TRACK

Oxford and Nottingham

Category: literature (page 1 of 2)

Lost Nottingham – Lost PhD


The painter Cyrill Mann painting the Trent and the now demolished Nottingham City Power Station c. 1939

 

Even the best laid plans can have a fatal flaw.

After a hard year applying I am no nearer a funded or even self-funded PhD with the Thames based ideas.

Apart from the advice that very few PhD funding candidates over 50 now receive funding and if applying try having a sex-change I also came up against another fundamental problem.

I well aware of the pitfalls and problems of so-called ‘practice-led’ Phd study. In fact I wrote a paper on it available

HERE: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1474022213514548

I also illustrated the great and the good’ take on ‘Artists with Phds’ edited by James Elkins for which I had to read every chapter.

http://www.shaunbelcher.com/artwork/?p=544 

So I more than familiar with the argument that a practice-led fine art Phd is essentially impossible and I would 90% agree.

Most of the submitted fine art practice-led Phds thus far completed have been textual commentary on practice and nowhere do I see art objects which in themselves contain new knowledge as defined by the academy.

It is a fascinating philosophical problem but there it is and it doesnt help gain funding.

Does an art object of itself…a painting..a sculpture or a conceptual installation contain new knowledge which ‘transferrable’ NO..not unless it contains text…which funnily enough graphic novels and comix do :-)….

This brings me neatly to my problem with PhDs. I have spent a fruitless year banging my head against the walls of funded academia. As well as the age and gender problems which make it virtually impossible for a man of my age to succeed in the AHRC rat race for pennies I was pitching what essentially a ‘practice-led’ project at solid academic text-only departments.

This reached its apotheosis in two recent meetings at Nottingham University. One in Geography the other in the English Department. In both cases senior academics were very supportive of all I trying to do and if I wished to self-fund (no longer an option as they say life got in the way) then I could do a historical Cultural Geography Phd no problem.

What I could not get support for and this also happened at Lincoln too ( trad Art History only which ironic in an institution hell bent on destroying trad arts for money making ‘performance’ ends) is get support for a practice-led (poetry/drawing/graphic-novel) whatever the practice it that element that caused a shaky heady…. Traditional academia….i.e. the academy wants a rigorous 80000 words or it a no no.

So new year back to square one. the only way I can see a practice-led PhD with the above caveats succeeding is by part of the PhD being comic/graphic novel and therefore containing the transferrable knowledge. I played with this in a ‘Visual Paper’ (NO TEXT) I delivered at a drawing conference in New York again to a few shaky heads and non-publication in proceedings because ‘no text’ 🙂 That paper available HERE:  http://www.shaunbelcher.com/research/?p=1135 along with animated short.

At this point James Elkins kindly stated that he thought that I had done a PhD level of work in my M.A. for approaching the topic in the way I had but that ain’t the same as a real PhD. So I have got nowhere……

Meanwhile I developing this ‘Backwaters’ research into a smaller non-PhD project or at least placing on the back-burner until things look more hopeful.

Further details of Graphic Art and Comics Research on : http://www.shaunbelcher.com/comicart

 

 

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/

 

 

 

 

 

Gnats Again…..a story revisited.

gn1

I am revisiting a paper originally given at the Film Philosophy conference in Amsterdam in 2013.

 

The full paper is available online at Scribd here:

New PhD development: Art History and Technology

2720ALT

Stanhope Forbes 'The Quarry Team' Print. 1894

Interesting times as the Chinese philosopher said. I have officially returned to NTU School of Art and Design to teach on Animation and Graphic Design courses ….I applied for a reduction in hours to support a more intense period of PhD application but have been told not possible so have to maintain my 0.5 contract for now. If I get any PhD support from other institutions I may try again in a year’s time for reduced hours.

I am moving back towards trying to obtain a fully funded PhD. I cannot afford full funding and supporting myself but maybe can get part funded and keep teaching?

The PhD ‘path’ I considering will bring together the basic premise of the ‘ANAMNESIA’ project but maybe with more focus on the impact of Railway on arts. For now the ‘Popular Culture’ angle one I looking at most intently.

Here are some preliminary proposals:

 

I am particularly interested in the concept of ‘embedded literature’ and using illustrations and a narrative/travelogue approach in my research in the manner of W.G. Sebald and Patrick Keiller’s work with art and technology and region.

The PhD ‘paths’ I now considering below have developed out of the original Leverhulme Proposal and draws on material researched in my aborted M.A. Multimedia ‘ANAMNESIA’ project but with more focus on the impact of Railway on arts. For now the ‘Popular Culture’ angle one I looking at most intently.

The Leverhulme Proposal available online here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/249245353/PhD-Levenhulme-Proposal

 

Possible lines of research investigation in this art history and technology area being considered are:

RSS

  1. Rain, Steam, Speed:

Art, Modernism and Technology 1840-1940.

The Railway, Radio and Telegraph in the development of Rural Artistic Communities (Networks) and Small Presses. Focusing on how ‘new technology’ created new artistic forms and communities from Dickens’s Pickwick Papers to The Cockerel Press.

team

2.‘Shifting Modes of Narrative’: Investigating illustration and sequential drawing as a response to the ‘new media’ of photography and cinema. 1836 – 1914.

Starting with Dickens illustrators and moving up to ‘Birth of Cinema’. Less regionally focussed.

talbotreading

  1. Drifting Focus 1830 – 1890:
    Kinema, photography, fine art and illustration. An investigation of new media networks in the first possibly’ Transmediale’ railway age.

Focusing on the narrative arts post ‘Railway’ and relating to contemporary definitions of networks and  ‘Transmediale’ new technologies.

Further details available online at my Transmedia Research Blog:

 

Shaun Belcher 10.07.2015

 

 

 

ANAMNESIA: Art, Technology and Modernism in the Thames Valley 1850-1950

Back to where I started..literally…..first thought best thought?

amanesia

This explains where my ‘art research’ has gone…
It not classic ‘design’ art research any more it lies somewhere along the Iain Sinclair/W.G.Sebald/Patrick Keiller line. i.e. A travelogue based exploration of the historic impact of technology on a specific geographical region. I am now working exclusively on this as my ‘written’ output alongside my poetry.
 

I no longer consider myself to be exclusively in the fine art ‘drawing research’ area.

I am now seeking full or part-funding or a receptive institution to help develop this project.

And here my first mention of ANAMNESIA in 2010:

 

Extended Fictions – Going with the FLOW or not?

haunted house

Read more about this App here : Microsoft Apps

It has been a career-defining week so until the dust truly settles I not making any comments about my withdrawal from the Creative Writing M.A. other than these reflections on what I think is happening to fiction these days in general.

It was only after withdrawal that I started to consider what it was that I had wanted from the course rather than what the course offered me. There was no problem with what delivered it simply wasn’t what I wanted..they sold bananas I actually wanted peaches.

The problem is that the field of ‘Extended Fiction’ which I am primarily interested in is at present almost homeless within academia in general. The NTU course is not the only one focusing on the principles of traditional fiction writing, screen-writing and poetry in categories that have been fixed since the notion of Creative Writing was accepted into the academy. Indeed one could even go back further to the battles to get English Literature accepted into the academy.

This constant seeking for ‘validation’ alongside the sciences means that, like fine art, a lot of conservatism has crept in alongside the wish to be taken seriously. This conservatism is especially prevalent now with REF status measurement . Creative courses move towards ‘acceptability’ through research worthiness but in my opinion it is stifling creative content and not just in writing.

The area of apps and fiction (see above) which mixing illustration and stories, online and offline graphic novels, voice-only novels ( a recent development..basically a recording of writer reading but no text sold) photo-embedded literature, visual-poetry, comics etc etc has hardly rippled the surface of ‘creative writing’ that country-wide has been modeled on a Stateside Iowa Workshop model first introduced in the 1960’s. A model that now 50 years old. We wouldn’t drive a car built in 1960 now so why drive a model of education that similarly dated?

There are various reasons for this. A lot of the embedded wisdom in that model is very good. Good writing is good writing and basic principles have not changed. What has changed is everything around that model. The stand-alone paper novel may not be as Will Self so clearly put it ‘as dead as the Dodo’ but it is it certainly one platform amongst many now. Self is one author trying to breathe life into its  form in an arena where what we call literature or ‘the book’ may be fragmenting into a variety of platforms. The internet has changed the delivery, consumption and influence of the literature we read as comprehensively as the first paperbacks sold at W.H.Smiths (which trains then distributed around the country like a steel internet) changed our notions of literacy, communication and most importantly fueled universal suffrage and democracy.

To paraphrase Yeats

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold……

But the centre here is the reader. The reader is now the centre of endless opportunities be it social media, hypertext, embedded photos. Everything has become an endless ‘narrative’ which we making from our own lives via social media. To disrupt this ‘FLOW’ of trans-mediale imagery and text we have to purposefully disengage via Kindle or paper (the original kindle is a electronic metaphor for paper anyway) and place ourselves outside the ‘FLOW’.

If one turns one’s attention away from standard literature field to what I tentatively calling ‘Extended Fictions’ a whole new landscape emerges. This is a landscape that the millennial born digital natives are swimming in effortlessly. It is both image and text like graphic novels but maybe even more fluid and permeable once online. The graphic novel has its ‘paper’ retro adherents who regard online as a threat to its unique paper object-ness.  They see its object-hood as the defining characteristic of  paper-bound writing and in many ways this ‘thing-ness’ corresponds with contemporary crisis in the fine arts over authenticity and object value.

I spent much of last year investigating Charles Dickens and his illustrators as a key moment in the development of the ‘serialised’ novel. Indeed one could say he invented the modern magazine serialisation and therefore modern cinema and TV.
It is no coincidence that the first efforts to create working free-flowing multi-directional Apps from literature have used him as a model. The image above is a illustrated short story by Dickens from Microsoft. The image below is from the ‘Dark London’ app developed by the Museum of London and again drawing on both location tracking and multiple entry points to the narrative..all is FLOW..not uni-directional narration.

Unless modern creative-writing courses take on board THE FLOW we will have a version of writing presented as all writing just as a version of fine art currently dominates fine art. This is my opinion. It is not an opinion many in my institution would agree with that is for sure.

For me to not go with THE FLOW is to cease to go forward it as simple as that.

The future is here now and it looks very much like the past to me …we do not want to miss the train do we? Would Dickens be working on paper or the web?

london

Dickens Dark London App

Track abstract

Track: Metaphors and a sense of belonging in a networked field of vision.

Blewbury Postcards by EWB pre-1945

Abstract:
Does the viewing and deployment of traditional art practices within augmented reality locative multimedia applications alter the relationship between creator, viewer and traditional notions of an artistic sense of place?
TRACK is a multimedia/fine arts project which examines the wider implications of disrupting conventional fine art notions of landscape by using pervasive media on location in a particular area loaded with art historical and poetical signifiers. Through art practice and research in local history archives it will examine how the disruption of traditional modes of ‘confined’ or ‘static’ viewing may subvert or divert traditional fine art practice and historical explication. This will be contrasted with traditional literary conventions of a sense of place.
Drawing on contemporary new media and locative arts practice and theory especially Coyne’s ‘Tuning of Place’ (Coyne, order 2010) and Kieller’s ‘City of The Future’ (Kieller BFI, viagra 2008) this paper investigates notions of ‘english rural idyll’ ‘mythopoeic’ and ‘place-myth’ (Shields, 1991) in the creation of a specific Berkshire artist’s retreat (The Blewbury Artists, 1880-1999). It will examine how this may be re-conceived or re-investigated through a pervasive media ‘lens’. This is a work in progress and conclusions will be gathered from extensive field-testing of devices and further local history archival investigation.
The presentation will deliver findings so far and make tentative conclusions.

Keywords: Place-myth, mythopoeic, artist’s colonies, hand-held devices, pervasive media, place, landscape painting, drawing, land-writing, deep mapping.

Tom Pow’s Dying Villages project

http://www.dyingvillages.com/index2.php

 

By 2030 it is estimated that Europe will have lost one third of its population. It is already an ageing population with a low birthrate. The effect of this demographic change – the greatest since the Black Death – will be felt most acutely in rural areas. In 2007,  I received a Creative Scotland Award from the Scottish Arts Council for a project aimed at responding in poetry and prose to the social, ecological and cultural effects of demographic changes on villages in Europe.

In 2007 and 2008,  I made trips to affected areas in Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, Russia and Greece. The Dying Village website reflects these trips in sound, image, interviews and artworks.

Dying Villages is an ongoing project. Related works of poetry and prose will appear elsewhere.

Tom Pow

Scott Herring: Regional Modernism

http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/mfs/summary/v055/55.1.herring.html
Herring PDF

MFS Modern Fiction Studies
Volume 55,  Number 1,  Spring 2009

E-ISSN: 1080-658X Print ISSN: 0026-7724

DOI: 10.1353/mfs.0.1596
Afterword:
Regional Modernism and Transnational Regionalism

In lieu of an abstract, here is a preview of the article.

“Europe,” crowed Iowa-based painter Grant Wood in a lesserknown modernist manifesto, “has lost much of its magic. Gertrude Stein comes to us from Paris and is only a seven days’ wonder. Ezra Pound’s new volume seems all compound of echoes from a lost world. The expatriates do not fit in with the newer America, so greatly changed from the old” (19). Wood—he of American Gothic fame—titled his snippy comments Revolt against the City, and in this 1935 essay argued for a quiet revolution that would stymie metropolitan-based modernisms: “But if it is not vocal—at least in the sense of issuing pronunciamentos, challenges, and new credos—the revolt is certainly very active. In literature, though by no means new, the exploitation of the ‘provinces’ has increased remarkably; the South, the Middle West, the Southwest have at the moment hosts of interpreters whose Pulitzer-prize works and best sellers direct attention to their chosen regions” (8). “Because of this new emphasis upon native materials,” Wood went on to explain, “the artist no longer finds it necessary to migrate even to New York, or to seek any great metropolis. No longer is it necessary for him to suffer the confusing cosmopolitanism, the noise, the too intimate gregariousness of the large city” (22–23).
I do not want to dismiss Wood’s anti-urbanism, his insufferable claims against cosmopolitanism, his social and most likely racial conservatism, and his emphatically American exceptionalism. But I do want to highlight that in the midst of these questionable politics lays an inchoate theory for a “regional modernism” decades before the phrase achieved wide currency in academic circles. The term “regional modernism” first originated in architecture studies, where it came— and where it continues—to characterize building design that opposed the

Regional Literary Cutures and Modernism: University of Nottingham Conference 2011

http://www.humanitiescentral.com/regional-literary-cultures-modernism/

Paper sub­mis­sions of 20 min­utes are invited for this one-day post­grad­u­ate con­fer­ence hosted by the Cen­tre for Regional Lit­er­a­ture and Cul­ture at the Uni­ver­sity of Not­ting­ham on 14 April 2011. The event will be fol­lowed by a one-day sym­po­sium of invited speak­ers,  includ­ing Prof. Patrick McGuin­ness (Uni­ver­sity of Oxford), Prof. Andrew Thacker (De Mont­fort Uni­ver­sity), and Dr Nadine Holdsworth (Uni­ver­sity of Warwick).

Recent crit­i­cal work on region­al­ism in lit­er­a­ture has sought to reassess both its scope and its con­tin­u­ing impor­tance over the course of the twen­ti­eth and twenty-first cen­turies. For instance, Scott Her­ring has recently empha­sised ‘the impor­tance of local­ity to modernism’s world-imaginary’, echo­ing Ray­mond Williams’s call for the equa­tion between mod­ernism and the met­ro­pol­i­tan to be reassessed.

This col­lo­ca­tion of local­ity and moder­nity can be seen in the fic­tions of, among oth­ers, D.H. Lawrence, Storm Jame­son, George Moore, Caradoc Evans, Sylvia Townsend Warner, and Lewis Gras­sic Gib­bon. Even James Joyce’s Ulysses derives its cos­mo­log­i­cal uni­ver­sal­ism from a micro­scopic atten­tion to the local details of its provin­cial urban set­ting. In the post-war period, the cur­rency of regional themes in British fic­tion is appar­ent in nov­els by writ­ers like Alan Sil­li­toe, Muriel Spark, Ray­mond Williams, Gra­ham Swift, Pat Barker, and Jim Crace.

A sim­i­lar rich­ness of inter­ests in ideas of place and intra-national iden­ti­ties can be found in the late mod­ernist poetry of Hugh Mac­Di­armid, David Jones, and Basil Bunting, and Patrick Kavanagh’s advo­cacy of the ‘poetry of the parish’ has also had a wide and last­ing influ­ence. Regional themes, set­tings, and dialects strongly colour the work of Ted Hughes, R.S. Thomas, George Mackay Brown, Paul Mul­doon, Gillian Clarke, and Roy Fisher, amongst many oth­ers. In the work of a younger gen­er­a­tion of poets and nov­el­ists there is a strik­ing con­ver­gence between local expe­ri­ence and the pres­sure of inter­na­tional con­texts and relations.

British and Irish drama saw a resur­gence of local pride at the start of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury. From 1904, the act­ing and play-writing ener­gies of Dublin’s Abbey The­atre were emu­lated by a num­ber of other regional reper­tory the­atres in Man­ches­ter, Birm­ing­ham, Liv­er­pool, Glas­gow, and Belfast. And in recent years, com­pa­nies includ­ing The­atre Work­shop, Druid, Knee­high, and Field Day have attempted to stage work that speaks to audi­ences away from the usual cen­tres of the­atri­cal power and influence.

It will be the pur­pose of this sym­po­sium to explore the vari­ety and diver­sity of expres­sions given to region­al­ism in British and Irish lit­er­a­ture and cul­ture dur­ing the twen­ti­eth and twenty-first cen­turies, with a par­tic­u­lar empha­sis upon mod­ernism and its after-effects. Con­trib­u­tors are also encour­aged to con­sider the inter­sec­tions and con­ver­sa­tions that occur between region­al­ism, nation­al­ism, inter­na­tion­al­ism, and cosmopolitanism.

Con­firmed Keynote Speak­ers:
Prof. Luke Gib­bons (NUI Maynooth)
Prof. Dominic Head (Uni­ver­sity of Nottingham)

We would there­fore wel­come papers on a wide vari­ety of themes and top­ics, such as:
• The loca­tions of mod­ernism
• Regional lit­er­ary geo­gra­phies
• Region­al­ism, form, and lan­guage
• Arch­i­pel­agic rela­tions and the cul­tures of the ‘Four Nations’
• Gen­der and regional iden­tity
• Writ­ing, read­ing, and the poet­ics of place
• Region­al­ism and glob­al­i­sa­tion
• The pol­i­tics of regional cul­tures
• Crit­i­cal genealo­gies of ‘region­al­ism’
• Map­ping and cul­tural car­togra­phies
• The phe­nom­e­nol­ogy of the ‘local’
• ‘Parochial­ism’ and ‘provin­cial­ism’ in con­tem­po­rary writing

Please sub­mit an abstract of 300 words to neal.alexander@nottingham.ac.uk by 28th Jan­u­ary 2011, ensur­ing that you include the fol­low­ing details: your name; your affil­i­a­tion; your email address; the title of your paper.

We are also able to offer one bur­sary of £100 towards the costs of fees, travel, and accom­mo­da­tion for the con­fer­ence. If you wish to apply for this bur­sary, please also sub­mit a state­ment of 500 words explain­ing how your cur­rent research engages with the themes of the con­fer­ence. This should also arrive no later than 28th Jan­u­ary 2011.

The con­fer­ence fee will be £50 for both days. Please note that this does not include accommodation.
Related Posts

* Styl­is­tics across disciplines
* Bridg­ing the Gaps, Mind­ing the Context
* Spaces of Alter­ity: Con­cep­tu­al­is­ing Counter-Hegemonic Sites, Prac­tices and Narratives
* Lan­guage, Lit­er­a­ture and Cul­tural Poli­cies – Cen­tres and (Ex-) Centricities

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