Tag Archives: Wimbledon

Who is the Teacher-Researcher in Art, Design and Communication?

A Wimbledon College of Arts Event for UAL Research Fortnight 2016
Friday 11 March 2016, 2pm – 6pm (​Drinks Recpetion 6pm – 7:45pm)

​Academics do not just teach and undertake research – they are teacher-researchers. This half-day symposium addresses the role of the teacher-researcher in an arts university, with contributions from students and staff at Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts.  Further and Higher education in art, design and communication is not just about getting a qualification – by definition, a university should expose students to leading research in their field of study. The curriculum that students follow and the courses and the programmes that they have chosen, should be responsive to innovative research in the discipline.  While there are ways of recognising excellence in research and (more recently) in teaching, we lack developed accounts of the relationship of research and teaching and the skills and capabilities of the teacher-researcher. An aim of the symposium is to arrive at some actions/ideas for further enhancement of the curriculum and the student experience through bringing teaching and research closer together. Topics we will cover include:

  • How do we describe the role of a teacher-researcher?
  • How do students understand the relationship of teaching and research within their courses and programmes?
  • How does the teacher-researcher work within the curriculum and the programme in art, design and communication?
  • Should the art and design curriculum respond to the latest innovations in research – if so how?
  • What spaces, technologies, objects and external institutions are important to develop good relationships between teaching and research?
  • How does the integration of research and teaching work at different levels, from FE to PhD?

Followed by drinks in the Green Room hosted by Simon Betts, Dean of Wimbledon College of Arts

The Unspeakable Freedom Device | Q&A with Jennet Thomas

Ahead of Jennet Thomas’ talk and screening of THE UNSPEAKABLE FREEDOM DEVICE, we asked her few questions about her work and practice…

Please tell us about the piece you are screening at Chelsea in March – it seems to address both some quite serious political ideas while also being quite surreal and almost touches on sci-fi.

The idea for this work started with my reaction to the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the cult-like status of her image, and the fateful changes she brought on. As I was developing this idea I was approached by the Grundy Gallery, in Blackpool, to make a big film/installation work. It was a great co-incidence- via the Gallery I could get access to the fabulous Blackpool Winter Gardens as a location, the very place where those key Conservative Party Conferences happened when Thatcher rose to power! So thereby came the structure of the work- it would be a pilgrimage to the Winter Gardens, involving a Thatcher Cult.

But my work is never just about one theme – it isn’t even ‘about’ stuff, rather I construct parallel worlds in which you can glimpse reflections of things in our world, inside a kind of machine of play. Everything I am working on now seems to move toward Sci-Fi and the absurd, probably because I am fascinated by the way our increasingly intimate relationship with technology is changing the nature of our reality, and how this is entangled with ideology.


You work on Wimbledon’s Print and Time-based Media course, can you tell us about how you balance your teaching and your own artistic practice? Does one feed into the other?

Everyone at UAL is aware that staff workloads are sometimes insane- even if you are part time. So no, it’s not easy balancing the two.  A brief Sabbatical helped. Working with our Print and Time Based Media students is great, and inspiring, and can definitely connect both ways with my artistic practise. It’s the systemically self-defeating bureaucratic structures and flawed power relations that the institution propagates – that generate so much needless stress that makes the balance hard.

I understand you are also taking part in Acts Re-Acts 3 at Wimbledon Space, can you tell us a bit more about your work for that?

It is a new work that will contain live performance (including a fairly deranged monologue) video animation, costume… it slightly touches upon my inappropriate moan above- it’s called ‘Enhanced Monitoring Event’ and is inspired by a spectacularly opaque power point presentation that was so incomprehensibly stacked with management-speak that it reached a delicious level of absurdity, and number of my colleagues suggested it was a bit like one of my films. It’s a work in progress.

The Unspeakabke Freedom Device

Image: Jennet Thomas

Acts Re-Acts looks at performance from both a fine art and a theatrical perspective and considers where and how they intersect, is this something you have considered in your own work before?

I don’t believe that there are – or should be – clearly defining perspectives or disciplinary ‘territories’ between creative arenas, I don’t think that is how interesting culture works. It’s something that obsesses the academic world, and those that have a stake in maintaining ‘territories’ through funding structures. My work has been crossing over various territories for decades now- it often doesn’t sit comfortably in the ‘artists film’ territory as I have long been interested in spoken word, televisual forms, and, yes, aspects of experimental theatre. Only recently have these aspects been sucked into the monstrous digestive system of the Fine Art world and become a bit trendy.

Thanks Jennet!

Jennet’s talk and screening will take place on 2nd March, see below for more information and this event and Jennet’s work…

2nd March, 18:00 – 20:00, Lecture Theatre, Chelsea College of Arts, London, SW1P 4JU

No booking required.

Details of THE UNSPEAKABLE FREEOM DEVICE book can be found at the Book Works website

For more information about Jennet Thomas please visit her blog.

CCW Graduate Teaching Scheme

CCW Graduate School runs a Graduate Teaching Scheme which offers CCW Doctoral students the opportunity to teach on selected CCW BA and MA courses.

The programme offers PhD students an insight into the nature of teaching at Higher Education level at CCW and to provide working introductions to relevant courses, staff and students. It has been designed to induct those who have no or little teaching experience, but can be configured to suit those with experience of teaching. Graduates gain work experience, a CV item and material that should feed into any Personal Development Planning.  CCW Graduate School has pioneered this scheme within UAL.

Katie Elliott, an AHRC funded PhD student at CCW, has taught in the Theatre and Screen department at Wimbledon College of Arts. ‘I am a costume designer and a full-time PhD student at CCW, where my practice-led research is exploring the significance of the costumed-body in theatre and performance.  As a Graduate Teaching Assistant, I work in the Theatre and Screen department at Wimbledon College of Art; presenting lectures and leading seminars on aspects of my research in the Contextual Studies Programme and in the BA Costume Design pathway.  Teaching has been a way for me to place my research into other spaces (conversation-spaces/activity-spaces), and has caused me to re-evaluate my methodology in terms of its potential value for costume designers and theatre practitioners.   Selecting these “valuable” elements, and constructing sessions around them that might facilitate discussion, interaction and debate, has cast new illuminations on how I view my research and its future uses.  The relationship of “value” and “teaching” is something that I would like to explore further as a GTA.  In particular, I am interested in the connection between what I am investing as “valuable” knowledge (ways of thinking, watching, testing the costumed-body as a significant component of performance) alongside the value of other spaces (conversations and activities between myself and theatre students engaged in their own practices) to myself as a developing costume designer.’

Elliott’s practice-led costume research, titled ‘A Practice-Led Investigation into the Significance  of Costumed-Bodies through a Study of Tanztheater Wuppertal’ uses a selection of works by this dance-theatre company to explore how the material identity of the costume produces meaning in addition to character and/or narrative. Her research interests include costume design, drawing, and sign theory.  She has disseminated her research at the 2013 TaPRA conference (Scenography Working Group) and will present a paper about her costume practice to the New Scholars Forum at the upcoming 2014 IFTR symposium. She has also published a short piece in the peer-reviewed journal JAWS, the Journal of Academic Work for and by Students (Issue 1, 2012).