Stardust | Monika Fischbein

My current practice and research uses an interdisciplinary approach applying methodologies, such as iconography and symbolism. The work centres on the notions of spiritual identity, esotericism, and mysticism; their manifestation in imaging, moreover, investigating their role and purpose in contemporary visual culture. “Stardust – Postcards from Heaven” depicts Vedic astrology’s nakshatra constellations and their evolutionary connections with karmic paths of individuals featured in the project.  

Drawing for learning | Chloé Masi

My research explores the potential of drawing through both practice-based and pedagogical enquiry.

My research explores drawing and pedagogy in higher education. My current research analyses how drawing can support learning in art school. I am developing a taxonomy to evaluate drawing processes and skills acquisition across cognitive, spatial and sensory skills. This taxonomy will offer a framework for higher education drawing curriculum development. It will identify how to measure skills associated with different drawing typologies in order to make the activities pertinent for skills acquisition and their assessment. My article Drawing for learning: A narrative review of the literature is published by Drawing Theory Research Practice 6.1 in 2021 for the special issue Drawing and Ability.

My research explores the potential of drawing through practice-based investigation. Through drawing I explore the potential of sketching. My sketches are made up of essential lines and marks. I explore the ability of the sketch to capture a first-person point of view, including one’s observations, past memories and future imaginings simultaneously. Secondly, I explore the potential of the specific materials that the sketch involves -the paper and the pencil – and the connection between these materials and their abilities to capture intuitiveness, immediateness and directness.


We are into the third day of the global print conference IMPACT 11 HONG KONG that for the first time is virtual. That has not stopped the team at HK Printworkshop and CFPR at UWE curating a full programme from printmakers around the world. The exhibition programme features over 60 exhibits including the cluster ebook: Legends and Legacy Between, that 12 members collaborated on. Flip the through the pages here:  Legends and Legacy Between. Luby and Jonnie are also delivering papers.

Greetings from a Butterfly by Lucia Cunningham.
The following article appeared In iCity Tiger

Making an IMPACT
School of Art students, staff and artists in residence came together to produce an ebook showcasing a wide range of printing techniques and the impact of working in isolation for virtual IMPACT 11, the International Printmaking Conference hosted by Hong Kong Open Printshop. 

IMPACT, International Multi-disciplinary Printmaking, Artists, Concepts and Techniques, is one of the largest printmaking conference in the world. It was launched in 1999 by the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England, and has since evolved into a global professional event for ‘graphic art lovers, scholars and printmakers’.
This year, the conference was scheduled to take place in Hong Kong, as IMPACT 11. However, due to the pandemic and travel restrictions, the face-to-face conference has been transformed into a virtual event focused on bringing together thought-provoking thesis presentations and seminars from art communities from around the world.
Postgraduate students, artists in residence, academic and technical staff from the Material Encounters Research Cluster, a research group based at the School of Art, came together to create the ebook, Legends and Legacy Between, as their electronic submission.
The publication was designed by MA graduate Lucy Parris and PHD student Jonnie Turpie, and represents a wide range of print techniques such as laser engraving, photographic processes, digital and traditional print media.

Collaborators are as follows:
MA alumna Taiba Akhtar
MA student Boyana Aleksova
Doctoral Studies student Soha AlZaid
Doctoral Studies student Sally Bailey
Associate Professor Interdisciplinary Practice Dr Catherine Baker
Doctoral Studies student Harriet Carter
Doctoral Studies student Lucia Cunningham
BA student Fae Kilburn
Doctoral Studies student Su Ng
MA alumna Lucy Parris
Senior Technician Ana Rutter
Senior Technician Justin Sanders
Doctoral Studies student Jonnie Turpie

To produce the ebook, 13 colleagues worked in isolation and submitted a core image, practice description and working preparatory images. Many of the texts not only reflect on the artworks, but on artist’s experience of lockdown and the isolation that is different to the face-to-face experience of working within the School of Art. 
Much of the included work has a hand-made material quality and an abstract image from a lithography stone test was selected as the front cover. A video version of the ebook has been produced with an accompanying voice over.

Dr Catherine Baker said: “The isolating times, imposed by the Covid-19 restrictions, brought about new challenges for the researchers involved in the production of an Artists Book accepted for IMPACT 11 in Hong Kong. We had to think differently and come together as a group of individuals via online platforms using alternative methods of production. This proved to be a valuable collective experience that was expertly managed by cluster members alumna Lucy Parris and doctoral researcher Jonnie Turpie. The Legends and Legacy ebook has heralded a new strand for the Material Encounters Research Cluster, and we now plan to develop further books as resources for cluster members and external researchers.”

Uncertain knowledge(s) colloquium announced!

An artist’s working process is a hidden yet significant journey: it is where ambiguous and uncertain knowledge(s) are given the opportunity to be discovered through materiality and encounter. The artist’s process itself is also a highly valuable practice of research, actively enabling new yet potentially slippery knowledge(s) to emerge through reflection, the synthesis of ideas and the unknown.

This one-day colloquium seeks to provoke dialogues across practices to examine the possibilities and unknowns of process and matter as a critical meeting point between thought, intention, and the expectance of what might transpire.

What happens when the outcome is not the goal?
How can we conceptualise and capture the flux of artistic practice as research?
Can the artmaking process that is unformulated, communicate research beyond words?

More details can be found on :

Photography Research Hub

The newly established Photography Research Hub,  led by Dr John Hillman joined the Material Encounters team of researchers at the end of 2020 and we welcome the opportunity to expand the research activities of the cluster accordingly and we look forward to working with Dr Hillman into the future. 

Photography Research Hub Statement

The hub aims to bring together academics, artists and thinkers from across the faculty and beyond who engage with research and discussion around an expanded notion of the subject of photography. Orientated toward the future, it will consider technology’s role in understanding the development of contemporary photography and image making. The research will be historically grounded, with an emphasis on thinking and restating the cultural value of images and image making. The ambition is that our research will shape ideas contributing to a new understanding of photography, in the twenty first century.

We welcome new members, via an application process, and anyone particularly interested in joining the cluster and/or hub should contact us by email:

Drawing, Research, Theory, Practice

The first week of 2021 sees the publication of the Journal DRTP Volume 5, Number 2 edited by Dr Catherine Baker. It is published by Intellect with a focus on the multifaceted (inter)relationships between Drawing and Science. You may recall a webinar we held late last year on the experience of journal editing and writing where Harriet and Jonnie described their experience of peer review. Their completed articles are published in this journal edition: Drawing birdsong: A comparative analysis between the electronic and the human; and Drawing Ed Ruscha.

Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice promotes and disseminates drawing research with a focus on contemporary practice and its theoretical context. This journal seeks to reestablish the materiality of drawing as a medium at a time when virtual, on-line, electronic media dominates visuality and communication.

This peer-reviewed publication represents drawing as a significant discipline in its own right and in a diversity of forms: as an experimental practice, as research, as representation and/or documentation, as historical and/or theoretical exploration, as process or as performance. It explores the drawing discipline across fine art, science and engineering, media and communication, psychology, architecture, design, science and technology, textiles, fashion, social and cultural practices.

Intellect: Publishers of Original Thinking


I am currently trying to comprehend the irony of bountiful blessings on the Peranakan culture. One of the motifs often found on many Peranakan objects was the Eternal Knot. Its intertwining lines flow in a closed pattern , symbolising the interrelation between all phenomena. It expresses the union of the spiritual, human compassion and wisdom, and a necessary bind that creates harmony in our universe. I am still working on the interaction between the mythological bird and common motifs such as these


1st December 2021 | 16:00-17:00 GMT | Online |

We are delighted to welcome Professor Erin Manning to present the second talk as part of this series:

Erin Manning is a professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University (Montreal, Canada). She is also the founder of SenseLab (, a laboratory that explores the intersections between art practice and philosophy through the matrix of the sensing body in movement. Current art projects are focused around the concept of minor gestures in relation to colour and movement. Art exhibitions include the Sydney and Moscow Biennales, Glasshouse (New York), Vancouver Art Museum, McCord Museum (Montreal) and House of World Cultures (Berlin) and Galateca Gallery (Bucarest). Publications include For a Pragmatics of the Useless (Duke UP, forthcoming), The Minor Gesture (Duke UP, 2016), Always More Than One: Individuation’s Dance (Duke UP, 2013), Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009) and, with Brian Massumi, Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience (Minnesota UP, 2014)

Brief outline of the talk: How does the question of art shift when we think of art in its medieval definition as “way”? This opening toward what I call the artful, or “aesthetic yield,” will allow us to consider the activity of the hyphen in “research-creation.” How does the commitment to practice at the heart of the artful alter the question of life itself? What are its modes of existence? What else can be heard in the making? Issues around black life and neurodiversity will be at the forefront of a journeying into where the political does its work in the ethics-aesthetic.

DETAILS: Art as a Practice of Research – Professor Erin Manning talk Tickets, Tue 19 Jan 2021 at 16:00 | Eventbrite

Works in progress

We are currently looking for contributions from cluster members to feature your works in progress on the Material Encounters website. It would be really helpful if you could let us know what you are working on at the moment by sending us some images and texts about your works. It may sound ambitious, but we think it is possible to create an online space where we could see what our peers are doing, much like having others working in their studios beside us! (Click to see an example)

Everything seems tentative and surreal at the moment with the pandemic, and it has definitely affected the ways we connect with people and ideas. The difficulty of accessing the practices of others, particularly tacit knowing through material engagement, is further compounded by our remote connection with other practitioners.

It would be interesting to see how works evolve through time and in tandem with others, much like a working document. We are not expecting anything perfect or even complete, but something that would keep us all engaged with our making.

You could also send us links to your social media pages. This could be your blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin and other social media sites you are currently using. Imagine the dynamic connections one could experience starting with a single site!

If you are interested to share, please send the relevant information to either or


From 10 – 17 December 2020, Jennifer Ng presented ‘Peranakan Whispers’ at The Substation Gallery in  Singapore. The “Blackboard Schemes” Exhibition featured artists of the Fertile Art Refinery (FAR), creating an experimental and process-centric platform to promote collective reflexivity and connectivity. This organic unity with a multiplicity of practices by 30 artists include themes such as society and the pandemic, representation of women, bio ecology, the ideas of craft and fine art, and other intriguing artistic lenses.

Whispers – a strange way to speak, speaking in secrecy, speaking in a way that only close ones can hear you, a private conversation.. can you actually hear it ? what do you really hear?

This performance video with a Singaporean collaborator Wilson Goh, was developed as part of Jennifer’s experiment to articulate displaced or lost meanings/objects through dialogue/non-dialogue, connection/ disconnection/reconnection through interfacing portals between distant lands.

Big Draw award

Remember Jim, Matt and Deb? Canadian Artists Jim Holyoak and Matt Shane shared their drawing experiences with the Cluster in 2019 as they took a day out from their immense all gallery drawings at Mac Birmingham. Debbie Kermode the CEO and Artistic Director of Mac shared with us the curation history behind the show and what was planned. This included drawing days in Cannon Hill Park and a Big Draw day in the gallery, not on the walls, but on the floor! They and their work at Mac has been awarded the Big Draw Best Museum and Gallery award.

Matt and Jim explain rabbit inspiration
Debbie Kermode at Margaret Street

“The Big Draw Festival 2019 Award Winners Announced”

The Big Draw has recognised the work by awarding Mac, Jim and Matt with the Best Museum and Gallery Award for the day’s work. ‘Among their many events, MAC coordinated a large-scale collaborative work which was later displayed in the public foyer.’ Big Draw:

Jim and Matt led the public engagement day where anyone entering the gallery could pick up a mark making tool and draw on the floor. They introduced the day with short presentations of their drawing inspirations and motivations which became inspiration for a constant flow of drawers throughout the day. The final floor wide drawing was celebrated with its hanging in the Mac foyer alongside a time lapse video of its making.

More about the show on Mac website and watch the time lapse to see how the full floor drawing was created.

Big Draw Press release: