Emma Cocker is a writer-artist based in Sheffield and Associate Professor in Fine Art, Nottingham Trent University. Emma's research focuses on artistic processes and practices, and the performing of ‘thinking-in-action’ therein. Her practice unfolds restlessly along the threshold between writing/art, including experimental, performative and collaborative approaches, alongside a mode of ‘contiguous writing’ — a way of writing-with that seeks to touch upon rather than being explicitly about. Her writing is 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, 2013; On Not Knowing: How Artists Think, 2013; Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, 2017; The Creative Critic: Writing as/about Practice, and the solo collection, The Yes of the No, 2016. More recently, Emma trained to be a qualified yoga teacher, interested in how a heightened awareness of the body and breath, alongside meditation and attention practices, might be integrated into art-writing, artistic practice, pedagogy and research.

Event: Exhausted Academies


Exhausted Academies 
Fine Art Studio
Nottingham Trent University

With colleagues from fine art at Nottingham Trent University, I will be hosting this 'think tank' seminar on Thursday 3 November, 2.00 – 5.00, developed in response to a series of provocations by Visiting Professor Henk Slager. The seminar will unfold in response to a series of provocation questions provided by Slager calling for a rethinking of the relation between artistic research and the art academy, specifically through a critique of the ‘exhausting’ achievement-oriented and instrumentalised tendencies of the contemporary neoliberal institution, and a return to a ‘verticalist’ perspective that ‘makes space’ for attention and concentration; for experiment, novel questions and speculation; for reflexivity, new modes of imagination and historic profundity; for an open-ended form of differential thinking that values not-knowing, the singular, the affective, the transgressive, and the unforeseen.

There will be presentations including by Henk Slager (Visiting Professor); by Danica Maier (Senior Lecturer in Fine Art) reflecting on how the ‘bounded space’ of the Summer Lodge model at NTU cultivates experimentality and open-ended process-oriented modes of thinking-making; by Emma Cocker (Reader in Fine Art) on 'creative attention' and artistic knowledge, and by PhD researcher Elle Reynolds who will pose a series of further questions in relation to an (alternative) future of the art school.

Intentionally intimate in its format, this event is aimed towards artists, researchers, educators interested in engaging a dialogue around artistic research and the art school. Related reading includes: The Pleasure of Research by Henk Slager and Janneke Wesseling’s introduction to the publication See it Again, See it Again, Say it Again: The Artist as Researcher (Valiz, 2011).


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