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. This collection is licenced under a Creative Commons licence. The collection may be reproduced for non-commerical use and without modification, providing that copyright is acknowledged.

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  • Drawing from life model and recitation of the Rosary: ​​The importance of repetition for embodied practice

    McGuirk, Tom; University of Chester (Revue Proteus, 2022-11-30)
    Repetition and ritual are shared aspects of two very different activities: life drawing and saying the Rosary. Both activities require entry into a quasi-meditative state which is facilitated through a disengagement from thought patterns and cognitive models that are valorised within Western culture, particularly within higher education. This text adopts a somatic approach to examining these phenomena, one that repudiates the dualistic Cartesian epistemological model that emphasises the separation of subject and object, to favour a situated, embodied, engaged, and concerned model. This paradigm, as Critchley (in the text) explains, is one whereby "[ones] being and that of the world are not distinguished for the most part." Saying the Rosary and life drawing bring about states where the inherent isolation of Cartesian subject-object dualism yields to a radical situated-ness, characterised by "focused attention", "open monitoring" and "automatic self-transcending." In such states the quality of our epistemic engagement with the environment, as embodied, situated and engaged agents is greatly enriched. French Version: La répétition et le rituel sont des aspects communs à deux activités très différentes : le dessin d’après modèle vivant et la récitation du Rosaire. Toutes deux nécessitent d’entrer dans un état quasi méditatif, plus facile à atteindre si l’on se détache des structures de pensée et des modèles cognitifs valorisés dans la culture occidentale et en particulier dans le secteur de l’enseignement supérieur. Ce texte adopte une approche somatique pour examiner ces phénomènes, une approche qui délaisse le modèle épistémologique du dualisme cartésien mettant en exergue la séparation entre sujet et objet en faveur d’un modèle situé, incarné, engagé et concerné. C’est un paradigme selon lequel, ainsi que Critchley l’explique (dans le texte), « [notre propre] être et celui du monde ne sont pas différenciés pour l’essentiel ». La récitation du Rosaire et le dessin d’après modèle vivant font naître des états dans lesquels l’isolement inhérent au dualisme sujet-objet cartésien cède la place à une mise en situation radicale, caractérisée par une « attention focalisée », une « observation ouverte » et une « auto-transcendance automatique ». Dans de tels états, la qualité de notre engagement épistémique avec l’environnement, dans notre rôle d’agents incarnés, situés et engagés, est grandement enrichie.
  • Dishes of Rotherham

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester
    Cooking, dishing up and eating together might appear to be ordinary activities. Across every time and culture, they are also important community activities, providing identity, skills, a sense of connectedness, tradition and mental as well as physical well-being. In the 1820s, 1830s and 1840s, one of the most famous and spectacular ways to dish up was provided by the porcelain tableware made by the Rockingham Pottery in Rotherham. The Rockingham Works made some of the most colourful, exuberant, lavish and expensive tableware available at the time, for a national and international clientele. This book brings together food made by 10 cooks from contemporary Rotherham and some of the Rockingham tableware from Rotherham Museums, Arts and Heritage collection. The cooks come from different cooking traditions, including Pakistani, Sudanese, Guinean, Ukrainian, Czech, Yemeni, Malaysian and British. Each cook visited the Museum, chose an item of Rockingham tableware, and then cooked and styled their dishes to be served on the Rockingham items themselves. Professor Simon Grennan organised the dishing up and worked with each cook and with photographer Sally Robinson to spectacularly style their food and dish it up on the Rockingham. Stills from a new film by David Sánchez Marín about the making of these displays appear alongside Sally’s photographs of the cooks' food. Portraits of each cook, drawn by Simon, recipes and personal stories from the cooks complete the work.
  • At the Painting’s Edge: A Practice-Based Investigation into Liminality, Inside-outness and the Painting as a Quasi Person

    McGuirk, Tom; Robinson, Wayne (University of Chester, 2022-01-08)
    This research project is driven by a motivation to better understand the effect of painting’s internal and external space when interrupted by objects placed at its periphery. The research consists of two strands of exploration. Firstly, through the practice of painting and secondly, through theoretical research in support of that painting practice. By moving between painting and writing, it examines how phenomena such as the act of making, memory and object-agency can coalesce to form complex, new objects. The project places to the fore the importance of hand making and acknowledges how handmaking is central to the creative process of the painter, whilst engaging with how the presentation of the resultant work affects the generation and transmission of meaning. Another strand of this investigation calls upon how the evocation through practice and acts of remembering and forgetting can communicate autobiographical experience, to form dialogic relationships, via the making process. This is a circular process involving myself as maker, the painted picture plane, placed objects and the viewer. It also explores how painting embodies memorised data within its materiality and is additionally provoked by the effect of ‘trigger objects’. In addition, the thesis addresses how the painting object becomes imbued with the artist’s intention and how the mnemonic faculties of the human mind are prompted by sub-semiotic signs contained within the material of the picture plane, to generate the attributes of a ‘quasi-person’ (Graw, 2018). How this occurs and interacts with the picture plane, contributing to the painting’s status as a ‘subjectobject’ (Joselit, 2016) and the production of intended and unintended meaning (Alexander, 2010) is also considered. Through the practice of painting, the research explores how dialogue is formed between placed objects and the painted picture plane, and how objects of personal interest can in turn, steer subliminal conversation and how they thereby metaphorically ‘reach out’ and commune with the audience (Gell, 1998). Finally, the research interrogates the external edges of the picture plane, understood in terms of the parergon (Derrida, 1987) and the otherness of heterotopian spaces (Foucault, 1967). Such spaces share common characteristics of transition, uncertainty, between-ness and unknown-ness, all encountered at the periphery of the painting, the place where internal and external dynamics meet. This research encourages the viewer to adopt new viewing strategies, proposing this less certain space to be a desirable location in which to take the time to pause and consider.
  • The Plotlands: Improvised Housing in Coastal Britain

    Daly, Tim; University of Chester
    The Plotlands Archive is an online photographic database recording unconventional houses and chalets and their vernacular construction methods. Originally built during the interwar period and those which have since been adapted and modified. Situated on coastal strips and in river valleys, few estates from that period still remain. The archive is a celebration of resourcefulness, creativity and character, recording the many unique materials used and vernacular design largely unseen within urban housing developments. The archive has been developed by Tim over a thirty-year period, recording many buildings no longer standing and some which have been since renovated beyond recognition. The database provides searchable access to houses by construction materials used, type of building and even colour. Locations include Humberston Fitties, The Brooklands Estate at Jaywick Sands, The Bel Air Estate at Seawick, Leysdown on Sea, Almere Ferry on the River Dee and Eccles-on-Sea, Norfolk.
  • The Plotlands Archive: Visualising a personal image archive with open-source Piwigo.

    Daly, Tim; University of Chester
    Accessing visual resources online is a mediated experience shaped by search engine and image sharing algorithms, or via the individual agendas of closed, curated collections. Using my own Plotlands Archive as a case study, this paper outlines an alternative strategy for creating a user-generated, searchable online image archive. Without the clandestine algorithms of popular image hosting and sharing environments, the free and open-source Piwigo is an accessible and code-free way to create a visual archive. The Plotlands Archive website presents a searchable database of photographs of unconventional houses and chalets and their vernacular construction methods originally built during the interwar period and those which have since been adapted and modified. The archive is a celebration of resourcefulness, recording unique materials and designs largely unseen within urban housing developments. The database provides searchable keyword access to houses by location, material and construction type - each returning a unique, screen-based typology.
  • To See and be Seen: What can a woman do with a camera (phone)?

    Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester
    This paper investigates how women can be empowered as photographers and visual storytellers and gain greater representation in visual culture. By analysing two historically divergent feminist photography projects, this paper argues that women’s diverse authorial perspectives are enabled by combining theory and practice in the formation of a critical counter-visuality and a process of self-realisation. The paper explores how women enact their visual resistance through the interrelated processes of seeing and being seen and draws on Jo Spence’s critical visual practice to explore photography that subverts expectations and creates opportunities for alternative modes of representation. Applying Spence’s key deconstructive tools of making visible and narrating the image, the paper maps out ways in which education and collective agency create the conditions for women’s participation and influence within photography.
  • 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'.
  • Book Review: Rebirth of the English Comic Strip: A Kaleidoscope 1847 – 1870.

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

    Grennan, Simon; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022-01-04)
    22 entries in the book 'Key Terms in Comics Studies'.
  • Impact of E-Bikes on Cycling in Hilly Areas: Participants’ Experience of Electrically-Assisted Cycling in a UK Study

    Behrendt, Frauke; Cairns, Sally; Raffo, David; Philips, Ian (MDPI, 2021-08-10)
    Electrically-assisted cycling can make a major contribution to sustainable mobility. For some people, hills are a barrier for cycling. This paper focuses on how and why electrically-assisted bikes make a difference to cycling in hilly contexts, and can thus be an important element of sustainable mobility in hilly geographies. It makes a novel contribution in being able to draw on recorded sensor data of the actual use of assistance in relation to the specific geography of the route cycled (GPS data), and interview/survey material. It shows that e-bikes extend the range, nature and scope of journeys manageable by bike, and therefore the general viability of e-bikes as alternative to other modes. It highlights that the benefits of using e-bikes are often also psychological, since they can change the overall enjoyability of the cycling experience in hilly areas. Resulting policy recommendations, that could lead to significant CO2 savings through the uptake of e-cycling in hilly contexts, include ‘try before you buy’ schemes, training for e-bike users and investing in relevant cycling infrastructure.
  • Introduction: Key Terms in Comics Studies

    Grennan, Simon; La Cour, Erin; Spanjers, Rik; Free University Amsterdam; University of Chester; Utrecht University (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022-01-04)
    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 (Bloomsbury, 2022-04-07)
    '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.

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