TRACK

Oxford and Nottingham

Category: research (page 2 of 5)

Tracking Time

New directions opening up I could almost call myself an art historian maybe…(trainee level:-)

readinglist

TRACKING TIME: Book or PhD? Or both?

amanesia

Things have moved on considerably in the last few weeks.

I was interviewed for a Horizon CHI (Computer Human Interaction) PhD at Nottingham University two weeks ago. I did well to be shortlisted against stiff and much younger competition (average age 25). From the get go though it obvious that my interests were not aligned with CHI and secondly that I would not be able to work with their new corporate partners. I pitched my application to their older local community arts led model. No point crying over spilt milk….marked the end of my involvement in any kind of contemporary web/internet/computer relatedresearch.

De Capo.

NEW ROUTES:

What it did do was focus me on to what I do have an interest in and this Book proposal and possible PhD more firmly located within the Arts and Humanities area.

Here is a very rough outline of what the book may cover.

 

All dates and ideas provisional in the extreme :

cropped-tracking1.jpg

An original provisional title from 2010

TRACKING TIME; ART, TECHNOLOGY AND UTOPIA IN ENGLAND 1850-1950?

Proposed chapters .
Intro: Chalk Detonators to Concorde – The coming of the railway to the end of the line?
1. Dickens and Seymour. Railways and Illustration

2. Mr Fox Talbot and Mrs Dann: Reading’s First Female Professional Photographer and the Inventor of the calotype process.

3. Alexander Mann and the sequential image.

4. Fairground Kinemas and William Frith – Mapping Oxford a psychogeographical derive

5. Industrial film the art of industry in the Thames Valley – Rural Unions and the Co-Operative movement to Cowley Motors .

6. Rural Idyll: The Oxfordshire Railway Villages and Art Movements Blewbury, Long Wittenham and the Cotswolds.

7. Rural Presses and reactions to Modernism and Technology: Kelmscott, Cockerel Press and Communism.

8. Shooting Europe: The Spitfire Reconnaissance mapping of Germany from Beconsfield Aerodrome.

9. Atoms and Stars: The disintegrating world seen from Harwell and the DNA shuffle.11. Building the 60s Oxford and Abingdon – The Mini and The MG. The patriarchical machine.

Coda . Satellite of Love: Space -race to Boom-bust and the end of empire. Trickle down and the rise of the web..Bletchley Park to Cheltenham. News from Nowhere to News from Everywhere.

 

I also have a facebook page which may come in useful for future crowdfunding if I need to go down that road..or track:-)

https://www.facebook.com/SDBTrackingTime/

 

 

 

 

 

PhD applications: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

artresurch

Cartoon of my Beautiful Career April 2015 –  ‘Plus Ca Change’

Since I went on a career break in September 2014 and following my successful M.A. in Fine Art which I completed with a distinction in January 2014 I have worked towards a funded PhD.

This has not been a pleasant experience and after two years and 5 attempts to secure funding I have finally given up. It has cost me my job too.

The experience has taught me a lot about the nature of modern academia which is in some cases profit-driven, incestuous, corrupt and full of cronyism and back-biting.

I have not been successful despite having a reference from the Chicago Professor of Art, being featured in the Times Higher in an article about blurring the lines between art and research, illustrating James Elkins book Artists with PhDs, having several notable conference appearances and my first and so far only paper published as sole author in The Journal of Arts and Humanities in Higher Education as a ‘New Voice’. Finally in November 2014 I was commissioned by R.I.B.A. to write a poem for Edwin Smith Photographer at their London Gallery. This I did and included traditional Harvard Referencing in the final poem..a first for me and again blurring the lines between art and research:-)

Here the time-line of my glorious failure and the reasons I believe behind it.

Summer 2014 : Leverhulme joint application through BIAD unsuccessful but application was regarded as strong.

Winter 2014: Joint 3 Cities and V C Bursary application through my own institution. Not only not progressed but actively discouraged by the Head of Art Research in my own institution who did not like the fact I had illustrated the Elkins book and generally out-performed him along with a little matter to do with academic validity involving a previous Dean’s output. For legal reasons I cannot disclose why I was treated like this but when I resigned I did discuss it with HR and also stated as I my wife employed in the same institution I would rather resign than get embroiled in a long-winded union battle over it. I would also not be fighting the case as the individual’s father had been a high court judge….my chances of winning zero.

HR recognised  I had a strong case with witnesses but as they also told me my area (drawing) was not supported as not seen as ‘strategic’ ( Textiles and Fashion is by the way) then I was basically flogging a dead horse..

During my career break I officially notified my Head of Art Research, who had by then taken on the post of the overall Head of Research in School and could thus ensure I received no further support, that I was no longer research active. He was delighted. Career wise this would eventually lead to a teaching only post ( NTU considering having salaries on this ticket to FE rates ..it pure business sense). I was effectively dead in the water re Research if I stayed and was also being asked to teach a subject I know nothing of..Animation..after being denied Graphic Design and Fine Art teaching unless dissertation supervision. I too Graphics for Fine Art and too Fine Art for Graphics or in other words..closed shops.

Hence my resignation and leaving at Xmas 2015 I had no choice.

The applications were very good by the way. I may re-purpose one day. I was on brink of submitting a chapter to a I B Taurus book on Phenomenology of Drawing that now gone.

Summer 2015: BIAD 3 Cities. To see if the treatment was just a local problem within NTU I applied directly through an institution that had previously supported me in the failed Leverhulme bid. I received no reply or feedback from them after applying and still have not received any at all it just disappeared. This despite contacting their art research admin. Cheers.

January 2016: Nottingham University- Horizon Award MRL. My application well written and gained an interview last week. Not offered funding. It may not have been best match and I have no regrets about applying. Set up had changed since a friend went on it and local community arts angle I bidding for seemed to have disappeared and been replaced by a corporate business led PFI type model. Only institution to treat me fairly to date though so bonus points for that! Also there was no age problem with the process as a 61 year old had been successful in past. However if you sending interns into corporate industry a crusty old left-wing artist not the best looking nor the most flexible option if you get my drift…

February 2016: Loughborough – same application was acknowledged as of good quality but unfortunately I did not make it through to the final three out of twenty-five for the one bursary. Why only one? Well Loughborough had chucked rest of money at their shiny London campus international funded Phds….so there you go. To just rub salt in wound they tried to trick me into accepting a ‘unfunded’ Phd by praising my proposal as of good quality unfortunately I know someone else in 25 and basically they chucked it at all candidates. Sprats and mackerels. Of course unfunded means giving them £30K minimum…amazingly generous offer when you think about it. I was impressed too. Cheers. Oh and deadline day of budget in case the new PhD Student Loans made me rethink..sharp practice worthy of a barrow boy there then…

So two years of hard work and effort down the drain and a hugely more cynical view of academia. Not to mention approx £20 K in lost wages.

I can honestly say that a lot of this treatment has to do with some of these institutions especially, in regard to AHRC funds, operating an ageist policy and they are too scared to even reply about it for being found out. Hence the evasive and nasty comments. The latest rumour I heard is that a cut off date of 40 is possible..I know 50 is too old as have heard rumours of a female candidate of that age being denied too. I found an online Scottish Government article where it stated no funding from AHRC would be given after 55 that seems about right and I do believe it come down since. The ‘mission statement’ of the research councils is ‘next generation’ no point funding the poor people who having to work until they are 70 now is it…..

The only challenge in obtaining a PhD has had nothing to do with my ability to do one and a hell of a lot to do with my age of 57 and my gender as an OWM ( Old White Male you know those oppressors from the white middle class). If I had been a woman in the AHRC East Midlands catchment I would probably have been funded by now. Let us leave it at that. The Dean I mentioned above was Head of an AHRC panel for a while …just saying…

As for my subject for Phd and its future the picture above is the book I will write despite all this and if I have to will self-publish.

If after that I turn out to be the British Ranciere after all all I can say to the above institutions is

‘Bye and Thanks for all the fish’

The same comment that led my resignation letter from NTU last September.

Farewell Academia hello reality.

 

 

Suit of Lights? The Berkshire Hank Williams…

marshfield mummers

So Shaun what are you actually doing now……

well..that’s an interesting question.

I currently have two PhD proposals submitted to Nottingham University and Loughborough. They both the same and the gist of the proposal is this.

I want to link two separate areas of art research together. Storicodes is an app developed at Nottingham University MRL ( Mixed Reality lab) which is an artier version of the rather banal QR code. It has been successfully deployed through large scale illustration which I was introduced to by Stefan Rennick Egglestone at Nottingham Writers Studio in 2015.

NWS November 2015

At the same time I became aware of the developments in digital embroidery especially through the work at NTU in textile and product design.

I was assured by Prof. Sarah Kettley (now at Edinburgh College of Art)  that there is no theoretical problem in creating lighting embroidery which could then be scanned by the storicode app.

Which Baldrick is where my cunning plan unfolds…

As a dead country star ( yes there a lot around) and folk performer/reviewer I aware that audiences falling and venues closing so would like to help counter that trend. An app that connected both consumers and artists and enabled connections would be great. So here we have a variation on the ‘added content’ idea. By wearing an embroidered suit whilst performing it may be possible for an audience member to focus the scanning app on a part of the design which lit up in sequence as songs played. This would trigger an illustration appearing (songbook cover/graphic novel page) as I performed. The audience member would only access this information at the performance. Thus re-establishing a live venue experience with added value. I keen on the idea of near-field content which limited and not ubiquitous. I have a plan for a museum tree that beams out archives..but that literally another story…

Finally and still in early stages of development I have friends who work with severe autism and it may be possible to develop child-friendly suits that enable communication. Music and rhythm can be the keys to unlocking those previously ‘blocked’ neural spaces. If I can get funding then that a route I keen to go down.

PhD funding is extremely competitive at present and I still hopeful. If I fail ( update July 2016..I did fail but only because I not keen on being a corporate intern which sad ). Then I may look at alternative ways of creating these projects such as Near Now at Broadway or ACE funding or even Crowdsourcing. Who knows.

But that is where I be at right now.

Here some artist’s suits for information….and of course Elvis Costello wrote a song called ‘Suit of Lights’

 

Twin Peaks? New Research Track and merging themes?

 

welcome

 

This just to clarify…my research has previously had two sides to the story…and no bodies wrapped in plastic ..yet…

 

DRAWING: Comics and Graphic Novels Research

Firstly an M.A. in Fine Art exclusively concerned with drawing and presenting analysis of art research methodology in sequential drawings.

This and associated papers/ outcomes contained herein: http://www.shaunbelcher.com/research/

This developed out of a scurious cartoon art dog called Moogee’s adventures in the Fine Art World: http://www.shaunbelcher.com/moogee

UPDATE June 2016: This work is now coming to fruition as Freelance Design and comic illustration under

FLYIN SHOES ARTS U.K.
https://flyinshoesarts.wordpress.com

MOOGEE THE DOODLE DOG
http://www.shaunbelcher.com/moogee/

 

HISTORY OF ART AND TECHNOLOGY

Following an aborted M.A. in Multimedia which changed into a Fine Art M.A. in drawing I became interested in the notion of the rise of Victorian Technology and Illustration as a early distribution network or web. Specifically I began looking at early photography and film and its influences and cross-currents with fine art especially illustration.

This led to the work here and papers linked below (one purely visual until I finally write up).

This led to a Leverhulme PhD Funding Submission through BIAD in 2014 which was a group submission and unsuccessful around idea of Railway as a instigator of artistic practice.

I recently investigated these possible ideas again. It may be possible to link two areas together via a graphic narrative format.

https://www.scribd.com/collections/4262615/Art-Research-Illustration-and-Media

I have also recently used a poetry narrative to describe a Photographer’s Equipment and its technological changes for RIBA

EDWIN SMITH at RIBA

I have just discovered David Trotter’s work ‘Literature in the First Media Age’ which seems perfect match for what I trying to do.

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674073159

(UPDATE June 2016: This route may come to fruition in an Art History/Literature/Music PhD as that the area I now consider myself to be operating in and which best match for interests)

 

James Elkins and The ‘truth commitment’ – Academia and Creativity and ‘Visual Novels’

http://www.full-stop.net/2015/04/07/interviews/nicolesanson/james-elkins/

In academia there is a ‘truth commitment’ thank you Jim Elkins that perfectly expresses my ongoing problem with academia…..great interview.

Yeah,  really! That’s academia for you,  because there’s a truth commitment, you know . . . I didn’t used to think of people in the humanities quite that way, I thought maybe scientists would be that way.

James Elkins is talking about the Humanities requiring ‘truth’ in a scientific way in creative matters. This increasingly the problem with fine art and creative writing degrees they require forms of ‘justification’ and ‘explication’ to warrant validity in REF terms…..

The article also discusses the ‘photo-embedded novel’ or as Elkins calls it  ‘Writing with Images’.

I will respond more fully to the ideas contained here in next few days…it key to the way i see my own work going now. Less academic and more ‘practice-led’.

Back to the futurism

In 2009 in support of my initial M.A. proposal I wrote this statement….

Nothing much changed..:-)

amanesia

Shaun Belcher November 2009

ANAMNESIA

I am a somewhat unusual case to be writing about my ‘fine art’ practice. I began life ‘post-Hornsey College of Art’ in 1981 having successfully gained a place on the Royal College M.A. in Painting but sadly was not so successful in terms of funding. I continued as a painter and printmaker until a move to Edinburgh in 1993. There I became a published poet. A return to Oxford in 1996 then saw a period of fine art mixed with song-writing.

In conventional terms this kind of genre-hopping is frowned upon as not being quite serious enough. Thankfully I have enough USA based models to not worry too much about that e.g. Musician and Architect and Fine Artist Terry Allen to name but one influence. However whatever my ‘practice’ entailed throughout this period one thing remained constant. My commitment and seriousness about what I was depicting in whatever medium.

Throughout my ‘art-working’ life some things have remained stubbornly, one might even say obsessively’ constant. Be it in digital images as recently or in drawing or poetry and song I have remained constant in delineating a clearly ‘map-able’ terrain. This terrain extends about 5 to 20 miles in radius of my hometown of Didcot in Oxfordshire, England. Always the poor relation of the illustrious centre of learning that resides but a stones throw away.

There runs a hard core of intention throughout which draws on politics, ecological thinking and that obsessive returning to notions of ‘place’ and ‘landscape’. I regard my work as being a mapping of constant themes which recur sometimes years later. The River Thames is one theme the Berkshire Downs another. Local folk tales and oral literature mined from local libraries another. A recent song ‘Hanging Puppet’ drew on one such ‘tale. In fact one could describe it as artistic ‘Anglocana’ to differentiate it from Americana. I have written well over 2000 songs over the years..Mostly these are recorded in lo-fi versions and only really coming to life when in the hands of other more talented musicians (see the Moon Over the Downs CD 2003). Poetry has appeared in various magazines and in the Scottish anthology The Ice Horses (1996). I currently have at least 4 unpublished complete books of poetry on the shelf. One could describe my work as multi-disciplinary with a strong streak of green politics colouring the waters beneath.

I have drawn on some clear influences in writing and art. Seamus Heaney’s concept of a personal ‘Hedge School’ going back to John Clare is one thread. My forebear’s personal involvement in Agricultural Unions is another (see Skeleton at the Plough poems). I also am influenced by a ‘working class’ sense of writing picked up from Carver and Gallagher and other dirty realists. In song almost any Americana act would suffice. I am not American but I have strong American influences going back to Thoreau and Walden lake. To try and build an alternative ‘English’ approach I have increasingly been drawn back to the English Civil War when the notions of science and arts were more fluid and interchangeable. I have recently purchased a reproduction of Robert Plot’s Oxford a marvellous Natural History of Oxfordshire from 1677. In it one finds specimens such as ‘Stones that look like Horses’…wonderful….

It is this kind of merging of scientific natural history and folk-lore terminology that I now most interested in. Both in poetry (see Downland Ballads) and artworks (see TRACK..2009)

So how does theory inform my practice? Well I see no distinction between the various arts. I am widely read in poetry and song and that informs my practice whatever I do. At times I have also used cartooning as an ‘art criticism’ vehicle as well as penning many art review pieces. I regard both theory and practice as being essential parts of art education and indeed my own life-long learning. One would not exist without the other.

One needs time to absorb and think not just create. I return again and again to my greatest teachers. People I did not know but who showed by example. Sorley Maclean and Norman McCaig both fine Scottish poets and the female war artist Ray Howard Jones whom I had pleasure of meeting…a friend of the artist David Jones. Wonderful inspirational people…

Victorian Transmedia – Searching for a definition?

talbotreadingThis blog contains all the media related research I have conducted since the inception of my ‘multimedia’ M.A. by registered project back in October 2010. Then the focus was on contemporary tablets and software and a geographical location. Since then I have fairly logically worked backwards towards the creation of the media culture and found myself increasingly interested in the Victorian period.

For want of a better title I have renamed the blog ‘Victorian Transmedia’.

For me the period from the invention of photography through to the birth of commercial cinema is fascinating and it where most of my attention been in terms of genuine research.

So this blog will continue to reflect my genuine interest in the impact of technology on and through the arts in the Thames Valley from about 1825 -1910 ( The Leverhulme application slightly modified that focus for funding reasons.)

I am currently consolidating this research angle into something more solid and will continue to seek support for it outside of NTU SAD.

None of this research will in future be attached to NTU and I have created a new research profile on academia edu as an independent which says it all really.

The new profile is here:

http://independent.academia.edu/ShaunDBelcher

 

 

Leverhulme bid- Proposal

Here is the sadly failed application proposal but plenty of pointers to a future PhD proposal to work with…especially in regard to the mountain of Victorian art and railway literature in my studio….
[scribd id=249245353 key=key-emjYnJ5H6G6eFq1lsuLr mode=scroll]

The Paris Conference Paper on Dickens Illustration

Because of the all change in career break I did not have time to turn this lecture into a full paper sadly….maybe in future. Many thanks to the organisers of the Illustration and Narrative Construction Conference it was excellent.

 

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