Collaborative engagements consist of a cluster of research projects with a broad reach across creative communities. As a whole, this grouping engages in cross project international activity in India, Pakistan, France, the U.S.A. and Germany. Of which four core areas of focus for our collaborative engagements are:
Higher Education Research in Art & Design is undertaken by Jeffries, Titley and Clarke. For example, central to Jeffries’ work in games design is to make explicit educational perspectives between academics and practitioners on skills for creativity, and the resulting influence on creative curriculum in Art and Design higher education. Through the use of experimental research methods, his empirical findings contradict anecdotal -though strongly held- views regarding differences between academia and industry. Titley’s work also brings creative communities and education together through the exchange of artworks on the theme of ‘This is England’ and ‘This is Pakistan’. Exhibited in both countries, artworks depicted cultural life in Lahore and Lancashire created by students, staff and local communities. Alongside such works are a range of digital video and printmaking skill demonstrations, lectures, talks and interactive educational archive. Similarly, through collaborative strategies for creative dialogue, and the critique of educational histories, Clark, interrogates the practice of painting and printmaking within a European and International context.
With Testing Space: innovations in independent publishing our collaborative engagements eschew the gallery and seek out places and people with the express purpose to create new ways of presenting and questioning Art & Design. Atkinson collaborates with artists of international significance, to curate and create collectible editions of their work. The emphasis is on work not normally publishable by a major imprint; to make spaces that are free of the time, curatorial and publishing constraints of major museums, galleries and mainstream publishing houses. The result is that Café Royal is recognised internationally as an influential and pioneering publishing house, pivotal in the “small-press boom” of the past five years. Similarly, considered as being at the forefront of the recent resurgence in self-published photographic work, Murray’s research is in contrast to other photographic investigations of everyday life (gallery exhibitions or lavishly produced books). His work, such as Preston is my Paris, intentionally appropriates vernacular methods of production and print materials (photocopying and newsprint) with the aim to produce work that deliberately engage with, and actively encourage participation with, an audience beyond the conventional art world.
Our collaborations within Sound/Image Mix focus upon encounters between sound art, music and the visual arts. Through doing so, we have developed a discourse which often flows between non-western cultural practices and the avant-garde in Europe and the U.K. Caswell’s collaboration to analyse Korean folk music, for example, has been described as “…a fresh impetus to the theoretical and methodological understanding of the genre”. At the core of which is how the study of a culture specific topic can benefit from multidisciplinary insights. Gregory’s examination of the history of audio art in Japan such as through “Encounters in a Universal Ocean: Autonomy and the Sonic Arts in Japan”, continues to reflect on the theoretical and cultural interactions between musicians and artists. In Alkers collaboration “The wonderful and Frightening world of the Fall” the divide between popular culture and the avante-garde is explored. Indeed, the iconic place of the seminal Manchester band The Fall is fundamental to how Alker deconstructs the language of popular culture, and issues of authorship and authenticity. Issues reflected in Gregory’s research. Mackintosh’s artwork also parallels Gregory’s examination of Shezad Dawood and Makoto Kawabata’s work: there uncompromising dedication to the spontaneous; the embracing of chance through their art practice. Mackintosh’s seemingly spontaneous and disposable work belies his interrogation of “information overload” reflective of radical Japanese sound artist. In this respect, our work can exist equally within and in between, the worlds of music and art; between sonic arts and drawing, music and installation, the archive and the gig.
Fashion for Inclusivity: working with the clothed body is our inter-disciplinary approach to create a unique focus for the exchange of expertise between medical science and the culture of fashion. Indeed, the traditional university model has separated the study of the physical, bio-medical body from that of the emotional, socio-cultural body. In Candy’s influential research, data is interpreted to convey the emotional, tactile and aesthetic significance of clothing style and its fundamental interrelationship with shoes, physical mobility and social inclusion. Her research highlights the polarity between clinical, functional attitudes towards shoes and the experiences of wearers.