London Conference 2017
Paradox conferences are developed by artist educators and provide an international forum for arts and educational practitioners, and their stakeholders, to meet and discuss education, teaching, practice and research.
“I do not intend to speak about just speak nearby” Trinh T. Minh-ha
The 2017 conference is a meeting that offers opportunity to exchange ideas, practices, provocations and research that relate to core themes around issues of diversity in the contemporary landscape of higher education fine art.
In simple terms, creativity is common. It is not a privilege neither an exclusive natural gift; this conference seeks to explore the challenge of inclusive education crossing territories of cultural production that are ever expanding in their reach and in their terms of reference.
Rather than argue for the preservation of what is or the recovery of what was, the conference aims to explore a range of views and perspectives that might influence and improving the democratic freedoms and inclusive rights of access to the means of cultural production for all in our society, or at least those who seek to engage with fine art as a discrete area of cultural contribution and experience.
We have chosen to host this conference in London in 2017 precisely because of the risks and threats to Fine Art education in the wake of a dogged political climate of determinism and marketization that privileges the few, mostly on the basis of existing privilege. The location is an opportunity to reflect on change as well as prevailing issues of difference and diversity. Our European community of fine art practitioners and educators are subject to uncertain impacts from so called Brexit and the negotiation of new arrangements in the UKs relations with European nations and nationals. We do not know where the Trump presidency might lead our national consciousness and our appreciation of transnational and global communities of interest. We have recent and repeated experience of confused and confusing policy initiatives that seek to mold the role of the state as ideologue in the design of statutory education and of emergent education industries. The UK is experiencing increasing division and segregation in our regional and national social communities based on access to educational resources and to cultural experience and this is exacerbated by continuing inequalities based on gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality and class.
Professor Vicky Gunn
Professor Vicky Gunn joined The Glasgow School of Art as the Head of Learning and Teaching and Professor in Arts and Humanities in Higher Education in November 2014. Prior to that she was Director of the Learning and Teaching Centre at the University of Glasgow. She has undertaken commissioned research for QAA & the HEA and is a PFHEA. All of her work is woven together through the theme of the applied humanities, both applied humanities in the creative practices and applied humanities as a creative practice. Her work pulls together an interest in the creative arts, higher education practices and policy generation, student learning, cultural studies, history, and practical theology with an abiding curiosity in Queer. From this she has two clear research clusters of interest:
- Uncommon design in higher education practice and policy and its role in learning and teaching enhancement. This draws on cultural policy, theories of student learning, queer orientations, innovative service design, and quality as well as equality and diversity agendas in higher education to conceptualise how learning in higher education generally and Art Schools specifically can be enhanced.
- Medieval Queeries. This work looks at how queer theory can be used to interrogate medieval visual and textual representations of the body to enable the historical imaginary as a reparative practice. This encourages the use of images from the medieval to be explored within the context of current socio-cultural community concerns such as LGBTQ and religion, Arts education and sustainability, trans-bodies and absences in the historiographical record.
Joanna Rajkowska (born 1968) is an artist based in London and Nowogród, Poland.
A versatile artist, Rajkowska is best known for her work in public space, where she uses real-life situations, energies and materials to construct sites, installations and ephemeral actions. She utilises elements as diverse as plants, found objects, buildings, water, smoke and mirrors. Outcomes range from architectural projects, geological fantasies and excavation sites to underwater sculptures. Both alongside and separately, she produces films, photographs and models.
Her work engages critically with the legacy, politics and aesthetics of Land art and employs unfamiliarity as a political tool. De-familiarizing, de-humanizing and relating are her operating devices. She is interested in the limitations of and the limiting of human activities, multiplicity of agencies and human and non-human relations.
Most of her works happen, live and age in public space. Thus, her practice embraces all the entities involved as well as their relations, including organic and inorganic beings. The artist understands her projects like organisms, as she focuses on matter in its molecular or cellular dimension, its life cycle, growth and ageing. With a strong conviction that we, as humans, have failed to produce a viable, sustainable culture, she often confronts historical and sociopolitical contexts with the lives of species other than human. Tinted with disappointment, her work visualizes and questions the western notion of the nature-culture divide. A quiet submission to the forces of nature and (vital) decay became part of her practice.
As a woman and a mother, she uses her own body, a biological machine and a tool that enable her to sense and understand the conditions set for her work. Disease, weakness and malfunction of the human body is very often in the backdrop of her work, providing a fertile ground of potentiality rather than failure. Confronted with eye cancer in her immediate family, she has dedicated years of work to the phenomena of seeing and photosensitivity. Thus, the very corporeal and intimate crossed over the boundary between the private and the public.
Her public projects include commissions by CCA Zamek Ujazdowski (2007, Oxygenator, Poland), Trafo Gallery (2008, Airways, Hungary), Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2009, Ravine, Poland), The Showroom (2010, Chariot, UK), British Council (2010, Benjamin in Konya, Turkey), 7th Berlin Biennale (2012, Born in Berlin, Germany), Royal Society of Arts, Citizen Power Peterborough programme’s Arts and Social Change, Arts Council England (2012, The Peterborough Child, UK), Frieze Projects 2012 (2012, Forcing a Miracle, UK), Institute for Contemporary Ideas and Art (2014, Carpet, Sweden) and European Capital of Culture Wrocław (2016, Trafostation, Poland).
As well as commissions, she has realized a number of partisan public projects, most notably Greetings from Jerusalem Avenue in Warsaw (2002) which shaped the unique set of methods Rajkowska employs. The project was to become a major city landmark and has acted as a base for numerous political actions ranging from nurses’ protests to expression of solidarity with Ukraine during its invasion. Her artwork has been presented in the UK, Germany, Poland, France, Switzerland, Brazil, Sweden, USA, Bulgaria, Palestine, India, Japan, Turkey and Kenya among others.
Professor Hilary Robinson
Hilary Robinson is Professor of Visual Culture at Middlesex University, London. Having trained initially as a painter, her research focuses on feminist art theory, with publications including Reading Art, Reading Irigaray: The Politics of Art by Women (2006); Feminism-Art-Theory 1968-2014 (2015). She has been Head of School of Art & Design, University of Ulster; Dean, College of Fine Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh USA: and Dean, Art & Design, Middlesex University.
Films session: Andrea Luka Zimmerman
Andrea Luka Zimmerman is an artist, cultural activist and filmmaker. She is the co-founder of the artists’ collectives Vision Machine and Fugitive Images and was the winner of the Artangel Open Award 2014 for her collaborative feature Cycle with Adrian Jackson (Cardboard Citizens). Her films have been nominated for the Grierson Award, The Aesthetica Art Prize, the Golden Orange, the Jarman Award, and the Glashuette most original documentary award at the Berlin Film Festival (2017), among others. Exhibitions and projects include Common Ground, Spike Island, Bristol, UK (2017), Real Estates (co-curated), PEER in association with LUX, London, UK (2015).
Estate, a Reverie (85min, Andrea Luka Zimmerman, 2015) Nominated for the 2015 Grierson Award – Best Newcomer Documentary. Shortlisted for the Aesthetica Arts Prize)
A film forged by community, a spirited celebration of extraordinary everyday humanity.
Filmed over seven years, Estate, a Reverie reveals and celebrates the resilience of residents who are profoundly overlooked by media representations and wider social responses. Interweaving intimate portraits with the residents’ own historical re-enactments, landscape and architectural studies and dramatised scenes, Estate, a Reverie asks how we might resist being framed exclusively through class, gender, ability or disability, and even through geography…
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