The Knowledge Exchange in Design: Coventry University and Herbert Art Gallery by Geraldine Marshall

For the last 3 years I have devoted my time to academic research, away from the commercial creative industry and employment. The Knowledge Exchange in Design (KED) residency gave me an opportunity to rekindle these skills and put my current research ‘into practice’. It is all too easy to forget the world carries on outside the academic world, or room 104 BCU – Parkside, or even the elaborate shed/office at home; so I was very happy for the opportunity expand my practical professional development away from the confines of the pure academic research and reading.

I am presently working with KED colleagues at Coventry University and Herbert Art Gallery working on the ‘Digitising experiences of migration: the development of interconnected collections’ research project. Further details can be found here. The KED partners at Coventry University are based at the Faculty of Business Environment and Society.

As part of the project an exhibition is due to take place at the Herbert Art Gallery, titled ‘Leaving, Crossing, Arriving: Stories of migration as told through correspondence’. The exhibition will be open 18th – 22nd May. Monday and Wednesday the exhibition is open to the public. On Tuesday the exhibition will be closed from public viewing to host three 40-minute school workshops.

The theme of the exhibition is to display the experience of migration through personal correspondence in the form of letters and images of the people who for various reasons have migrated. My role as part of the creative steering group is to curate the exhibition within the time frame and limited budget.

Having practical knowledge of commercial graphic design I was able to initiate the design of the publicity material (example below), and demonstrate illustrative options to the rest of the steering group regarding the setup of the exhibition.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 10.23.37

Herbert exhibition wall layout

Herbert exhibition wall layout

I was also able to source relevant artwork to be exhibited alongside the historical letter archive through my own research networking knowledge. somecities is a Birmingham based photography initiative co-founded by Dan Burwood and Andrew Jackson. The project is a city wide image-sharing website featuring more than 40,000 pictures of people, places and events taken in Birmingham. Photographers of all abilities are invited to submit the images directly to the somecities site here.

somecities

somecities also work with partners across the creative, cultural, academic and voluntary sectors in Birmingham to train and cultivate the city’s photography community through a series of public talks, bursaries, workshops and sharing events. Most recently the project produced a series of images taken by a number of new migrants who undertook a collaborative photo workshop facilitated Dan Burwood and The Refugee Council. The photographers have kindly offered their images to be included in the exhibition. Below, some of the display options:

Option 3

Option 2

option1

Option 2

SomeCities Exhibition prints option7

I am only half way through this KED project but so far the experience has given me a fantastic opportunity to network with such exciting projects as somecities and open external dialogue with other faculties in other academic institution that I may not of had the opportunity to do so before. And I therefore look forward to updating you further as the KED placement continues.

Geraldine Marshall is a PhD researcher whose research examines urban letterforms in Birmingham.

Learning to mentor by Mattia Paganelli

In the process of becoming an academic researcher, one learns in unexpected ways; teaching has been one, mentoring at first seemed no different. Yet, I was quickly proved wrong. The dialogue with a prospective PhD researcher is an entirely different experience, miles away from the inevitable limitations of the lecturing format at BA level I already knew. It is a curiosity platform, where questions are exchanged and one offers his experience in tackling them. It requires creativity in reorganizing one’s experience beyond the structure of a specific subject of study, in order to understand to someone else’ work.

Thus mentoring has become an opportunity to explore the tutoring role in a broader and more rewarding way. This offers great help in the specific case of art school, where developing studio tutoring skills requires more than simply passing information, and one must learn to be flexible in order to respond to different sensibilities and different practices.

In the conversations we have, I find I am sharing the excitement for having a study project that is entirely my own. The experiences collected in making art in a globalized technological world and the knowledge gained studying merge in this dialogue, becoming valuable references when discussing why and how undertaking postgraduate research; not to mention the more delicate task of advising how to embark in the PhD adventure with the right mixture of foolishness and determination.

Mattia Paganelli is a PhD student at the Centre for Fine Art Research, BIAD whose research examines the relation between aesthetics and epistemology in contemporary art practice.