“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’.
Looking at how publication can act as a means of spatial development and explore common spaces of learning. It acts as a space of alternative learning, though structuring, institutional behaviors, and visual communication.
The publication ‘Book as Toolkit’ explores different Educational components and how this can be developed into an alternative space. It displays this act of zooming into institutional components and its layers of processed visualization as well as acting as a resource for the development of the alternate. The application and expansion of structures, models, behaviors, and sequences is visualized through the speculative models of education, this intersection or cross over of modes is visualized and developed through CMYK colour experimentation.
Rebecca Smith is an artist – educator – producer – creator and …
I explore the multi – faceted ways in which roles within arts organisations can have many purposes. In tern this interest in multi – use roles and spaces has developed into looking at the institute itself alongside space manuals and examine how these too can be adaptive to change. Un Model, Re Structure, Dis Institute, Alt Environment is a body of research and making that analyses the Uncanny spaces and the inter – between through experimental publication.
Rupi Dhillon is a British, Indian, (British Asian, Punjabi, and all things in between and beyond) multidisciplinary artist based in Birmingham, UK.
Dhillon explores the relationships and connections we have with one another and the land. Through her arts practice she investigates how multiplicity in culture is conducive to the concept of belonging and space. She is interested in facilitating discourse around race, gender and social class. Using playful techniques, her current work reimagines cultural experience through gestalt expression, participatory performance, shared practices, gifting and attachments in found objects.
She has both exhibited and completed residencies in the UK and has also been the recipient of the prestigious Gertrude Aston Bowater Bequest as well as the AIS Award more recently. Dhillon has both a BA Hons and MA in Fine Art. Dhillon currently works with contemporary art gallery IKON in Birmingham.
She is also interested in establishing further research into Cultural Dysphoria as a Philosophy.
A collection of artworks, writings, theories and philosophies, 2020
The term dysphoria (from Greek: δύσφορος (dysphoros), δυσ-, difficult, and φέρειν, to bear) is a profound state of unease or dissatisfaction. In a psychiatric context, dysphoria may accompany depression, anxiety, or agitation. The term is often used to refer to gender dysphoria, experienced by people whose gender identity does not align with their assigned sex. Common reactions to dysphoria include emotional distress; in some cases, even physical distress. The opposite state of mind is known as euphoria. Cultural Dysphoria could therefore be understood as the dissonance between the social expectations for an individual’s broad cultural performance or identity and their desired embodiment of that culture, or uncertainty about where they fit into cultural categories. Currently the only research into Cultural Dysphoria is a brief outline of general dissatisfaction with modern culture and the blog post by Ayesha Sharma. My research began with my own utter disdain for the patriarchal culture that exists in Punjab and India as well as the deep rooted colonialism associated with being British. Whilst there is still so much beauty within the Indian culture, much of its traditions leave me feeling very unsettled personally, through life experience – I reflexively write about mannerisms, identity, politics and the simplicities and complexities of multiplicity. I designed the logo based on the lotus flower. One of the essays included in the book is “Lotus Flowers: University as Swamp, on becoming the Lotus”. I hope to expand this encyclopaedia with further volumes in the future hence the 2020 around the lotus this being the first issue written in the problematic year of 2020), borrowing the design aspect of leather and gold embossing from the Brittanica Encyclopaedias, the lotus floats on the cover as a reminder to always grow toward the light in all of life’s conditions, be it the institution, political system or through the systems of familial ties.
Nangal Khera takes its name from the small village in Phagwara, Punjab, India. It is the place where I spent many of my formative years.
The piece consists of a Manjha, (which is also known as a Charpai translating into English as ‘four feet’) a traditional piece of furniture native to India. It is a woven bed, often constructed from wood, with most designs tending towards metal structures in contemporary society due to the cost of materials, the longevity and the time taken to manufacture. This particular Manjha was made during the spring/summer of 2020 during lockdown and later completed in August, 2020. It is constructed from timber found in a shed. The language of Utilitarianism is built into the very fabric of the object, it was made as both a reminder of home and as a space for people to share their memories and stories. The process of weaving the Manjha is a labour intensive one, the act itself is one of weaving histories, particularly in the face of the situation we have all endured this past year.
In the rural village communities in Punjab the Manjha is often a communal space, all important decisions are made around it, vegetables are dried on it, friends sit on it, and the tired sleep upon it.
The piece has now expanded beyond its original context, it has become a piece that travels, an object of social engagement, a place where people can have conversations about their pasts, about their connections to place.
It is a participatory object, it invites people to interact with it, to be comforted by it, to gift stories to one another, and to become an active listener through its passive facilitation.
So far conversations and interactions with the piece have ranged from memories of grandparents building their own Manjhas as far back as 20 years ago in Africa, as well as conversations around materiality and nostalgia for place. The piece has the ability to elicit memories to transcend histories.
Written with Frederick Hubble, whose shed gifted us the materials.
Cha Wali, 2019
Participatory Performance Bike, artificial marigolds, statue of Guru Nanak, gold basket, hot drinks dispensers Documentation – Digital prints, 2019
The concept of Cha Wali originates from typically male street vendors in India selling Cha (Indian tea) from bicycles. In seeing a lack of innovation in Subodh Gupta’s Three Cow’s, I felt compelled to embody in performance the role of a Cha Wala. The noun itself speaks for only males who take on this role. In the piece I wanted to not only subvert this role but to also activate spaces and conversations around cultural phenomena, specifically the act of sharing Cha with the public. The British made Pendleton bike combined with a DIY aesthetic, of silk marigolds, a statuette of Guru Nanak (ducked taped to the handle bars) is typical to the aesthetic of a Cha Wala on the streets of India, yet this performance also seeks to understand the concept of gifting as all cups of Cha were given for free. Documentation shows interactions with different demographics of the public, ranging from workers of the city, students from the art school, homeless, builders and some of which recognised and connected with the act.
The Anthropology of the Self, 2020
Single Channel HD Video, 2020 (Images below show, 3 channel potentiality)
The Anthropology of the Self is a bricolage/ assemblage (in the Deleuzian sense) of several performances and a collection of videos of various sites with prose to form one coherent piece of work. The title of the work emerged from an investigation into shame, politicising of the body and power structures, as my specific body – through the period of lockdown.
In times of societal precariousness, perhaps we can look back on these myths, in attempt to understand empathy, compassion and morality.
Rupi Dhillon – The Anthropology of the Self, 2020
For more artworks and information please see www.rupidh.com
I’m an artist and educator with an enthusiasm for nature, art, storytelling, and living ecologically. Over the past two years, I have explored outdoor education, forest schooling, art-based environmental education, and indigenous eco philosophies. Viewing the human relation to nature in geosophical knowledge systems through the lens of creative activities has helped me explore my origin story, forge a connection to the natural world, and develop an ecological self. As a result, I created Chatter Projects art and nature workshops from which Cards For Ecology educational resources developed. Chatter Projects workshops and Cards For Ecology resources combine storytelling, art and play to encourage engagement with and reflection of the natural world, our relationship with nature, and our place within the delicate ecosystem which sustains us.
Chatter Projects workshops allow the voices of the landscape and people to shape the creative process. Whilst prompting conversations about the relationship between art and nature; creativity and the various environments that we inhabit.
Cards For Ecology are art and nature activity cards developed with original nature stories and retellings of ancient narratives to help children explore their relationship with the natural world. The foundational idea of the cards is that through the development of an empathetic relationship with nature, ecocentrism can be cultivated.
Chatter Projects are cognisant of worries surrounding the climate crisis by creating sensitive resources with age-appropriate language and content. Focusing on creating interest in and appreciation of nature to tackle cognitive dissonance towards climate change, nature deficit disorder, deficiency in climate awareness, and depleting nature engagement. By presenting opportunities that engage people with the natural environment, forging a connection to nature through curious exploration and creative activities. The resources cultivate ecocentric values by reorienting people’s relationship to the natural world.
Cards for Ecology are an educational tool kit to help children and adults reflect upon their current relationship to the natural world. The cards aim to generate opportunities to connect or reconnect with nature and actively involve participants to consider the climate.
I created Chatter Projects to make materials for parents, educators and children to start conversations about the environment. Our resources and workshops encourage creativity, discussion and imaginative engagement with the world around us.
Who are they for?
The card sets have been developed for teachers and parents to use with individuals, pairs, or groups of children. The cards work in a flexible way to suit your activity needs, in the sense that you could opt to just use workshop cards, or a mix of character cards and chatter cards. You could shuffle them all together or keep them within their specified categories. Each category has a purpose of its own and works separately or alongside another category.
How to use the cards
Each activity box kit has an accompanying information booklet which outlines the ways in which the cards can be used. Each card pack has a card which outlines the ways in which the cards can be used. Each card has a label on the left-hand corner which is visible when the deck is fanned out, the labels show what category the card falls into. The cards are developed to be intuitive and flexible in the sense that they can be shuffled up and picked at random, although there are suggested orders for workshop cards that can be found in the information booklets and followed if the user chooses to do so.
Different card packs
01 Shared Earth
02 Insect Rescuer
03 World Adventurer
01 Shared Earth
02 Insect Rescuer
03 World Adventurer
Check out my ChatterProjects.co.uk website to find out more – Kit Wright
My project advocates for Art educators in Botswana and explores how printmaking can be used in primary schools. In my project, I was able to engage children to gauge them using Lowenfield Theory. Working with children was a challenge but fun, especially during COVID19 lockdown period. When doing their prints, the children wanted to share their message of thanks to the NHS.
I also decided to extend my knowledge of printmaking and make prints of my own. To investigate how long it takes to learn Printmaking, if it is easy to learn and teach others.
As an art educator my focus is mainly to improve the Art education system in my country (Botswana). I am interested in the early development stages of learning. At the moment, I teach trainee Art teachers and I want to develop the necessary skills needed for primary school teaching. I have been studying in Birmingham City University for one year where I did my practice in Printmaking. I hope to continue with my practice throughout my professional career and transfer the skills I have learnt to others.
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.
Theatre and the COVID-19 Pandemic: the implications of COVID-19 on Ghanaian Theatre Practice
Research paper 2020
For this paper, I used theatre practitioner-based interview questionnaires to research the impact of COVID-19 on theatre practice and the alternative presentational forms that can be used to ensure that this sector continues to adapt and grow despite world-wide ‘lock-downs’. Due to my experience and knowledge of Ghanaian theatre, the main case study focus was the Ghanaian theatre and arts sector.
As an international student who saw the worldwide impact of the pandemic whilst being aware of social and economic climate back home in Ghana, I wondered how my home country would brave the storm that is COVID-19. Watching in earnest as the British government took measures to curb the spread of the disease, I wondered how the Ghanaian government was going to handle the global implications of the pandemic and its effects on our economy, especially the arts sector. The Ghanaian art sector (especially the theatre space), an already struggling area is far behind things like STEM education which was seeinga rapid pace of growth and improvement. Hence, this pandemic left the theatre space in a very uncertain predicament. This realisation led me to ask myself a few questions: what would be the new way of theatre in this ‘new-norm’? This was the motivation that inspired me to research more into the subject area.
Keys areas looked at include:
Digital Inclusion Socio-economic impact Alternative forms of the practice
Vegan suede cord, Pleather, Wooden dowels, 3D Printed fittings, Velcro, Rug canvas. 160 x 160 x 160cm, 2020
Cowlick appropriates the phrase from the Hairy Ball Theorem ‘if a sphere were covered in hair you wouldn’t be able to brush it without getting a cowlick’. Towle brings this saying into realisation and injects it with humour. She produced a cow-size geodesic-sphere covered in vegan suede cord to resemble a Highland cow. The sculpture is offered as a challenge for spectators to attempt. Cowlick’s football structure is made up of 90 wooden dowels, 60 3D Printed fittings and 20 hexagon and 12 pentagon pleather panels that have been rugged with vegan suede cord using a latch hook tool.
Within her practice Laura Towle uses Topological models, drawings and concepts as a foundation for her practice. Towle is also concerned with environmental issues. Her most recent work Cowlick utilises the connection to the cow to highlight the impact agriculture has on our planet.
Towle extends these environmental concerns to maintaining a sustainable practice. Each sculpture is designed to be flatpack, to reduce the amount of transportation needed. While also considering how materials are sourced and produced.
Her production of traditional geometric forms is achieved through various processes such as laser cutting and 3D printing. This extraction of mind-dependent topological concepts into large recognisable forms is first realised through a meditative drawing process. This systematic approach is also present within her making. Cowlick was produced by a traditional latch hooking method, taking lengths of cord and knotting them to a rug canvas.
In-Between Series expresses the sense of distance between people, between two countries, and between the surface of the body and the heart. This series uses a brush and a bottle of ink as the connecting objects, which are transferred layer by layer. Participants will write down the names of the people they miss during the lockdown on their skins and use videos to record behaviors to reduce the distance between people during infectious diseases. Combining the concept of the city, the private space and the public space are combined to present the relationship between people and public space to the audience.
Video, 4’45”, 2020
Video, 0’35”, 2020
Video, 8’25”, 2020
Video, 5’05”, 2020
Video, 2’57”, 2020
Video, 1’13”, 2020
Video, 5’00”, 2020
Video, 17’57”, 2020
Xu Dandan is an artist who recently explored the role of skin as a subject and medium in contemporary art. As well as the relationship between the body and public space. Through these elements, the audience feels a sense of strangeness and distance. This strangeness comes from the potential relationship between private space and public space, the transformation of the known and the unknown.
The major project is based on practice and uses video recording behavior as a response method to COVID-19. Participants included some people isolated in the UK, including herself. Even in harsh environments, short-term joy usually comes from artistic and collective expression. The coronavirus will change the way we work and study. However, this will not eliminate the body’s desire for public space.
A STUDY ON THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT IN ART MUSEUMS
Technology is only a means of support for communication and interpretation, not a solution.
The development of technology and digital media has been used in a variety of businesses, including a museum industry which can be used both in marketing to promote products and as a tool for interaction between artworks and audiences. In addition, reaching all target groups is the museum’s priority, in order to promote equality of knowledge with people of all types.
This research studies the development of technological tools in museums to develop and support visitors’ interpretation of and imagination in art. This includes studying existing guidelines to create tools that support content displayed in the art museum, thus enabling a more engaging experience for the public. This study sets out ways to improve the engaging with and learning about art in a comfortable and accessible way to engage wider audiences.
When building any tool, it is best to focus on the needs of people to optimise the technology, and no matter how rapidly changing technology and social media are growing. However, the physical interface with collections and exhibitions is still a necessity at the museum. At the heart of this research is the focus of the museum’s selection of technology and to identifying gaps where technology can still be applied to create effective interpretation and visualisation of art within the museum.