Over the last few weeks I have been involved in the Summer Lodge at Nottingham Trent University. For ten days in July the Fine Art studios and workshops of Nottingham Trent University played host to a gathering of thirty diverse artists. This group comprising of current staff, student interns, and artists working in the city of Nottingham and beyond, initiated new dialogues and critical exchange through engaging together in a period of sustained studio/workshop practice. The Summer Lodge was intended as an opportunity to think through making by being able to work for a while without many of the usual constraints and distractions. As part of the Summer Lodge I have been thinking more about the potential of residency-based approaches to making work which I hope to explore further over the coming years.
The Summer Lodge also involved a one-day symposium entitled, The Speculation. Outline: "In the current economic and political climate, the old cliché rings true: the only certainty is that there is no certainty. In such times, existing models and familiar territories can no longer be relied upon, a situation that is especially pressing within the fields of art practice and research, given government prioritization of STEM subjects within universities and the decrease in arts funding outside academia. Whilst it is all to easy to become despondent in such gloomy times, by contrast the Visual Arts research area will seek to speculate upon new directions and alternative possibilities, exploring a troubling grey area, a critical terrain vague which might disturb the smooth landscape of what is already named and known. This work develops out of an already extant research cluster in Visual Arts, which has hitherto focused upon ideas of irresolution, doubt, deferral, uncertainty to explore the potential of remaining ‘Still Unresolved’, but is intended to help us shape the future direction/s of Visual Arts research, and to further develop conversations, collaborations and other projects with colleagues across the School of Art and Design and beyond, as these ideas intersect with other disciplines."
Presenters: Will Bowden (Associate Professor of Roman Archaeology, Nottingham University), Emma Cocker (Artist, Writer and Senior Lecturer NTU), Dr. Nick Flynn (Programme Leader Applied Criminology, Community and Criminal Justice Division De Montfort University) Alice Gale-Feeny (Intern and 3rd Yr Fine Art student NTU), Rebecca Gamble (Artist and Research Student NTU) Dr. Jonathan Gilhooly (Brighton Based Artist and educator) Prof. Julian Henderson (Professor of Archaeological Science, University of Nottingham), Sally O’Reilly (Writer), John Plowman (Artist, Curator and Co-director Beacon Art Project), Tim Rundle (Design Trend Forecaster, Principal Lecturer, Programme Leader Fashion Marketing Management & Communication), Niki Russell (Nottingham based Artist/Producer and member of REACTOR), Nicola Streeten (Illustrator, co-director of Laydeez do Comics and co-director of Beacon Art Project)