Further Practice and Research in Action:  A Return to the Sidney Nolan Trust

Our first Artists Camp of 2018 welcomes back a group of artists from Manchester School of Art who came on Camp for the first time last year. This year they return with a larger group involving researchers from a total of eight different Universities from across the UK. The residency has been made possible thanks to funding from the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership.

They have set themselves a remit of responding to Sidney Nolan and the landscape at The Rodd. There will be plenty of opportunity for the development of individual practices, collaborations and space for the unexpected to surface. The photo of the group above is taken with a pinhole camera - it does include our resident collie, but she is moving too quickly to be visible! Click HERE to visit their blog.

Nigel Allmark, Manchester Metropolitan University; Isabel Benito Gutierrez, Royal Northern College of Music; Andrew Bracey, University of Lincoln; Anne Caldwell, University of Bolton; Lin Charlston, Manchester School of Art; Sara Davies, Manchester School of Art; Lesley Halliwell, Manchester School of Art; Jackie Haynes, University of Cumbria; Jamie Jenkinson, Lancaster University; Gemma Meek, Manchester School of Art; Pavel Prokopic, University of Salford; Laurie Reynolds, University of Plymouth; James Vandeventer, Manchester Metropolitan University.  Read on for participants' details.

Nigel Allmark, Manchester Metropolitan University

I’m a PhD student in community psychology and working with the Manchester Homelessness Partnership.  This week, I’ll be trying to make sense of a few concepts and chapters that I’m working on and finding an artistic way of presenting them.  It’s really important that the ideas and reflections I’m pulling together ‘ring true’ and make sense to the people and groups that I’m working with; so this approach is intended to spark more conversations and debate back home.  One idea is to create a ‘zine (like a comic strip/magazine) and the topic up for debate is ‘how do we define homelessness?’  There can be a broad definition, a narrow one or somewhere in between.  What ever definition you choose to use has different implications in both the assumptions you make about what drives is and what we do to alleviate it.  My choice is – broad, multiple and thinking that maybe the ‘H’ word ends up being use by some as a distraction from a deeper issue going on – social inequality and that we would be better off reducing the inequality gap at a societal level than focussing on the different visible effects of inequality.... I also realise that I could be a bit clearer in what I’m saying!

Isabel Benito Gutierrez, Royal Northern College of Music

"I am a Spanish composer and pianist based in England. The main focus of my research is the use of music as an interdisciplinary art form collaborating with professionals from different artistic disciplines particularly painters. Also, I am composing pieces where the pictorial process is included in the concert performances. During the residency, I would like to create some improvisations and graphic scores to be performed in collaboration with the other art practitioners. I believe it would be really interesting to experiment how people from other artistic disciplines perceive and reinterpret the connection between music patterns, dynamics, musical textures, the idea of pitch and timbre, and their own creative work. I would also like to give musical interpretation to some of the work created by the rest of participants."

Andrew Bracey, University of Lincoln

Andrew Bracey is an artist, curator and lecturer. His PhD research, ‘Towards Symbiosis: An investigation into the parasite as metaphor for painting practice’ is exploring an expanded notion of appropriation. He is interested in the use of existing paintings by other artists in the work of contemporary practices as having a mutually beneficial level of influence for both the original artist and the contemporary artist. His solo exhibitions include: Usher Gallery, 2014, Nottingham Castle, 2014; Manchester Art Gallery 2009; Transition Gallery, London, 2007; Wolverhampton Art Gallery, 2007; and firstsite, Colchester, 2006. Conferences include Textile and Place, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2018; The Archive Unbound, Cardiff University, 2017; Paradox Fine Art European Forum’s Biennial Conference, University of Arts London, 2017; Please Specify!: International Conference on Artistic Research, Theatre Academy, Helsinki, 2017. Bracey is Programme Leader of MA Fine Art and PhD candidate at The University of Lincoln, England.

Anne Caldwell, University of Bolton

Anne Caldwell is a writer, researcher and poet. Her poetry has been published in a range of anthologies – in the UK and Australia. She has been long-listed for the National Poetry Competition and short-listed for the first Rialto Pamphlet competition in 2017. Anne is a lecturer in creative writing at the Open University and is currently undertaking a practice based PhD at the University of Bolton exploring place, identity and the idea of the North. Her latest book of poetry is ‘Painting the Spiral Staircase’. (Cinnamon, Spring 2016), and her next collection will be in hybrid form of prose poetry. She has worked as Literature Programme Manager in the North of England for the British Council. She is fascinated by the idea of collaboration, and has worked with photographers, animators, visual artists and performance based artists. Anne has just been awarded funding through the Arts Council this year to edit and produce a new anthology of British prose poetry, with co-editor Professor Oz Hardwick and Valley Press. She is looking forward to exploring connections with other practitioners on the residency, and making new work. 

Lin Charlston, Manchester School of Art: Sympoietic Art Practice with Plants

Lin Charlston is in the final year of a practice-based PhD at Manchester School of Art, developing a sympoietic art practice with plants in which she takes up the challenge of working with plants as partners rather than using them to make art. To encourage reciprocity and ethical attentiveness towards plants in the light of humanity’s devastating global impacts, Lin slows down the production of artefacts by walking with plants, growing plants and sharing experiences such as planting, and weaving. She asks: how can plants figure in art without exploitative and destructive moves? How can plants be accepted as partners in creativity?

After gaining MA Book Arts with distinction at Camberwell College of Arts (2000), Lin developed a multidisciplinary approach to book-art informed by her background in science education, with a generous licence to extend the form. Plant/people relationships have been an ongoing theme in her artist’s books, which are held internationally in 40 public collections.

At the Artists’ Camp residency this year, Lin will take inspiration from the methods used by Sidney Nolan in his artwork ‘Snake’, which is made up of 1620 individual panels.

Sara Davies, Manchester School of Art

Sara Davies invites the reader to contemplate what it feels like to dwell, belong and reside in the shifting political climate in post Brexit times. She is complicating the notion of being Anglo-Swedish showing how to inhabit a space between languages and histories. Merging from the gaps and overlaps in translation her work is formed by diasporic touch, a kind of nostalgic handling driven by longing and loss. The work is revealing how the ideas of homogenised national identity veils a web of interwoven cultural exchanges. Through articulating the particular Sara Davies is creating a sense of the uncertainty in which we all live.

Lesley Halliwell, Manchester School of Art

Lesley Halliwell is an visual artist currently undertaking a practice-based PhD (NWCDTP Award holder 2014-2020) at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University.  Trained as painter at Nottingham Trent University, she went on to study 20th century Art History (Goldsmith’s College, MA 1995) and Fine Art (Manchester Metropolitan University, MA 2001).

Her research is about the depth of surface and it is through her practice based enquiry that she aims to more fully understand the interplay between the outward-facing and the inward supporting components of the picture plane. Inspired by pattern making from a range of cultural traditions and techniques, from Southern Indian kolams, Islamic geometry, Celtic design, manuscript illumination and even the 1970s children’s toy, the Spirograph, Halliwell finds underlying similarities. Her work often returns to the simple and universal constructions based on the circle and the square but with fine line and delicate nuance of surface. She has exhibited her work widely across the UK and beyond including New Contemporaries, The Jerwood Drawing Prize, Superabundant at Turner Contemporary, Margate, Pattern Recognition at Leicester City Art Gallery, The Drawing Show, Castlefield Gallery, Manchester and Beauty is the First Test at Pumphouse Gallery, London.

Jackie Haynes, University of Cumbria

Installation shot of reconfigured work for the second leg of Merzwomen & the Daughters of Dada exhibition. This is for Being Nomad, an event for Prologue 2018 at MMU. This work is research for an art practice based PhD which aims to question and reveal new approaches to learning, looking at and carrying out emplaced material thinking, through the peripatetic art practice of German artist, Kurt Schwitters.

Jamie Jenkinson, Lancaster University

Jamie Jenkinson is a video artist, writer, programmer and lecturer specialising in popular video devices such as smartphones. He is a current PhD candidate at LICA, Lancaster; lecturer at the Royal College of Art, London; and has exhibited internationally including National Portrait Gallery, London; CCA, Glasgow; and NCCA, St Petersburg. Jenkinson’s practice focuses on the accessibility of video in the smartphone age, incorporating Materialist methodologies established in non-illusionist filmmaking to the digital nature of video and usability of automated devices. Last year Jenkinson made a series of videos focusing on the various animals at the Sidney Nolan Trust, such as: Bulls, Cockadoodledoo and Effy, which can be found in his online video archive. This year he is looking to continue this series while taking inspiration from Nolan’s iconic foregrounding techniques. Instagram @jamie_jenkinson_ Website www.jamiejohnjamesjenkinson.com Image: Bulls (video still), iPhone 7 plus, 26/06/17, made during SNT residency 2017

Gemma Meek, Manchester School of Art

On my first visit to The Rodd I became fascinated by a 'Veritas' logo, stuck to one of the storage containers in the barn. Drawn to the well that the nude woman perched upon in the logo, I spent much of my time trying to find the farm’s well in an overgrown field. Unfortunately, I never discovered it. So for this residency, I hope to continue my explorations. This time, my focus will be on the lore, ritual and mythology surrounding wells. I hope to link this to my recent research into Wicca rituals (read my blog post here), which often require a pool of water to 'draw down' the moon. Interested in these rituals’ entanglement of human action, other agents and place, I hope to explore some of these spells, as a way of teasing out ideas about wells and Lunar cycles - to see what might emerge!

Pavel Prokopic, University of Salford

Pavel Prokopic is a filmmaker in the final stages of a practice-research PhD project in film, which focuses on creating certain magic moments of cinema by combining aspects of style, unrepeatable nuances of performance, and element of chance. This leads to the creation of a series of short films, entitled Affective Signs, and during the Sidney Nolan Trust residency, Pavel wants to work on the final of this series of films, which will be assembled out of 8mm found footage. He will edit and experiment with the film material, and work on music and sound design, which will accompany the projection as live performance during the exhibition. Pavel is currently on a six-month AHRC-funded residency at the arts centre FACT in Liverpool, and also works as a visiting lecturer in film at the University of Westminster. To find out more please visit pavelprokopic.com

Laurie Reynolds, University of Plymouth

Laurie Reynolds' research interrogates our engagement to landscape as an arena of slippages of space that surrounds the determinate of function and idealised of our critical understanding of landscape, inducing a metaphysical sempiternity, poetic, indeterminacy. Through collaboration with indeterminacy within post-industrial landscapes with the employment of the camera to act as device to allow me to traverse the assemblage created by movement of elements that construct landscape, as well as being able to capture light fallen on the subject of a documentary. Photography is used as the entry point for exploration, however with the intervention of the landscape throughout various stages of the photographic process and sometimes creating the camera using elements and materials that reside within the landscape to create collaborative pieces of work that compose and build allowing land to create its own mark on the images.

James Vandeventer, Manchester Metropolitan University

James Scott Vandeventer is pursuing a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research is situated at the boundary of geography and organisation studies and seeks to understand alternative spatial organising and how this can lead to more sustainable living. Utilising both ethnographic and visual methods, he seeks to understand the social-and-material, relational process of spatial organising. During this residency, James will explore a photo-elicitation technique, inviting participants to take photographs that capture what is meaningful about Rodd Farm and to engage in subsequent interviews about the photos. He intends to apply this technique in his research, which focuses on a social housing estate in Hulme, Manchester. Importantly, while James’ research focuses on an urban context, future directions may include investigations in rural settings such as Rodd Farm. As such, this residency enables him to consider application for his research beyond its current remit.

Please come and join us on Friday 29 June 6.30-8.30pm to meet the artists and see their work made on site.