Uncertain Knowledge(s): Speaker bios


Amélie Doche is an AHRC-funded Doctoral Researcher at Birmingham City University. Her areas of research interests include Stylistics, (Systemic Functional) Discourse Analysis, and Reader-Response.


Anna Makrzanowska is a theatre director and academic. She was a senior lecturer at London’s International Drama School RBC (2012–2018) and a lecturer in drama at the University of Lincoln (2007–2012). Makrzanowska specialises in the Eastern European devising practices. Anna has been a producer and director of performances for over 20 years, her performances have been toured in the UK, Poland, Portugal, Spain and The Czech Republic. Her published research includes articles in the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media and Performance Research Journal. Currently, Anna’s doctoral PaR investigates notions around posthuman feminism at Loughborough University.


Emily Gray is a lecturer and PhD researcher at Nottingham Trent University. Her PhD, ‘Archives and Contemporaneity’, explores the dispersed history and archival materials of Bloomberg New Contemporaries. Research interests include the archive as generative resource, exhibition making as research, and notions of ‘untimeliness’. Selected projects include Not an Archive, Primary, Nottingham, 2019; Vitrines #11: Not a Live Show, Bonington Gallery, NTU, 2019; Beyond Event Horizon, Modeus Operandi: Young Visual Artists in Cyprus 2017, Nicosia; a new day came, Platform +, Bandung, Indonesia, part of British Council UK/ID Residency season 2016-2018.  


Emma Cocker is a writer-artist and Associate Professor in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University, whose research focuses on artistic processes and practices, and the performing of ‘thinking-in-action’ therein. Her practice unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art, including diverse process-oriented and dialogic-collaborative approaches to working with and through language. Cocker often works with other artist-researchers on durational projects, where the studio-gallery or site-specific context becomes a live ‘laboratory’ for collaborative exploration. Her writing has been published in Failure; Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of ThoughtStillness in a Mobile WorldHyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art; Reading/Feeling; On Not Knowing: How Artists Think; The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice, and the solo collection, The Yes of the No. Emma was co-researcher on the artistic research project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line (2014–2017). She was a contributing artistic researcher in Ecologies of Practice, Research Pavilion, Venice, (2019) and is co-founder of the Society of Artistic Research Special Interest Group on Language-based Artistic Research. She is currently co-editing a Special Issue of the Journal of Phenomenology and Practice on ‘Practices of Phenomenological and Artistic Research’.


Jemma Mellor is an interdisciplinary artist specialising in sculpture, fibre arts and photography. Having completed a BA in Visual Communication, she has exhibited across the UK and worked within arts education. Currently she is undertaking an MA in Art & Design at Birmingham School of Art.  Her practice and research specialism seeks to consider the voice of matter and objects as speaking of more than form and instead encompassing histories, myths, political, social and spiritual relations. Central to this work is the opening up of colloquies (formal conversations) with materials and the development of material co-productive practice.


Turpie, having pursued a successful creative industries career returned to education in 2017 as a Doctoral Research Student at Birmingham School of Art. His career included establishing Maverick Tv, producing innovative and award-winning television and digital content. During his journey towards PhD completion, he has written on Fine art Printmaking and digital photography, his first academic work since achieving an MA (RCA) in 1979. His Research subject is: ‘The drawn serigraph: An investigation through portraiture’, in which he explores the subtle digital and analogue techniques of image making and the complex relationships between the Artist and Subject.


Karen David is a third year PhD research at the University of Worcester. Her research examines the use of fictional narrative as a tool for practice-based research to create a space for experimentation, distribution and chance.  


Niamh Seana Meehan is a visual artist based in Northern Ireland working in-between visual art, live action and written matter based on the slippages involved within the translation of thought to text. Her practice investigates the unknowability of language, its messiness and how it has the potential to become visual and moveable. Themes include emptiness, silence, ambiguity and doubt.


Pierre d’Alancaisez is a curator and critic specialising in social and political art practices. As a PhD researcher at Birmingham City University, he investigates interdisciplinary knowledge exchange and the relationship between artists’ access to non-arts skills and the impacts of artistic practices. For a decade, Pierre was the director of waterside contemporary in London, where he pioneered social practice and art activism approaches in the art market. He has curated exhibitions with artists that included Turner Prize nominee Oreet Ashery and has commissioned works with artists such as Mirza and Butler which travelled to Artes Mundi and Sydney Biennale. He has also been a cultural strategist in higher education and the charity sector, a publisher, a scientist, and a financial services professional.


Sarah Casey is an artist and senior lecturer at Lancaster university UK. Over the past decade she has explored relationships between drawing, (in)visibility and (im)materiality through collaboration with researchers from different fields ranging from archaeology, to astrophysics and anthropology. Solo exhibitions of her work have been at Kensington Palace, The Bowes Museum and most recently at Ryerson University, Toronto. She also writes on drawing and is co-author of Drawing Investigations: graphic relationships with science, culture and environment (Bloomsbury 2020). She is currently visiting research fellow at The Henry Moore Institute. 


Sally Bailey is a Birmingham-based artist and PhD researcher at the Birmingham School of Art. Bailey completed her MA Fine Art at BCU in 2014, where she was awarded the Mike Holland Trust Prize for Painting for her Final Show works. As a practice-led researcher and an oil painter, Bailey’s work acknowledges the tradition and past history of painting but is not bound by a formal approach. Aiming to re/position the primacy of process within painting, Bailey explores a complex entanglement of questions centred around the concept of the liminal in relation to that process. Through experimentation, intervention, collaboration and performative iterations the concept of liminality is posited as an expanded painterly language that operates as a form of meaning-making in the enactment and encounter of painting.


Born in 1960, the formative years of Serena’s practice after graduation were spent at the Curwen Studio in London, where she trained as a lithographer. Her subsequent and ongoing work as technical consultant, educator, mentor, and artist, continues to be enriched by collaboration with fellow artists in her role as studio technician at Leicester Print Workshop. Alongside her working life in printmaking studios Serena studied at Central Saint Martins (MA) and the Institute of Education (PGDip) and is currently a doctoral student at Loughborough University. Her work has been widely exhibited both in the UK and internationally, and her stone lithographs are held in a number of collections including the British Museum, Nottingham University, and China Printmaking Museum. Website: serenasmith.org 


Simon Fleury’s practice-led research fabricates museum-objects to explore and test the intimate entangling relations between the museum and the photograph: Accessing this saturated field of material relations (photospherics) via the conservation based modes of photo-documentation and material analysis of museum-objects, known as the condition report (testing a counter-factual conservation). Simon’s practice is underpinned by many years as a conservator at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, where he was responsible for the care of the Museum’s extensive photographic holdings. A practice underpinned by a background in photography, which has included extensive commercial experience, post-graduate study at the Royal College of Art, and PhD at Birmingham School of Art and Design (M3C AHRC). Simon’s work is in Tate and British Council collections.


Graduated with a BA Honours in Fine Art, Sculpture and Environmental Art from the Glasgow School of Art in 2010 and with an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 2019. PhD candidate at University of Gloucestershire. Susie Olczak is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on sculpture. Her work focuses on the idea of adaptation. Underpinning the projects are the themes of time, climate change, and urban development in the context of digital culture. Susie Olczak is a lecturer in Fine Art at University of Gloucestershire and has been a visiting lecturer at many UK institutions including Goldsmiths University of London, The Royal College of Art and University of the Arts London. Her work has been shown in the UK and internationally. She has been commissioned to produce public artworks by BBC Scotland, Charles Saatchi and the National Trust. Website: http://www.susieolczak.co.uk


Victoria Benito is a composer-artist and researcher. She makes music, videos, and performs her music. She is from Madrid and is currently based in Birmingham. She is often inspired by different life experiences, like swimming with dolphins in the ocean or tightening the screws of the pans and pots of her kitchen. Her music has been performed in Spain, the UK, and The Netherlands. A friend of hers said that her music ‘draws from a dreamlike sound world derived from humour, surrealism and subversion of expectations’, but I don’t really know whether that’s true; I’m just her biographer. And I’m also Victoria. I’m both.’


Zelal Basodan is a Saudi emerging ceramic artist/researcher, she believes that Islamic art reflects her identity and cultural heritage. Zelal also believes that preserving this identity does not mean the rejection of other cultures but to adapt with one another and to find an in-between. Therefore, she chose Islamic Spain during the Nasrid period as her area of exploration, due to its lavish multi-cultural and distinctive artistic style. Zelal is presently undertaking a practice-based research aiming to contribute culturally and technically towards a hybrid Contemporary Islamic Ceramics. Inspired from a cultural heritage context, which is the world heritage site Alhambra Palace and Alhambra vases. Investigating the intercultural production of Islamic artefacts and applying new interpretations in her current creative practice. Zelal holds a BA and MA in Islamic Arts, from King Abdul-Aziz University, Jeddah. She worked at the same university from 2009-2018, and from 2018 she has been working at Jeddah University. Simultaneously, she is a Doctoral Researcher at the School of Design and Creative Arts, Loughborough University, exploring the emerging field of Islamic Studio Ceramics. 

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