Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Remaking Society

Graham Jeffery, Reader in Music and Performance has been awarded a grant from the AHRC, as part of the Connected Communities 'pilot demonstrator' follow-on funding scheme, jointly with Dr Tom Wakeford of the University of Edinburgh and Dr Kerrie Schaefer of the University of Exeter. A brief summary of the project is below, and a project blog will be set up in due course. Partners for this project include Mission Models MoneyCadispa TrustNHSGGCTheatre ModoBradford Community Broadcasting, Swingbridge Media, Love Milton,, and Professor Jon Hawkes from the Community Cultural Development Network, Victoria, Australia. 

Remaking Society
Realising the potential of cultural activities in contexts of deprivation

Remaking Society will exemplify the central themes of the Connected Communities Programme via three inter-dependent routes:

i) Working with local partners in demonstrating and assessing participatory cultural
activities in four contrasting contexts of deprivation – Bradford, Glasgow,
Fraserburgh and Newcastle.
ii) Using these four pilots to generate new forms of evidence about the lived
experience of poverty and exclusion.
iii) Creating opportunities for marginalised and less visible sections of society to
communicate with wider audiences, including policy-makers.

Cultural dimensions of regeneration – making, creating, performing and celebrating – are often neglected. Yet these aspects can be vital to the sense of shared wellbeing, belonging and aspiration for community members. Hawkes calls the integration of a cultural perspective into the planning of change the "fourth pillar" of sustainability, alongside economic, social and environmental dimensions. He suggests that cultural projects provide "avenues for the expression of community values..[that can]...directly affect the directions society takes" (Hawkes 2001).

Recent Government-commissioned research has added to a growing body of evidence suggesting that participatory arts and media processes can act as portals to wider processes of social development, by offering for example access to further learning, training or social networks (Scottish Government 2006). Activities which promote imaginative engagement through creative practice can offer additional opportunities to conceive and enact alternatives. Members of a community experience processes allowing them to imagine different possible futures. Collaborative participatory arts have been shown to make a significant contribution to both the confidence of individuals, their trust of others participating the process and in overall quality of life and wellbeing. Remaking Society is to collaborate with four experienced partner organisations that work intensively, through participatory arts and media practices, with communities in four neighbourhoods - Bradford, West Yorkshire (community radio), Milton, North Glasgow (visual arts), Benwell, Newcastle (film) and Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire (theatre). With much of the population in each area currently experiencing high levels of economic and social deprivation, we will explore the socio-cultural dimensions of 'living with/in poverty'.

The practice of community cultural development (CCD) in North American cities, such as that led in Chicago by John Kretzman and John McKnight from Northwestern University, exemplifies the model demonstrated in Remaking Society. Traditionally the communities that were identified as deprived had been provided with services and programmes designed and delivered by outside experts. The effect of this now discredited cultural deficit model was to position people as passive recipients dependent on service providers (including university researchers) to address their deficiencies and their needs. Yet the model still persists in most deprived areas of the UK. By contrast, our asset-based approach recognises such communities as resourceful and gifted (Goldbard 2006). We draw upon and harness the capacities and creativities of local people to address issues and solve problems. Outside assistance and resources from government agencies, institutions and other organisations are still going to be required to address issues of deprivation. But, in our model, the agenda of such interventions is to be set more by the community of people most directly affected. 

Using performance, visual art and digital media, the Remaking Society research collaboration will this demonstrate ways in which communities conventionally regarded as excluded can negotiate either their own inclusion in - or their continued exclusion from - society. In this project, the concept of community is not restricted to communitarian accounts of 'a group of people in a given place', or as a site of consensus and constructed oneness based on social categories such as race, class, gender or location. Ours is a dynamic model in which community formation is seen as a continual re-negotiation of co-existence and interdependence, not confined by place, as illustrated by the thirty years of pioneering work by Southall Black Sisters (Gupta 2003). 

Questions about how communities conduct these negotiations become particularly important now, at a time of economic crisis, when resources are scarce and stress levels among vulnerable individuals are high. The study will make critical connections between our understanding of community performance and participatory process across academic fields - including conflict resolution, cultural geography, public health, social psychology and sociology. It will allow a re-examination of inter-disciplinary concepts of community through arts and media practices. 

Belonging to a community is critical to a sense of wellbeing for individuals and families, particularly significant for those who live on the breadline. The second element of Remaking Society is the generation of narrative evidence of the cultural dimensions of poverty and social exclusion. It will add a unique inter-disciplinary arts and humanities perspective to the ESRC's national study, Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK (PSE).

Monday, 28 November 2011

Alessandra Campoli: Edges

Mon 5 Dec 2011 - Mon 30 Jan 2012

Mon-Sat: 12 noon - late (Opening night: Mon 5th Dec from 6-8pm) Free // Please join us for the opening night on Monday 5th December from 6-8pm //

Edges is a visual reflection on boundaries and limits, on visible and invisible lines that soundlessly change our subconscious perception of the space around us.

Part of a wider artistic project devoted to the notion of “edges” in different European and Asian urban contexts, this exhibition is the result of a series of physical and visual explorations of Glasgow’s cityscape, combining analogue and digital photography performance, photomontage and GPS Art.

About Alessandra Campoli 

Born in Rome, Alessandra is a visual artist, performer and researcher. She has had her work displayed in collective and solo exhibitions in Europe and Asia including Fahreneith 451, Rome; White Space Gallery, Bangkok and Area Privata Gallery, Perugia.

She is currently completing a practice-based PhD in Media Arts at the University of the West of Scotland (School of Creative and Cultural Industries).

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Sensory Worlds

Samantha Clark, Lecturer in Digital Art, will present a paper at the Sensory Worlds Conference organised by the Institute for the Advanced Study of the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Edinburgh on 7th December entitled "Nothing Really Matters: Sartre, Negation and Nature." Full details of the programme and associated public lectures by Iain Borden and David Abrams can be found here
"Sensory Worlds ...[considers].. 'worlds' in a particularly ecological light in order to ask: what contribution can a sensorially-engaged Humanities make to environmental thinking and action? The conference will examine the multi-sensory and will reflect upon the historical, contemporary and possible future relations between the senses (from balance to taste to the haptic and beyond). It will be an interdisciplinary, interrogative and exploratory meeting that will make space for sensorially-engaged scholarship and practice, and will facilitate discursive and constructive meetings between a variety of scholars working on themes related to embodiment, ecology and value. Contributions are invited from those working within the humanities, arts and social sciences. We are interested in contributions that will themselves embody alternatives to the presuppositions common to Western twentieth century engagement with the world such as anthropocentrism, mind-body dualism, and isolated subjectivity".

Markko Maetamm: art in a changing society

Dr Katarzyna Kosmala will introduce the artist and lead a Q & A session: 

Estonian society has undergone very rapid political and economic changes
since the beginning of the 1990s. How does Estonian art reflect these

Marko Mäetamm is one of the most fascinating and internationally renowned
young Estonian artists who works with a wide range of media – including
photography, sculpture, animation, painting and text. Mäetamm portrays the
family as a little society, relaying through dark humour the petty moments of
daily life and exploring the way our society manipulates family dynamics
through the macrocosms of economy, consumerism, and “quality-of-life”
standards. Inspired by his own private life and the recurring feeling that he
could fail to preserve the balance of his existence, Mäetamm’s work explores
the grey area where ambiguous feelings of being in control and being
controlled merge.

Tuesday 22nd November, 6pm, University of Edinburgh
Lecture Room 1, Minto House, 20 Chambers St, Edinburgh

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Place, home, and place-making

Understandings of place, home and place-making: Part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science

Dr Katarzyna Kosmala was a part of co-ordinating group for a collaborative research event in association with the ESRC Festival of Social Science and the AHRC network Translating Cultures at the University of Glasgow 31st October 2011.
The event was organised in collaboration with Street Level Photoworks and the Scottish Storytelling Centre and focused on exploring understandings of place/home amongst school children from Glasgow with a specific focus on those originally from and with family in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Students produced posters and photographic collages representing their ideas of 'place' and 'home'.

Cultural Hijack: Rethinking Intervention

Ben Parry, UWS doctoral researcher has edited this book, shortly to be published by Liverpool University Press.

Cultural Hijack is about the tactical practitioner in the urban everyday, it chronicles diverse disciplines and imparts knowledge about the procedures, tools and tactics which make-up the interventionist’s toolkit. It positions the artist as narrator, and in the telling expounds the thinking as well the process, to reveal how the city, from Liverpool to Glasgow, Paris to New York, becomes the playground, stage and instrument for unsanctioned artworks, informal creative practices, activist interventions, political actions and situations. The interventionist becomes a catalyst for a ‘user-generated’ city, whose insertions, interventions and disruptions in everyday life are reinventing the way in which art is encountered and experienced, empowering people to act and think differently about the world around them. Here, the everyday becomes the opportunity, the apparatus and location, material and purpose. Ordinary life becomes the new space of urgency, as the terms of reference expand, by which artists are making art politically.

This insight into the work and the life of the artist - which is rarely articulated in writing about art - aims to illuminate our understanding of the creative process; how artists are developing new tools in the arsenal of critical resistance, both emancipating and expanding the spaces of art / cultural production. Cultural Hijack draws on series of essays, personal testimonies and original interviews, from Tatsuro Bashi, BGL, Gelitin, Michael Rakowitz, Krzysztof Wodiczko and others.

246mm x 168mm, 288pp, Paperback
Publishing 30 November 2011

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Wonders of the Visible World

Samantha Clark, UWS Lecturer in Digital Art,  2005 work "Levitation" in this major exhibition at the Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sunderland

The Wonders of the Visible World

Preview: Wednesday 26 October 6:00 - 8:00pm
Exhibition dates: 27 October 2011 - 4 February 2012
Ulla von Brandenburg, Mark Wallinger, Yves Klein, Camillo Paravicini, Michael Crowe, Katja Mayer & Peter Chadwick, Chris Cornish, Samantha Clark, Georgina Mascolo, Susanne Ludwig, Victoria Jenkins, Natasha Caruana, Hannes Ribarits, Anton Corbijn, Tom Pope, Peter Watkins and Tereza Zelenkova, Michelle Hannah, Martin Kellett, Sophie Helas-Kwo, Jason Dee
"Let us be witness to the unrepresentable".  Jean-Francois Lyotard, 'The Postmodern Condition'

"Vision is the art of seeing the invisible." Jonathan Swift
'The Wonders of the Visible World' brings together 21 international artists who use photography and video to explore the relationship between the visible and the invisible worlds. The artists explore the ongoing potency of myth and illusion in the visual arts - finding that the world we imagine we know is far less secure than we might first believe. As all of the artists use lens-based media, they all capture physical phenomena that defy belief, or defy description.
Here, the camera lens is a tool that allows us to see precisely what is not usually visible to the naked eye, and to have faith in the unimaginable. Many of the artists explore what might be described as imaginative archetypes. We become witnesses to the end of the world; to hair-raising experiments in new branches of the physical sciences; to our souls made into symbols; and to feats of levitation, self-combustion, magnetism and transubstantiation. We are asked what the limits of our beliefs are, and what the limits of our capacity to suspend disbelief are.

Samantha Clark's video animation 'Levitation' presents a visionary, apocalyptic scenario, recalling the end of days from the Book of Revelations: "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him."  

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Read More Journal Launch: Threshold Artspace, Perth

Launch of latest Read More Journal of Critical Writing: Issue 12. Katarzyna Kosmala on Wang YuYang and private view of works by women artists on Sunday 23rd October 11-2 pm at Threshold Artspace in Perth

The preview features:
Two new group exhibition collections : Works by Women Artists + Encounters

: Works by artists members of Perthshire Visual Arts Forum

Accompanying retrospective solo exhibition of Mare Tralla’s artist’s films and videos + Mare Tralla: Artist’s Talk

During the PV Read More Journal of Critical Writing: Issue 12
Katarzyna Kosmala on Wang YuYang will be launched

Brunch provided. Admission free. Family friendly. Children's treats. Free but booking is essential due to limited space. RSVP Iliyana Nedkova at

Monday, 10 October 2011

Shorelines Exhibition, Maclaurin Gallery, Ayr

13th November - 23rd December, Maclaurin Gallery, Ayr
Alison F. Bell and Cathy Treadaway
This exhibition of paintings, prints, photographs and textiles by artists, Alison F. Bell and Dr Cathy Treadaway, is an ongoing collaborative research project, which investigates creative practice. The exhibits are a response to five coastal locations in England, Scotland, Wales and Australia, and result from two research field studies and three artist residencies. The locations at St Just, Cornwall, Lavernock, South Wales, Bora, near Helmsdale, in Scotland, and Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, are linked by a common heritage in mining natural resources of coal, tin and precious metals. The artists created both collaborative works and personal pieces of work from their shared experiences of these specific places. Alison Bell is a doctoral researcher in the School of Creative and Cultural Industries at UWS and Cathy Treadaway is Reader in Creative Practice at University of Wales Insitute, Cardiff.

The Shorelines project is supported by Cardiff School of Art and Design, University of Wales Institute Cardiff, University of Newcastle New South Wales, Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, Bryons Veor Trust, and Timespan, Helmsdale, Scotland.

Shorelines: Place, Creativity and Wellbeing

Organisers: University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, and South Ayrshire Council Museums and Galleries, with the University of the West of Scotland.
Shorelines: place, creativity and wellbeing, Tuesday 15th November 2011.
This one day international academic symposium, to be held at the Maclaurin Galleries, Ayr, Scotland, is part of a wider SHORELINES Exhibition and Residency programme which will run in the Maclaurin Galleries, Ayr in November and December 2011.
Keynote Speakers: Dr. Ian McGilchrist BM, MA, FRCPsych author of The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (Yale University Press, 2009)
Chris Drury, Land Artist
The Symposium will explore interconnections between creative spaces or locations and physical and emotional wellbeing. It will seek to bring together a multidisciplinary audience of researchers, academics and arts practitioners to present cutting edge research in their fields, fostering discussion and further understanding about the significance of place in the creative process and its potential to enhance the quality of human experience.
Academic papers and visual presentations have been invited to address the themes of the symposium, which are as follows:
Place: Stimulating natural locations, creative spaces, geographical inspiration
Creativity: creative process in the visual arts, music, literature, poetry and drama with focus on stimulation, inspiration, innovation and cognition related to physical spaces and location
Wellbeing: physical and mental health and connections with creative process and physical location, spaces or places.
For all registered participants in the symposium, here will be an evening reception on the Ayr campus, followed by a public lecture by Gideon Kossoff on Transition Design, on the evening on 14th November.
To download the full programme and to register, please follow this link.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Art, Resistance and Alternatives: a screening and discussion with Oliver Ressler and Katarzyna Kosmala

CCA Glasgow, 7.30 – 10.00pm, October 21st 2011

Oliver Ressler is an Austrian-born artist who produces projects in public space and films addressing forms of resistance and social alternatives. He has had solo exhibitions at Berkeley Art Museum, Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Centre, Istanbul; Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Egypt and The Bunkier Sztuki Contemporary Art Gallery, Istanbul. His films have been screened around the world.

Socialism Failed, Capitalism is Bankrupt – What Comes Next?
Oliver Ressler
19mins, 2010

Recorded in Armenia in Yerevan’s largest bazaar, the film follows the market traders’ struggle to survive the crisis of a post-Socialist reality that has closed many local factories and dissolved social safety nets.

Comuna under Construction
Dario Azzelini and Oliver Ressler
94 mins, 2010

In consejos comunales, the people of Venezuela collectively decide about the community’s concerns. These councils, built from the grassroots, aim to create a form of self-government, parallel to the institutional framework.

The screening will be followed by a conversation and Q & A exploring the role of politically engaged art in protest and human rights issues, led by Katarzyna Kosmala

Dr Katarzyna Kosmala is Reader in Visual Culture and Organisation at the University of the West of Scotland, a visiting research fellow at GEXcel, Insitute of Thematic Gender Studies, Linkoping University & Orebro University, Sweden, and a curator and freelance art writer.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

MEd Artist Teacher @ GoMA, 1st October

Anne Pirrie PhD is Reader in Education at the University of the West of
Scotland. She has wide-ranging and divergent research interests. Her
recent work has been on the epistemological bases of social research.

James Benedict Brown is a postgraduate researcher in architecture at
the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering (SPACE) at
Queen's University Belfast. His doctoral research concerns live projects
in architectural education.

G. James Daichendt, EdD serves as Professor and Exhibitions Director at
Azusa Pacific University in southern California and is an adjunct
Professor for Boston University’s graduate online program in art education. Jim is
author of the books: Artist-Teacher: A Philosophy for Creating and
Teaching (2010) and Artist Scholar: Reflections on Writing and Research

For more information on the event and the UWS Artist Teacher Master
of Education Programme contact

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Deptford Machine

Doctoral researcher Ben Parry, working with Utrophia, presents The Deptford Machine: a mechanical and sonic sculpture inspired by, made from and found in Deptford. Opening night: 23rd Sept, at Utrophia.

Whose Story is it Anyway?

Jo Ronan, theatre-maker, performance lecturer and PhD student, together with members of the newly created BloodWater Theatre, would like to invite you to a performance of Whose Story Is It Anyway, a developing project that challenges assumptions of ways of making theatre. 

The two performances at the Tron, Glasgow on the 15th of October at 2.30pm and 8pm respectively are free but ticketed. 

Please refer to  and/or for more information about the project and ticket reservations.

As there are only two performances, tickets are limited so please let the Tron box office know if you have made a reservation but are unable to attend.

Be the first to catch the nascent stage of this pioneering work!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Vault Lounge: Art, Money and Value

artists talking about making a living

6.30pm to 8.30pm 9th September, The Briggait, 141 Bridgegate, Glasgow

As part of the Vault Art Glasgow event, we are pleased to present an open panel discussion offering diverse perspectives on those tricky questions about how artists negotiate between audiences/publics, patrons/funders, markets and communities. In what different ways do contemporary artists ‘realise value’ from their work and get the resources that they need to keep working? What is at stake when we talk about buying and selling artworks? How do different people in Glasgow’s contemporary art world see their relationship with the wider cultural economy?

Chaired/introduced by Graham Jeffery (University of the West of Scotland)

With contributions from:

Peter McCaughey (Glasgow School of Art) on public art/private art
Simon Cronshaw: on new markets, new media
Amanda Dobbratz (IRONBBRATZ) on art and entrepreneurship
Katarzyna Kosmala, UWS on not-for-profit art & artistic life in ‘emerging markets’
Michelle Daniels - Market Gallery ( on what the ‘gallery’ can do in the 21st Century

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Knowing Ways

An international conference organised in collaboration with: Amnesty International, North Edinburgh Arts, The University of Glamorgan & The George Ewart Evans Storytelling Centre, The Institute of International Health & Development, The University of Glasgow Business School, The Learning for Democracy network, Intellect publishers and Creative Scotland.

In the face of increasing and ever-changing social, political and economic pressures and crises in diverse societies, practitioners in the visual and performing arts have produced a growing range of approaches through which ordinary citizens use the arts to explore and express their situations, challenging the structures and people who limit their development.   This conference brings together a wide range of practitioners from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa to share experiences and ideas.

Katarzyna Kosmala has contributed to the jubilee Special Edition of the international Journal of Arts & Communities in partnership with Amnesty International.

The conference Knowing Ways will launch a Special Edition of the International Journal of Arts & Communities devoted to Arts & Human Rights, in partnership with Amnesty International to celebrate its 50th Anniversary. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Making Routes

The Arches and the University of the West of Scotland present

Making Routes

Friday 23rd September 2011
2.30pm - 5.30pm

The Arches, Glasgow
Join David Overend, Kieran Hurley, Nic Green, Adrian Howells, Phil Smith (Wrights & Sites) and Ellie Harrison (Pointed Arrow) for an afternoon of talks, presentations and discussions about the relationship between performance and journeys. Making Routes is a network of artists and researchers and this launch event opens up the project to new contributors and possibilities. 
We’re at the beginning, we don’t know quite where we’ll end up, and we want you to help determine what direction we go in...

This is a free event. Please contact to reserve a place.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Public Preparation

Rael Artel in conversation with Katarzyna Kosmala on Public Preparation at Tranzitdisplay Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic,  July 11th 

The debate introduces an international curatorial project: Public Preparation  and explores the exhibition strategy behind "Let's Talk About Nationalism! Between Ideology and Identity" (Spring 2010 Kumu Art Museum, Estonia).  The aim of Public Preparation is to question contemporary nationalism, to acknowledge the problematic nature of the currently prevalent national discourse, and to create a counterweight in the public sphere. The presentation will be illustrated with images and fragments of the videos displayed.
Rael Artel is an Estonian-based independent curator. In 2004–2008, she ran and moderated experimental project space Rael Artel Gallery: Non-Profit Project Space. In 2007, she initiated Public Preparation, a platform for knowledge-production and network-based communication, focused on issues of nationalism and contemporary art in Europe in the format of international meetings.

(Eva Bodkin: Belt 2010 video still)

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

3 x 2 x 3: Ben Parry

Thursday, 26 May 2011

3 x 2 x 3: David Overend: Exposition, Exposition, Exposition

- I am in agreement with Brad Haseman, who argues that the explanation or interpretation of the creative work is a crucial stage in performance-based research (1).
- In the next three minutes, I am going to give three reasons why exposition is an important part of using artistic practice as a research methodology. By exposition, I mean critical reflection; an academic, written form of exegesis that accompanies the practice.
- My PhD, which I completed earlier this year, was a practice-as-research thesis with the University of Glasgow, based at the Arches arts centre. The photographs I am playing here are from three large-scale theatre productions that I directed at the Arches in order to develop a ‘Relational Theatre Practice in Response to a Specific Cultural Site’. 
- Now, the Arches is a very busy venue, which changes rapidly from corporate event to theatre performance to club night, often in just one day. Over three hundred events take place each year, and hundreds of thousands of people come through the doors. 
- This brings me to my first point, because inevitably things get a bit chaotic.
1. The ‘Messiness’ of Practice-as-Research
- My primary research methodology has involved performance practice, and as John Freeman points out, ‘unlike [...] traditional research, performance practice is always messy and its manners are often bad’ (2).
- For me, the mess of artistic practice has to be tidied up, explained, or turned into something valuable - the way to do that is through an exposition (the written part of the thesis).
2. Failure
- ...which brings me to my next point:
- It is often in those moments of performance when the clearly defined aims of the research questions could be understood to be jeopardised that the most valuable research actually emerges. As Phil Smith points out, ‘sometimes getting things wrong helps the most’ (3).
- An exposition is absolutely necessary to derive research findings from artistic practice that has ostensibly gone wrong. In my thesis, I reflected on my work not by attempting any sort of value-judgement, but by identifying events that revealed something about theatre practice and the relationships of the site.
3. Contextualisation
- My third and final point is about the need to contextualise artistic practice:
- Paul Kleiman points out the dangers of presenting work without exposition by referring to Minimalist art, in which a potentially identical ‘product’ could result from years of diligent study or an attempt to mock the contemporary art world (4). Only some form of exposition can distinguish between these otherwise identical artworks.
- I want to argue that an exegesis of practice is the crucial stage in the process that makes work practice-as-research, rather than simply practice. 
- And I would possibly (not definitely) go even further by suggesting that the exposition is the only element of a thesis that should be assessed for the award of a PhD.

1 Brad Haseman, ‘Rupture and Recognition: Identifying the performative research paradigm’, Practice as Research: Approaches to creative arts enquiry, eds. Estelle Barrett & Barbara Bolt, London: I.B.Tauris, 2007, pp.147-157, p.156
2 John Freeman, Blood, Sweat & Theory: Research through practice in performance, Oxfordshire: Libri Publishing, c2010, p.81
3 Phil Smith, Mythogeography: A guide to walking sideways, Axminster: Triarchy Press, 2010, p.110
4 Paul Kleiman, PARIP mail group discussion, 28/10/02. In Peter Thomson (ed.), ‘Notes and Queries: Practice as research’, Studies in Theatre and Performance 22(3), 2003, pp.159-180, p.163

3 x 2 x 3: Kirsten MacLeod: I film therefore I am

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

3 x 2 x 3: Selecting a Fishing Rod for the Exhausted Artist

Selecting a Fishing Rod for The Exhausted Artist

Hereʼs an unashamedly popular proverb:

“Give a man a fish so heʼll eat for a day; teach him how to fish and heʼll eat for life”

That man could be me trying to assemble my ʻrod of researchʼ to catch the fish of PhD gold. At present, I have bits of the rod, possibly a hook, but a bewildering choice of exhausting instructions, some of which are in a language I am still learning and Iʼm only allowed to look at the instructions for snatches of time.

Iʼd welcome experienced researchers who can think outside the box and help me not waste time, which is very hard won as a new parent managing a conniving illness. The Adaptive Prism, Emancipations for The Exhausted Artist is the most satisfactory incarnation of my PhD title. The “Prism” itself, is a metaphor about adaptation within illness. But itʼs more than hypothetical. I am attempting to draw blueprints for a highly bespoke, practical, lived philosophy.

The aim is to envision, regenerate or replace the colours now missing from a previously healthy and colourful life. Research-wise, Iʼm currently inside a ʻpraxisʼ concocting music and sound medications whilst testing their efficacy for autoethnographic and potentially wider usefulness. I am writing short essays about the projects and one is on the wall in this room. These will ultimately be formed into a philosophical manifesto and idiosyncratic multimedia publication of some kind.

But there is a problem. My practice-research is currently lopsided. I have no problem with the practice as it has developed within an existing illness as a personal medication with itʼs own adaptations. I know what my ʻchaptersʼ could be and what practical projects would parallel it. But the last academic writing I did was in 1994 for my degree – and now I have a kind of handicap of very little energy.

What would you do? I benefit hugely from the learning, but my compass can go haywire at times, as my view of formal research is quite weak. B-roads can emerge and leave me whimpering at the wheel at times. I accept that all researchers
must accept cul-de-sacs as part of research, but if I had a better idea of research methods I might be able to filter more effectively.

The central problem is that because I am not used to academic journals and reading massive quantities I run out of energy fast. I am not exactly asking for shortcuts, more time-saving ideas – lets end on a particular question:

I want to write a 1000-2000 word essay on a ʻhistory of exhaustionʼ that is not [wholly] a medical history. I canʼt find much on ʻa social history of exhaustion.ʼ How would you go about such an enterprise whilst being able to work slowly in 1-2 hour bursts?

3 x 2 x 3

Presentations from our 3 x 2 x 3 event on 23rd June. Podcasts to follow

Jennifer Jones:

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

3 x 2 x 3

3 x 2 x 3
CCA Glasgow Clubroom, 24th May 2011, 2pm – 5pm

We are bringing together members of the School’s doctoral research community to explore the question:  

How are you approaching the relationships between practice and research in your work?

We will make short podcasts of each 3 minute presentation for wider distribution through the school research blogs.

2.00 pm Welcome and introductions

2.10 pm  
Chris Dooks: Selecting a Fishing Rod for The Exhausted Artist 
Kirsten McLeod: I film therefore I am: Process, Practice & Participation in community based media

followed by discussion - facilitated by Graham Jeffery

Gail Sneddon: Paula, Lorraine, Shelly and Caroline
David Overend: Exposition, Exposition, Exposition

followed by discussion - facilitated by Katarzyna Kosmala

3.15 break

Jennifer Jones: Learning from the alternative and alternative learning spaces
Ben Parry: The subjective artist and the objective academic

Discussion - facilitated by Andy Miah

4.00 – 5.00
Next steps

5.00 Drinks