• A Walk of 20 Steps: Representing memory of place

      Kealy-Morris, Elizabeth; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2015-07)
      A Walk of 20 Steps: Representing memory of place “…’(T)he everyday’ is a space where practice and representation are complexly interrelated, where the lived reality of the quotidian co-exists with clichés, mythologies, stereotypes and unsourced quotations” (Moran, 2005, p.13) . Pierre Nora’s (1989) work documenting the diverse range of French national sites of memory demonstrates that the “where” of memory changes over time and that official memory can be challenged by alternative forms of cultural memory. Just like memory, then, place is also unstable and open to shifting social perceptions about its function and use. Joe Moran (2005) examines how representations of the everyday have influenced the ideas surrounding the relationship between public and private spheres in postmodern culture. Overlooked, ignored and discounted as a source of meaning for wider cultural developments, everyday culture then becomes a source of resistance for Antonio Gramci’s (2005) “spontaneous philosophy” and Michel Foucault’s (1980) “subordinate and unofficial knowledge”. The everyday culture my doctoral visual practice gazes upon, analyses and questions is the suburban landscape of my hometown, Wellesley Massachusetts, fifteen miles west of Boston, the state’s capital. My photographs capture daily shopping life in the tradition of deadpan photography depicting local vernacular which emerged from America in the 1960s and 1970s through the work of Ed Ruscha, Stephen Shore, William Eggleston, Lewis Baltz, Robert Adams and Dan Graham. Of particular inspiration to my photographic method was the work of Hilla and Bernd Becher who began systematically documenting industrial sites around Germany in the late 1950s. The pair was interested in returning to the ‘straight’ aesthetic and social concerns of German practice in the 1920s and 1930s and a rejection of the contemporary leanings towards sentimentality. While the photographs of Central Street naturalise the assumptions and myths of conspicuous consumption, the act of photographing and decoding these signifiers of everyday upper-middle class life offers me space to question the legitimacy of this dominant culture of commodity fetishism and the effects of this landscape upon my identity.
    • An Analytical Methodology for the Investigation of the Relationship of Music and Lyrics in Popular Music

      Sproston, Darren; Dee, Alex (University of Chester, 2021-03)
      This thesis details the conception and design of a new methodology for examining pop songs holistically; considering both music and lyrics and examining the synergies between the two. Central to this methodology is the application of a data extraction framework, which has been designed to mine information about musical and lyrical phenomena. This framework operates as a common source for producing data about two very different media, avoiding individual interpretation where this is possible. The methodology has been designed to address specific questions about the relationship between music and lyrics, but the main purpose of the thesis is to evaluate the usefulness of the endeavour. In order to examine the efficacy of this approach, the framework was used to populate a dataset made up of a sample of 300 songs, which was subsequently explored and analysed through a series of case studies which investigate combinations of metrics concerned with music and lyrics for the whole sample, as well as analysis of specific subsets defined by a range of parameters. These case studies have demonstrated the various ways this approach might be used, as well as working as proof of concept. The conclusion of the thesis reviews the various case studies in the context of presenting potential uses of the framework as a tool and the broader methodology by other scholars. There is also a consideration of how the overall data might be affected by the inclusion of genres and styles that are not included in the initial sample set.
    • Can political public relations be used as a tool for social integration, with particular reference to the Muslim community in the UK?

      Okour, Sarah (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-12)
      Political, social and demographic change has resulted in a search for new techniques for building public trust and reconciling relationships between the Muslim community and others in society. In this study, extremism and social cohesion have been chosen as potential new aims for the PR industry. This study assesses whether political PR can be diverted from its role in spin doctoring towards new cultural and social functions. My argument is that political public relations can be used as a tool for social integration with particular reference to the Muslim community in the UK. This research distinguishes between two issues. The first connects with political PR within a political communication background, which relates to politicians, election campaigns, news management, and their relationship with the media. The second issue is that political PR can be reconsidered from a corporate perspective, one that endorses the use of PR in challenging political environments. My study places emphasis on the second issue. It applies a triangulating methodology based on using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to answer the research questions. A sample of seven UK public relations academics evaluated the current communication policies for their effectiveness, explained how political PR could help, and gave their recommendations. In addition, seven NGOs in Britain described their work, the problems they encountered, and their concerns. A lack of social integration and the continuing rise of extremism were repeatedly explained in terms of stereotyping, marginalisation, and counter-productive techniques. The results suggest that a change in political PR is possible and should be encouraged to intervene in fighting against radicalisation, extremism, and enhancing social cohesion. They also show a lack of PR support for NGOs. More broadly, my findings move the field of inclusivity forward by working on a bottom-up approach instead of a top-down model of communication. The best answer for sustaining long-term community relationships was improved communication and engagement, inclusive messages and campaigns, and the Muslim community remaining open to others in society.
    • Can political public relations be used as a tool for social integration, with particular reference to the Muslim community in the UK?

      Roberts, Simon; Charles, Alec; Okour, Sarah A. (University of Chester, 2019-12)
      Political, social and demographic change has resulted in a search for new techniques for building public trust and reconciling relationships between the Muslim community and others in society. In this study, extremism and social cohesion have been chosen as potential new aims for the PR industry. This study assesses whether political PR can be diverted from its role in spin doctoring towards new cultural and social functions. My argument is that political public relations can be used as a tool for social integration with particular reference to the Muslim community in the UK. This research distinguishes between two issues. The first connects with political PR within a political communication background, which relates to politicians, election campaigns, news management, and their relationship with the media. The second issue is that political PR can be reconsidered from a corporate perspective, one that endorses the use of PR in challenging political environments. My study places emphasis on the second issue. It applies a triangulating methodology based on using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to answer the research questions. A sample of seven UK public relations academics evaluated the current communication policies for their effectiveness, explained how political PR could help, and gave their recommendations. In addition, seven NGOs in Britain described their work, the problems they encountered, and their concerns. A lack of social integration and the continuing rise of extremism were repeatedly explained in terms of stereotyping, marginalisation, and counter-productive techniques. The results suggest that a change in political PR is possible and should be encouraged to intervene in fighting against radicalisation, extremism, and enhancing social cohesion. They also show a lack of PR support for NGOs. More broadly, my findings move the field of inclusivity forward by working on a bottom-up approach instead of a top-down model of communication. The best answer for sustaining long-term community relationships was improved communication and engagement, inclusive messages and campaigns, and the Muslim community remaining open to others in society.
    • From dance cultures to dance ecology: a study of developing connections across dance organisations in Edinburgh and North West England, 2000 to 2016

      Harrop, Peter; Pattie, David; Jamieson, Evelyn (University of Chester, 2016-12-15)
      The first part of this thesis provides an autobiographical reflection and three contextualising histories to illustrate the increasing codification of late twentieth century UK contemporary dance into discrete cultures. These are professional contemporary dance and professional performance, dance participation and communitarian intervention, and dance as subject for study and training. The central section of the thesis examines post-millennial reports and papers by which government, executives and public sector arts organisations in both England and Scotland have sought to construct and steer dance policy toward greater collaborative connections on financial and ideological grounds. This is contrasted with a theoretical consideration of collaboration drawing on a range of academic approaches to consider the realities and ideals of creative and artistic collaboration and organisational collaboration. Finally, the thesis draws together these historical, theoretical and policy driven considerationsin a series of six case studies to establish the network of connections. Two professional contemporary artists and companies, two community dance organisations and two education departments (one of each from Edinburgh, Scotland and one of each from the North West of England) are scrutinised to assess the challenges, tensions and opportunities in reconciling policy driven collaboration with artistic integrity.
    • John Bull’s Other Ireland: Manchester-Irish Identities and a Generation of Performance

      Harrop, Peter; O'Sullivan, Brendan M. (University of Chester, 2017-05)
      This thesis provides an auto-ethnographically informed ‘making strange’ of the mise-en-scène of Irish working class domesticity in the North West of England as it was lived during the 1960s, 1970s and into the 1980s. The liminality of being a child of migrant parents is considered and the interstices of experience and identity in and of England and Ireland, Englishness and Irishness are explored. The first chapter of the thesis draws the reader into the initial frame of reference, the personal childhood ethnography that inspired this wider study, and considers Bhabha’s ‘shadow of the nation’ falling ‘on the condition of exile’ as one context for the development of individual identities. The second chapter examines the ways in which a performance studies approach provides a useful method for interrogating matters of place, personhood and citizenship whilst the third chapter introduces performance theory as a mechanism for exploring the ways in which quotidian and cultural performance have been harnessed as tools of negotiation. These are sometimes resistant, sometimes affirmative and sometimes celebratory acts in the construction of new identities. Ongoing performances reveal the embodied histories of individual performers, shaped in part by culture and memory, masking and unmasking to both construct and reveal layered identities. The fourth chapter, provides the most obvious example of traditional fieldwork, and draws on interview extracts to provide key insights into aspects of the diasporic context, identifying and analyzing the many rehearsal and performance opportunities provided by growing up in Irish households in England, where identities were initially formed, informed, and performed. Bridging the distinction between autoethnography, performance ethnography and the ethnography of performance, this chapter engages in discussion with a range of contributors defamiliarising the domestic mise-en-scène whilst simultaneously recognizing a commonality of experience. These interviews are themselves a celebration of Irish identity performance and form an important bridge between the theoretical framework explored in the opening chapters and the subsequent case studies. The final section of the thesis searches out a mirroring of these processes in the construction of theatrical and mediatised performance – providing opportunities to both utilize and observe performance ethnography and the ethnography of performance. It is suggested that Terry Christian provides an affirmative yet angry celebration in a complex performed response to a complex mise-en-scène. A new reading of Steve Coogan’s work then suggests three modes of performance: first, Coogan the outsider satirises British mores; second, Coogan plays sophisticated games of revealing and masking multiple versions of self; third, a searching and ultimately serious engagement with his engagement with Ireland. The application of a performance theory perspective, in the context of this fraction of the Irish diaspora, reveals a playful and generous spirited approach to complex and serious matters of identity and place in the world – to the ways in which lives are led and meanings made through and for the generation of performance.
    • Music in the spaces of the 21st century

      Pattie, David; Sproston, Darren; Darlington, Bruce (University of Chester, 2016-01-31)
      Exploration of the changes modern digital technology has had on the act of engaging with music in the early 21st century.
    • News Media Representations of Women in Conflicts: The Boko Haram Conflict in Borno State, North East Nigeria (2012-2015) - A Study of Guardian, Daily Trust, Daily Sun, Leadership, Nation, and Thisday Newspapers

      Mbaya, Nancy, B. (University of Chester, 2019-10-23)
      This is a study of news media representations of women in the Boko Haram conflict in Borno state, North East Nigeria (2012-2015) with a focus on six Nigerian national newspapers - Guardian, Daily Trust, Daily Sun, Leadership, Nation, and Thisday. It draws on post-colonial theories like Orientalism and the Subaltern; feminism; and the news media to examine how the news media have represented women in this conflict. The study adopted a mixed method approach combining quantitative content analysis and qualitative thematic analysis. The quantitative analysis examined the manifest contents of the newspaper articles in the sample to find out the pattern of frames used by Nigerian journalists to represent women in the Boko Haram conflict while the qualitative analysis examined information generated from semistructured interviews; documentary data; and the translation of YouTube videos released by the Boko Haram sect. A total of 404 newspaper articles were selected, categorized, and examined using SPSS software. Findings suggest that patriarchal phrases and gender stereotypes permeate news media narratives about women affected by the conflict. This thesis therefore provides a better understanding of how Nigerian news media represent women affected by conflicts and factors that inform these representations. This work also provides a better insight into how the intersectionality of gender with other social structures like class, age, ethnicity, religion, patriarchal discrimination and other forms of oppression have permeated media representations of women in the conflict. Results similarly suggest that the Nigerian media over rely on foreign news media organizations as their major story sources about the conflict. Because of this overreliance, this thesis argues that foreign news media set the agenda for Nigerian news media in their representations of women. This study has contributed to a better understanding of how elite news media in the more developed global North set the news agenda for developing nations of the global South like Nigeria through inter-media agenda setting. 12 Findings also suggest that the Nigerian news media system reflects the social, political, religious, ethnic, and regional factors of the area within which it operates in line with the framework of regional parallelism. This study has contributed to a better understanding of how Nigeria’s North/South dichotomies based on these factors have affected the news media. This thesis concludes that as a product of regional parallelism, the Nigerian news media reflect the intersectionality of gender, social structures such as race, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation and patriarchal discrimination with other forms of oppression to disadvantage women in the Boko Haram conflict.
    • The Plotlands Archive

      Daly, Tim; University of Chester
      A visual database of photographs of Plotland-era houses and chalets in the UK
    • A Practice-Based Approach to Defining Maximalism

      Liggett, Susan; Osanlou, Ardeshir; Jones, Paul; Pioaru, Ioana (University of ChesterWrexham Glyndwr University, 2021-02)
      This practice-based Ph.D. is an exploration of the concept of maximalism in the field of visual arts. Previous studies of maximalism in disciplines such as literature and architecture signalled a lack of rigor surrounding the use of the term maximalism with regard to various cultural productions. In addition, the relative scarcity of works addressing maximalism in visual art drove the development of this research, which aims to clarify the definition of maximalism through the practice of art. Through critical interrogation, the body of work developed within this project revealed insights into the nature of artistic maximalism. During the development of the project, a methodological research gap was identified as the absence of a set of procedures enabling the understanding and use of the concept of maximalism. To address this methodological gap, a theoretical framework describing maximalism in terms of formal parameters was constructed. Maximalism was investigated through the exploration of a variety of new and traditional media: holography, virtual reality (VR) artmaking, 3D printing, printmaking and drawing. The study revealed the intrinsically maximalist nature of holography in conjunction with VR artmaking. VR holography, a new art form resulting from this research, expands physical space by using a flat surface to render potentially infinite 3D content. It also connects the realms of the virtual and the real. Other forms of artistic maximalism revealed by this study include: the expansion of the space of art through para-artistic devices, intensity maximalism explored through miniature drawing, chromatic maximalism, durational maximalism and narrative maximalism. Maximalism as an artistic practice reflects an engagement of the artist in a continual process of becoming, as a method to access and explore new tools for artistic expression. The main contribution of the research is a twofold definition of maximalism. On the one hand, maximalism is defined as a mode of artistic expression intrinsic to the artwork, a definition which lends itself to a type of art analysis partially grounded in formalism. On the other hand, maximalism is proposed as a characteristic of the process of artmaking, referring to a strategy which the artist employs as a means of decentralising the artistic self. Investigating these forms of maximalism showed the potential usefulness, to art theory and criticism, of a theory of maximalism based on aesthetic formalism. The clarification of the concept of maximalism constitutes a contribution to the vocabulary and discourse of art.
    • The 'auto cannibal'

      Turner, Jeremy; Hultum, Ben (University of Chester, 2010-10)
      The relentless triumph of technology is increasingly dismissive of the human desire for interaction; we are deprived of experiences with the ordinary and become less aware of the potential such objects contain. The author primarily considers art as a means of understanding the world and his practice is based on personal observations and autonomous processes. This can often lead to an over-analysis of the mundane, which is directly confronted in each of my projects through an enthusiasm for the objects we not only take for granted, but do so to the extent that we barely notice their existence. Drawing inspiration from literature, philosophy and ideas which surround permanence in a society which is frequently considered throwaway, the author is influenced by personal insecurities and have developed a creative style that not only explores construction - in the obsessive means by which a work is made; but also one that celebrates the process of destruction - in that the materials the author uses have the potential to instigate their own demise in a process I generally refer to as autocannibalism.
    • The artist's book: Making as embodied knowledge of practice and the self

      Adams, Jeff; Waite, Julian; Kealy-Morris, Elizabeth (University of Chester, 2016-09)
      The initial research questions for this practice-based doctoral research project was to ask, "Is it possible to develop a more confident, self-conscious creative voice able to articulate one's identity more clearly through the making of handmade artefacts?"; this thesis applies the methodologies of autoethnography and pedagogy to consider an answer. My original contribution to knowledge through this enquiry is the identification of the ways in which the exploration of identity through autoethnographic, creative and pedagogic methods encourages an expanded field of self-knowledge, self-confidence and sense of creative self.
    • The experience and perception of duration in three contemporary performances

      Waite, Julian; Harrop, Peter; Layton, James R. (University of Chester, 2016-04)
      I argue in this thesis that qualitative duration (viewed in opposition to the construct of quantitative clock-time) can be experienced through performance encounters that challenge smooth consumption. In a socially accelerated culture, where to do more in less time is the measure of a productive life, one’s connection with the ‘real’ time of duration is diminished. To challenge this premise, I have used an autoethnographic approach to explore an experience of duration conceived via the work of French philosopher Henri Bergson, who posits that “pure duration [is that which] excludes all idea of juxtaposition, reciprocal externality, and extension” (Bergson, 1903/1999, p. 26). In other words, Bergson asserts that duration defies quantitative measurement. I argue that the Bergsonian experience of duration offers a pause from social acceleration and effects a transformation for the spectator in the form of peak-experience, flow, and communitas.
    • The Marie Duval Archive

      Grennan, Simon; Sabin, Roger; Waite, Julian; University of Chester, Central Saint Martins (University of Chester, 2016-03-31)
      A visual image database of the work of 19th-century cartoonist and actress Marie Duval.
    • The Work of Maggie Jackson

      Turner, Jeremy; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2016-04-21)
      Catalogue entry to accompany exhibited work by Maggie Jackson
    • Total war and its effects on the live music industry in Cheshire and North Wales

      Southall, Helen; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2014-10-03)
      Given the profound effect which World War II had on the economy of the UK as a whole, it would be surprising if specific areas of that economy – such as live music in the provinces – were not affected as well. How did ‘total war’ affect the live music industry on a local level? Evidence I have collected for a study of musicians active in and around Chester during the period suggests that the large number of military bases in the area, combined with the effects of other wartime factors such as conscription, rationing and the need to maintain both military and civilian morale, did indeed affect the size and nature of the market for live dance music locally. For instance, the large US Air Force base at Burtonwood was a source of work for local musicians, as well as an opportunity to mix with American musicians and music fans. As well as presenting information obtained through interviews with musicians and their relatives, I will also look briefly at what happened to the musicians and the bands after the war, when economic and social conditions changed again, at the same time as advances occurred in music-related technology.
    • 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.
    • 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.