Glasgow Norwegian city of Tromso might exist geographically on the peripheries of the art world but that doesn't mean they have a shortage of either material or talent.

The fruits of the three-year project High North, an artist residency exchange set up by the CCA that took Aileen Campbell and Terry Smith across the North Sea and welcomed Norwegian artists Arild Tveito, Kjaersti Andvig and Mai Hofstad Gunnes to Glasgow for five months, are testament to the success of the collaboration.

Exhibitions followed but the links that were forged are ongoing, inspiring new ideas in both places.

"It offers a structural way of working with people and trying to follow them, for us that is very important," explains Remco de Blaaij, the CCA curator tasked with taking the organisation further afield as it moves into the 21st century.

"High North offers an opportunity to say, 'How can we think about the larger programme?'

"I'm now developing two projects - one in 2016, under the working title The North, which talks about the geography of Canada, Scotland and the European north, and the other in 2017, with the working title The South, which is looking at the global south."

Rather than jumping from one project to the next, the CCA's international programme offers the opportunity to move organically from one idea to the next.

The High North residency has given Remco the chance to speak to Norwegian artists and fired his enthusiasm for work coming out of other northern areas of the world.

The benefits for audience members are obvious.

"Not everybody here, although we're in western Europe, has endless opportunities to travel or has enough money to do so," says Remco, who was previously co-curator of Picasso in Palestine at Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

"For a lot of younger artists just to go to London can be expensive.

"Often the exhibitions of bigger artists are there, but you still need to make people aware that there are discussions and artists working in different places.

"I really like to see it as public speculation; it's not me pointing the artist or the people in that direction, saying, 'This is what you should see.'

"I want to speculate about it in a public way, which I do in the gallery. Can we learn something from this? That's quite exciting and we have an opportunity to give these voices a chance to speak."

For an example of his ideas in action, Remco cites the double show he put on at CCA with Glasgow-based film-maker Sarah Forrest and Lebanese film-maker Mounira al Sohl.

The women didn't know each other beforehand but it worked so well Sarah went to Beirut to do further work with Mounira.

"I didn't anticipate that but doing the exhibition brought it about. I think that's at the core of how we think and how I see an exchange of knowledge," he says.

Currently residing in the artist flat at CCA, a fully equipped studio on the top floor, is a young Canadian artist who is working on an anonymous 91-day online drawing marathon called Ambivalently Yours.

She is the latest person to make use of the CALQ residency with artists in Montreal, Canada, now in its 11th year.

Looking to the future, Remco is setting up an exhibition in Glasgow next year with Cuban artists and hopes to create a residency similar to the successful Tromso and Montreal links.

Meanwhile he is curator of the current exhibition by Christine Borland and Brody Condon. Circles of Focus uses clay sculptures, made using Neolithic techniques, and 3D printed prototypes to explore the human body donation as a tool for artistic research and practice.

Opening the doors of CCA to overseas artists is the perfect example of the organisation's open source approach in action.

A pragmatic response to the expansion of the Sauchiehall Street building 14 years ago, it offers space the organisation can't use itself to groups or artists with an idea for a show, film screening or event.

They get to showcase their work, with the added benefit of marketing from CCA, and it brings a new audience to the venue.

Assistant curator Ainslie Roddick works in the programme that now sees 80 per cent of the activities going on in the building, a staggering 802 events last year alone.

It includes gatherings that attract ever-growing audiences over the years, from Glasgow Short Film Festival and Document, the human rights film festival, to screenings for Alliance Francaise and live music.

"People will get in touch and say they have an idea for an event but don't have money or only a small amount to cover a staff cost and can we help," says Ainslie, a Glasgow School of Art graduate who set up the Duchy not-for-profit gallery in Duke Street with Lauren Printy Currie before moving to CCA.

"Essentially the open source is saying yes, we give support, free marketing and a little bit of event co-ordination, introducing them to other people who might be able to collaborate on their event or help with a funding application.

"Ultimately we try and give them their autonomy: it's not our programme, it's their idea."

Cinema, theatre and exhibition space is available to partners and over the years it has given birth to Seeds of Thought, a spoken word and poetry evening which now attracts a large audience, and Paragon Ensemble, cultural tenants of the building who support accessible opportunities for artists, dancers and musicians.

The experimental music programme of Counterflows has benefited from its association with CCA, and the link with the building's Saramago Cafe brings customers to its live music events and the vegan eaterie on the ground floor.

"The next step is finding people who are maybe more marginalised, they could have an idea but don't have the confidence or know how to present an event or might want to show a film," says Ainslie.

"CCA is finally in a more stable position and we are hoping to keep the programme as varied as possible and make sure we're addressing issues like equality.

"It's not just about the final exhibition it's about the process; how we are working with communities."

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