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

  • Drawing Blood, Drawing Poison, Drawing Fire

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    The 20 new online animations and 8 workshops were inspired by an 1878 book in Gladstone’s Library: "Gladstone from Judy'’s point of view, from the last ten years". The book collects cartoons satirising liberal political opinion from the pages of conservative magazine Judy. The programme made use of these cartoons as starting points. The artworks and 8 workshops used public debate about hot topics in the 1870s to provide insights into the tone and topics of public debate today: workshop participants learned to draw cartoons considering issues of race, gender, sexuality, class and colonialism, seen through the lens of Victorian cartoons. The online exhibition and workshop programme was delivered with a new partnership of 9 institutions, on phone, tablet, laptop and desktop. Creative Arts Space Chester (CASC) and Gladstone’s Library hosted the online animations. Practical online workshops were provided for users of 8 local libraries in areas of marginal deprivation (20%–40% of average), where cultural funding is low (Broughton, Buckley, Mold, Deeside, Connah’s Quay, Holywell and Flint Libraries and Gladstone’s). The programme improved access to cultural activities for teenagers and older people; established an online community; developed the artist’s practice and provided practical training in drawing and thinking about personal and historic experiences. The project supported the emerging online programme at all of the libraries. The exhibition remains online.
  • Key Terms in Comics Studies_Cover Illustration

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    Cover image for the book 'Key Terms in Comics Studies'.
  • Rebirth of the English Comic Strip: A Kaleidoscope 1847 – 1870. Review.

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    Review of "Rebirth of the English Comic Strip: A Kaleidoscope 1847 – 1870." by David Kunzle.
  • Key Terms in Comics Studies: 22 Entries

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    22 entries in the book 'Key Terms in Comics Studies'.
  • Introduction: Key Terms in Comics Studies

    Grennan, Simon; La Cour, Erin; Spanjers, Rik; Free University Amsterdam; University of Chester; Utrecht University
    Introduction to the book 'Key Terms in Comics Studies'. Includes key terms and critical concepts that are used in specific ways in current Anglophone comics studies. Each entry is substantiated with examples of uses and references to uses, as well as other explanations and commentaries on the term or concept. The book contains over 300 terms by almost 100 contributors.
  • Thinking About Drawing: Introduction to Themes and Concepts

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    'Thinking About Drawing: Introduction to Themes and Concepts' provides a short, accessible, illustrated guide to key ideas that are used to describe, understand and explain drawing, for students of art, design, media, architecture and engineering, at undergraduate level and above. This accessible and readable book explains the significance of relationships between the body and the mark, visual imitation, drawing systems, drawing and writing and visual story telling, providing a simple guide to key ideas. The book unpacks the key ideas that have shaped the rich, complex and foundational activity of drawing. It presents an unexpected, engaging and authoritative range of illustrated examples of drawings made by culturally and historically diverse people for different purposes, with different media, in widely different times and situations. 'Thinking About Drawing: Introduction to Themes and Concepts' is plainly written, avoiding jargon and specialist language. It is user-friendly. Ideas are arranged as chapters that can be read sequentially, building a complete guide to ideas about drawing. Alternatively, chapters can be read individually, providing self-contained introductions to one of these key ideas in drawing. 'Thinking About Drawing: Introduction to Themes and Concepts' provides a short, accessible, illustrated guide to key ideas that are used to describe, understand and explain drawing, for students of art, design, media, architecture and engineering, at undergraduate level and above. This accessible and readable book explains the significance of relationships between the body and the mark, visual imitation, drawing systems, drawing and writing and visual story telling, providing a simple guide to key ideas. The book unpacks the key ideas that have shaped the rich, complex and foundational activity of drawing. It presents an unexpected, engaging and authoritative range of illustrated examples of drawings made by culturally and historically diverse people for different purposes, with different media, in widely different times and situations. 'Thinking About Drawing: Introduction to Themes and Concepts' is plainly written, avoiding jargon and specialist language. It is user-friendly. Ideas are arranged as chapters that can be read sequentially, building a complete guide to ideas about drawing. Alternatively, chapters can be read individually, providing self-contained introductions to one of these key ideas in drawing.
  • Stephen Clarke: End of the Season

    Clarke, Stephen; University of Chester
    A solo exhibition of an ongoing project that focused on family holidays at Rhyl, the seaside resort in North Wales. The exhibition at the Grosvenor Museum, Chester (25 July – 18 October 2015) comprised black & white digital photographic prints, vintage silver gelatin prints, and colour digital photomontages; a wall-mounted hand-drawn map and a DVD transfer of cine film footage; four themed vitrines that displayed photobooks, postcards and print ephemera from Clarke’s personal archive. The exhibition hinged on the artist’s photobooks of Rhyl published by the independent publisher Café Royal Books: Ocean Beach, Rhyl (2014); Rhyl Seafront (2015); and Rhyl Caravan Parks (2015). Accompanying the exhibition were two public lectures given by Stephen Clarke ‘Picturing the British Holiday’ (17 Aug. 2015) and ‘Holiday-ed in North Wales’ (17 Sept. 2015); and a public drawing performance titled ‘Drawing the End of the Season’ (25 and 26 July, 2015).
  • Malcolm Lowry's Elephant and Colosseum: A Manx Radio Discussion

    Quayle, Cian.; University of Chester (Manx Radio, 2016-10-09)
    As part of Manx Litfest 2016 and a forerunner for a planned Manx Radio podcast of Malcolm Lowry's 'Elephant and Colosseum': Cian Quayle, Jane Killey and Doug Sandle (the author of the podcast transcript) were invited to take part in a discussion with broadcaster Roger Watterson on Manx Radio's Sunday Opinion. The contributors discussed Malcolm Lowry's life and writing and its connections with the Isle of Man, which feature in 'Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Thy Dwelling Place' (1961) with specific reference to Elephant and Colosseum.
  • The Plotlands Archive

    Daly, Tim; University of Chester
    A visual database of photographs of Plotland-era houses and chalets in the UK
  • Detours and Dislocations - Liverpool /Isle of Man / Vancouver: In the Footsteps of Malcolm Lowry

    Quayle, Cian; University of Chester (Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, 2019-07-07)
    An exhibition of artworks by Cian Quayle at the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum, July 7 - August 26, 2018. The installation included a neon artwork/text, a 1/50 scale model, photographs, a lightbox mounted transparency, single channel video, loaned artworks (Chris John Symes and George Cuitt), hand-made photographs from glass plate negatives and an automated 35 mm carousel, slide-projection. The research triangulates, Wirral born author of Under the Volcano (1947), Malcolm Lowry's relationship with Liverpool, the Isle of Man and Vancouver as the basis of a psychogeographic encounter with places and sites of habitation, which held significance for Lowry's life and writing. The exhibition formed part of IB 18 (Independents Biennial) and was exhibited in conjunction with 'Tom Wood: Cammell Laird Shipyard 1993 - 1996'.
  • Sculpture as screen

    carrick, stephen; University of Chester
    A multi-component output consisting of a series of three works ('Kitchen Collider', 'Office Metropolis', 'Brunel's last dream') that exist as either video projection installations or videos documenting the said installations. These works utilise projected animations to examine the nature of the screen as a sculptural concern whilst acknowledging its relationship to the vernacular and the technological. These works have been extensively disseminated from 2014 to 2020 in a variety of exhibitions. This output forms part of an on-going, larger series of works.
  • Tom Wood - The DPA Work (A Reprise - Revoiced): Photographs of Rainhill Hospital & Cammell Laird Shipyard

    Quayle, Cian; University of Chester
    In 2013, in collaboration with Tom Wood, Quayle curated an exhibition entitled The DPA Work – Photographs of Rainhill Hospital and Cammell Laird Shipyard at CASC (Contemporary Art Space Chester), University of Chester. The exhibitions featured Wood’s photographs of both institutions prior to their closure. Wood was originally supported by the Documentary Photography Archive and the Open Eye Gallery in conjunction with the mental health charity MIND. The DPA was founded by Audrey Linkman and established in Manchester in 1985. Linkman commissioned photographers with whom she collaborated in negotiating and gaining access into different walks of life across the North West. The exhibitions at CASC ran concurrently and formed part of the Parallel Programme for Look 13 Liverpool International Photography Festival. The project, for which I was lead researcher also involved students undertaking an Experiential Learning module. This involved their engagement with former shipyard workers and research into established as well as community based groups in recovering narratives and objects in order to reactivate lost dialogues. The students also made visual responses to the the exhibition’s context which were also formed part of the exhibition. This project has also been embedded as part of a teaching methodology in BA Photography at the University of Chester, which encourages and fosters ‘socially engaged practices’ across a range of contexts which will also be explored as well as visually evidenced as part of this paper.
  • Tom Wood - The DPA Work

    Quayle, Cian; University of Chester
    'Tom Wood - The DPA Work' is the culmination of a long term research project led by Dr Cian Quayle. The Documentary Photography Archive was founded by Audrey Linkman, in Manchester, in 1985. In 2012 photographer Tom Wood invited Quayle to investigate an archive of two landmark commissions which he had undertaken for the DPA, which had lain dormant and unseen since their deposit with the DPA and holding at Greater Manchester County Record Office. Wood first exhibited a selection of the Rainhill Hospital photographs at the Open Eye Gallery in 1988, and in 2020 current Open Eye Executive Director Sarah Fisher has described the instrumental significance of Quayle's role as 'independent researcher-curator' evidenced in new writing, the collaborations, commissions, exhibitions, publications and events, which he has curated, authored, edited, and published. The development of the book project emanated from The DPA Work exhibitions at Contemporary Art Space Chester, which featured as part of Look 13 Liverpool International Photography Festival and the publication of Tom Wood - The DPA Work are the culmination of this research. In his writing Quayle contextualised the origin of the DPA projects, the subsequent journey, reception and wider reach of Wood's work. The introductory, contextual essay 'Tom Wood - The DPA Work' revisits the basis for the original commissions and their contemporary significance and wider contextual understanding and interpretation.
  • Walking with Shadows: Index, Inscription and Event in Malcolm Lowry's In Ballast to the White Sea

    Quayle, Cian; University of Chester
    A series of 15 black and white photographs and writing authored in response to the publication of a scholarly edition of Malcolm Lowry’s lost novel In Ballast to the White Sea. The photographs are integrated in an essay entitled ‘Walking with Shadows’ – a photo-text – indebted to W.G. Sebald’s use of photographs in The Rings of Saturn (1995). A method adopted which fuses ‘fiction, travelogue, history and biography’ where the images offset or displace the narrative, rather than illustrate it, as the psychic and physical journey unfolds from page to page. The text also references Denis Hollier’s essay ‘Surrealist Precipitates: Shadows Don’t Cast Shadows’, in which the position of the artist /author and the role of the reader highlights the significance of André Breton’s novel and use of photographs in Nadja (1928). The correlation of these sources includes Michel de Certeau’s ‘Walking in the City’ in The Practice of Everyday Life (1984) and Paul Auster’s novella ‘City of Glass’ in New York Trilogy (1987) where the notion of the author / protagonist are posited as interchangeable positions, as they reveal the significance of a method, in which autobiography, fact and fiction coalesce. The photographs which are imbricated within the text function as a series of staging points and motifs, which index the journey undertaken by the novel’s key protagonist. In Lowry’s novel these are uncovered in a series of surreal, psychogeographic encounters across the urban terrain and landscape, and the sonic hum, which imbues his writing. The events and locations which define the novel were rediscovered, or otherwise substituted, as they are re-inscribed in text and image. The project also integrated archive and vernacular images, which include Edward Chambré Hardman’s photographs of Liverpool and the North West as the setting which provides the point of departure for Lowry’s novel and the terrain, which was revisited for this project.
  • In Darwin’s Garden

    Summers, Alan; Meigh-Andrews, Christopher; University of Chester; University of Central Lancashire (Glyndwr University, 2017-09)
    The artwork In Darwin’s Garden was exhibited in the exhibition Carbon Meets Silicon II at the Oriel Sycharth Gallery, Wrexham, curated by Dr Susan Liggett. The exhibition was associated to the ITA(17), the 7th International Conference on Internet Technologies and Applications, held at Glyndwr University, Wrexham.
  • Kurt Schwitters in Isolation - An Aesthetics of Resistance

    Quayle, Cian; University of Chester
    Following his escape from Norway and arrival in Britain - via Edinburgh - Kurt Schwitters was interned in the Isle of Man from July 1940 to November 1941. The essay investigates Kurt Schwitters isolation and marginalised position during the internment period and the different modalities of exile which Schwitters trajectory reveals. Upon his arrival in Douglas Schwitters use of the discarded and worthless in his finding, collecting and transformation of materials was already established. In the context of exile this process finds its denouement in a series of collages, assemblages, sculpture and paintings, which form part of an archive of over 200 works made during this time. In these works, the febrile and sensitive nature of their handling and making embodies the conditions of habitation, isolation and exile within which they were crafted. The artworks which Schwitters made embody a very specific material presence in the rarefied use of objects, materials and things, which take on a different significance in this context. Schwitters status as an artist in exile is that of a ‘double-bind’ having fled a home to which he and fellow refugee artists could likely never return. The situation was one defined, confined and reconfigured by circumstances both within and beyond his control in terms of the choice and or availability of materials, which he and fellow artists had access to. These conditions were ultimately defined by the isolation, uncertainty and fear, which the internees endured in their separation from family and friends. At the same time the fabric of the environment and significantly here the lived-in-space, which Schwitters inhabited came to signify the hermetic nature of specific works and performances. The separation from home, family and friends and the depression and anxiety, which Schwitters and other internees suffered was compounded in their not knowing from one week to the next when they might be released. This was exasperated as a result of the restrictions which their correspondence was subject to in its censorship.
  • 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?

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