This collection contains the Doctoral and Masters by Research theses produced within the department.
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At the Painting’s Edge: A Practice-Based Investigation into Liminality, Inside-outness and the Painting as a Quasi PersonThis 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.
A Practice-Based Approach to Defining MaximalismThis 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.
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 NewspapersThis 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 artist's book: Making as embodied knowledge of practice and the selfThe 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.
Moments of repetition in the process of art production: Temporalities, labour, appropriations and authorshipThis practice based PhD is an enquiry into repetition found in relation to the visual art object, specifically the repetition that operates within the process of art production. There is some precedence for the consideration of repetition observed as a repeated subject or object, and especially the Warholian like repeated image. Rosalind Krauss observed in The Originality of the Avant-Garde: A Postmodernist Repetition that many artists are 'condemned to repeating as if by compulsion, the logically fraudulent original' (1981). This research considers a different presentation of repetition, the repeated action of labour that accumulates during the process of production. A body of artworks, that for the purpose of the research I describe as labourwork, was conceived and made with the concerns of repetition at the core of its process. Personal reflection and a close critical analysis of each labourwork, allowed for the identification of a number of issues that are significant to the consideration of repetition as it relates to the process of production. They include 'failure through repetition1, 'temporality', 'erasure' and 'shifting authorships'. The emergent themes are considered within the thesis, where broader theories of repetition are addressed in order to position this form of art production within a larger theoretical framework. The purpose of the repeated action within the labourworks was found to be more complex than a means to an end. It was not just a prerequisite to forming a critical mass or achieving a particular form. When observed from the standpoint of different schema such as time, the simulacra, mimesis or theories of replication, the repetition within the labourwork was observed to be identified within many different constructs. It was seen to affect the object, its relation to the viewer, authorship and the subject. Yet, these multifarious roles are not differentiated within the single word 'repetition'. The conclusion to this thesis summarises the effect repetition has been found to have within the labourworks, separating out its roles and offering opportunities to identify its individual operations, over-and-above the general term 'Repetition'.