Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Return visit for TVAD Visiting Researcher 2014-5, Dr Javier Gimeno-Martínez!

Javier Gimeno-Martínez is Assistant Professor at the VU University Amsterdam. He holds a MA-degree in Industrial Design from the Universidad Cardenal Herrera, Valencia (Spain) and an MA-degree on Art History from the Universidad de Valencia. He got his PhD in 2006 from the KULeuven with the dissertation “The Role of the Creative Industries in the Construction of Regional/European Identities (1975-2002): Design and Fashion in Belgium and Spain.” He was a visiting scholar in the department of Design History at the Royal College of Art (London, UK) for the year 2009-2010. Dr Gimeno-Martínez’s research interests encompass design and fashion as related with consumption, gender and national identity. He has been conducting research on the shifting cultural status of industrial design and craft from the 1950s up to today with Belgium as case study, funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders from 2007 to 2010. The culmination of the first three years of this research project was the seventh ICDHS conference “Design and Craft: A History of Convergences and Divergences”, organized in collaboration with Dr. Fredie Floré, which provided the opportunity for an international discussion on regional specificities as well as the impact of global processes of industrialisation. If, until now, design history has been largely dominated by the Western narratives of industrialization, then moving the focus towards non- industrial design practice might bring non-Western scholars to the forefront. Moreover, previously marginalized design histories in industrialized countries can finally get a voice. Dr Gimeno-Martínez was an Editor of the Journal of Design History from 2008-2013 and he is currently co-editing a special issue on Dutch design for that journal.

·        PROGRAMME
     THURSDAY 19th MARCH 2015

10 am to 12 pm - Reading Group – Gallery Café
Session with TVAD and School research staff and PG students. Texts have been tabled for discussion from Dr Javier Gimeno-Martínez, Dr Barbara Brownie, Dr Steven Adams and Dr Pat Simpson. They are available to participants on request from Dr Grace Lees-Maffei g.lees-maffei@herts.ac.uk
1 pm to 3 pm - National Army Museum Project discussion, JGM, BB and SA.
3 pm to 4 pm, AB132 – Design Talk: Design and National Identity’, Dr Javier Gimeno-Martínez
What are we talking about when we talk about British design? Or Dutch design? What is produced in the country or what is consumed in the country? Both positions are substantiated by different theoretical approaches. We must be however aware of the implications when using one or another. This talk will elaborate on these theoretical frameworks and how they can contribute to a better understanding of national design.

      FRIDAY 20th MARCH 2015

11 AM – 4 PM TVAD SYMPOSIUM ‘Design and National Identity’ convened by Dr Grace Lees-Maffei – Room 1A161

11 am – Coffee, Welcome and ‘Introduction: Designing Worlds: National Design Histories in an Age of Globalization’, Dr Grace Lees-Maffei, Reader in Design History, School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire.
Contemporary design is global. Along with international developments in higher education, the influence of post-colonial theory, and intellectual endeavours like ‘world history’, design historians are now writing Global Design History (to use the title of a 2011 edited collection). While the nation state is no longer the only socio-cultural or political-economic unit forming our identities and experiences—if it ever were—this paper examines the value of national frameworks in writing design history and asks whether moves to discard them are premature. Are national histories of design dependent upon outmoded generalisations and stereotypes? Or do they demonstrate cogent frameworks for the discussion of common socio-economic and cultural conditions and shared identities? Globalizing design history involves writing new histories of neglected regions and nations and revisionist histories informed by the findings and methods of new comparative and global histories, of celebrated industrial nations.

11.30 am - What can we learn about research methodology from the sacking of the Bastille: 2-4 pm. Tuesday 14th July 1789? Dr Steven Adams, Associate Dean Research, School of Creative Arts & Head of Research Degrees (Social Sciences Arts and Humanities Research Institute), University of Hertfordshire.
In this brief talk, I want to look at some of the methodological problems encountered in the examination of an historical event, the fall of the Bastille that marked the start of the French Revolution. In an attempt to a raft of set secondary sources on the subject to one side, I turn instead to a range of primary material - textual and material - generated in the weeks after the Bastille's fall, texts and artefacts that defy easy categorisation and perhaps test the boundaries of some normative forms of academic history, art history and design history. We are left, I suggest, with things and writing about things made and written  by citizens struggling to keep pace with the events unfolding around them. In an attempt to begin find a place for myself in these events, I turn to a set of methodological strategies from codicology and cultural studies, to existentialism, 'chronographie' and the study of necrophilia. In a nutshell, the talk attempts to bring some historical and textual fragments into the light in the same way that those who sacked the Bastille, laid its contents out for the comment and inspection of their peers in the days after the 14th of July

12.15 am – Modern Wife, Modern Life: Expectations of the 1960s Irish Housewife, Dr Ciara Meehan, Senior Lecturer in History & Associate Programme Tutor for Humanities, School of Humanities, University of Hertfordshire.
The Modern Wife, Modern Life exhibition opens at the National Print Museum of Ireland.  It explores representations and expectations of Irish housewives as seen in the pages of women’s magazines from the 1960s. The exhibition has been supplemented with domestic objects crowd-sourced from the Irish public. While the objects themselves are not particularly unusual, many of them had fascinating and revealing backstories. These objects are being used to construct a picture of how everyday life was experienced and understood by ‘ordinary’ women in the 1960s.

1 pm to 1.45 pm – Lunch, Provided

1.45 pm - A Special Relationship: The Transatlantic Domestic Dialogue, Dr Grace Lees-Maffei, Reader in Design History, School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire.
Design History has been bounded by national borders, and yet design is local, regional, international, intranational, and global as well as national. In this presentation, I call for transnational design history, using the case study of domestic advice literature, a mediating genre which contains a wealth of information about real ideals of the consumption of design in the home. Just as manners are markers of national identity (in that the people of different countries display different behaviours) so advice literature has been a tool in the formation of national identity. For example, Sarah A. Leavitt (2002) has discussed the role of homemaking literature in the process of Americanization, turning immigrants into American citizens. But while domestic advice books have a normalizing function—a white middle class ideal is published for white middle class readers to follow—mainstream examples have largely failed to recognise the ethnic diversity of US, and UK, society. Furthermore, an insistence on national borders as borders for understanding domestic advice literature has led to erroneous chronologies based on the relatively recent introduction of domestic advice literature into US publishing when compared with its long roots in the European literary tradition. And directly after World War II, historian Arthur Schlesinger regarded etiquette literature as a channel for the maintenance of world peace, in that it could help people from different countries to understand and show respect for one another. Informal manners have been presented as an American national trait, not only in British domestic advice literature with its implied fear of Americanization, but also through claims in US-produced titles of the forging of American manners. The pre-eminent American advice writer, Emily Post. continually adapted her advice to keep pace with the informalization of American society, and yet she was ridiculed by authors of ‘the new hospitality’, Mary and Russel Wright, who saw her not as the arbiter of American etiquette, but rather as a proselytiser for English manners at odds with the needs of mid-century Americans. To understand the importance of domestic advice literature in mediating national identities, we must also recognise the transatlantic development of the genre in a ‘domestic dialogue’ between the UK and the US of several centuries standing.

2.30 pm – ‘A graphic negotiation with the past, present and future. Political devolution and the symbols of the Spanish regions (1977–1991)’, Dr Javier Gimeno-Martínez, VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Political devolution results in administrative institutions that are generally created anew. However, these new institutions try to conceal the brevity of their existence by reusing communal symbols from the past, such as flags or coats of arms. Even when these symbols might objectively carry certain polemical connotations, the weight of tradition can become an opportune tool for legitimating institutions, so that the past is somehow forced to conform to the present. Properly analysing this instrumentalization of historical iconography can pose quite a challenge for both historians and designers. Indeed, it is present-mindedness rather than historical perspective that drives these legitimating processes. This talk analyses the negotiation of signs by the governmental bodies that resulted from Spanish political devolution and their negotiation with both their past under Franco's dictatorship and their future in democratic Spain.  

3.15 pm – ‘Re-packing the nation: The Analysis of Ideological Symbolism in Tourist Advertising for Poland’, Dr Marta Rabikowska, Principal Lecturer in Creative Industries, Leader in Creative Employability, School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire.
Dr Marta Rabikowska will present preliminary findings from her research on tourist advertising campaigns for Poland, issued after 2004 (the date of Poland’s accession to the EU). Rabikowska has published on the history of Polish advertising and the representation of gender stereotypes in Polish advertising before (2003) Rabikowska, M., ‘Female representation and dominant ideologies in Polish advertising’, East Central Europe. Vol. 30, 2, p. 39-61), which research provided the foundation to her analysis of ideological symbolism in tourist advertising affected by the intense migration movement from Poland to the EU countries in the last decade.  In this presentation, she will look into the stereotypical articulations of ‘national pride’ and ‘national treasures’ as examples of establishing a ‘new global identity’ for a nation strongly connected with the past on the one hand, and affected by contemporary migration movement and cultural exchange on the other hand.  An encounter of values and discourses, which takes place in the advertising campaign commissioned by the Polish Tourist Board (2010-2015), will be contrasted with the results of Rabikowska’s research on identity-making processes among Polish migrants living in the UK  (2009) Rabikowska, M.  & K. Burrell, 'The Material Worlds of Recent Polish Migrants: Transnationalism, Food, Shops and Home', in Kathy Burrell (ed.) Polish Migration to the UK in the 'New' European Union: After 2004,Aldershot: Ashgate, pp.211-232; Rabikowska,M.( 2010) ‘The Ritualisation of Food, Home and National Identity among Polish Migrants in London’, Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture.  Special Issue. Ed. by Marta Rabikowska (2010) 16(3), May: 377–398), and other relevant literature on national symbolism and representation of Polish migrants in the Western media. The underlying thesis to this argument is grounded in the concept of re-appropriation of national identity in a changing historical context and in the arbitrariness of representation.

4 pm - Discussion of next steps and farewell.

For more information, contact the TVAD Research Group Leader, Dr Grace Lees-Maffei g.lees-maffei@herts.ac.uk

Thursday, 12 March 2015

FoodNet: Food-Related Research in the School of Creative Arts

On 28th January 2015, The Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care (CRIPACC) at the University of Hertfordshire launched FoodNet, a network for policy, practice and research stakeholders interested in food and public health in Hertfordshire and the surrounding area. Papers outlining key research projects being undertaken by the Food and Public Health Research Unit within CRIPACC were followed by a poster session displaying relevant research from across the University. TVAD contributed a poster showcasing food-related research in the School of Creative Arts.

The poster featured the work of Dr Pat Simpson, Reader in Social History of Art, whose AHRC-funded research project ‘Sex and Socialist Realism’ investigated the relationships between Soviet concern with eugenics in the 1920s and visual constructs of the New Soviet Woman. One aspect of this research focused on propaganda images promoting hygienic maternity and childcare in order to help boost the very low birth-rate and poor survival rate for babies and young children. Central to these images was the message that ‘breast is best’, so working mothers should express milk to be given to babies in factory crêches. Posters also gave clear instructions on what foods and drinks breastfeeding mothers should and should not consume.

Another aspect of the research examined the utopian Soviet idea of a collectivised lifestyle that would allow more women to engage in paid employment. Grigorii Shegal’s poster shows the New Woman opening the door to this new way of life, with its communal canteens, laundries and crêches – an escape from the ‘kitchen slavery’ symbolised by the image of a primus stove.

Mindy Yiran Xie, a student on the BA Hons Contemporary Design Crafts in the School of Creative Arts depicted her current project is about food and contemporary jewellery. The work is designed to make people aware of the beauty of food and encourage a different connection with food via the form of jewellery. So far, Mindy has have made a ring with a 'fork' on top so you can pick food with, and also treats the picked food as the 'diamond' of the ring.

Professor Joy Jarvis, Professor of Educational Practice, and Dr Rebecca Thomas, Programme Leader of Photography, represented their project 'All’s Well that Eats Well: Sharing Food, Ideas and Ideals in the Creative Arts'. Over the last few months the School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire has run several initiatives revolving around food and its remarkable ability to create a relaxing environment in which to engage with important issues in learning and teaching. These include a large-scale indoor picnic, themed workshops around ‘breakfast’, ‘lunch’ and ‘tea’ and a student breakfast club, all designed to bring people together in lively and friendly exchanges.

Finally, Dr Grace Lees-Maffei, Reader in Design History, shared her AHRC-funded project 'Designing Domesticity'. It examined the social and material aspects of entertaining at home, from hosting a dinner party to informal teenage gatherings. Using domestic advice books (books about etiquette, homemaking and home decoration), her research showed how the design of the home influences the social organisation of eating at home, as much as those social factors influence domestic design and decoration.

The launch was a success for all involved. Here are some images of the event, including the papers examining research in CRIPACC:

Dr Wendy Wills speaking at the FoodNet launch
Dr Angela Dickinson at the FoodNet launch

Dr Faith Ikioda discussing FoodNet research

Dr Grace Lees-Maffei and Dr Wendy Wills at the Poster Session

Thursday, 5 March 2015

TVAD TALKS: Prof Michael Biggs and Kevin Dowd

TVAD Talks take place on the second Wednesday of each month during term time. In 2015, we have heard three speakers from the School of Creative Arts, Professor Emeritus Michael Biggs spoke in January about the evaluation of research, Kevin Dowd gave a presentation ‘Exploring practice-based methods in graphic design research’ and Matthias Hillner's talk was entitled ‘From virtual typography to intellectual property rights (IPR), and from research through practice to research into practice’. Dowd and Hillner are both staff on the Graphic Design and Illustration BA Hons and they presented as a double bill in February. Here, we are able to share two of the three presentations we have enjoyed so far this year. Watch Prog Biggs' talk on research evaluation here:

Next, we are able to share a talk by Kevin Dowd, ‘Exploring practice-based methods in graphic design research’ The discipline of graphic design is growing to accommodate novel ways of gathering data and generating findings, expanding beyond the established foundation of borrowed rhetoric that has informed current research methodologies. However, there are few examples of methodologies tailored specifically to the skills of the graphic designer as researcher, and fewer still with practice at their core. This talk explores examples of practice-based research in graphic design, highlighting a need to develop methods for design research practitioners. This is examined further through my own study, which proposes a novel system of practice-based methods in graphic design research. Watch Kevin here:

Our TVAD Talks series continues in March with Dr Ivan Phillips, speaking about his forthcoming book Once Upon A Time Lord: The Myths and Stories of Doctor Who - watch this space!