Working Landscape by Peak

I am one of a group of Welsh artists who have been selected by Peak, the arts organisation based in the Black Mountains, to present work at Wakefield Artist Studios. I’ll be showing my film ‘A Walk on the Isle of Grain’ 

A Walk on the Isle of Grain’ follows a psycho-geographic wandering around this edgeland of the Thames estuary in North Kent in the company of writer Iain Sinclair, film maker Andrew Kötting, poet/film maker Rick Goldsmith and artist, Anna Falcini. The still and moving imagery is largely narrated by the voice of Iain Sinclair as he recalls stories, histories and incidents in his lengthy association with the area. The group find themselves walking into dead ends where the military have cut off paths, scrambling through overgrown swamp like areas and meeting two local men whose target practice with an air gun is a Sunday leisure activity. They also reach areas of large, open vistas that look out over sweeping marshland to the North sea, where they contemplate the rich complexities and incongruities of this landscape.P1000012


Working Landscape by Peak

Working Landscape is the first of a series of collaborative events between Peak, an arts organisation based in the Black Mountains and The Art House, Wakefield. The screening programme introduces the work of Peak Collective, a community of artists, writers and filmmakers living and working in the Black Mountains and recent Peak artist-in-residence, Rebecca Chesney. The works provide shifting encounters with place observed at rest and whilst walking, driving and from the air. Day shifts into night; industrial legacies, idyllic landscapes and contemporary technologies collide.

Featuring work from Susan Adams, Edwin Burdis, Stefhan Caddick, Rebecca Chesney, Morag Colquhoun, Anna Falcini, Penny Hallas, Islet/Ewan Jones Morris, Siôn Marshall-Waters, Chris Nurse and Helen Sear.

Where: The Art House

When: 6 – 7pm


Creative Methodologies: Exploring Practise Based Research

I attended the Creative Methodologies Workshop at Bath Spa University today, a session aimed at the vexed question of creative practice as research. I was keen to attend because since doing my Ph.D. I have found the subject of practice based research to be quite tricky to navigate at times. The written component is an integral part of the research but sometimes I wonder if more emphasis is placed on it by the academic field? I have been finding a lull in my research recently and in particular my practice based elements. It is Winter, January’s dark and cold month and it is impractical for me to visit the Hoo Peninsula at the moment. I can’t stay in my trusty camper van as the weather is too cold and the days are so short of light. However, since my transfer panel (or upgrade) in the Summer, I have found it increasingly hard to find a footing again in my research.

So this workshop today was perfect to re-generate some energy into my project. The workshop was delivered by Paul Geary of the University of Birmingham and Yiotta Demitrou of the University of Bristol. Both Paul and Yiotta laid out the issues around practice based research so well and gave a lot of context it. There were some interesting ideas about how you have to go out of yourself, without knowing what you might discover because only in taking these leaps of faith will you extend research. Geary talked about Heidegger’s ‘techné, where things are bound up together and of course, the writing and practice should be in dialogue, informing each other.

Demitrou talked about the process of the research being as important as reaching the culmination and final production of work. At each stage of my research I have wanted to immerse myself in it and enjoy each moment. I’ve waited since 2002 to do this research and I want to take time to understand it and observe all of those unexpected discoveries and ideas that happen. On the other turn of the coin though, there has to be a conclusion to the research.

There were some useful discussions about intuition and the value of it within a practice based research project. I thought of the recent exhibition that I saw at the Fortuny Museum in Venice called ‘Intuition’. In the introduction to the beautiful catalogue, Daniela Ferretti says that ‘intuition is the revelation of consciousness and a condition that reveals the unknown.’ In that sense, intuition should be a critical tool of practice based research and harnessed for it’s ability to go beyond what is seemingly already acknowledged and into new territories. Intuition is potentially problematic for Ph.D. research because it is mysterious and hard to define. It is also subjective and experienced individually and not a shared experience. I do think the phenomenon can be an invaluable tool in research based practice and even in the writing, there are moments where my writing seems to temporarily drift into a more fluid language where a spark of an idea appears on the page.