Student Led Initiatives 2010-2011

Art, Landscape, Place: Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Network


Suze Adams and Rob Irving School of Creative Arts, University of the West of England;


Ceri Price and Georgie Urry, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol

This project centres on establishing an interdisciplinary, cross-institutional research network for artists and geographers as a structured forum for discussion, debate and collaboration. The bringing together of theorists and/or practitioners working with issues of place/landscape reflects a growing cross-disciplinary awareness of shared practices and reference sources. As artists working in this field turn to cultural geography for reference, so geographers look to the arts for more creative methods of dissemination. The network aims to provide an informal arena conducive to the exploration of innovative strategies and aids to learning and dissemination.

Both disciplines explore ways of translating the experiential, the multi-sensory and the performative nature of fieldwork through amalgamations of description and analysis, combining subject and object, practice and theory. A primary aim of the initiative is to identify such areas of convergence and to create new possibilities for cross-fertilisation as well as the development of personal practice. To launch the Art, Place and Landscape network, we are holding a conference and workshop event that will bring together research students from institutions across the South West and Wales (July 2010).

One practice shared by all doctoral students across the disciplines is the need to write up research outcomes in formal thesis form. We will be asking the question: "how might we as post-graduate researchers ‘write' the experiential or tacit knowledge gleaned from active research in the field?" It is with this in mind that a major focal point of the initiative (at least to begin with) is the exploration of alternative writing and presentation strategies. We will examine and explore different methods and methodologies, including performative and multi-sensory models, and consider the subjective/objective creative balance via analysis of combinations that see-saw between description and analysis. This will be facilitated at the conference via collaborative fieldwork projects that encourage alternative methods of presentation/dissemination and that echo the performative methodologies of cross-disciplinary fieldwork practices.

At the end of the conference we will be outlining the aspirations and tentative future plans of the Art, Place and Landscape Group. We will also be asking participants to help us shape the network so that it serves a shared purpose and reflects the needs and wants of its members.

A link to the project on the UWE PLaCE website (together with contact details for the network) can be found via:


'From the Cradle to the Grave': Reciprocity and Exchange in the Making of Medicine and the Modern Arts

Victoria Bates, Centre for Medical History, and Sam Goodman, Department of English, University of Exeter

Our conference (April 2011) will focus on the ‘making and unmaking' of medicine and all modern arts, from the nineteenth century onwards. Rather than simply examining finished texts, films, artworks or pieces of theatre, the central goal of this conference is to examine the processes by which medicine and the arts have influenced each other across time and place. The conference will close with an art and screen exhibition on the relationship between hospital art and health.

The Postgraduate Photography Research Network

Benedict Burbridge, Courtauld Institute of Art

Olga Smith, University of Cambridge

The Postgraduate Photography Research Network will bring together doctoral students and early career researchers whose work engages with photography, its production, dissemination, theorization and its histories. The initiative will provide a research forum for participants drawn from a wide range of academic and art institutions and across a variety of disciplines, to include both research and practice-based Ph.D. students. Two complimentary initiatives running concurrently are proposed under this initiative:


  1. Monthly seminars, held at The Photographers' Gallery in London. Seminars will provide participants with a forum to present their research and current projects in an atmosphere of intellectual rigour and peer support. They will also provide opportunities to forge creative networks, resulting in collaborative projects, conferences and publications extending beyond the scope of the initiative.
  2. Development of a website. The website will provide participants with the opportunity to publish research online, and open the dialogue to a wider community of researchers, specialists and members of the public through a discussion forum. It will also list details of funding, job and internship opportunities, exhibitions, lectures, seminars and conferences, and offer a platform on which to discuss these events.


Photography remains among the most pervasive forms of contemporary visual communication, operating across a wide range of discursive fields. At the heart of this initiative lies the conviction that photography can provide a point of contact between different disciplines, discourses, periods and approaches and that, by opening a dialogue between them, we might better understand the position of photography in society and culture, and the meanings and functions we invest it with.


Making and Unmaking text across performance practices and theories


Rebecca Cremin and Ryan Ormonde, Department of English, Royal Holloway, University of London

Thursday 27th, Friday 28th and Saturday 29th January 2011

Call out for 30 participants in Making and Unmaking Text, an ongoing initiative including a three day event in London as part of the AHRC BEYOND TEXT programme.


This event is interested in how text/language is made and unmade within the expanding field of contemporary interdisciplinary practice.

This event wants to expand notions of the academic by encouraging experimental/radical approaches to ‘the paper’ and ‘the conference’.

This event comprises of an evening of performances, a day of workshopping and discussion and a day of presentations and responses.

This event emphasises the fluid exchange of ideas by connecting practices and initiating dialogue.

This event asks you to describe the site of text/language in your practice and compare it to alternative approaches.

TO PARTICIPATE: Please email for an application form.


Remix Cinema: the collaborative making, deconstruction and distribution of digital artefacts

Isis Hjorth, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

This workshop explores the role of audio-visual remix practices in contemporary digital culture. The concept of ‘remix’ describes a broad set of social and cultural practices centred around the fragmentation and re-ordering of already existing and new content, whether text, sound or images. This 2-day multi-disciplinary workshop focuses on these diverse creative practices, particularly in the context of the contemporary socio-technical media environment. It brings together people interested in understanding and shaping remix cinema.




Literacy in oral cultures: conflicts compromises and complications

Paul Lihoma. HATII, University of Glasgow

Literacy in oral cultures: conflicts, compromises and complications, is hosted by the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII) of the University of Glasgow. This symposium will provide a forum for renowned academics in African history both from the UK and Africa, surviving British former administrators in colonial Africa, UK scholars who have experience in using the archives in Africa, archivists, post-graduate students, researchers and many others, to discuss a range of critical issues surrounding media and memory in pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Africa. The symposium keynote speakers will be Ivan Murambiwa, Director of the National Archives of Zimbabwe, and Professor Kings Phiri of the University of Malawi.

Before Western colonial intervention, the culture and bureaucracy of sub-Saharan Africa was predominantly transmitted orally through ritual, storytelling, music, etc. For many years, the literate western colonial bureaucracy laboured to transform Africa and the evidence of the interaction between these two cultures is documented and preserved in the national archives of almost all African countries. But this is an incomplete record of bureaucratic process and ownership; the voices of Africans are largely silent in this official record.

If you are interested in attending, please let us know by emailing your details to .

More details of the conference programme can be found here:


Palæophonics: Music, Archaeology and the politics of representation

Farès Moussa Archaeology, University of Edinburgh; Paul Keene Music, University of Edinburgh; Corisande Fenwick Anthropology, Stanford University


Music has a well known capacity to evoke the past. Archaeologists have sought to reconstruct past instruments and sounds and some musical composition has been directly inspired by the past. Both have drawn upon extant records of music and sound among texts, images, notations or remains of sound-making tools.

However, with few surviving musical artefacts or depictions and no manuscripts, remote (i.e. pre-/proto-historic) and lost (e.g. destroyed) pasts elude the direct knowledge of archaeologists and music practitioners. Consequently, broader repertoires of scientific method and musical device, more ‘open’ interpretation and wider cross-cultural analogy have been used to recover something of these other ‘primordial’ realities.

This interdisciplinary initiative explores the ways in which Music has contributed to people’s perception and experience of the past –particularly, lost, distant or prehistoric pasts; the methods and motivations composers, artists, archaeologists and historians have employed to contribute to that perception; and the role of new and alternative compositional/performance expressions of the past.


Sun 19th December 2010, 09:00 – 12:30, TAG conference, Bristol
Artefact to Auditorium: aural agendas in the archaeology of sound
The theoretical and practical bases of some of this initiative’s themes will initially be explored at this international conference session. Full session line-up at:

Fri 27th May 2011 (time TBC), Reid Concert Hall, Edinburgh
Palæophonics: public performance
This evening performance event will showcase contributing projects, including original compositions, films and installations.

Sat 28th May 2011 (time TBC), History, Classics and Archaeology, Edinburgh
Palæophonics: workshop
Participants will present overviews of their projects from conception to realisation at a day-long post-performance workshop. Discussants and attendees will present prepared commentaries, critical appraisals and participate in discussion.

Contact / Info: / /
STOP-PRESS: New "Palæophonics" website coming soon...



The Forgotten Voices of the Avant-Garde

Fiona Noble, Department of Hispanic Studies, University of Aberdeen
Rebecca Ferreboeuf, Department of French, University of Leeds
Tara Plunkett, Spanish and Portuguese Studies, Queen's University, Belfast

This post-graduate, interdisciplinary conference seeks to consider the work of avant-garde artists and writers which has been forgotten, ignored, or undervalued. In so doing, it also invites a critical rethinking of the means by which we preserve, communicate, and transmit cultural production across time and space. Ultimately what we seek to determine is how these structures of preservation, communication, and transmission have shaped and defined the avant-garde itself.

As part of the conference, we will provide a training session, entitled 'Cultural Memory and the Avant-Garde: Curating/Creating the Canon' for participants and attendees. This training session will focus on the problematic nature of any attempt to preserve, describe, transfer, and transform the non-textual avant-garde artwork.

Just as avant-garde movements attempt to revolutionise both art and society, this conference aims to challenge the traditional critical approach to the avant-garde, to reach beyond the conventional binary contrasts of art and literature, and to illuminate those - deliberately or inadvertently - forgotten by cultural memory.


Interfaces: encounters beyond the page / screen / stage

Lisa Stead, Department of English, University of Exeter

Interfaces project constitutes a multidisciplinary research training event that seeks examines questions of mediation and memory in encounters with non-textual archival materials in the arts. By creating dialogues between postgraduates and experienced researchers leading workshop panels, and featuring practical sessions with curators and archivists, our aim is to encourage participants to investigate issues that take the researcher beyond the text in the use of objects and artefacts that constitute non-textual interfaces between film, literature and theatre.

Dr Judith Buchanan, University of York, will be presenting a keynote address entitled: Eloquent Debris: the things a movie leaves behind. The day will feature six core panels on the themes of: Rethinking Archives; Media Interfaces; Performativity; Beyond Screen; Performance History, and Forms of Engagement. The day will also feature two key archive events, led by Head of Special Collections Christine Faunch and Curator of the Bill Douglas Centre Philip Wickham, the latter focusing upon literary archival materials and the former upon film, theatre and popular culture ephemera.

For further details and registration, please see the University webpages at:

or visit the conference blog:



Picture this: postcards and letters beyond text

Bethan Stevens and Katie Reid, School of English, University of Sussex

This two-day conference at the University of Sussex invites researchers, creative writers, visual artists, publishers and curators to come together to consider letters and postcards from a range of critical perspectives, and through creative practice. We welcome explorations of postcards and letters as mediated exchanges, dramatized inscription and treasured material objects; we are also particularly curious about moments when epistolaries break into drawings, photographs or other media.

The conference will host workshops, talking circles, panel presentations and keynotes investigating: letters and postcards as embodied objects, including in museums and archives; delivery systems and diaspora; reciprocal relations between verbal and visual arts; mutating epistolaries in fiction, from the eighteenth century to contemporary novels; and recent theorizations.

Events within the conference include our innovative Postcards competition, run in collaboration with the publishers Myriad Editions. This is for mixed-media writing and visuals, inviting entrants to experiment with the postcard form. The conference will also host a Research Skills seminar at Brighton Museum and a Careers Round Table. All aspects, including the post-event reviewing process, are designed to make this conference particularly relevant to early-career postgraduate researchers.


New Research Trajectories: Navigations in city and online space

Rachel Walls, American and Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham
Heather Connelly, Fine Arts, Loughborough University
Andy Coverdale, Education, University of Nottingham
Rebecca Gamble, Art and Design, Nottingham Trent

“New Research Trajectories: Navigating City and Online Space” creates an opportunity for researchers to:

  • Participate and help shape an experimental AHRC funded project
  • Network with postgraduates around the region
  • Share ideas in progress
  • Collaborate across and between disciplines
  • Explore alternative ways to disseminate your research
  • Engage in active dialogues
  • Experiment with alternative modes to communicate research in process
  • Respond to different situations and environments, online and in the city through action, practice and innovation


The first meeting was held at Nottingham Contemporary on Wednesday 22nd September 2010 between 11-3pm. The meeting included: an introduction to the project; introductions from all participants; lunch; a workshop with Rachel Jacobs, Artistic Director of Active Ingredient and PhD researcher at Horizon research institute at University of Nottingham; and a workshop to find out what participants would like to get out of the network and to plan our subsequent events. 19 people attended. A few of us explored Nottingham City Centre and thought about what spaces we might use in our December event. We reconvened at the pub for further conversation.

The second meeting was held in Loughborough on Wednesday 27th October 2010. We kicked off with a talk by academic and artist Nils Norman, who told us about how his teaching, research and practice converge by exploring learning opportunities outside of the institution, such as adventure playgrounds. We subsequently took a coach to nearby Beacon Hill, hoping an alternative environment, an aerial view of Loughborough, and wandering (and other) methodologies would facilitate new ideas and collaborations. We ate a homemade lunch of soup and bread on picnic tables and got to know one another before walking up the hill. Jackie Calderwood, one of our participants, led an activity on the coach journeys. We then returned to Loughborough University to gather together our ideas, share conclusions and plan the December event.

The third meeting on Wednesday 15th December 2010 was planned in conjunction with Sideshow, the British Art Show Fringe Festival.  They helped promote our event, as did Nottingham Contemporary, and we joined forces with a Sideshow funded project, LAB for our evening activity.  During the day we had refreshments and an inroduction at Nottingham Contemporary, a walk across the city to the Park Tunnel where we participated in Zalfa Feghali and Heather Connelly's "In Translation" and Jackie Calderwood's "Creative Conversations."  We then moved to Market Square to visit Nicola Donovan (NTU) who had set up "Lace Point" in a hut that usually houses the Nativity.  She had permission to use that space all day to engage the public in discussions about the Lace Industry and her work using lace.  

We had lunch in Nottingham Arts Theatre cafe before moving into the theatre where Rebecca Gamble and Michael Pinchbeck introduced their work, two seperate interactive activities using the backstage of the theatre.   Lee Campbell later led a third participatory performance with five participants on stage after telling us about his theoretical framework.  We then moved to Bunkers Hill pub for discussion about the day and to learn more from and give feedback to the active participants.  The day ended with a talk from participant Dave Bell arranged by LAB at the Surface Gallery.

10th February 2011 was our evaluation meeting in which 6 core participants got together to watch the evaluation video created by Lizzie Sodeen, discuss ways of making the most of the network we had a created and maintaining connections/forming new collaborations in the future.

Tuesday 10th May, 2011 was the date of a NRT spin-off event. After meeting with Alison Lloyd, curator and walking guide in April, we arranged for her to lead NRT participants on a walk in the peak district to explore new ways of navigating, researching and making art. More info here:


Gobsmacked: Getting Speechless in Performance

Helena Walsh / Johanna Linsley, Department of Drama, Queen Mary University of London

Gobsmacked: Getting Speechless in Performance is a day-long conference to take place in November 2010 at Queen Mary University of London. The conference will focus on experimental performance practice that falls within the brackets of ‘live art’, ‘performance art’ and ‘body art’. It will consider the many ways experimental performance practice can entice a failure of speech amongst those who experience it.

During the conference postgraduate students will present research tools in response to performances that elicit a failure of speech – how they make these performances into language. Alongside this platform, established practitioners will present on processes they use to unmake speech or render the witness /audience ‘gob-smacked’.

Key areas of inquiry include:

  • The processes that contemporary performance practitioners employ to unmake language or step outside of available discourse, whilst simultaneously considering the processes through which audience / witnesses / researchers attempt to make the experience of the indescribable in language
  • How insight into performance processes may develop potentials for critique. We often attribute the most impact to those experiences that render us the least able to respond. How do we value this impact, which may have crucial intellectual, social and political valences? Trauma narratives, for example, for example, often begin with an avowal that no words can describe the experience. How can performance processes contribute to constructive frameworks for communication in the face of speechlessness
  • How insight into performance processes may develop potentials for critique. We often attribute the most impact to those experiences that render us the least able to respond. How do we value this impact, which may have crucial intellectual, social and political valences? Trauma narratives, for example, for example, often begin with an avowal that no words can describe the experience. How can performance processes contribute to constructive frameworks for communication in the face of speechlessness
  • How the struggle for definition that accompanied the experimental use of the body outside of established curatorial boundaries within the emergence of performance/ body art practices in the 1960s/ 70s can be related to or differ from contemporary struggles for critical vocabulary. Can histories of performance processes and histories of performance theory be creatively preserved as they structure new processes and responses?
  • How the contemporary digital landscape transforms our relationship to language, both making and unmaking expressibility in its (over-)saturation of images and information


Research Approaches to Former Soviet States: A Practical Introduction

Jonathan Waterlow, Faculty of History, University of Oxford

This is a two-day collaborative workshop for current postgraduate students planning to make research trips to, or use sources from, former Soviet states.

The workshop will have a strong interdisciplinary focus, incorporating talks on researching History, Film, Theatre, Visual Art, Literature, Language, Music, Cultural Studies and Memory. We aim to stimulate exchange and interaction not only between institutions, but also across academic disciplines.

In addition to papers from experienced academic researchers, participants will have the opportunity to hear from fellow postgraduates who have just completed extensive research trips, primarily in Russia and Ukraine, who will share crucial practical information and give advice on the evolution of a project during the research process.

Each day will end with informal roundtable discussions at which attendees can meet with speakers most relevant to their own research and speak to them at greater length.

In so complex an difficult a location to engage in graduate research, sharing information, experience and contacts is vital to a successful research trip. Our intention is to pass on experience, to discuss new and interdisciplinary approaches to research, and to create a more open exchange of ideas amongst students of former Soviet states.

A podcast from the conference and a PDF of an archival and research handbook are available from the links section of the Photo & Video Gallery





Arts & Humanities Research Council: Each year the AHRC provides approximately £100 million from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities, from archaeology and English literature to design and dance. In any one year, the AHRC makes approximately 700 research awards and around 1,000 postgraduate awards. Awards are made after a rigorous peer review process, to ensure that only applications of the highest quality are funded. Arts and humanities researchers constitute nearly a quarter of all research-active staff in the higher education sector. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. See Arts & Humanities Research Council website.