The Faculty of Arts and Media delivers a broad range of undergraduate and postgraduate media and creative arts courses across both campuses at Chester and Warrington, and supports considerable foundation degree delivery at a number of partner colleges. The Faculty received our highest research rating in the 2008 research assessment exercise. .

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  • Visual communication in the 21st Century: A study of the visual and digital communication experiences of post-Millennial university students

    Maheshwari, Vish; Moss, Danny; Lyon, Andy; Sillitoe, Kathleen L (University of Chester, 2018-08)
    Higher education (HE) visual communication students, who are considering careers in the creative industries of advertising and marketing, need a high level of skills in visual and digital literacy. However, students born after 1995 (post-Millennials), now entering HE, appear to present with fewer visual communication and digital skills than previous cohorts. This research provides a case study of post-Millennial students and examines the extent to which they are learning visual communication skills through their use of widely available digital media technologies. Four groups of post-Millennial students were investigated: one group of Level 4 Computer Science students; two groups of Level 4 Advertising students, from different years; and one group of Level 6 Advertising students. The students were surveyed using interview, questionnaire, observation and focus group. The resulting data was coded and analysed to extract themes. A further layered analysis, using a Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) framework, was then carried out. Using this CHAT framework, deviances were found within the activity system of this HE advertising programme delivery. The most fundamental change was in the dissonance found between the student participants’ and HE’s learning objectives. This was in the context of a complete reversal of the relative importance of the communities within the students’ activity systems. They had become ‘flipped learners’. These CHAT related findings are arguably relevant to wider HE settings. The research also found that the students in the focus groups had a high dependency on the Internet. They used it to search for, and download, images and text. They also preferred to use the Internet to source knowledge or information, rather than to approach staff. Their visual literacy skills appeared to be weaker than those of previous cohorts. Despite their weaknesses, many students had a high level of confidence in their own ability that was not reflected in their work. A strong theme of ‘need for speed’ was highlighted, with many students believing that speed of production was more important than the quality of an artefact in professional work. The systemic changes highlighted by the CHAT framework, together with the research’s other findings, suggest potential implications for the teaching of HE students of visual communication and for the future of the creative industries. Further research is indicated in the areas of the effects of young people’s: use of the mobile phone on visual literacy skills; perception of industry needs; increasing dependency on the Internet for the acquisition of knowledge; and their need for speed.
  • Literary and Historic Flâneuses: Observation, Commentary, Enterprise and Courage in Late-Nineteenth-Century Women’s Professional Lives

    Hall, Leo; orcid: 0000-0002-2197-503X; Grennan, Simon (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019-02-09)
    Abstract Discussions of the conception of that exemplar of late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth century urban modernity, the flâneur, have focused on both critique of the figure’s masculinity and more radical and nuanced conceptions of women’s flânerie. This article considers both the re-gendering and ungendering of flânerie in the character of three flâneuses in fiction published in the 1870s, 1880s and 1910s: Madame Sidonie, Henrietta Stackpole, and Elsie Bengough, and related dissonances and synergies in the career and work of London actress and cartoonist Marie Duval, active 1869–1885. It will argue that changes in types of reading supervened upon the boom in the production and distribution of serial publications during this period, resulting in the embodiment of new female professional identities, relative to both changing experiences of urban life and changing experiences of reading. The article makes a distinction between new ideas of these types of urban professional woman and the development of the identity of the New Woman after 1894. It examines the historic comprehensibility of the fictional flâneuses to readers of Zola, James, and Onions, according to the new opportunities and prohibitions that constituted the lived experiences of the developing urban entertainments industry of the period, in Duval’s comic strips and vignettes in the weekly London magazine Judy, or The London Serio-Comic Journal.
  • The Materiality of Conflict in Contact: Improvisational Explorations in 'Pitch'

    Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; University of Chester (Dance Studies Association, 2018-12)
    This presentation investigates the 2017 site-based dance film project Pitch, featuring choreography by Charlie Morrissey, as an investigation into the materiality of conflict within contact improvisation practices. New materialist philosophies invite reconsideration of matter as animate in ways which dance improvisers might be said to already perceive the body. Deborah Hay’s knowledgeable cells, and Steve Paxton’s animal body can arguably be read in light of Karen Barad’s notion of posthumanist ‘iterative intra-activity’ in which the consideration of the differentiated mass of thebody as nonhuman becomes another kind of choreographic agent within the performance.Working processes within the project, which included focusing on the tactility of conflict as friction and the consideration of resistance itself as a material, placed emphasis on the dancers’ material experience of the body as a key performative strategy. In this sense, matter became figured, in the words of Barad, not ‘as a mere effect or product of discursive practices, but rather as an agentive factor in its iterative materialization’ (2012: 32) in which the identity of the dancers became ‘radically reworked’. From an analysis of the choreographic process and film product, this presentation will investigate how contact improvisation practices which focus on the tactile experience of matter can be said to be examples of iterative intra-activity on multiple perceptual levels. Tactile confrontation of ‘the other’ and his/her struggle toward aliveness in movement, and confrontation of the porous materiality of the human bodybecome hallmarks of the film.
  • Relatos de cuidado: respuestas creativas al cuidado de la demencia

    Grennan, Simon; Priego, Ernesto; Wilkins, Peter; University of Chester; City University of London; Douglas College (City University of London, 2019-07-31)
    Spanish language translation of 'Parables of Care: creative responses to dementia care, as told by carers'.
  • Trauma and death in the digital age

    Waller, Rhian (SAGE Publications, 2019-07-05)
  • Excitable tissues in motion capture practices: The improvising dancer as technogenetic imagist

    Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; Falmouth University (Intellect, 2013-10-01)
    This article outlines the potential of dance improvisation practice to function as a technological interface with one’s environment, drawing parallels between the performances of Twig Dances (Sarco-Thomas 2010) and technologies used in the life sciences to map living matter onto still frames. A postphenomenological approach is used to compare improvisation scores with image-making technologies. Scores that invite corporeal responses to the non-human, and kinaesthetic responses to organic matter, are highlighted as technologies which stand further exploration and examination as they mediate our experience of the world. A diversifying field of somatic practices is proposed as a means to investigate the potential knowledges generated by ‘excitable tissues’ enlivened through improvisational practices.
  • Diving Into the Wild: Ecologies of Performance in Devon and Cornwall

    Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; Falmouth University (Routledge, 2015-03-31)
    This chapter explores different examples of site-based dance performance in Devon and Cornwall, analysing them for the different ways they invite audiences and performers to engage with nature. The essay maps a continuum for engaging with the outdoors via a table that categorises different sited dance activities and performances from 2001-2014, drawing on findings of reports which identify the health benefits of engaging with green spaces. Works are analysed for their ways of encouraging viewing nature, incidental involvement, and purposeful, somatic involvement with the outdoors. The chapter argues that such performance initiatives offer conceptual and social frameworks for outdoor experiences that provide individuals with health-giving benefits whilst simultaneously proposing ways to think differently about our relationships to wild places.
  • Questioning through Doing: Shaping Praxis through the Individual Dance Project

    Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018-04-27)
    How might flow theory explain dancers’ experience of technique class? Can auditory learning stimulate a deeper understanding of tap dance? How does “play” build group cohesion in improvisation? These and other questions can spark undergraduate dance research. Artistic research at the undergraduate level creates an opportunity for students to exercise a range of skills as scholars, facilitators and performers. This case study will look at the Individual Dance Project (IDP) as integral to the Bachelor (Honors) in Dance Studies course offered by the University of Malta’s School of Performing Arts as an example of high-impact teaching where students are guided and challenged to build unique projects which investigate a phenomenon in both theory and practice.
  • Introduction to the book: Interdisciplinarity in the Performing Arts: Contemporary Perspectives

    Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; Aquilina, Stefan (Malta University Press, 2018)
    The introduction to this book includes an overview of current discourses on interdisciplinary research and practice within the performing arts, and gives an overview of chapters contained in the book. Interdisciplinarity in the Performing Arts: Contemporary Perspectives contributes to current discussion about the intrinsic interdisciplinary nature of the performing arts, while also identifying the potential which theatre, dance, and music have in creating bridges with other disciplines like neuroscience, social sciences, philosophy, pedagogy, and therapy. Coordinated by the School of Performing Arts of the University of Malta and featuring contributions from KU Leuven, Ghent University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), Royal Holloway (London), Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil), and Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland), this publication explores questions brought forward by approaches to performance that interweave theory and practice, through examples of methodologies, philosophies, interpretations, and applications of interdisciplinarity today.
  • Interdisciplinarity in the Performing Arts: Contemporary Perspectives

    Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; Aquilina, Stefan; University of Malta (University of Malta Press, 2018)
    Interdisciplinarity in the Performing Arts: Contemporary Perspectives contributes to current discussion about the intrinsic interdisciplinary nature of the performing arts, while also identifying the potential which theatre, dance, and music have in creating bridges with other disciplines like neuroscience, social sciences, philosophy, pedagogy, and therapy. Coordinated by the School of Performing Arts of the University of Malta and featuring contributions from KU Leuven, Ghent University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), Royal Holloway (London), Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil), and Adam Mickiewicz University (Poland), this publication explores questions brought forward by approaches to performance that interweave theory and practice, through examples of methodologies, philosophies, interpretations, and applications of interdisciplinarity today.
  • Momentum, Gravity, and 'Sensational Facts': Attending to Interdisciplinary Materiality through Contact Improvisation

    Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; University of Chester (University of Malta Press, 2018)
    This chapter maps out some initial territory for examining how the movement practice of contact improvisation, a form born in the 1970s out of the explorations of Judson Dance Theatre artists, might be seen to offer a sensation and attention-based approach to matter. I suggest that such an attention-based practice can be understood as crucially interdisciplinary when viewed through the lens of new materialism. In doing so, I discuss the imaginative privileging of the sensate, characteristic of contact improvisation, as a frame through which to point to the significance of two further performance forms: the author’s solo performance Twig Dances and Min Tanaka’s Body Weather training. I conclude by identifying how these scores, which might be broadly identified as ‘contact [and] improvisation’ practices, open up questions of how performance philosophies that seek identification with, or question another, are significant to interdisciplinary investigations of materiality, including scientific processes. Such attention-based scores introduce new understandings of material entanglement, through embodied improvisation, which can be desirable to what this essay will call an experiential posthuman project. As such, ‘posthuman’ is understood in this essay as an approach whereby a collective set of forces, and attention-based processes, study material encounters through post-anthropocentric perspectives. I argue that such attention to materiality may be seen as interdisciplinary, when viewed as both a physical and imaginative performance practice.
  • ‘Mass May Be the Single Most Important Sensation’: Perceptual Philosophies in Dance Improvisation

    Sarco-Thomas, Malaika; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2019-04-02)
    This essay investigates how sensory perception can be cultivated as a key practice in dance improvisation performance. It looks at how artists such as Steve Paxton, Deborah Hay, and Simone Forti propose frameworks for exercising attention to perception when improvising, and how these scores can be routes towards experiencing different ways of relating to one’s environment. The essay draws on Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s contribution to theorizing sensory perception in bodily movement and in strands of ecological philosophy, developing the idea of ‘intelligent flesh’ as fundamental to both. It then uses the author’s experiences of working with these artists’ scores to investigate how perceptual attention can be creatively proposed, physicalized, performed, or, in Alva Noë’s term, ‘enacted’ in improvisation.
  • Performing PREVENT: Anti-extremist Theatre-in-Education in the Service of UK Counter-Terrorism, a Freirean Analysis

    Piasecka, Shelley; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2019-05-24)
    This article reveals a new trend in UK counter-terrorism: the emergence of anti-extremist Theatre-in-Education (TIE) to deliver counter-terrorism projects in schools and colleges. Using Paulo Freire’s vision of critical and dialogic pedagogy, I offer an analysis of anti-extremist TIE against a backdrop of PREVENT, the UK counter-terrorism strategy. The September 11 attack, the London Transport bombings and the more recent attacks in Europe and the UK have contributed to a strengthening of counter-terrorism measures in all spheres of public life. In 2015, the UK government introduced a statutory duty for education providers to prevent young people from being drawn into terrorism. This is known as the PREVENT Duty. The implementation of the duty has not been without controversy, with commentators noting a disproportionate focus on Islamist forms of terrorism. My study has shown that the guiding principle of TIE to enact social change is threatened in this climate, whilst maintaining the possibility of engaging young people in meaningful dialogue about terrorism and violent extremism.
  • Co-creating, co-producing and connecting: Museum practice today.

    Barnes, Pamela; McPherson, Gayle; University of Chester; University of the West of Scotland (Wiley, 2019-04-25)
    We argue in this paper that museums have become hybrid spaces, where consumers look and challenge what they see; they form part of what they see; with some aspects of exhibitions now co‐created and co‐produced by the consumer (Kershaw et al. 2018; Solis 2012). This paper draws on an example from a group that we worked with using performance as a tool to engage a ‘hard to reach’ or ‘socially excluded’ groups. We conclude that by allowing audiences to co‐create and co‐produce exhibitions and performance; this can turn the museum rhetoric of community engagement into practice and create a space that is truly inclusive for the communities it serves. We demonstrate how the possibility of seeing museums as hybrid spaces, which can adapt, can be used for education and entertainment, and how that has in turn led to the transformation of people's lives in a previously socially excluded community.
  • 'The best is yet come' - exclusive interview with Liverpool FC and Senegal star, Sadio Mane

    Hassall, Paul; University of Chester (TI Media Limited, 2019-03-05)
    An exclusive profile-interview with Liverpool and Senegal international, Sadio Mane. The forward discusses the burden of expectation for club and country.
  • Through the lens of Kaleidoscopic Pedagogy- collective imagining of democratic forms of being.

    Passila, A.; Owens, Allan; LUT University (Lahti- Lappeenranta) (Xamk, 2018-11-08)
    This chapter focuses on Kaleidoscopic Pedagogy as a conceptual frame of arts based method applied to a discussion and collective imagining of democratic forms of being with young people, artists, art pedagogues and researchers. The background of KP is a problem identified by one of the founding theorist of critical pedagogy Henry A. Giroux (2014a), which is that democracy has been sullied as a concept – as a ´service` - and no longer offers the promise of emancipation (Giroux, 2014b). The discussion, therefore, is about understandings of democracy: what it might look like and how it would feel to be in it according to young people themselves.
  • Miliwn o Ddawnswyr Cymraeg: A Million Welsh Dancers

    Harrop, Angharad; University of Chester (People Dancing, 2019-05)
    Using the work of BLAS, the community strand of Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre, Bangor, this article discusses how dance is able to help achieve the aims of the Welsh Government to have a million Welsh Speakers by 2050.
  • Remember Scarborough Re-Active Propaganda as Natural Ethics

    Hart, Christopher; University of Chester (Midrash, 2018-10-14)
    In chapter 2 Christopher Hart’s ‘Remember Scarborough. Re-Active Propaganda as Natural Ethics’ takes a popular and often reproduced poster called ‘remember Scarborough’ to propose the use of moral philosophy to recover the deeper meaning this and similar posters would have had following the German naval bombardments of towns on the North East English coast in December 1916. Hart asks, How did the official propaganda published following the bombardment of towns on the North East Coast of England, in December 1914, express deeply held moral outrage, and as such represented a real morality and not mistreatment of truth? At the core of his argument is that the poster ‘Remember Scarborough’ is not naïve propaganda or an exaggeration. Surveying the reasons given by the German high command and reporting of the bombardments in German newspapers, Hart argues there was no strategic justification for the attacks. Turning to deviancy theory and moral philosophy Hart proposes that the bombardments were an action of a German Navy, humiliated in a previous sea battle. They had to gain face with their high command and the German public that despite their attempts to justify the attacks, they expressed disregard for the Hague Convention (1906) and turned to revenge as a tactic, and as such, abandoned any claim to morality. The words and the images on the poster ‘Remember Scarborough’ are, according to Hart, much more than a call to arms; they express deeply held outrage that the attacks were an assault on humanity.
  • Introduction

    Hart, Christopher; University of Chester (Midrash, 2018-10-14)
    This introduction proposes the argument that during the First World War entertainments , media and popular culture used the war to attract audiences and readers - five propositions are introduced. The first is this. Entertainment as a topic for study is not trivial, inconsequential or irrelevant. To understand any culture look at what its members do for their entertainment. This includes looking at such things as, in 1914, jokes and humour, songs and music, drama and plays, cartoons and caricatures, films and animation, fiction and gossip, photographs and illustrations, advertising and posters, and newspapers and magazines. This proposition will be discussed in more detail once the other four propositions have been stated. The second position is this. The core activities that are taken as entertainment, such as the cinema, books, music and newspapers, are surrounded by the institutions, industries and crafts which bring the entertainments to the marketplace. The third position is the recognition people read, sing, watch, listen and laugh not just for leisure but also when doing work and other activities. Entertainment does not always have to be separate from the workplace or from time doing work-based tasks; it can be incorporated into most aspects of life. The fourth position follows on from longstanding debates about hierarchical schemes of entertainment regarding differentiated cultural value. Notions of high culture and low culture, popular culture and elite culture are overworked dichotomies that distract attention from the entertainment under study, as a thing in itself, and lead to prejudice against one of the classes of entertainment on the scale. If classical music performances are elitist, exclusionist and class-based it does not entail they are ‘bad' and things should be otherwise. It is not the music or musicians that are excluding anyone. It is the instructional arrangements that bring such performances to the marketplace, a lack of education provided about the value of the experience and, possibly, snobbishness of some audiences. The fifth proposition is entertainment is about audience experience. This can take multiple forms for the same audience of an entertainment. Bosshart and Macconi (1998) include the following in a list of possible experiences an audience member can take from consuming a particular media - obtaining relaxation, being distracted, seeing something different to the norm, seeking excitement or a thrill, wanting to laugh, sharing the joy and enjoying a place.
  • “Any closer and you’d be Mom”: The limits of post-feminist paternity in the films of Robin Williams

    Barnett, Katie; University of Chester (Rowman and Littlefield, 2015-12-03)
    This chapter explores the representation of fatherhood in the films of Robin Williams, considering the actor's star persona alongside his persistent performance as 'father' in a range of films from the late 1980s into the 2000s. The chapter includes an in-depth analysis of Williams' role in Mrs Doubtfire and the implications for post-feminist performances of paternity, and concludes with a discussion of Williams' suicide in 2014 and the ways in which this news was filtered through the same paternal persona established in his films.

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