Arts research

Helicopter dragonfly, courtesy of Chris Cook

Colin Robins Seminar
October 28 | 14:00 – 15:00
Contact Heidi Morstang for Zoom invite
Colin Robins’ practice has frequently centred on relationships between places and the communities that occupy them.
 
'White Mining' looked at, largely rural, communities and their environments across Europe and Ukraine as well as sites in the United States, Brazil and China in which kaolin and marble are mined, quarried or processed.
  
'The Anthology of Rural Life' is an on-going, and collaborative project with photographer Oliver Udy. The work generates a comparative visual study of the continuities and differences in patterns of life within contemporary rural areas. These in turn reflect shifting economic, social and cultural forces occurring in diverse European contexts.

Arts Research embraces an interdisciplinary and multimodal approach to research. Projects utilize a wide range of media to explore various research interests such as migration, identity, eco diversity, the non-human, new materialism, representations of history, cinema heritage and the production of scientific knowledge. The research is primarily individually led yet it is collectively shared with practice as an essential methodology. The outcomes are diverse and are disseminated widely in museums, galleries, publications, cinema screenings, community spaces and conferences. Symposiums, seminars and events, with practice at the core, create a space for discussion and development.

Research projects

Phytogenesis

Entanglements in more-than-human-worlds

University of Plymouth 24 March 2021 | 9am - 3.15pm

This one-day symposium combines plants, philosophy and photography to generate transdisciplinary dialogue around the newly enlivened subject of vegetal life, in response to the “pressing ecological, demographic, geographical, and economic challenges faced by contemporary society” (Coole & Frost: 2010)

For further information please contact carole.baker@plymouth.ac.uk

Book a delegate place (free)

Find out more about the symposium

Image © W.Arnold

Image © W.Arnold

Seedscapes: 2020 

Liz Wells

Seedscapes brings together five contemporary artists exploring global efforts to safeguard vital plant species from extinction. Plant diversity is rapidly declining, and faces threats from global warming, pollution and war. Yet without seeds and their potential for food and medicine, we cannot sustain ourselves. Featuring photography, moving image and sculpture, Seedscapes reveals how international artists, biologists and ecologists are responding to these challenges. This is the premiere of the exhibition before it goes on tour to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery in Exeter, and The Dick Institute in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire, in 2021

Land/Water and the Visual Arts Network

Image courtesy of Heidi Morstang

Image courtesy of Heidi Morstang

Making a Masterpiece, Bouts and Beyond: 2019-2020

Chris Cook

Five works selected by York Art Gallery to provide a contemporary inflection to their major historical show, focusing on Flemish and Dutch painting, with ten works borrowed from the National Gallery. During the exhibition, five new works were commissioned to be made in response to works from York’s collection, and were incorporated in a rehang for the last month of the exhibition. The catalogue, “Golden Age” contained all 10 works, along with extended critical essay by curator Jeanne Nuechterlein. Extensive contextualisation: two gallery talks, three workshops, two University lectures. Newly commissioned work with contextualising video entered York Art Gallery permanent collection. One commissioned work won a national prize in 2020.

Further information  

Image courtesy of Chris Cook

Image courtesy of Chris Cook

Between Us, AR artwork (Magic Leap): 2019 – ongoing

Jane Grant

This body of research is situated within the realm of new materialism and draws on Karen Barad’s work on intra-action. Both artworks employ strategies of ‘inhabitation’, that of experiencing from within. Each artwork has a narrative about solar physics and desire, using Barad’s work as a starting point. Each work differs, the former is situated in a camera obscura and is multi-participatory, the latter’s predominant research questions are how to evoke senses of intimacy, presence and the feeling of touch in augmented reality via sound, narrative and visuals. The papers/articles act as an intellectual intermediary and place of reflection between the making of each artwork.

Further information

Image courtesy of Jane Grant

Image courtesy of Jane Grant

More than Stories: A Film Trilogy 2019

Anya Lewin 

Lewin uses the medium of film, film sets and actors to reflect on the construction of identity through memory, fact and fiction. These trilogy of films bring an autoethnographic lens to explore her own family histories as they interweave with larger historical narratives of displacement. Each film has at its heart the haunted memories of Jewish life embedded in a particular story passed down to Lewin by her father. Combining personal memories, archival research and fictional recreations the three films (shown in both installation and cinematic spaces) open up questions about historical context, narrative and place.

Further information

Image courtesy of Anya Lewin

Image courtesy of Anya Lewin

Pseudotachylyte - 2019 

Heidi Morstang

Filmed in the Arctic landscape of the Lofoten Islands, Norway, and in Electron Microscopy Centre, the feature documentary film Pseudotachylyte portrays a team of international geo-scientists investigating rock formations for evidence of earthquakes originating deep below the Earth’s surface. Morstang collaborated with a cinematographer, sound designer and geo-scientists from Universities of Plymouth, Liverpool, Cardiff, UK; and University of Padua, Italy. Investigating observational documentary cinematic and audio methodologies, the film intentionally amplifies gestures, collaboration and visual skills of scientists at work and aspects of scientific knowledge production and research methods that are not generally accessible outside scientific communities.

Further information

Land/Water and the Visual Arts Network 

Image courtesy of Heidi Morstang

Image courtesy of Heidi Morstang

Father-land, 2K digital film: 2018 

Kayla Parker

This 20-minute essay film, made collaboratively with Stuart Moore, was created via a research residency hosted by Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre (NiMAC). Parker and Moore interweave personal narratives, as the children of military personnel who served in Cyprus, to examine patriarchal and colonial legacies in Nicosia, the only divided capital in Europe. The authors’ technique of structured improvisation builds on the legacy of Mangolte’s practice of ‘putting words in place’ to question the concept of home, reflecting on images of conflict and bringing together the personal and the political in our post-Brexit times.

Winner of the 2020 BAFTSS Practice Research Award: Essay/Experimental Film

Further information

Image courtesy of Kayla Parker

Image courtesy of Kayla Parker

Sensing the Familiar: 2018 

Dr Carole Baker

My practice is socially engaged and investigative; positioned between art and documentary and employing diverse perspectives and strategies to dialectically traverse the territory, thereby uncovering synergies, contradictions and paradoxes in the socio-political fabric. It seeks to expand thinking about the non-human and to provoke challenges to social policy and practices. Photography, in its mimetic relationship to reality, suits this form of social critique; although not realistic in itself, it arises from reality, thereby inviting reflection on the nature of that reality. Together with dialectical fragments of text, the photograph can engage us in metaphysical, epistemological and moral thought and action

Image courtesy of Carole Baker

Image courtesy of Carole Baker

 

Symposia

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2020

Symposium I: International Environmental Arts Research Network
Expanding on and questioning how art can contribute to understanding contemporary environmental issues and challenges. Speakers: Laura Hopes (University of Plymouth), Speedwell;
Johanna Mechen (Massey University, Wellington, NZ), Sealing Ground; and Kevin Miles (Massey University, Wellington, NZ), Sailing Close to the Wind .
November 25 2020

Seedscapes symposium
Join artists Dornith Doherty, Sant Khalsa, Chrystel Lebas, Heidi Morstang, and Liz Orton, as well as guest speakers, at this online event of presentations and discussions, chaired by Seedscapes curator Professor Liz Wells and Head of Programme Dr Pippa Oldfield.
November 21 2020

2019

Symposium at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum Exeter: Collecting regions - Photography and a sense of place
Speakers: Liz Wells, Garry Fabian Miller, Bronwen Colquhoun, Jo Bradford, Emma Down, Catherine Troiano, Brendan Barry, Mark Haworth-Booth.
18 September 2019

International Conference: Environmental Arts Practice Research
Speakers: Professor Camille Parmesan, Anne Noble, Yan Wang Preston
25/26 April 2019


Haunted Geologies
Speakers: Deborah Dixon, Professor of Geography, University of Glasgow Jane Grant, Associate Professor in Digital Arts, University of Plymouth Dave Griffith, Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University Stephanie Moran PhD candidate, ADA, University of Plymouth Kate Paxman, PhD candidate, ADA, University of Plymouth Iain Stewart, Professor of Geoscience Communication, University of Plymouth.
March 20 2019

Strange Ecologies
Strange Ecologies explores how transversal eco-aesthetic practices can respond to the damaging effects of integrated world capitalism (e.g. the increase of mental health and stress-related disorders; the rise of right-wing nationalism and fundamentalisms; ecological crisis on a global scale, climate change and natural resource depletion). Invited speakers respond to ecologies in their widest sense: to counter the pervasive atmosphere of inaction, and propose new social and aesthetic imaginaries.

Art Futures: Neil Cummings 
Metainterfaces: Christian Ulrik Andersen and Søren Pold
Irresolvability Olga Guriunov and Matt Fuller 
Uncomfortable: Sonia Boyce

2018

Out of Place: The artist residency as a space of creative exploration and reflection
Land/Water and the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre.
6 July 2018


Artistic Research Will Eat Itself symposium
 
The 9th SAR - International Conference on Artistic Research was held at the University of Plymouth.
11 - 13 April 2018

2017

Annual Summer Symposium – 'Territories'
Speaker: Emeric Lhuisset. Download programme PDF.
22–23 June 2017 

Future Imperfect Symposium University of Plymouth
Speakers featured: Anna Schober, Professor of Visual Culture Studies at Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt and Melanie Manchot, a London based visual artist. 
April 1 2017

Safekeeping bees – 'An interdisciplinary exploration of the future for bees in Britain’ symposium
Speakers: Nick Bentham-Green, Mark Edwards, Dr William Kirk, Professor Andrea Liggins, Amy Shelton. Download programme PDF.
18 January 2017

 

Publications

2021

Baugh, T. and Rosser, L. (2021) The Interstice between Error and Failure in Artistic Research
The reader investigates how practice-led researchers navigate the complex terrain between failure and error. One might posit this territory as an indeterminacy in related artistic strategies, traversing across and beyond material and immaterial spaces, abstract and representational thought, and as a means of exploring territories beyond purely human worlds. texts consider how artistic practice is capable of negotiating spaces beyond boundaries of intention, knowing and safety, and is acceptant of ruptures, risk and lack of resolve. Forthcoming March 2021 downloadable by PDF

2020

Grant, Jane (2020) 'Between Us: Desire, touch and seduction as immaterial agents in the augmented sonic artworks', Ubiquity Journal 2020

Lewin, A. and Parker, K. (2020) 'Gallery in the Cinema' (eds.)
Gallery in the Cinema was a collaboration with Plymouth Arts Centre, led by its artistic director Ben Borthwick, which presented a programme of eight artists’ moving image works shown in the Centre’s cinema on a daily loop between 2016 and 2017. The exhibitions gave artists the opportunity to show moving image works, which are often shown in a gallery environment, in a small high spec cinema space.

Four essays were commissioned by artist duo Felix Bernstein and Gabe Rubin, Bridget Crone, Adam Pugh and Lucy Reynolds both as exploration of the critical landscape for understanding contemporary artists’ moving image practice, particularly the modes of exhibition and reception, and as a way to mark Gallery in the Cinema. Downloadable PDF  

Punt, Michael (2020) 'The World Viewed: The Silverfish and the Broken Planets' Place 2, (1) 0-0 Publisher Site open access 

Wells, L. (2020) ‘Shifting Perspectives’ in Jordan Strom and Sylvia Grace Borda eds., Sylvia Grace Borda Shifting Perspectives. Ca.: Heritage House and Surrey Art Gallery, 2020.

2019

Baker, C. (2019) 'From Postmodernism to Posthumanism - The Photographed Animal', retrieved from http://www.membrana.si/en/magazine-membrana-fotografija/ 

Lewin, A. (2019) 'More Than Stories', Gordian Projects
More Than Stories examines the archive materials from the research processes that culminated in Anya Lewinʼs film trilogy With Heartfelt Gratitude for the Painless Treatment (2008), Chez Paulette on the Sunset Strip (2013), and Fez: The Royal Scent (2019). Together with film and production stills, excerpts from the filmsʼ screenplays, and Anyaʼs introductory text, the book interweaves the haunted memories of Jewish life embedded in her family stories, wandering through the cities that her father inhabited: Cairo, Berlin, and Los Angeles.Further information 

Punt, Michael (2019) 'Place: Anecdote, Theory and Practice, and A Young Princess?' Place 1, (1) 0-0 Author Site Publisher Site open access 

Wells, L (2019) ‘Critical Environments and Photographic Investigations’ PhotoResearcher 32, ESHPh, Autumn 2019

Wells, L (2019) ‘Hidden Histories and Landscape Enigmas’ in photographies 12.2, Summer 2019 ‘Plastic Oceans’ in Mandy Barker, Altered Ocean. London: Overlapse (Visual Arts Books), 2019. (Chosen by The Royal Photographic Society as one of the top 10 Photobooks of the year 2019. Reviewed in the RPS Journal, Vol 159, Number 12, December 2019).  

Wells, L (2019) ‘New Frontiers’, article, and also, Editor for section on land and environment, PhotoResearcher 31, ESHPh, Spring 2019

Wells, L. Editor, The Photography Reader, History and Theory, Routledge, 2019

Wells, L, The Photography Culture Reader Routledge, 2019

2018

Drayson, Hannah (2018) 'Design(ing) and the Placebo Effect—A Productive Idea' Design Issues, DOI open access

Grant, J. (2018) 'The Skin of the World: Desire as interaction in the sonic artwork 'This Excited Surface', research paper acting as a research bridge from earlier work This Excited Surface into Between Us. Published by Transimage, Proceedings of the 5th Biennial Transdisciplinary Conference 2018, Edinburgh Further information

Parker, K and Moore, S (2018) with Stuart Moore: 'Framing memory: return to the zone' [chapter/conference proceedings] in Costa Valenta A. (ed.) AVANCA | CINEMA 2018. Avanca: Edições Cine-Club de Avanca. ISSN: 2184-0520. Publication date: 25 July 2018. pp. 103-108. Pearl: https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/handle/10026.1/11787

Wells, L (2018) ‘Histories and Imagination: narrative and metaphor in the work of John Kippin’ in John Kippin (2018), Based on a True Story, Works 1984-2018. Kerber, Berlin

Wells, L (2018) ‘Camera-Eye: Photography and Modernism’ in P Meecham Ed. (2018) A Companion to Modern Art. John Wiley.


Artistic Research Will Eat Itself can be understood as a warning against the dangers of methodological introspection, or as a playful invitation to explore the possibilities of a field in a constant state of becoming. In recognising auto-cannibalism as an analogy for broader socio-political and environmental concerns, one of the challenges for artistic research is to respond imaginatively to the dynamic tensions between self-destruction and regeneration. The proceedings are available at https://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/512748/512749

2017

Drayson, Hannah (2017) 'Debunking the Self; Jastrow, Münsterberg and the Automatograph' in Steinmetz R Munsterberg Life Universitätsverlag/Leipzig University Press open access 

Drayson, Hannah (2017) 'Academic carelessness, bootstrapping, and the cybernetic investigator' AVANT. The Journal of the Philosophical-Interdisciplinary Vanguard , DOI open access 

Drayson, Hannah (2017) 'Academic carelessness, bootstrapping, and the cybernetic investigator' AVANT. The Journal of the Philosophical-Interdisciplinary Vanguard , DOI open access

Parker, K. (2017) 'On Location' [moving image artwork and research statement] Screenworks Vol. 7 No. 3 Special Issue 'Radical Filmmaking' ed. Steve Presence. ISSN 2514-3123. Publication: 11 December 2017. 
Pearl: https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/handle/10026.1/10430

Parker, K. Mock, R and Way, R. (2017) ‘Heaven is a Place: The politics and poetics of LGBT location in a community dance film’ [chapter] in Sarita Malik, Caroline Chapain and Roberta Comunian (eds.) Community Filmmaking: Diversity, Practices and Places. London: Routledge. ISBN: 978-1-138-18806-8. Publication date: 24 April 2017. pp. 191-209. 
Pearl: https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/handle/10026.1/9912

Punt, Michael. Denham, S. and Denham, S.E. (2017) 'Cognitive Innovation, Irony and Collaboration' Avant: Journal of Philosophical-Interdisciplinary Vanguard , DOI open access

Wells, L (2017) ‘Sedimentary Histories: On space and place in the photographs of Bleda y Rosa’, in Campos de batalla (2017). Bombas Gens Centre d'Art, Museo Universidad Navarra y CGAC.

2016

Wells, L (2016) ‘Imaging Nature: investigating change in the natural world’ in Chrystel Lebas (2016) Field Studies. The Netherlands: fw/books. 

Wells, L (2016) ‘Objects, Landscapes, Poetics’ in Jungjin Lee, Echo. FotoMuseum Winterthur/ Specter Books. 

Wells, L (2016) ‘Picturing Instability’ in John Ganis America's Endangered Coasts, Photographs from Texas to Maine. George F. Thompson.

2015

Baker, C. (2015). Dog Blog in Brunt, P., Busby, G., Mansfield, C., and Wheeller, B. (2015) 'Travels in Search of,' [Blog]. Toureme [online] open access

Wells, L. Editor and co-author, Photography: A Critical Introduction, Routledge, 5th edition 2015. (6th ed, forthcoming)
Korean version, 2016; Chinese version, 2012; Greek version, 2008; 4th ed 2009; 3rd ed 2004; 2nd ed 2000 (shortlisted, The Reind M de Vries European Photography Prize 2001); 1st ed 1997. 6th edition commissioned for 2021.

<p>Kayla parker</p>
<p>Gallery in the cinema<br></p>
<p>Kayla Parker</p>
<p>More Than Stories, courtesy of Anya Lewin</p>

Postgraduate research opportunities



We welcome applications for both practice-led and more traditional forms of doctoral research across art and media including interdisciplinary practices, philosophical, curatorial and pedagogic research

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