Mónica Rivas Velasquez

My PhD project centres on a speculative productive fusion of contemporary art practice, botanical research, autobiographical narratives and political histories, past and present, within the context of my native Colombia.

My research focusses on the plants Espeletia, Brugmansia Arborea and Mimosa Pudica in an attempt to attend to the multi-layered complexity that each species unfolds and to chart the affective responses that these encounters with the botanical world unlock. By an interweaving of practices such as drawing, writing, installation and public readings, my research aims to further the exploration and experimental articulation of plant-human relations.


Keira Greene

In the global event of rapacious consumption, it is evidently unethical, as an artist, to work with toxic material or dwindling natural resources. In this climate, working with the physical body as material can be considered an ecological and political act. My practice-based research focuses on the body as a site of investigation within the cross-disciplinary field of contemporary art and dance. I will look to the work of women–artist–dancers that use dance to construct meaning and challenge dominant representations of the body. Through a primarily feminist discourse, the body engaging with dance will be analysed as a body that performs the defining ideas of the time. I will argue that the physical body negotiates and reflects the ideologies in which it is situated and therefore can motivate alternate translations of representation.

As a filmmaker I look to the context of dance as a generative site of contestation. I will focus on somatic practices, movement practices that involve a dual observation by the dancer; they are simultaneously aware of their gesture and the feeling of that gesture. The term somatic, from the word Soma, is the body as perceived from within. I will approach this interior territory to critically dispute the language of the sensing physical body. I will explore movement practice that turns the sensing body inside out to perform aesthetics of feeling and in turn perform political agency. 

John Lawrence

Through a practice located in art writing I am invested in exploring the peripheries of where meaning can be generated through language, towards asking the question ‘To what extent might ‘site of reception’ be considered as a facet of language itself?’

Framed around a speculative concept of ‘Spatial Writing’, and extending ideas around ‘Spatial Music’ as established by 20th century avant-garde composers such as Xenakis, Nono and Stockhausen, my research engages practices, forms and sites of live textual production, as well as forms of language that might resist such recuperation, in order to understand how embodied experience, spectacle and the materiality of site can affect and inform a collective reception of meaning.

Through the proposed choice of sites of-and-for the work, I aim to embrace tensions around non-instrumentalised hedonistic spectacle versus a capitalist instrumentalisation of culture, and plan to frame my research within a partial reevaluation of Adorno & Horkheimer’s ‘Enlightenment as Mass Deception’ in relation to industry and religion.

James Irwin

Using Printmaking and the Moving Image to relocate the individual within Algorithms and Automation.

My research will address printmaking and the moving image as sites for understanding the vexed relationship between digital imagery and authenticity in a context of algorithmic automation. Software used for the production of digital imagery provides the means through which to access a recorded history of actions, where each stage of production can be revisited at any point within an image making timeline. When presented with a digital image, we are no longer merely looking at a fixed record of the present moment, but a single ‘selection’ from a potentially infinite series of images. This singular image ‘surfaces’ through post-production processes that provide the means to entirely reshape the representation of reality. As a credible artefact, or as a means for presenting ‘true’ forms of representation, the digital image is fallible. Just as pixels can be numerically manipulated, new forms of agency arise at the points at which the individual – the user – inserts themselves within the digital production process. Within a system that has led to the proliferation of the ubiquitous image, where industry standard tools algorithmically stylize image output to recognisable norms, how and where are new forms of subjectivity being produced? How can artistic practice contribute to and shape the production of these subjectivities? As efficiencies of automation and distribution threaten to normalise originality, with the ‘viral’ gaining cultural currency over the unique or the ‘one off’, what sorts of works of art correspond to these changed perspectives on humanistic ideals?



Ilsa Colsell

Overlay: How can we use layering and obscuring as a strategy for making?

When two objects are placed together, one partially or even completely concealing the other, we make by obscuring, edit by covering over or omit by denying visual access; and as we do this we leave our trace actions behind.


As an artist my research questions what is revealed here in this moment of apprehending the composite object made in this way; how do these interrupted, seemingly discontinued fragments of visual information collide, both physically and in terms of their now combined images and attendant meanings.
Within this body of research I specifically suggest that if by refocusing our attention on the overlaid surface, and, looking beyond the severed edges that have come to dominate and historically frame the conversation around collage production, we can begin to ask how the process of overlay offers a renewed vantage point within this mode of artistic production.

Charlotte Warne Thomas

Golden Age; On the Contemporary Agency of Gold

My practice-based research examines the changing role of gold as a material and metaphor for financialization since the cessation of the gold standard in 1971. I deploy real gold, gold plate, gold leaf and artificial gold to elicit the complex dual roles of gold as adornment and as money, exploring its shifting status as a repository for standardised (economic) value and a universal signifier of wealth and status. Focusing specifically on the process of electroplating, whereby a micron thick layer of gold is deposited onto a metallic substrate, I seek to draw parallels with the alchemic moment of the creation of luxury and the complex financial systems which govern the neoliberal economic climate.


Charlotte Warne Thomas



Alex Pollard

The Clairvoyance of Painting: Is Paint Ganymede Slime?

Taking the form of paintings and theory-fiction this practice-based inquiry explores a revised role for intuition in painting [i].
Playing with narrative devices borrowed from Philip K Dick I plan to utilise “fictioning” as a methodology to examine pre-cognitive intelligence within the practice of painting. I aim to examine “Myth-Science”[ii], the work of Rudolf Steiner on intuition and quotations from painters such as Philip Guston that examine the complex relationship between “intuitive” painting and the repetitious re-occurrence of mythic archetypes throughout history[iii].
Fictioning can function as a position “against the dominant reality”, allowing us to “imagine and image alternatives”[iv]. The human subconscious is now a political battleground owing to the role of big data companies. Algorithms woven into web 2.0 hi-jack our thoughts, desires, opinions and behavioural patterns and store them for capitalistic gain. My project intends to address the need for new images and narratives to be produced by artists that shift our consciousness away from this manipulation by examining the role of human intuition in a culture ruled by data metrics and predictive analysis. Fictioning in this context functions as a form of Accelerationism that imagines alternative visions of the future within the present, providing a much-needed reflection on the role of the painterly in digitalised times.

[i] I see it as building on my previous output as a painter where I have created fictions in order to explore pockets of history that had never occurred, such as Paleo Fauvism.

[ii] Myth-Science being the strategic collision of the residual, dominant and emergent parts of culture. Key practitioners commonly identified in this field would be Sun-Ra and Mike Kelley.

[iii] Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, New World Library; 3rd edition (23 April 2012)

[iv] Deleuze Against Control: Fictioning to Myth-Science, Simon O’Sullivan, Goldsmiths College, Theory, Culture, Society,2016

Andy Tam

“Global Economics” making “Global Contemporary”


Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”
(Andy Warhol)

The study explores the fundamental nature of art in relation to the eco-social development of society. For some instance, Art is not only motives of pleasure and expression, but also immerses a perspective of social criticism, social awareness, and social reforms at the end. For some extents, the concept of Post Pop has been widely adopted and explained as social and artistic phenomenon in China. The economic success in China has been demonstrated as influences and social documentations from consumerism, media, and popular culture material. Finally it triggers global economics and global contemporary, and then shapes the mottos of “China as World City of Consumerism”. Art is representation of the global consumer society, and shows a sense of existence as consumption procedure (as Barbara Kruger’s (1987) art work “I shop therefore I am”) to psychological behaviour “I see therefore I am”, and reveals the very nature of instinct: art as pursuing pleasure rather than retinal pleasure.

Anna Lucas

Looking, looking away, looking again – The photographic still as an object on film

What perceptual transformations occur when the photographic image is (re-)looked at through another lens? How can physical manipulation of photographs on film evoke an embodied response in the viewer?


This practice led enquiry focuses on the physical characteristics of photographs as objects alongside their visual content, at a moment of image saturation, digital transformation and screen-based image consumption.

I am interested in the shared act of looking, performativity and gesture, the charisma of the photograph as an object in which layers of imagery, shared experience and time unfold, overlay and intersect. The work considers how inclusion and influence of others affects creative practice. Using the double ‘look’ at a photographic image through another lens as analogous to dialogue.

Using the camera as a research tool and filmic conventions to prompt physical interaction with diversely sourced photographs in studio and lab spaces I am exploring the material implications of the printed photograph in film aiming to focus attention on it’s ‘volume, opacity, tactility, and physical presence in the world’ (Batchen G1997 Photography’s objects).

This heuristic process allows for accidental events and playful uncertainties to confound our expectations of physical and virtual, abstraction and representation, stillness and movement in order to question the illusion of effortless digital image manipulation.
The work is situated within a context of artists moving image that considers structuralist, documentary and essay film as relevant. Through an investigation in film, photography, anthropology and material culture theory, this research will take into account contemporary philosophical debates around the nature of photographs, their ‘magic’, mutability, role in making meaning and inscribing the past, and their relationship to time and movement.

This research enquiry is significant and innovative in its use of the intangible nature of film to represent an embodied understanding of the photograph as a material object, reflexively establishing practical and theoretical agency for both mediums whilst challenging our cultural dependence on digital technologies.


Felicity Hammond

Portals in the Urban Terrain: excavating the virtual ruins of rendered architectural propositions


Monumental billboards concealing construction sites have become commonplace in towns all over the world, with images envisaging desirable, aspirational and unfathomably clean living and working environments. On closer inspection however, these projections quite literally disintegrate. This practice-led research addresses the spatial inconsistencies provided by simulated architectural propositions, and challenges their material status when they intersect the post-industrial landscape. We are at a key moment in image production, where as the software that is used to produce computer generated imagery becomes more readily available, the rendered image starts to break down. Through the interdisciplinary nature of my practice, I am arresting images that although temporal, have a lasting impact on the social and economic fabric of the urban landscape. I am paying particular attention to the ‘slippage’ that occurs in these propositions, and it is this unintentional error that I am adopting as my methodology for creating new photographs and installations.


Marianne Keating

‘They don’t do much in the cane-hole way’ Representing Caribbean Whiteness and the Irish Diaspora in Jamaica through visual and material culture.

Still from Interview with Ms Dunna, Jamaica. 9/1/2017
Duration 5min and 6 sec

My research harnesses post-colonial and archival theory to analyse the migration of the Irish diaspora to Jamaica.
Through re-examining and documenting this largely unknown and unaddressed history, my research traces the migration of the Irish from 1835 to 1842s and their arrival in Jamaica through narratively reconstructing this history through its archival traces. This research addresses fragmented identities via archival and postcolonial frames and the creolization of the Irish in Jamaica and the resulting legacies in contemporary Jamaica.

Through postcolonial theory and archival theory, I analyse and respond to the cultural legacies of colonialism and the human consequences of imperialism. And I seek to determine new historical narratives in response to the dominant “master narratives” of Western nationhood, identity and culture. The repercussions of colonial rule can still be felt today, and my work focuses on the rewriting of histories of the dominated “Other” and returning a voice, which had been rendered mute.

Situating my practice within the historiographic turn in contemporary art discourse and in relation to the archive, notably through the examination of unrecorded, private and disregarded histories, my multi-disciplinary approach to the research, the archival record and the archival image questions the legitimacy of the archive and falsification or lack within the recorded image and text.


Simon Josebury

Beautility:  printed matter, moving image and the question of Use

My research takes as its framework the beauty-utility opposition in aesthetics to then probe and explore how the formulation of aesthetic distance is constructed conceptually and echoed socially. This study will be pursued theoretically in written research, and practically through an expanded conception of publication as practice, investigating mechanical and digital reproduction in the widest sense. This research will practically interrogate the formal representation of aesthetic theory, and question what is at stake in the notion of aesthetic distance, producing both printed matter and digital video that address the social and political implications of concepts of taste, value, and judgement itself.

John Hughes

Surface and Sub – Surface Subversion UNDERGROUND: experimental inter-disciplinary fiction in contemporary art

I am experimenting with combinations of text and sound.
I am asking:
What happens when text is punctured by sound?
How does the use of sound change the narrative?

Sample DATA: The Gunnersbury Triangle part 1, LIVE!
Description: audience wear latex animal masks whilst listening to performed soundscape. 12 x found / captured animal noises (plus impersonations) composed using SAMPLR App / CASIO SKI Electronic Keyboard. Samples feature an Otter, Badger, Nightjar, Barn Owl, Crow, Mole, Fox, Pigeon and Horse. Recording Date: 09/01/19, ICA Studio, CARC Duration: 12:26:00 Notes: #sound collage  #narrative  #voice

Listening to The Gunnersbury Triangle, LIVE! CARC, ICA Studio, 2019


Melissa Gordon

The Value of Gestures

MelissaGordonJoke Gesture Cleaning Table copy

My PhD aims to address the question of how the value of a gesture is determined in a painting. In my approach I have considered contemporary debates around paintings post-condition and its aggregate nature, as well as research into the value form of negative gestures of withdrawal. I have developed new bodies of work that aim to make visible the invisible procedures of labor in the production of painting and exhibition making (as the framing device of the painting).  My PhD is developing a language around gesture that envisions it as fluid, and uses the philosophy around early cinema to determine where a gesture happens (between images). This PhD aims to expand the discussion of value around contemporary painting, focusing on how painting gestures are both a conduit for the movement of value to and from certain spaces in the contemporary art world, but also as a potential fluid conduit for outsider, radical positions which question the role of value distribution through terms such as ‘author’ and ‘genius’.


Christian Newby

Among the Living: Articulating Craft Methodologies Beyond Ornament and Skill in Contemporary Art Practice

My research examines how the use of applied art and handicraft techniques in the production of artworks can focus a spotlight on and put forward new ways of understanding how nodes of instability and conditionality within the definition of craft offer it as a crucial social tool for understanding the ever-changing propositions of material culture.



Daniel Shanken

Unconscious and pre-programmed systems of influence and their implications within art practice

common descent2
Common Descent, HD Video (still), 11:30 min

Daniel Shanken is an artist from Los Angeles, living and working in London. Recently his work has been shown at Studio RCA Riverlight, Art Basel Hong Kong, Yvonne Lambert Gallery, Whitechapel Gallery, CCA Glasgow, Nottingham Contemporary, CFCCA Manchester, Kiasma Helsinki, and CGP London.


Seyyed Sadegh Aleahmad

Anxieties of Difference

As a young Iranian artist living in the UK, the examination of my position in the cultural space that exists between the West and the Middle East is an instrumental voice in my research. In order to address and disarm the habitual notions of Islamic Identity I have adapted subversive approaches to my practice including Maddahi singing, choreography with mirrors and cameras, and performances with fake explosives.

Sadeghaleahmad_pic2 copy

My work questions the ideas of self as a site of conflict between an entity and its projected re-presentation, and explores underlying assumptions and clashes between artistic intensions and viewer’s perception. This is stimulated by the tension present between the presumed role of an active artist being mistakenly recognised for a terrorist


Gareth Jones

How to fabricate the ideal city

I’m looking at how to fabricate the ideal city, using a methodology that I’ve called the Tablescape. This is a form of architectural model making that employs found and repurposed materials to create fictive spaces that become a springboard for different forms of publicity. To fabricate is both to make and to fake, and the ambiguity of the word is key to my research. I am making, through the process of assemblage; I am faking, by constructing stories about the ideal city from these fragments.


This is not based on an abstraction. I grew up in a modernist utopia called Milton Keynes, an ideal living environment planned for 250,000 people on a large area of North Buckinghamshire. My research considers the possibility of vision in the public realm, moving between art, architecture and design. A testing ground for this is a project called City Club, an ambitious scheme to remodel and curate an area of Central Milton Keynes according to the utopian perspective of the city’s first architects and planners.


Bill Leslie

What happens to a sculpture when it is filmed and photographed?

What happens to a sculpture when it is filmed and photographed? How is it effected and changed by this process of capture and representation?  Can sculpture and media act together to produce something which has its own particular force and existence? Can a mediated object be considered as an art object in its own right?

Bill Leslie

This practice-led enquiry will open out the possibilities of the pictured sculpture, conceiving of the act of mediation as integral to the creation of the art object, a radical transformation and fundamental constitutive act without which the object would not be what it is. Using various representational media – still, moving and virtual – I will test the power of the media to transform the sculptural object giving to it unexpected qualities, altering its perceived scale and materiality, finding ways for the pictured sculpture to exceed its origins entering into the viewer’s perception as something distinct yet inseparable from the process of mediation.

This research will take into account key philosophical debates around the nature of objects and of representational media, alongside phenomenological analysis articulating the complex and intertwined relationship of object, and the media through which it reaches the viewer, not merely as something seen visually but perceived bodily. This will be underpinned by an analysis of how the art object has been forged historically in relation to the photographic image and how artists over the past century have used representational media to put the integrity of the art object into question. This research will create new understandings of the nature and possibilities of the pictured sculpture, establishing it as a locus of practical and theoretical inquiry which is at the heart of image production in contemporary art.


Maryam Tafakory

Devotion and absence:  towards a cinematic écriture féminine

This research proposes to investigate the intersection of documentary, experimental video and ethnography within the context and theory of Helene Cixous’s écriture féminine, exploring how socio-political and allegorical narrative is channelled through the self as implicated in the wider social structure.

Bringing into dialogue feminist theory and cinematic auto-ethnography as a device for challenging the assumptions attached to identity in order to open up new forms of writing, alterity and resistances within the system. I aim to research both practice-based and theoretical constituents of feminist cine-writing, developing film pieces testing these investigations into emergent, poetic relationships between visual text and speech act.



Jenna Collins, PhD

We Are the Road

Contemporary archival art practices utilise their artefacts in a variety of ways. My approach foregrounds certain artefact’s own internal and pre-existing complexities, separate from the complexities of an archive. This is distinct from archival art practices that focus on specific histories and their misrepresentation or absence; and practices that critique the archival construct itself.

We Are the Road, 2017

I undertake the research through the production of moving image and sound artworks that seek to adopt and critically reformulate the processes of commercial film production and the artefacts it produces (such as the location report and the screenplay). This manoeuvre responds to the notion of instrumentality, criticised in philosophical thinking about technology.

The artefacts located by this project are the material remains of non-technical aspects (communities, ideas, events) that have accumulated around the development of moving image and screen-based technological products since the late 20th century. Their continued existence as digital files and second-hand products is not the result of an organised recognition of their worth, rather, they have accumulated in the wake of technological advancement as so much junk floating around at the margins of the archive. The intention of the project is not to rehabilitate overlooked materials but to explore the idea that these unheroic fragments and their stubborn specificities actualise moments of lived experience entangled with technology.


Charlie Tweed, PhD

Re-writing the overcode

Charlie Tweed’s practice based PhD research project ‘Re-writing the overcode’ has developed from in depth research around the history, materialities and agency of machinic technologies and their relationship with theories of control. During the PhD he firstly created a number of video works which have tested out particular ‘escape routes’ and new forms of machine assemblage voiced by various non human personas.  For the final output he has developed a large scale audio work ‘The Signal and the Rock’ along with an accompanying publication that channels the utterances of the post-human ‘ghosts’ of obsolete and decaying technologies from a fictional research space located below one of the world’s largest e-waste sites.


Oporavak (2017)

Charlie Tweed (GB), born in 1974, is an artist and academic based in Bristol. He has an MFA in Art Practice from Goldsmiths, London, and is currently completing his Arts and Humanities Research Council funded PhD at Kingston University. Recent solo shows include: “Notes I, II & III” at Spike Island, Bristol; “Animate Projects” and “Alma Enterprises”, London; “i am algorithm” at Aspex, Portsmouth and Exeter Phoenix. Recent group shows include: WRO Media Art Beinnale: Draft Systems (2017); “Selected VI” (videoclub touring programme); “Both Sides Now III: Screenings in East Asia” (videoclub); “Silent Signal” (multiple venues); Oberhausen Short Film Festival; “Cold Bodies, Warm Machines”, NRW-Dusseldorf; Inland Art Festival; “dragged down into lowercase” (Sommerakademie) at the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland; “The Box Season 5”, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales; “The London Open”, Whitechapel Gallery.

Rachel Cattle, PhD

I am a Stylus: Play, Erase, Replay, Overdub, Broadcast

Climbing the stairs and stepping out, its pitch black. I’m disorientated, my eyes are wide open, but I can’t make anything out. Once they become accustomed, I make out tiny lights winking blue and yellow coming from banks of electronic equipment, linked together by long black wires. Thinner brightly coloured wires hang in coils across the space, looping down between the equipment, a series of receivers, amplifiers and tuners, the debris of an abandoned radio station. I notice that everything is connected.

Rachel Cattlesmall

The air is soft, malleable, and as I start to feel my way around my fingers leave small indents. How to convey this? ((((((((((((((((())))))) ((((((((((((((((()))))))))))))))) I turn up the sound and you hear a woman’s voice softly humming on a repeated loop.


Jonathan Allen, PhD

Casting for the voice of Strength || Austin Spare and the cultures of cartomancy


This project takes direction from a forgotten deck of fortune-telling cards, hand-painted circa 1906 by the English artist and mystic Austin Osman Spare, and recently rediscovered within the collections of London’s Magic Circle museum. Seen more broadly as one of many contested sites of enchantment within late modernity, this directive object here prompts its own historical overview, and a range of contingent fictocritical readings.


Martin Westwood, PhD

Through [sic]_[[sic]], I ask a question: how can the material fixity of embodiment and the mobility of information be performed together by practice and by theory?

Martin Westwood

Addressing this, through text and exhibit, this project illustrates and produces cognitive sequences of information in technical, material, formal and somatic transitions.


Completed PhD projects

Jenna Collins (AHRC techne) – ‘We Are the Road.’ 2018

Charlie Tweed – ‘Re-writing the Operations of the “Electronic Noosphere” and its  Control over Populations and the Environment’, 2018

Rachel Cattle (AHRC techne)  – ‘I am a Stylus: Play, Erase, Replay, Overdub, Broadcast’, 2017

Jonathan Allen (AHRC) – ‘Casting for the Voice of Strength || Austin Spare and the Cultures of Cartomancy’, 2017

Stine Ljungdalh – ‘The Zone – A Subjective Investigation, Set Up as a Meta-Fictional Play Towards Recognition of the Event in the Process of Creation’, 2016

Martin Westwood (AHRC) – ‘[sic]_[[sic]]’, 2017

Anat Ben-David – ‘The OperArt – Composition as Alienation in Art’, 2016

Mark Greenwood – ‘The Performing Body in the Event of Writing: ‘Lad Broke’, 20 April 2012, Camp Furnace, Liverpool’, 2013

Emma Hart – ‘How to Do Things with Cameras’, 2013

Susan Barnet – ‘Journeying to Eudemonia: Travel as a Creative Consideration’, 2012

Arnaud Desjardin (AHRC) – ‘The Everyday Press, an Imprint of Books by Artists’,  2012

Dan Hays – ‘Painting in the Light of Digital Photography’, 2012

Anastasia Souliotou – ‘Art and Movement in Public Transport Networks of Contemporary Metropolises [MA by Research]’, 2012

Matthew Thompson (AHRC) – ‘Fragments from a Future Archive’, 2012

Ailbhe Ní Bhriain – ‘The Aesthetics of Exile- An Exploration of Location and Dislocation within the Image Space and its Application to Textuality and Visuality in Ireland’, 2009

John Russell – ‘Staging and the Event: Performative Strategies in Contemporary Art’, 2007