

To me, this project represents the endlessness of working a job as part of a late-stage capitalistic country, and this feeling of wanting to escape. What inspires me the most about this project theme is being able to observe and comment on toxic work culture, environments, and the idea of spending your entire youth working a job you hate.

Artists are rarely immune from having to diversify their income streams. It is even more challenging for emerging artists to prioritize their artistic practice over their immediate and continued need to pay their bills, raise children and care for their families.

This project, for me, is in a way a protest of the toxic work culture in our society. As young artists and creative people, most of us don’t have the privilege to pursue our passions because we need to be able to afford to live. This issue goes on throughout the years until we are fully grown and look back and haven’t been able to fully fulfil our dreams in pursuit of survival. I want Dumfries, and the world, to be even more enriching and creative than we can imagine. A shift in culture, towards something that benefits people physically and mentally. Creativity is proven to help people heal. It’s possible for there to be more places where people of all ages can have a creative outlet, and this exhibition can be an expression of that, but ROAM could also go further to help achieve that.

Community engagement
Art for the people
Growth through creating.

Our collective learning and feelings, growing towards some conclusion of ‘what it means to be an artist, an artist in a collective, let alone a rural one!’.
We listen to older, wiser artists who’ve formed groups, rented out buildings, built shows, led projects, and tried to make the lives of those around them somehow better through art.
We’ve been awe struck by the obstacles they’ve had to face trying to succeed.
The striving towards the unifying creative goal while keeping some kind of opposition to the system seems to have always been where the real work lies.


For more information about the artists please visit the project page: ROAM (Space)