The TVAD Research Group, based in the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire, researches relationships between text, narrative and image. We publish books, journal articles, host a double-blind peer-reviewed journal, Writing Visual Culture (previously Working Papers on Design) and host events including international conferences.
I have previously presented work in progress from this project at my TVAD talk back in March and the feedback from this presentation helped develop this project further into an installation format that brings together a a collaborative, open-access knowledge base of artist-led spaces and the publication 'The Nomadic Studio' in an interactive setting. The display is designed by installation artist Claudia Djabbari.
A more detailed post will follow soon after the exhibition opens.
CITIES METHODOLOGIES is an annual exhibition and programme of events showcasing innovative methods of urban research from across UCL and the wider urban research community.
ARCHIVES OF THE ARTIST-LED is a collaborative, free and open-access database of shared knowledge on historic and current artist-led spaces or projects that anyone can contribute to. It is an attempt to map the trajectories of these crucial contributions to contemporary culture and the urban experience, as well as to preserve knowledge on initiating and successfully maintaining such projects – and make it accessible for everyone.
Initiated by Michael Heilgemeir as a companion to the publication ‘The Nomadic Studio – Art, Life and the Colonisation of Meanwhile Space’ it is developed in collaboration with Mo Hoffmann Studios. If you would like to contribute and add an artist-led project to ‘Archives of the Artist-led’ you can simply create an account on archivesoftheartistled.org and start editing.
‘THE NOMADIC STUDIO — ART, LIFE AND THE COLONISATION OF MEANWHILE SPACE’ is a publication of photographs and texts by Michael Heilgemeir which together form an enquiry into the role of the artist studio within processes of re-development in cities today, and portray the spirit of an artists’ commune working in temporary urban sites. Operating as case study, this photographic perspective encompasses a set of vignettes, reflections, facts and fantasies extracted from the lifeworld of a transitional artist-led community in Bermondsey, South London and its 18 months in creative habitation of a complex of defunct council premises. In light of this narrative the publication also revisits the rarely told historical experience of autonomous artist spaces and their sociopolitical implications through a series of new texts and interviews with contributors Mike Nelson, Jonathan Harvey, Ron Henocq and Fran Cottell. Capturing the nature of such transient spatial interactions, The Nomadic Studio explores and highlights a vital cultural tradition of experimentation and freedom within the increasingly precarious urban zone and the extent to which these temporary artist-run spaces — despite their importance within contemporary culture and the city — are often forgotten.
TVAD Research Group has enjoyed a productive period in the past academic
year 2013-14, and looks forward to further development in the current year. Development
will focus on two directions: greater collaboration between TVAD’s researchers,
and further external collaborations. The former will build on commonalities
revealed through the sharing of research in the TVAD Talks series, for example
in the shared interest the design event (Kerry
Purcell) and the photographic event (Dr Daniel Marques Sampaio) and how the
body opposes power (Dr Daniel Marques Sampaio) through undress (Dr
Barbara Brownie). Collaboration between TVAD members has also found focus
in last year’s Texts/Cities
conference convened by Dr
Daniel Marques Sampaio and Michael
Heilgemeir, which showcased the work of other TVAD researchers among
others, including Dr
Barbara Brownie and Dr
Marta Rabikowska, each with an interest in place and environment. We plan
collaborations with the wider University research community via the
University’s Centre for
Sustainable Communities (particularly research collaboration with the
Susan Parham), Creative Economy
Research Centre and UH
Galleries. External collaboration will be boosted when we are joined by our
third annual Visiting
Javier Gimeno-Martínez, working on national identity and globalization in
design in the current academic year. TVAD comprises a group of established and
emergent researchers and across the constituency; we seek to prioritise quality
in our activities and outputs, pursuing publication in the most favourably
rated journals in the various fields engaged by TVAD research and seeking
strategic conference exposure. As an aid to quality we also plan a reading
group, to facilitate peer feedback on work in progress.
What follows is an outline of the planned work
for some of TVAD’s researchers, who were present to represent their research at
a TVAD meeting in September 2014. Other TVAD researchers’ work is outlined in
Marta Rabikowska has focused on fewer targets, centred upon people,
environment and discourse. She is interested in working with Michael and Daniel
further. She will be presenting her research on the role of reflection at the
University's SSAHRI research institute conference Betwixt and Between (October
2014) and at another conference in November. Dr Rabikowska has a book
contracted on the topic of visual methods in community which summarises her
research over the past six years (Rowman
and Littlefield), and she is developing published work on the creative
labour of diverse urban communities in London.
Barbara Brownie is working on and with the 'Titles and Trailers' group. She
has two books on fashion forthcoming with Bloomsbury and
will have two journal articles completed within the next year.
Palmer is working on a journal article about study experiences out of the
classroom and capacity for social and cultural change that this pedagogical
practice promises, with reference to regeneration theory. She is contributing a
research seminar on the same topic to the TVAD
Talks series and is working with UH
Galleries on engaging students with the Galleries’ exhibition series.
Grace Lees-Maffei is completing two contracted book manuscripts to be
published in 2016: Designing Worlds: National Design Histories in an Age of
Globalization, co-edited with Prof Kjetil Fallan (Berghahn, for submission in January
2015) and Reading Graphic Design, co-authored with Dr Nicolas P. Maffei,
Academic, for submission in June 2015). In addition, she is contracted to
write three book chapters for the different large scale book projects on
consumption and globalization, home and hospitality and verbal descriptions of
furniture respectively. Dr Lees-Maffei has several projects planned for which
she will apply for external funding, and a new book project proposal in
Watch this space for news of these plans developing!
‘Crisis Communication: A visual history of BP’s use of public relations after the Deepwater Horizon accident’
The project I will introduce is part of a larger body of work I created whilst conducting my MA in 2012. After extensive research, I produced a series of rhetorical pieces of design that explored how graphic design's techniques of persuasion could be used to expose and critique the Public Relations industry. They attempted to explain the nature, history, practices and ethics of the industry to the public, drawing attention to the way organisations attempt to control and manipulate their public image.
One of these outcomes was a book that acts as a critical reaction to BP's crisis management of the Deepwater Horizon accident. Using the firm's own press releases, commissioned imagery and publicly available data I created a one-off publication that acts as a timeline charting the company's response to the disaster.
After presenting the project at a conference at LCC in August, this method of visually documenting an event has resulted in a number of potential collaborations with academics from varying fields who usually rely on the written word to communicate their practice. This takes graphic design away from its usual commercial constraints, towards a wider role as a research tool.