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Painting and the Regional


Painting and the Regional

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Painting and the Regional


Painting and the Regional

Literature review on 'Painting and the Regional' for the development of an AHRC-research network

2016

Manchester School of Art, Dept. Fine Art (Manchester Metropolitan University)

Development of a literature review for painting lecturers at the art school, with the aim to develop an international research network that focuses on the regional production and circulation of painting.

Abstract:

This research discusses how painting production and networks are regionally embedded, while the art market is perceived to have an increasingly global focus in art market centres and capital cities. Painting’s relationship with location and space is used as starting point to then refer to the larger context of regional cultural development in which the visual arts have an important role. Painting within that context is often not differentiated as distinct discipline with its own conditions and support structures. This essay asks how painting’s mode of production is specific in relation to art. This is contrasted with discussion of artists' livelihoods and how professional development provision meets the needs of artists to sustain their practice. There is scope for perspectives to emerge from geography, arts policy research and critical theory to add local differentiation to painting production.

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Art Schools and their local art worlds


Art Schools and the development art scenes

Art Schools and their local art worlds


Art Schools and the development art scenes

'The geography of the art world: Art schools' role in the development of local art scenes (PhD Research)

2015 – 2018

Joint supervision:

Dr. Roberta Comunian, Dept. of Culture, Media and Creative Industries and Johan Andersson, Dept of Geography (King's)

Prof. Dr. Ilse Helbrecht, Geographisches Institut (HU)

Research context and aims:

While much writing on the geography of the art world emphasises the formation of specialised global circuits (Sassen, 2005), evidence is showing that globalisation of contemporary art production and circulation has specific under-researched local effects. These can for example be explained through the wealth of local DIY initiatives emerging in different cities around the world (Relyea, 2013) or through trust relationship between local gallerists and artists (Velthuis, 2013) that re-evaluate physical distance in the art world.

Within this context, the role of art schools for local art production and innovation within the globalised art world circuit does not surface. My thesis takes Madoff's (2009) argument that "art schools are always local" as starting point to discuss their potential for creating and sustaining local art scenes (While, 2003). He continues to argue: "Who, if not the young artists studying in a city and the professors teaching them year after year, should define the local art situation?" (Madoff, 2009: 239). My research aims to investigate this process at both individual and institutional level, hypothesising that artists engage with place and mobility through their studies and practice, while the institution fulfils the role as hub for the local art world with which it recurrently forges links and opportunities – including those links that extend to global circuits. Themes of identification with place, the negotiation between local and global ties as well as how aspects of teaching and practice inform the relationship of an artist with place are discussed.

To provide empirical perspectives on these processes, I will draw from the experiences of students, graduates and staff studying and teaching art in Leipzig and Manchester. Leipzig Academy of Fine Arts is known historically as paradigm for establishing a critically controversial yet market-hyped scene, i.e. the New Leipzig School (Gerlach, 2008). I took this as starting point to understand the current dynamics in Leipzig, and also to study how this applies in a different context in a comparable city, which is why I chose to work with Manchester School of Art.

Research methods:

  • Biographic interviews with Fine Art students & graduates
  • Interviews with art school lecturers, artist studio providers and local arts organisations engaged in artist's professional development
  • Ethnographic questions and observation
  • Mapping spaces of artistic production and consumption in the city (auto-cartography)
  • Analysis of statistics sourced from secondary data on student’s location and occupation prior to and after their studies

Ethics: Participants will be anonymised, unless they have consented for their name being used in relation to their work only. Participants can withdraw their information at any point by contacting the researcher.

Funding:

Case study schools:

Many thanks to all lecturers, students and artists providing me with your perspectives and support!

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London School of Mosaic


London School of Mosaic

London School of Mosaic


London School of Mosaic

Research and development for an accredited degree programme in Mosaic Practice based on the 15 year legacy of Southbank Mosaics

2015 ongoing

Southbank Mosaics

I have worked with Southbank Mosaics since 2007 as a volunteer making mosaics for the public realm together with the local community. Currently I work on their long-term vision to open up the London School of Mosaic, which will internalise the legacy of Southbank Mosaics into teaching the UK's first accredited degree in Mosaic Studies. We have more than 200 installations in public space. Our social impact builds on supporting people at risk of marginalisation involving them in place making through our heritage-themed commissions. Our degree programme will reflect these experiences. Besides mosaic making and theory, we will emphasise on mosaic as socially-engaged art and develop student's sense for social entrepreneurship.

I have an advisory as well as executive role in developing the school through:

  • developing partnerships with academic institutions for accreditation
  • writing the degree programme with expert academics as well as mosaic practitioners
  • writing and executing a marketing strategy
  • advising on aspects of regeneration of the site of the school

London School of Mosaic

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Kultur | Standort.Bestimmung


Kultur | Standort.Bestimmung

Kultur | Standort.Bestimmung


Kultur | Standort.Bestimmung

Kultur | Standort. Bestimmung

2015

Leipzig + Kultur e.V.

conference organisation, consultant, Editor

With the aim to increase much needed public funding for Leipzig's independent cultural producers (Freie Szene), we have organised a cultural congress and conference where new cultural policy needs could be debated. Only 5% of the cultural budget is accessible to Freie Szene actors while big cultural institutions have a large proportion of funding guaranteed. While the city's culture office has not shown much interest in this debate, the project was an urgent call for policy makers to rethink Leipzig's assets and cultural innovation potential.

The first output of this project was an international cultural policy conference, which provided a platform for discussion between policy makers/politicians, cultural producers and academic experts. The documentation of this has fed into an interactive online publications, which serves as a manifest of the needs of cultural producers in Leipzig. The project has lead to a set of policy recommendations for Freie Szene to be integrated into cultural policy making.

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Artists and urban change


Artists and urban change

 

Artists and urban change


Artists and urban change

 

"Leipzig's visual artists as actors of urban change: Articulating the intersection between place attachment, professional development and urban pioneering."

Leipzigs Bildende Künstler als Akteure städtischen Wandels: Eine Untersuchung der Schnittpunkte Ortsbindung, berufliche Entwicklung und Raumstrategien.

2014

independent research project (MSc Dissertation at King's College London)

qualitative research (17 interviews), literature review, research paper development, stakeholder engagement, presentation at conferences

This paper looks at the role of visual artists for urban change in Leipzig through the study of artist’s livelihoods and their engagement with the city in form of urban pioneering and professional development. Visual artists are actors of urban change in Leipzig because they share a sense of place attachment and common identity with the city. This leads to the attraction and retention of artists who are expanding and diversifying the existing cultural economy. Visual artists along with their exhibition and house projects have visible impact on the re-urbanisation of the city and the gentrification of specific neighbourhoods.

After Reunification, Leipzig experienced a dramatic loss of population following major economical restructuring, resulting in unemployment and housing vacancies. Recent research underlines a process of re-urbanisation that draws young people—among them visual arts students—back to the city to enter higher education or to find work. Leipzig is renowned for its active visual arts scene embodied in the New Leipzig School movement and the renowned Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts, which is not just an incubator for creative talent but also an important interface for the local visual arts economy.

Previous quantitative research on the city’s attractiveness to creative and cultural professionals has identified a variety of talent attraction and retention factors that contribute to artist’s place attachment e.g. strong personal networks, a diverse cultural economy and affordability of space. This paper adapts these general factors to the group of visual artists to identify specific processes that govern their urban and economic positions at a transition from higher education to professional artistic practice. Through qualitative methods, this research articulates causation, tensions and contradictions that describe the livelihoods of visual artists within a complex contextual realm between artistic autonomy and an expanding neo-liberal field.

 

Qualitative Forschung (17 Interviews), Aufarbeitung von Fachliteratur, Entwicklung eines Thesenpapiers, Dialog mit Interessengruppen, Präsentation der arbeit bei Fachkonferenzen

Dieses Thesenpapier beschäftigt sich mit Leipzig's Bildenden Künstlern und deren Einfluss auf den Wandel der Stadt, was durch die Erschließung von Räumen und neuen Nutzungsmöglichkeiten sichtbar wird. Bildende Künstler sind in diesem Fall Akteure städtischen Wandels, weil sie im Verlauf der für dieses Projekt geführten Gespräche das besondere Ortsbindungspotenzial der Stadt Leipzig intensiv thematisierten. Diese Dynamik wiederum birgt große Anziehungskraft auf nationaler und internationaler Ebene, was nicht nur Künstler sondern auch andere meist studentische Demografien anlockt. Dies treibt die Reurbanisierung der Stadt an, ist aber zugleich auch der Ursprung des kritischen Umgangs mit ihr.

Mit der Wende und der damit verbundenen wirtschaftlichen Umstrukturierung in den neuen Bundesländern, hat Leipzig einen großen Bevölkerungsverlust hinnehmen müssen. Dies führte zu Arbeitslosigkeit, Abwanderung und innerstädtischen Wohnungsleerstand. Aktuelle Forschungsergebnisse jedoch berichten von einer stetigen Reurbanisierung der Stadt bedingt u.a. durch den Zuzug junger Bevölkerungsgruppen inklusive Studenten der renommierten Hochschule für Buchkunst und Grafik.  Diese ist internationales Aushängeschild der Stadt, da sie den Begriff und den damit verbundenen Hype um die 'Neue Leipziger Schule' prägte. Die Kunsthochschule fungiert nicht nur als Ort beispielloser Kunstausbildung, sondern kann auch als Knotenpunkt des Leipziger Kunstmarktes verstanden werden, was nicht selten zu Spannungen mit Autonomie-verfechtenden Kunststudenten führt.

Vorherige Untersuchungen haben sich konkret mit der Attraktivität der Stadt für Kulturschaffende beschäftigt, wobei  bestimmte Anziehungs- und Ortsbindungsfaktoren erfasst wurden. Besonders stark war dabei die Assoziation von Ortsbindung mit persönlichen Netzwerken, mit erschwinglichem Wohn- und Arbeitsraum und der damit verbundenen Lockerheit, die das kulturelle Angebot der Stadt nachhaltig prägt. Dieses Forschungsprojekt untersucht die o.g. Faktoren anhand der Berufsgruppe der Bildenden Künstler, um konkrete Positionen und Strategien offen zu legen, die deren Werdegang vom Studium ausgehend bis hin zur beruflichen Verstetigung beschreiben. Durch diese Ergebnisse, können neue ortsspezifische Ursächlichkeiten und Spannungsfelder offen gelegt werden, die die vom städtischem Wandel geprägten Lebenswelten von bildenden Künstlern (zwischen Autonomie und Kunstmarkt) beschreiben.

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Beyond the Campus


Beyond the Campus

Beyond the Campus


Beyond the Campus

"Beyond the Campus: Connecting Knowledge and Creative Practice Communities Across Higher Education and the Creative Economy"

2014

King's College London, Manchester University (AHRC-funded research network)

Research assistance, conference organisation, research communications, co-editing papers

Beyond the Campus is an AHRC-funded research network set up by King's College London (Dr Roberta Comunian) and Manchester University (Dr Abigail Gilmore) in 2012. Over 2 years it has investigated the growing importance of interaction between higher education and the creative economy in terms of working partnerships, shared output and economic prospects. This feeds into the team's research narrative around professional development and place attachment of creative graduates in specific cities and regions.