Bringing together current research and critical debate about art, art history and visual cultures
Online Event Wednesday 14 – Saturday 17 April 2021
Who should attend the 2021 Annual Conference? The Annual Conference is open to all. If you are doing research about art, art history or visual culture this online event is a perfect opportunity to share your research ideas. Or you can come along to listen and engage with new research. The Annual Conference is popular with academics, curators, artists, phd students, early career researchers, publishers, writers and anyone engaged with art history research. The conference is open to art historians and non art historians, and to members and non members. Everyone is welcome.
Cluster members, PGR and ADM BCU staff are invited to join us for the first in a series of Cluster Writing Workshops that will take place over the coming academic year. This informal session will include feedback from two current doctoral students, Harriet Carter and Edward (Jonnie)Turpie, who have both recently been through the peer-review process attached to journal/publication acceptance. This can be a daunting process however, being informed from the outset can make the process far easier to navigate towards a successful outcome. Joining Harriet and Edward, cluster leads Dr Catherine Baker and Dr Jacqueline Taylor will also share their editorial insights. This event is designed to shed light on both sides of the process, highlighting potential pitfalls, following guidance and the importance of permissions and copyrights.
Material Encounters member Chloe Regan delivered a workshop with the University of the West of England Drawing Research Group on ‘Teaching drawing online: a showcase of examples and resources for artists and educators’ at Thinking Through Drawing Symposium2020.
Contributors to the workshop presented their experience and advice on teaching drawing online and included:
Chloe Regan, Material Encounters Lecturer and Flying Faculty in Visual Communication at Birmingham City University and Birmingham Institute of Fashion and creative arts in China.
Dr Catherine Baker, Material Encounters Associate Professor in the school of Fine Art at Birmingham City University, who has lectured widely on and participated in a number of international drawing initiatives.
Drawing Room, London, is an internationally renowned gallery, unique library and arts organisation that is dedicated to opening up the world of contemporary drawing to everyone. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS is a major part of Drawing Room’s engagement programme which puts children at the centre and explores with them – alongside their teachers, schools, families and artists – what drawing can be.
The Good Ship Illustration, offer no nonsense advice to illustrators and image makers navigating a creative career. They offer online courses and a Friday night art club on Instagram.
Jake Spicer, Draw Brighton: Draw is an independent drawing school in Brighton and has been providing flexible and affordable painting, printmaking and drawing classes since 2009. Under usual circumstances Draw accepts 10 students a year on the long-term Atelier course and provides a daily tutored and untutored programme for over 1000 different drop-in students a year; currently Draw is providing life drawing resources and online classes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sarah Hyndman, a graphic designer, author, and public speaker, who leads international typography workshops using drawing.
Meg Buick, an artist and Associate Lecturer at UWE Bristol. Meg studied at the Royal Drawing School in London, and exhibits her drawings internationally.
Chloe Briggs, an artist and teacher of drawing. Since 2008 she has been Head of Foundation at Paris College of Art. In 2013 she created, ‘Drawing is Free’ an initiative that brings different people together through collaborations and events to draw.
Stefan Gant, an Artist and Senior Lecturer in Drawing and Digital Practice at the University of Northampton. Stefan’s practice and research explores intersections of traditional drawing processes and interdisciplinary digital practice. He is currently artist in residence with The School of Archaeology, University of Oxford (2019-2023) based at Blenheim Palace.
The online international symposium was held in collaboration with Indiana University Southeast, State University of New York at New Paltz, and The Big Draw.
Thursday Oct 15th saw the first recordings for the new cluster film to capture the foundations of the cluster going forward in 2020. Socially distanced interviews with Dr Catherine Baker, Jacqueline Taylor and John from Photography Hub recorded in the School of Art Printroom.
Crafty Robots, Well-behaved Implements and Disobedient Devices
2-6pm, 8 October 2020 (NEW DATE)
There has been a long-standing recognition in the arts, humanities, and the social sciences, of the importance of tools and implements, and the ways in which they are used to create, transform and enhance objects. The character of these tools – the ways in which tools are handled, the skills and practices that underpin and enable their use and application – has received less attention. Yet it is the character of the tool and its embodied use, that becomes critical in the creation of – and our encounter with – objects and artefacts.
Together with practitioners and academics from across disciplines, this symposium invites makers, curators, crafters, designers, historians, artists, collectors, architects, storytellers, users and social scientists to share understandings of the tool from multiple viewpoints:
· How might digital technologies create new affinities with traditional tools and craft practices, and provide distinctive new ways of creating and encountering material objects?
· What is the importance of imagination and adaptation in the use of traditional and non-traditional tools?
· How does tool use contribute towards structures and practices of co-making and social agency?
· And what part does it play in circular economy?
Keynote: Phil Ayres – architect, researcher and educator. He is Associate Professor at Centre for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA), which he joined in 2009 after a decade of teaching and research at the Bartlett, University College London.
CAN ART BE A PRACTICE OF RESEARCH was presented by guest speaker Professor Timothy Ingold, world renowned Anthropologist and author of books including: Lines (2016), Making (2013), Being Alive (2011) and The Perception of the Environment (2000).
The premise of the webinar was that it is a commonplace that scientists do research. We might reasonably ask the scientist to justify his or her research, to explain how it is done, and to disseminate the results. But that research is what the scientist does is not in question. With artists, however, it is precisely the opposite. It would have been unusual, in the past, for artists to admit to carrying out research, and even more unusual for the public to recognise it as such. Nowadays however, for a variety of reasons – partly institutional, partly to do withIntroduced by Dr Catherine Baker funding, but largely connected to changing practices in art itself – more and more artists present what they are doing as research. And this leaves the public puzzled. Are they pretending to behave like scientists? And if they are, what are they trying to find out, and what kinds of knowledge do they think their art can contribute that science cannot? That artists often find such questions difficult if not impossible to answer only serves to increase public suspicion.
In his lecture Professor Ingold turns these normal expectations upside down. He argued that research is fundamentally a practice of art, in which science has consistently fallen short.
ME member Lucy Paris made the Lino cut below while listening to Professor Ingold. she shared the print with the BCU #printgang who meet Tues, Wed and Thursdays at 2:30 on Teams to discuss, debate and make. If you would like to join them make a request to Justin.email@example.com
For artist and researchers alike it is not easy to focus on intellectual or artistic work. If one is a practice-based researcher, as many material encounters members are, our practice has to be undertaken at home rather than in the studio or Art school facilities. Our reading and writing are interrupted, diverted or dominated by the tragic reality we are experiencing.
What to do? In order to keep making I have worked digitally, seeking material opportunities to output physical marks and images. To keep writing I have made a weekly reflective blog: LOCKDOWN. It is simply a structure that allows me to collate the week’s important events, chance occurrences, new possibilities, shared experiences and personal moments that have made the LOCKDOWN week memorable.
I make no claim to intellectual progression, but only to keep in mind that LOCKDOWN will end sometime, somehow and reflecting may be valuable to go forward come the day.
If cluster members wished to capture their own Lockdown weeks’ we could make this digital space a home for your musings in words and pictures. Publish yourself and link to this site or send to me and I will create a thread or LOCKDOWN space for us.
We are delighted to invite guest speaker Professor Timothy Ingold, world renowned Anthropologist and author of books including: Lines (2016), Making (2013), Being Alive (2011) and The Perception of the Environment (2000).
It is a commonplace that scientists do research. We might reasonably ask the scientist to justify his or her research, to explain how it is done, and to disseminate the results. But that research is what the scientist does is not in question. With artists, however, it is precisely the opposite. It would have been unusual, in the past, for artists to admit to carrying out research, and even more unusual for the public to recognise it as such. Nowadays however, for a variety of reasons – partly institutional, partly to do with funding, but largely connected to changing practices in art itself – more and more artists present what they are doing as research. And this leaves the public puzzled. Are they pretending to behave like scientists? And if they are, what are they trying to find out, and what kinds of knowledge do they think their art can contribute that science cannot? That artists often find such questions difficult if not impossible to answer only serves to increase public suspicion.
In this lecture Professor Ingold would like to turn these normal expectations upside down. In brief, he will argue that research is fundamentally a practice of art, in which science has consistently fallen short.
This event is open to Material Encounters Research Cluster members on a first come basis after which additional places will be made available for BCU researchers via an email invitation. The event is expected to be extremely popular and booking is essential. Any questions, in the first instance, should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Initially having studied artist blacksmithing to degree level, Alex’s practice evolved to encompass the use of 3D printing as a means of manufacturing components not readily available off the shelf. This amalgamation of tradition coupled with technological advances became the key focus of his practice, developing onto a specific interest into integration and how the incorporation of the modern can enhance and influence both the outcome and the perceived value of the final finished piece. His practice has developed further to consider how 3D scanning can allow for the seamless merger of forged steel and other materials through the medium of digital fabrication, exploring the crossover point between the synthetic and the hand wrought.
Originally from the Beaujolais region of France, Amélie is currently undertaking a PhD at Birmingham City University. Her doctoral research – carried out in collaboration with the literature development agency Writing West Midlands – uses linguistic tools to investigate the conditions underpinning the reception of new literary writing.
In her PhD, Amélie attempts to make sense of the (visible and imagined) interactions between literary production, literary dissemination, and literary reception in light of the wider cultural context. While she specialises in Linguistics and Literature, she has become increasingly drawn to material-dialogic theories and approaches. Her recent (yet unpublished) work maps out the entanglement of literary style and literary response in Amazon book reviews of Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending. By using a diffractive methodology borrowed from the philosophers Karen Barad and Donna Haraway, Amélie hopes to reveal the ontological traces left by the reading event in the reviewers’ texts and in the reviews’ textures. More generally, Amélie is interested in exploring linguistic embodiment and performance as well as the ways in which language construes specific types of (un)knowledges.
Ana is a practicing artist and a PhD researcher based between Birmingham School of Art and The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Her research centres around affect, embodied installation and the commonplace aural landscapes that we live within, it is concerned with affecting experience created using re-mediated gathered material. Her practice spans sound, video, digital image and sculptural installation processes. Ana is currently part way through a two-year research residency at Dyffryn House and Gardens, a national trust property in South Wales, which will culminate in an exhibition in early 2020.
Ana holds an MA in fine Art; has a background in devising and delivering education programs and working with participatory practice, she co-directed The Bond Gallery an ACE funded artist run spaces in Digbeth, Birmingham in the 1990’s and is currently a senior technical demonstrator teaching video and audio gathering and editing processes, specialising in Fine Art video / sound installation practice at Birmingham School of Art.