Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield and Associate Professor in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University. Operating under the title Not Yet There, Cocker's research focuses on the process of artistic exploration and the performing of ‘thinking-in-action’ emerging therein; on models of (art) practice and subjectivity that resist the pressure of a single, stable position by remaining wilfully unresolved. Her mode of working unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art, including experimental, performative and collaborative approaches to producing texts parallel to and as art practice. Cocker's recent writing has been published in Failure, 2010; Stillness in a Mobile World, 2010; Drawing a Hypothesis: Figures of Thought, 2011; Hyperdrawing: Beyond the Lines of Contemporary Art, 2012; Reading/Feeling (Affect), 2013; On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013; Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, 2017; The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice, and as a solo collection entitled The Yes of the No, 2016.

Symposium: Critical Engagements with Engagement

I will be presenting a paper/reading at a forthcoming symposium, Critical Engagements with Engagement on Friday 26th July, 10am – 4pm at the Bloc gallery, Sheffield. The symposium will focus on the discussions and debates that surround public and artistic engagement. Drawing on my own practice-based involvement in various participatory research projects (specifically the performance collaborations Open City and Performing the City), my presentation gathers together prose extracts and photographic visuals gleaned from my ongoing research enquiry, Performing Communities. Performing Communities interrogates how participatory performance-based interventions in the public realm can help support the emergence of critical – and potentially resistant – models of subjectivity and collectivity, specifically those forms of ‘temporary invented community’ (Miwon Kwon) created in and through the act of participation itself. Within this enquiry I investigate how participatory performance practice might intervene in and challenge how the public realm is activated and navigated, through its capacity for producing ‘counter-publics’, new social formations for rehearsing and testing alternative forms of individual and collective subjectivity.