Katie Paterson - University of Edinburgh

King’s Buildings Centenary Commission

Katie Paterson

Grant Institute Kings Buildings

W Mains Rd, Edinburgh



As part of a programme of celebratory events to mark The King’s Building (KB) campus centenary, the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) have commissioned a permanent work of art by the internationally renowned artist Katie Paterson.


Chosen by a panel following a competitive selection process, Paterson has been working since 2019 on this new and ambitious artwork.


Katie Paterson has a longstanding connection to the University; not only as a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, but also as an honorary fellow, a position obtained in 2013 because of her ‘major contribution in fostering collaboration between the arts and sciences.’


The work, Ideas (2021) will take the form of one hundred three-line texts cut in stainless steel (each an ‘Idea’), that will be situated in a variety of locations in and around the KB campus. Due to be installed in autumn 2021, some Ideas will be immediately visible and others will be hidden in unexpected places, at varying levels, high and low. The locations will include internal and exterior walls as well as among the grounds and gardens of KB. Each Idea is inspired by scientific thought and research, and the subject-matter is wide ranging, from the first colours on earth to the universe’s last stars; involving fields such as chemistry, biology, astronomy, geology, and geography.


A lifelong series, Paterson conceives of each Idea as works that may or may not come into being; they are intended to take shape in the imagination of whoever reads the words and so become an expression of the Idea itself. For KB, Paterson is drawing upon her existing body of work as well as composing many new Ideas. Accompanying the physical presentation of the work will be a website with bespoke map, inviting staff, students and visitors to find all one hundred artworks as they explore the campus.


October 28, 2021