A TECHNE Conflux is an extended training, development, exhibition or performance programme which aims to enhance research or intellectual skills, or facilitate the sharing of expertise amongst doctoral students in the arts and humanities.
Current and Upcoming Confluxes
‘How Like a Leaf’: Nature, Art and World
Led by Dr Danielle Sands (Royal Holloway)
The Conflux ‘How Like a Leaf’: Art, Nature and World will bring together TECHNE students from across the humanities to assess, adapt and develop interdisciplinary approaches to the relationships between art, nature and world, with the assistance of world-renowned practitioners and theorists. The phrase ‘how like a leaf’ is taken from the work of Donna Haraway, a thinker who is interested not only in the shared ‘molecular architecture’ of plants and animals, but also in the history of cross-species relations and the variety of tools and discourses with which we have addressed and represented these relations, as well as in the possibility of an aesthetics which bridges between human and nonhuman.
The Conflux aims:
to examine the relationship between aesthetic theories of nature and twenty-first century artistic practice.
to consider the ways in which historical accounts of the relationships between art, nature and world might be re-purposed to address the contemporary world.
to provide a space, in the form of workshops, roundtables and an exhibition, in which these conversations between artistic products and aesthetic theories will reach a wider audience.
The Conflux will run from June 2018 - June 2020 and will consist of four themes: Encountering; Writing; Performing and Thinking. It is organised by: Danielle Sands (Royal Holloway), Nick Foxton (Kingston), Adeline Johns-Putra (Surrey), Lucy Mercer (Royal Holloway), Flora Parrott (Royal Holloway), Sara Upstone (Kingston), Daniel Whistler (Royal Holloway) and Libby Worth (Royal Holloway).
Geohumanities Summer School: Listening (to) Field, Voice and Body
Led by Dr Sasha Engelmann (Royal Holloway), Dr Sofie Narbed (Royal Holloway) and Dr Cecilie Sachs-Olsen (Royal Holloway)
The GeoHumanities Summer School offers training for doctoral research that cultivates practices of listening to the field, the voice and the body: how might an enhanced practice of listening to field sites, human voices and bodily states inform and sharpen doctoral research? How can such insights be absorbed and mobilized in research practice and pedagogy?
The Summer School addresses these questions through a one week residency in Bude, Cornwall (in Summer 2019), and through three preparatory workshops in London. In addition to its historic natural beauty and geological features, Bude is the location of the largest “listening station” in the United Kingdom. As such, it provokes us in our engagements with the practice of listening, and provides the perfect setting for students to immerse themselves in one of the three core training strands, focused on listening to the FIELD, the VOICE or the BODY. These three strands provide training in:
techniques of recording and amplifying site-based, geographical phenomena
the analysis of sonic material as a source of information, inspiration and investigation
interview techniques focusing on the politics of listening
interview analysis from the perspective of storylistening
techniques for developing bodily attentiveness and embodied forms of listening
the analysis of bodily experience as a way of knowing
Art, Performance & .........
Led by Professor Adrian Heathfield (Roehampton)
These six intensive study days, spread
over two years, are each one day long and are organised around key concepts in
interdisciplinary critical theory that impact upon the study of art and
performance: materiality, the sonorous, mobility, the common, temporality and
labour. These sessions are targeted at history, philosophy, creative and visual
arts PhD researchers working in diverse disciplines and home contexts, either
through theoretical study or practice-as-research.
Existing research training provisions
across the TECHNE institutions tends to be largely generic (navigating
university processes, approaches to library or archive work, giving a paper,
professional publishing practices, etc.) or discipline specific (rehearsal
observation or dramaturgy in Theatre Studies, notation and scoring in Dance,
documentary practice in Visual Arts, etc.) This programme takes a different tack,
building on and learning from other research training initiatives within TECHNE
institutions that have been interdisciplinary in their theoretical influences,
while being focused around arts and humanities research practices and projects.
PhD researchers within the programme
will gain access to advanced research practices and thinking around research
dilemmas when working with specific concepts and within specific fields of
critical influence. They will get to workshop and discuss their own research
questions and problematics with their peers from other disciplines and
institutions, but also with significant figures in international research whose
work has helped to shape the concept and its attendant fields of study. The
series also aims to raise the level and breadth of critical address for those
working in practice-as-research methodologies through contact with advanced
international critical and artistic research.
Scenographics: Acts of worlding
Led by Dr Rachel Hann (University of Surrey)
The principal aim of this 6-month Conflux is
to bring together PGR, academics and practitioners to investigate how ‘scenographics’
(Hann 2018) enact, speculate, or complicate orders of ‘world’. This overall aim
breaks down into three key learning objectives for the PGR:
the potential of scenography and scenographics as a conceptual lens in the
interdisciplinary crafting of ‘scenes’, ‘worlds’, and ‘atmospheres’.
Reflect on the
impact of ‘new materialist’ thinking for the interdisciplinary study of
staged material cultures, such as interior design and visual merchandising
as well as gardening and installation art.
Consider the case
for scenography and scenographics as a sister strategy – alongside
dramaturgy and choreography – as a formative practice and affective trait
of staged material cultures.
This line of enquiry
builds upon the concept of ‘worlding’ first introduced by Heidegger and more
recently refined by the anthropologist Kathleen Stewart. Worlding stresses the
incessant processes that construct, re-constitute and affect how orders of
world are experienced. Building on the critical frameworks that inform notions
of ‘vital materialism’ (Bennett 2009) as well as ‘creative geographies’
(Hawkins 2014) and ‘affective atmospheres’ (Anderson 2011; Böhme 2013), this
Conflux composes three expert workshops with invited scholars and practitioners
that introduce and debate the key concepts through a combination of seminars,
practical exercises and short lectures. These small group tasks and discussions
will inform the curation and focus of an open symposium, which marks the end of
Performance as Research: Exploring Practice as
Led by Dr Kate Aughterson (University of Brighton)
Performance as Research (PAR) is an emergent
research methodology which utilises and acknowledges the various modes of
performance (voice, body, space, movement, language, sound, texture, shape,
words) as illuminative and investigative modes of research. These workshops in
the cultural hub that is Brighton will explore these modes of experience through
a series of workshops by practitioners, performance historians and theorists in
order to enable PhD students to develop their own performance as research,
through detailed discussion and demonstration with participants over the
fifteen months and with an opportunity to showcase final or work-in-progress at
the Brighton Fringe (at a number of locations) in May 2020. The network
established through the workshops and Open Space will provide participants with
ongoing mentors for their work post PhD, and a network of creative and critical
practitioners who can mutually support their future performative work and
Credit: Jean-Paul Sartre, Gilles Deleuze, and Michel Foucault; picture by Elie Kagan.
Led by Dr Christian Gilliam (University of Surrey)
Critical research is defined as an approach
skeptical of ‘problem-solving’ and the supposed social and political neutrality
of knowledge construction and use of method. Alas, as the premise and thus
research of critical approaches is intimately related to the question of
method, the link to it is often hard to discern for PGR students.The matter is confounded by the current hegemony
of ‘problem-solving’ and positivist discourse in UK Higher Education. The
result is that students and academics alike have been unconsciously nudged into
translating their work in terms inconsistent with their philosophical ethos and
research method, and have likewise become ill-equipped to situate their work in
relation to ‘problem-solving’; be that in the form
of research proposals, funding bids, job applications, or a thesis/ thesis
outline. This is making critical
research vulnerable to charges of intellectual and methodological inanity. Critical approaches, however, are underpinned by a rigorous
tradition of thought, offering necessary social, political and economic
critiques, and challenges to research necessary to the epistemic and democratic
advancement of academia. The Conflux ‘Philosophy and Critical Methods’ aims to address this lacuna in knowledge and
researcher training, bringing
together TECHNE students from across the
disciplines to learn, adapt and develop the purpose of critical research and
the multiplicity of methods employed therein, with the assistance of
experienced practitioners and theorists.
Led by Dr Lucy Steeds (University of the Arts London)
Join us to debate and further writing
in relation to artistic, performative and
curatorial practice. In a series of four intensive Writing Days, you will enter
into discussion with leading international voices. Moreover,
you will workshop your own prose in a constructive group-crit scenario. You
will be invited to quiz our invited guests on their insights into writing as a
process or medium, and to discuss their work as read ahead of time. You will
further analyse and share feedback on each other’s writing, in a session led by
a dedicated tutor who will participate in all the Writing Days and address
issues arising in and across them.
sign up for one of the Writing Days, or all four, the following questions may
be tackled: what academic prose style is productive for my thesis? what is the
relationship of this prose style to what I might publish? how to write about
creative practice without cauterising it? how to relate art theory to art
practice? how to write about my own
creative practice? what different voices does my thesis require? what writing
tips can I learn from leading voices across a variety of fields?
Bridging the Gap Between the Visual and the Textual: From PGR to Early Career Researcher
Led by Professor Fran Lloyd (Kingston)
Gap’ is an extended
training and development programme for doctoral students in the arts and
humanities who engage with visual media and moving image materials as part of
their research. It will take the form of four one-day participatory workshops
and a one-day public symposium with presentations. The aims of this sequence of workshops, planned over two
years, is to enable TECHNE doctoral students and others drawn from across the
creative arts, media and culture and the visual arts to engage with and develop
advanced research skills and networks that are vital to their progression as a
PGR and to their future careers.
The overall aims of the programme are to:
Create a bridge between PGR work and future career
expansion in both arts practice and arts history and theory through workshops
that identify how that bridge into the future works in terms of exhibitions,
publication opportunities, conference participation, grants etc.
Mentor PGRs engaged in textual research on visual
media and moving image materials on the specific challenges that they face at
key moments in their PGR journey and in preparation for future international
Create a sense of PGR
cohort development and enable a pro-active peer group of PGRs to share and
develop expertise over a consolidated period of time.
The Object of Research; a process-led residency enquiry into method of artist-researchers
Led by Professor Rebecca Fortnum (Royal College of Art)
In his essay ‘Sonic Thought’ Christoph Cox poses an important
conundrum for researchers with a material practice. He writes, ‘How
might one ….. allow the object to speak, put it on an equal footing with philosophical thinking, permit it to generate concepts rather than
solely to be subject to them?’ (Cox, 2015:123) Most research symposia
privilege the word, that is they are usually based on the sharing of
written accounts of research. When artworks and artefacts are present it is almost always as image rather than as material – referred to in
secondary forms such a photographs or other digital forms in
presentations. The Object of Research will trial a form of
sharing research in progress by creating a space for artist-researchers
to come together to make, allowing access to material forms of research
not often possible within research forums. This symposium, a week-long
residency for artist-researchers, expands upon conventional means of
knowledge exchange by developing an experimental strand of
practice-based thinking into the discussion, as participants come
together to explore and formulate strategies for arts practice-based
methodologies. It will be led by Professor Rebecca Fortnum (RCA) and Dr
Chant Faust (RCA) and advised by Professor Sonia Boyce (UAL) and
Professors Fran Lloyd (Kingston) with Cumbria Institute of the Arts in