The Department of Art and Design is based at Kingsway Buildings, Chester and offers Single Honours undergraduate programmes in Graphic Design, Fine Art and Photography. You can also study Photography, Graphic Design and Fine Art as part of a Combined Honours course. We also offer postgraduate programmes in Design and Fine Art.

Recent Submissions

  • Across the threshold: a somaesthetic approach to the design of extended realities

    Summers, Alan; McGuirk, Tom; University of Chester
    The prospect that extended realities (XR) will become a seamless part of our everyday environment comes ever closer with the development of mixed reality headsets. These devices allow a blending of digital objects with the user’s actual spatial environment. The user interacts with the virtual objects and these objects can, in turn, interact with the ‘real-world’ environment. We argue that the design and interpretation of these extended realities requires design thinking that questions the dominant standard model of cognition, which is indebted to Cartesian perspectivism. We suggest that situated and enactive models of cognition furnish a better understanding of how the body, mind and environment are essentially integrated, enabling us to apply such understanding advantageously to the design of these devices and environments.
  • Conversations in Sculpture

    Turner, Jeremy; University of Chester
    An exhibition at Huddersfield Art Gallery during July ~September 2019 brining together members of the Royal Society of Sculptors from the north and the midlands to coincide with the 2019 Yorkshire Sculpture International. Ten members and fellows of the RSS took part in the show curated by Grant Scanlan. The exhibition was lottery funded by Arts Council England and Kirklees Council and featured an accompanying catalogue with foreword by Clare Burnett, President of the RSS and catalogue essay by Stephen Clarke, University of Chester. Nine artists talks, three workshops and one mentoring session were also schedules through the duration of the exhibition.
  • Drawing in Drag by Marie Duval: subjective reformation in the production of a new pseudonymous comic album by Simon Grennan

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    This chapter will examine ways in which my production of the 2018 comics album 'Drawing in Drag by Marie Duval' (Grennan 2018) attempted to discover, examine and articulate a concept of the gendered subject, through the revival and performance of drawing activities that visually ventriloquised nineteenth-century cartoonist and actress Marie Duval (1847 – 1890), in the twenty-first century.
  • Beyond Facsimile: The haptic photobook as a distributed archive

    Daly, Tim; University of Chester
    For photographers and visual artists of all disciplines, self-publishing has grown exponentially through the use of digital print technologies and the Internet, providing new ways to distribute work to a worldwide audience. Annette Gilbert suggests contemporary practitioners now engage in publishing as art practice, renegotiating the traditional publishing frameworks of processes, institutions and discourses. Certain photobooks operate by re-materialising recent and archive photographs to create new, tactile ‘things’ that challenge our notions of the past and the present; public and private and the original and the copy. In the post-digital era, such books are made to be handled and scrutinised at close quarters in the personal space of the reader rather than behind glass in an art museum or library. Many photographers employ ‘thingness’ as reflexive strategy in their book works, and as Ivan Vartanian and Ryuichi Kaneiko observe, an astute choice of materials ‘can bring a heightened level of physicality to the photobook as [an] object.’ Bill Burke’s I Want to Take Picture (1987) and Donovan Wylie’s & Timothy Prus’ Scrapbook (2009), are both facsimiles of unique journals, where original pages are rephotographed and presented verbatim. Yet can a book that has been materially or reprographically enhanced ever become more than a mere facsimile?
  • Restoring the Faith: The repainting and maintenance of Catholic devotional statuary in Ireland

    Daly, Tim; University of Chester
    Catholic statuary found in shrines and grottoes remains a familiar sight in Ireland despite the diminishing influence of the church in a swiftly modernising society. Most statues are cast from concrete, fibreglass or plaster, few are far from immaculate and many require ongoing repainting and maintenance from the pervasive damp climate. For a short period of time at the end of the twentieth century many sites featured repeatedly in the newspapers. Supernatural events including weeping madonnas, swaying statues and miracle cures quickly turned the most obscure location into a destination for both fervent pilgrim and curious sightseer. Established through different circumstances and events, statues symbolise the contradiction between approved church narratives and more local interpretation. Superstitious beliefs remain an enduring influence, especially at natural springs or wells which share a lineage with pagan rituals and Pattern Days. As described by Patrick Kavanagh in The Green Fool - the folklore, customs and practices connected with these sites had little to do with the church and piety was not an essential prerequisite for the visitor. Unlike more prestigious religious artefacts preserved in elaborately crafted reliquaries, outdoor shrines and grottos are widespread and constructed of less precious materials. Most are cast from concrete, fibreglass or plaster, few are far from immaculate and many require ongoing maintenance from the pervasive damp climate. Painted, repaired and continually retouched, they are blank templates for official stories retold in a local visual dialect.
  • A Trace of Actions Unseen: The Photographic Error as Photography ‘in performance’

    Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester
    In contemporary digital photography the accident or fault is an increasingly rare and unusual phenomenon, but it presents valuable insights into the practice of photography. This article discusses how the photographic error reveals qualities of the photographic experience normally hidden in conventional photographs, and proposes a reconsideration of time in relation to photography perceived through the accidental image. The error is conceived as a performance, extending the conventional time scales of the photograph from the ‘snap’ into three ‘acts’: the photographic event, the recording of an image and, lastly, interpretation by the viewer. In each stage the error’s relationship to time is shown to be ambiguous and multifaceted, counterpointing a simplified concept of time which prevails in the conventional photograph. The error exposes the entanglement of actors and relationships within the act of photographing and in so doing destabilises common assumptions about photographs as simple, immediate documents.
  • Knowsley Flower Show Archive: a Resource and Celebration

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    The Knowlsey Flower Show Archive presents personal memories, materials and memorabilia of Knowsley Flower Show, between its inception in 1999 and today. In particular, the Archive focuses on the growers, competitors and visitors to the Marquee, which remains the centre of the event. Knowsley Flower Show averages around 20,000 visitors to its large day event in August every year. It is a free public event held at Court Hey Park, a public park in Knowsley. The event centres on a traditional Marquee with around 90 amateur growers exhibiting and competing for prizes in categories encompassing fruit and vegetables, flowers, produce and crafts. The Archive includes a free online image and text archive, a publication and a touring exhibition.
  • The New Map of Barset

    Williamson, Michael; Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    A comprehensive map of the County of Barsetshire, based on Anthony Trollope’s original sketch plan (1860) but incorporating all the references contained within the Barchester and Palliser Series of novels and other references within Trollope’s works.
  • Beyond Facsimile: The haptic photobook as a distributed archive

    Daly, Tim; University of Chester (2019-03-15)
    This is a case study describing the development of a dossier format photobook as a distributed archive, Long Grove Asylum Medical Journal by Tim Daly. The work presents a twenty-five year long project recording the interior spaces, ephemera and artifacts of an abandoned large scale hospital facility, alongside material collected separately by a county archivist. The work makes explicit the link between past and present by re-materialising archive matter and original photography to create new, tactile ‘things’ that challenge our notions of the past and the present; public and private and the original and the copy. The books forefronts the materiality of collected photographs, documents and ephemera through touch and disruptive sequencing. By handling the loose-leaf contents of the books, viewers are presented with an enhanced, haptic reading experience. The recirculation of material artefacts within the dossier provides an additional kind of archive experience recalling souvenirs, the museum and private collecting. As Scott (2014: 130) suggests ‘The interaction between the book as a material object and its readers brings the book to life, just as the materiality of the book interacts with its narrative.’ Designed to be handled and navigated in a manner that wouldn’t be possible with fragile originals, the choice of papers, unconventional printing processes and hand assembly techniques creates an enhanced experience for the reader. Disrupting the reader’s expectations of a facsimile, the book encourages touch and explores a type of tacit knowledge that is unavailable from viewing alone.
  • Travelling the Imaginary Landscape

    Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2016-07-01)
    Catalogue essay to accompany the exhibition "Death Returned Her to Rags" by Alexe Dilworth at FZKKE gallery, Euskirchen Germany 2016.
  • Appendix 2: Questions of terminology and historicisation. 'Marie Duval: maverick Victorian cartoonist'.

    Grennan, Simon; Sabin, Roger; Waite, Julian; University of Chester; Central Saint Martins University of the Arts London
    This appendix considers questions of terminology and historicisation arising in the twenty-first-century study of the published work of Marie Duval.
  • Appendix 1: Questions of attribution. 'Marie Duval: maverick Victorian cartoonist'.

    Grennan, Simon; Sabin, Roger; Waite, Julian
    This appendix considers questions of attribution arising in the published work of Marie Duval.
  • Introduction

    Grennan, Simon; Sabin, Roger; Waite, Julian; University of Chester; Central Saint Martins University of the Arts London
    Introduction to the book 'Marie Duval: maverick Victorian cartoonist'.
  • The Significance of Marie Duval’s Drawing Style

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    Duval’s drawings were made to provoke laughter, by articulating and rearticulating social stereotypes and contradictions. Duval achieved this in her choice of topics and, more unusually, in her use of ideas of her own position as a humorous visual journalist: her visible lack of training, stage career, gender and social class, relative to the experiences of readers. This chapter will examine this articulation, considering late nineteenth-century gender and class relationships between humour, displays of technical skill and concepts of vulgar behaviour. The chapter will finally exemplify these relationships in two Duval drawings on the topic of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions of 1880 and 1876.
  • Marie Duval and the Technologies of Periodical Publishing

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    The chapter will focus on three areas of activity constituting commercial illustration: training, degrees of labour organisation and types of employment and remuneration. It will construct a description of Duval’s career in commercial illustration according to relationships made between the known corpus of her published work, over a fifteen year period, and the technical processes, personnel and locations of the print technologies utilised by her publisher (Wright 1995). Duval appears to have lacked training in two key areas of her profession: studio – that is, academic – training as a draughtswoman and training as an engraver. The chapter will examine how training, and the lack of it, constituted types of access and prohibition of access to key personnel and locations, as well as to conventions of topic and approach, and levels of remuneration (Huneault 2002). It will argue that these types of facility and prohibition were explicitly gendered whilst also being established trade orthodoxies, in which proof of agreed types of technical competency was key to accessing employment. (Flood 2013). The chapter will consider contemporaneous concepts of women’s work in the media in the last half of the century (in Craik 1857, Starr 1899 and in the Alexandra Magazine 1864, for example), proposing that distinctions can be made on the basis of social class as well as gender, between women who joined or enjoined established trades, such as wood engraving, and women generating new types of work, alongside men, in media professions with emerging or changing identities, such as photography and journalism (Colligan and Linley (2011).
  • Duval and the Woman Employee

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    This Chapter will examine aspects of the life and work of Duval as both exemplary of and, in some aspects in contradiction to, conceptions of the emerging roles of professional women in the journals and literature of the later nineteenth century. Utilising both Duval’s drawings and her historic place in the remediation culture of new serialised papers, the novel and popular theatre productions in the 1870s and 80s, the chapter will extrapolate and examine shared characteristics in the fictional women newspaper journalists Henrietta Stackpole (in James’ The Portrait of a Lady, 1881) and Elsie Bengough (in Onions’ The Beckoning Fair One, 1911). Considering the impact of class on nineteenth century gendering of professional work, first in Patmore’s iteration of the “separate spheres” of agency of men and women in The Angel in the House (1854, derived from de Toqueville’s 1840 Democracy in America), and then in Sarah Grand’s antithetical The New Aspect of the Woman Question (1894), in which the term “new woman” first appeared, the chapter will chart the transformation of women’s domestic work into new types of professional occupations––particularly the new, equivocally gendered, professions that arose with the advent of serial journals, including Judy, or The London Serio-Comic Journal. The Chapter will argue for more diverse conceptions of the lives of urban professional women in the later nineteenth century, touching on recent critiques of masculine constructions of ‘journalistic’ observation and public commentary.
  • The Enduring Power of Comic Strips

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    This chapter argues that the power of comics resides in the historic appearance and modulation of the affective possibilities of the comic strip register. On this basis, it explores how this power is realized in popular visual literature, which derives from, develops and transforms the historic contingencies of reading. Analysing examples in the work of Leo Baxendale, Michiko Hasegawa, Kaz, Christophe Blaine, R. J. Ivankovic, Catherine Anyango, Seth Tobocman, Keiji Nakazawa, Debbie Drechsler and Nicola Streeten, it describes a number of ways in which comics engage with and manipulate these historic contingencies, discussing the use of comedy, satire and parody and the development of political protest and life writing as sub-genres that are fundamentally engaged with readers’ habits and expectations. Finally, the chapter focuses on the opportunities that visual story showing and depictive drawing continue to provide to comics artists to achieve this engagement.
  • I Know How This Ends: Stories of Dementia Care

    Wilkins, Peter; Martins, Melissa; Grennan, Simon; Priego, Ernesto; University of Chester; Douglas College; City, University of London
    I Know How This Ends is the second volume in a series that started with Parables of Care: Creative Responses to Dementia Care (2017). The project explores the potential of comics to enhance the impact of dementia care research. This comic book presents, in synthesised form, stories crafted from narrative data collected via interviews with professional caregivers, educators, and staff at Douglas College in Vancouver, Canada, who have cared for relatives and people with dementia in hospital.The intention of the book is to show the importance of feeling in care-giving, the professional aspects of which are sometimes at odds with the family systems aspect of dementia.
  • A Trace of Actions Unseen: The Photographic Error as Photography ‘in performance’

    Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester (2018-11-16)
    In contemporary digital photography the error is an increasingly rare and unusual phenomenon, but it presents valuable insights into the practice of photography. This article proposes time as a specific indicator of difference between the ‘conventional’ photograph and the error, based on a distinction between performativity and performance. The performance of the error takes place in three ‘acts’: the photographic event, image recording and interpretation by the viewer. In each stage the error’s relationship to time is shown to be ambiguous and multifaceted, counterpointing a simplified concept of time which prevails in the conventional photograph. The error exposes the entanglement of actors and relationships within the act of photographing and in so doing destabilises common assumptions about photographs as simple, immediate documents.
  • In Darwin’s Garden: an evolutionary exploration of augmented reality in practice

    Summers, Alan; University of Chester
    This chapter discusses the rapid developments in augmented reality and mixed reality technologies, from a practitioner’s perspective of making the augmented reality sculptural work In Darwin’s Garden. From its conception in 2012, to its exhibition at Carbon Meets Silicon II in 2017, the advances in augmented reality technology led to an interplay between the goal of the creators and the technological realisation of that vision. The art, design and technology involved, generated a reactive process that was mired in external influences as the accessibility to augmented reality became commercially valuable and subsequently restricted. This chapter will be of interest to anyone who wants to understand more about the possibilities, technologies and processes involved in realising mixed reality practice and about the commercial culture that supports it.

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