Summary Report of ‘Subject of Study’

‘The Subject of Study – Collaboration in Research and Artistic Practice’ took place on 17 November 2016 and was aimed at exploring research collaborations in academic and artistic practice. The conference opened with an afternoon of researcher lead discussion, exploring different forms of collaborative practice and relationships between the agency of individuals engaged in collaborative research and the institutional or disciplinary context in which they operate at the SALC Graduate School. This was led by members of the Common Ground Research Network that included a mix of postgraduate researchers, artists and research fellows who presented brief summaries of their research projects and also facilitated small group discussions (see below for full bios).

In their opening presentations, each of the delegates framed  individual research practices  in the light of general considerations surrounding the relationship between research, researcher and the subjects of research, including: The researcher’s  relationship to the subject of their study ; the processes of inquiry and the researcher’s position  to their subject of study and finally the public interest and implications of publishing research. After the presentations people split into six discussion groups  before feeding back to the conference as a whole.

An evening keynote address was given by artist, writer and educator, Anthony Luvera at the Manchester School of Art whose work explores tensions between authorship (or artistic control) and participation, and the ethics involved in representing other people’s lives. A video of the keynote will be made available on this website in December 2016.

The conference was attended by 39 delegates and the keynote was attended by 44 participants. Among those who attended were 16 postgraduate researchers, seven artists, six postgraduate taught students and one six form college student. Over sixteen universities were represented among the delegates, including Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Central Lancashire, University of Manchester, Coventry University, University of Brighton, Sheffield Hallam University, Blackpool and the Fylde College, Goldsmiths University London, UCL Slade School of Fine Art, Universidade Federal de Minas  Gerais/Brazil, University of Liverpool, and University of Salford.

The conference was made possible through the generous support of both the University of Manchester’s artsmethods and the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership, and the Manchester School of Art, who graciously funded a wine and canape reception for the keynote.

Common Ground Research Network was launched in May 2016 as an interdisciplinary research network aimed at building dialogue between academic researchers and communities who are the subject of research in Ireland, focusing on the experiences of the North. Common Ground seeks to foster better understandings of the role of academic research and the arts in the representation of conflict and reconciliation.

Convenors, facilitators and speakers

Fionna Barber is Reader in Art History at the Manchester School of Art. She is the author of Art in Ireland since 1910 (Reaktion 2013) and has published widely on twentieth century and contemporary Irish art, with a particular focus on conflict and post-conflict in art from Northern Ireland. She was a contributor to both Oona Frawley ed. Memory Ireland vol 3: the Troubles and the Famine (Syracuse 2013) and to the catalogue for the exhibition Beyond the Pale: the Art of Revolution (Highlanes Gallery Drogheda 2016). Recently she co-curated the touring exhibition Con and Eva for the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland and is working on a full-length study of women artists’ responses to revolution and reconstruction in Ireland c.1916-1929.

Ann Carragher is a practicing artist and lecturer in Fine Art and Critical Studies. Her visual art practice examines and explores the concept of liminality applicable to debates concerning border studies and identity politics, in the context of contemporary art practice. The overarching premise of her practice involves theoretical examinations regarding embodiment, affect and female subjectivity, relative to border experiences. She presents works that weave together notions of loss and lament, by exploring the ambiguous and allusive qualities that manifest (physically and psychologically) in the intersection between space, place, mobility and memory. Border’s, hinterlands and thresholds are a recurring theme, where the past, present and future are conflated, mediating on paradoxes between visibility and invisibility.

Elizabeth DeYoung is a third-year PhD candidate at the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool. She previously completed her MA in Irish Studies at Queens University Belfast. Elizabeth’s research is concerned with the way space is used and controlled in ethnically segregated cities. In particular, her thesis is concerned with the actors and agencies which shape space in Belfast, Northern Ireland and how these have actually reinforced both sectarian and economic divides in what should be a ‘post-conflict’ society.

Sarah Feinstein has worked in the cultural sector for over seventeen years, acquiring skills in collections management and arts administration. Most recently, Sarah worked as a researcher at The Pankhurst Center (Manchester) and the Prisons Memory Archive (Belfast). Her research on the repertoires of agency and resistance in feminist music production, distribution and archival practice was published in the edited volume Suffragette Legacy: How Does the History of Feminism Inspire Current Thinking in Manchester in 2015. Sarah is currently a doctoral candidate at the Institute for Cultural Practices at the University of Manchester researching the heritage management of former security sites post-closure in Northern Ireland.

Pauline Hadaway has worked in arts and education in the UK and Ireland since 1990 and was Director of Belfast Exposed photography between 2000 and 2013. Pauline is currently undertaking a professional doctorate at the University of Manchester’s Institute of Cultural Practices, researching different uses of cultural heritage as in economic regeneration in Northern Ireland and Britain. Pauline is co-founder of The Liverpool Salon, a forum for public debate on Merseyside and has been published widely including: ‘Policing the Public Gaze’; ‘Re-imagining Titanic, re-imaging Belfast’ in Relaunching Titanic: Memory and Marketing in the ‘Post Conflict City’ (2013) and ‘Escaping the Panopticon’, to be published next year in Photography Reframed.

Jamie Holman is an artist, writer and lecturer. In 2015, Holman began making new works informed by his father’s three tours of duty as a member of the British Army in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Using his father’s photographic archive of “The Troubles,” Holman is currently producing works that explore similarities in landscape, ephemera and class in both Northern Ireland and Northern England. Pieces from this collection have been exhibited at The Royal College of Art, published in The Saatchi Gallery Magazine, The Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology 2016 – ‘Future Now,’ and most recently a solo exhibition at Darbyshires Gallery London. Jamie Holman is a contributing editor at The Saatchi Gallery Magazine and programme leader of B.A. Fine Art at Blackburn College

Anthony Luvera is an artist and writer. His work has been exhibited in galleries, public spaces and festivals including London Underground’s Art on the Underground, the British Museum, National Portrait Gallery London, Belfast Exposed Photography, Australian Centre for Photography, Malmö Fotobiennal, PhotoIreland, Goa International Photography Festival, and Les Rencontres d’Arles Photographie. His writing appears in a wide range of publications, including Photoworks, Source and Photographies. Anthony is Principal Lecturer and Course Director of Photography at Coventry University. He gives workshops and talks for the Royal Academy of Arts, National Portrait Gallery, The Photographers’ Gallery, the Barbican Art Gallery, and community photography projects across the UK.

Sandra Plummer is an Honorary Research Associate at the UCL Slade School of Fine Art. Her current research on photographic representations of the ‘Troubles’ builds on her PhD in Art History. She has published on contemporary photography in journals including PhotographiesPhotoworksSourceRhizomes and Philosophy of Photography. In 2014, she spoke at Oxford University with fellow panelists including David Trimble on ‘How Photography Informed and Influenced the Northern Ireland Peace Process’. Her paper ‘Derry Camerawork: Community, Conflict and Challenging Consensus’ was presented at Tate Modern (2015) and is part of a book on visual culture and the Troubles.

Fearghus Roulston is an AHRC-funded PhD student with the University of Brighton, where he is a member of the Centre for Research into Memory, Narrative and History, and the Critical Studies Research Group. His current research is an oral history of the punk scene in Belfast in the late 70s and early 80s. Through interviews with participants in the scene, it hopes to construct a narrative of everyday life in the city for young people, considering how they navigated sectarianism and segregation while helping to form a late-flowering, regionally-specific punk culture. More generally his research interests centre around questions of memory, critical geography, oral history and post-conflict societies.

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