“Though various things inspire my work, I always find myself going back to history and space. History because nothing happens in a vacuum, and so everything is informed by something else. And space because everything exists within it, as well as the precarious way physical space has been treated throughout history. It would be nice to say that I used identity as the prism through which these two themes intersect. And from it I wish to tell stories and add to existing discourse.”
when a person attempts to cross the sea, ‘it’s because you’re already dead.’
– Jaz Morrison (2020), Why ‘Atlantics’ is a beautiful reflection of Blackness, Black Ballad
Jaz Morrison is a writer and visual artist based in Birmingham, UK. She explores history and social space through photography and collage. By embracing subversive aesthetics, Jaz provides a basis for memory- and sense-making, which she describes as ‘storytelling’.
The Arts and Project Management MA has allowed me to fully cultivate an understanding of the behind-the-scenes happenings of art organisations, cultural spaces, and visual arts projects.
My Final Major Project consists of a Research Paper and Project Plan. The research paper explores public art and memorial culture, accumulating qualitative and quantitative data to aid and enable a highly successful and competent project. Over the Rainbow is a project which aims to provide a memorial for those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19.
The public art memorial comes at a pivotal time for the architecture of public spaces in Birmingham. The city centre has few contemporary art sculptures and memorials, therefore I aim to provide a place of remembrance and connect communities in the West Midlands.
The Over the Rainbow memorial is for the living, not for the dead. It is crucial to remember the dead but support and solidarity is needed for the people still alive today; the people who are left behind. The key areas and explorations of the project are explored through my Objectives, Outputs and Outcomes, which are explained in the image below:
Public art offers critical reflections on the past, our present and our understandings of daily life. “It is impossible to have a society that is civil and educated without public art, it lifts up humanity and challenges the individual who encounters it to think differently about the world” (Walker, D cited by Laneri, R 2009). Traditional public art memorials historically form a literal representation and are hard to interact with, they form a strict formal boundary between them and the viewer. The familiarity of these monuments provides a metaphorical list of instructions on how to act or feel.
People are more likely to become active participants with contemporary public memorials, as many have no boundaries. The public is invited to make their own mind up, use their own imagination and to sometimes form their own meaning and interpretation of the piece. They are able to morph their own experiences and opinions with the artists’ and each other. The design of the Over the Rainbow memorial is pivotal, will the sculpture hide in the comfort of the literal or can it conjoin the contemporary?
I decided during the duration of the planning stage that in order for this memorial to be successful, a strong design concept and depiction is essential. The Over the Rainbow memorial aims to be a ‘collective anchor point’, this concept is explored by Kevin Lynch: “Collective anchor-points construct deep integration with individuals and become part of their ‘mental map’ of the city”, (Lynch, K 1960). I completed a mood board of initial inspirations found on Pinterest.com which can be seen in the screenshot below:
Please visit my blog where I articulate the progress of my Final Major Project paper. Outlined are my initial ideas and inspirations for the research paper and project; key areas of research; information and explanations regarding the questionnaire I conducted and why it was essential to my research; the project plan and vital exploration and lastly, my critical evaluation.
Artist Statement: I am a practising artist based in Birmingham and currently working as an Exhibitions Coordinator at the RBSA Gallery. I have a passion for operations, logistical and curatorial management within an arts environment. My artistic inspirations stem from the natural form, examining the relationship between the maternal bond and separation. I work predominately with fine-art-textile, producing sculptures that metaphorically represent this connection. I form hand-constructed woven or knitted textiles and combine other materials like plaster. These inspirations are emotive and explore the turbulent relationship between motherhood and feminism and also touch on the corporeal nature of the female human body with the abject.
References: Lynch, K (1960). The Image of the City, The M.I.T Press, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London, England. Available: http:// www.miguelangelmartinez.net/IMG/pdf/ 1960_Kevin_Lynch_The_Image_of_The_City_book.pdf. Last accessed 14.8.20.
Walker, D cited by Laneri, R, (2009). Why We Love–And Need–Public Art. Available: https:// www.forbes.com/2009/05/05/state-of-the-city-opinions-george-rickey-public- art.html#77bb29d342be. Last accessed 3.8.20.
I am an artist and educational professional based in Birmingham. This past year, I have been involved with research exploring the role of public arts and developing ethical engagement strategies for arts organisations. My interest in socially engaged work stems from my working experiences and previous career path in arts education. I view the arts as a powerful political and social tool to express the emotions and struggles of shared human experience. It is important to break down cultural barriers and use the arts to open a channel of communication.
Arts and Project Management
How do arts organisations apply ethics in the public display of art, in order to reflect changes in cultural and social attitudes?
Following from my research undertaken in Research in Practice and my interest in socially engaged work, I wanted to explore how ethical considerations are applied by organisations in the commissioning and supporting of artists’ work that is participative yet pushes boundaries. The findings from my Research in Practice resulted in the following areas of potential further research:
To examine if ethics can be separated from aesthetics in participatory practice and the impact this has on arts organisations in terms of funding policies and commissioning new works.
To explore the role of the artist in socially engaged practices – should artists be working for societal benefit as educators and facilitators or is the role of the artist to be antagonistic and divisive, to unsettle cultural and societal notions of economy and exchange?
To examine how best is social change and justice realised – through education and representation or politicizing the public?
My current research is following on from this exploratory topic – Can ethics be separated from aesthetics? This question will inevitably have an impact on arts organisations’ decisions regarding curation and programming, funding policies and new commissioning available to artists.
Initially I was interested in how arts organisations considered ethics in commissioning transgressive work and the impact this has on artists producing transgressive work with participants. This proved to be difficult to gather primary research; the topic is sensitive, and participants were reluctant to engage with the research question. My research aims, on reflection, were too binary for this complex subject.
Following the interview with an NAE former creative producer, I became more focused on how arts organisations relate to audiences and the ethics of engagement in museum practices:
How does this affect curating decisions, programming and the public display of artwork?
How do arts organisations consider ethics when evaluating art for public display, in order to be accountable to their audiences/users?
This led to a re-development of my research aims and finalisation of the research title:
Most of this research has been informed by reading materials, desk research and critical analysis of case studies. More primary research could have been utilised, however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic many arts organisations were closed with their staff on furlough. I received several apologetic replies from organisations unable to contribute to my primary research at this present time. A detailed evaluation of the research methodology is available in the appendix of this report. I have used Harvard referencing. Numbered footnotes are included.
How do arts organisations apply ethics in the public display of art, in order to reflect changes in cultural and social attitudes?
This report examines ethical considerations in the public display of art by arts organisations and museums. First, I have evaluated ethical philosophies and their applications to art, outlining the distinctions between ethics and morality. I have critically examined the ethical responsibilities of arts organisations to audiences as they respond to moral attitudinal shifts and how this can influence decisions on curation and context within temporary exhibitions. Further to this, the ethical duties of arts organisations to be accountable to audience’s social and cultural needs have been considered and how this is reflected through an ethics of engagement, representation and authentic authorship. I have addressed how arts organisations can respond to changes in cultural, social and moral attitudes to re-contextualise problematic biographies and histories of collections using progressive educational strategies of ethics.
My research has developed an exploration of how four recommendations of progressive educational ethics could be applied within the arts organisation/ museum to respond to social and cultural shifts and contextualise historical art collections on public display (adapted from (Hein, 2010) (Dewey, 1916):
Arts organisations (and practices in the public realm) should question and represent dualisms in order to address social inequalities.
The goal of education should be further education. Art should provide the resources for repeated and continued inquiry and alternative methods of enquiry; Arts organisations should be spaces for open ended questioning and interpretation.
Arts organisations (and practices in the public realm) need to reflect, challenge and examine their practices continually in order to respond to the needs of their audiences. This practice should enable opportunities for meaning making and feeling.
Connect educational work and exhibition programming to life and contemporary struggles in culture and society. Exhibition programming (and art practices in the public realm) should centre life experiences and connect to situations outside the arts organisation that reflect complexities in live human experience.
Factors such as exhibition programming and audience demographics can influence the social and cultural ethical considerations in the display of contemporary artworks. As custodians of collections, arts organisations need to exercise a certain level of objectivity that enables them to evaluate a work’s contribution to knowledge and education. However, ethical responsibility in their display necessitates consideration of human social interaction. As society’s moral attitudes shift, the contextualisation of collections also needs to be responsive. This research is extremely relevant to the contemporary issues faced by museums, who are increasingly being required to address Britain’s colonial past. I have outlined how these progressive educational ethics can be deployed as a working strategy for a current solution to contextualising Britain’s historical public statues. Currently arts organisations respond to social and cultural changes using reactive practices, how could these four educational ethical principles be used instead to develop strategies of pro-active responsible action and influences social change – to develop activism? Tate is currently conducting a programme of research, ‘Reshaping the Collectible: When Artworks Live in the Museum’ (Tate, 2018), to consider new models for the conservation and management of contemporary works of art. Research on the development of collective memory ecologies, I feel is particularly relevant to the cultivation of activism within arts organisations. Could the four principles of progressive educational ethics be implemented as a framework for the continuous re-interpretation of our collections that proactively challenges historical collective memory, therefore developing and influencing memory ecologies and engaging publics with activism? This topic could be explored further in a PhD proposal.
My jewellery designs take their inspiration from my experience of living in Tibet. I took a cycle journey from Chengdu to Tibet and since then I have had a deep fascination of Tibetan culture.
In Tibet jewellery is used more as amulets it is believed that this power comes from the Buddha. My Jewellery designs take inspiration from this concept of Jewellery being worn as an affirmation of protection I also take ideas from studying traditional Tibetan patterns, symbolic use of colour and Buddhist scriptures.
The five symbolic colours are also central to the jewellery. Blue represents the sky, white represents the clouds, green represents the lake, red represents the flame, and yellow represents the land. This is also a symbolic colour representing the origin of Tibet.
Hsing Hui Chung is an artist who creates works about geometric portrait on abstract background. Such as writing a diary, the artist makes her daily story on her painting. To express the environment influence people and the situation.
The artist also uses different materials to achieve different scenario on the graph. Making abstract lines on the colour blocks could create a new world on paper that makes the cubist portrait have a new character.
A series of illustration made to document big events in 2020, try to explore how the image could contribute the audience to think further and deepper and meanwhile to encourage them express their own view and communicate with people.
he let his breath out in a long exhalation of relief
Video (7mins 9 secs) 2020
My work as an installation artist, has always involved looking at evidence and traces of life. After the death of my father I started looking into legacies and what people leave behind. The memories associated with their personal objects. Due to Covid19 restrictions I began to create an immersive sculptural installation of my work, Exhalation Stories, as a narrative video in a virtual space. The focus is the breath, the breath of life, as metaphor for life. This is a memorial to my father, a remembering of Dad, his activities, objects and places. His passion for running, work on restoration of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal and his final resting place, are all captured in the continuous films projected on the back wall. I used inflatable airbeds, as anthropomorphic form, which also evokes memories of family camping holidays.
Although work comes from a personal archive and memorial it also intercepts with Covid19 and the difficulties of breathing. The body being alive but locked down, the nature of George Floyd’s murder, the inability to breath, air pollution, the Right to Breathe and the very act of breathing are political issues. The airbeds filled with air now standing lonely and abject, as figures in the space, are waiting, in lockdown, life is on hold in ‘stay at home, save lives’. Breath surrounds the viewer in an immersive sculptural environment, a synergetic space with the sound of the breath, spoken words and video projections. These gently engage the senses in a tyrannical secret, the unspoken, the Abject, death.