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 enquiry focuses on the process of artistic endeavour, alongside 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.

Research group: Critical Poetics



I am part of a new research group at Nottingham Trent University called Critical Poetics, established by Sarah Jackson and Zayneb Allak. Critical Poetics is an interdisciplinary research group that seeks to stimulate debate, collaboration and innovation among scholars and practitioners whose work is concerned with creative and critical theory and practice. It explores possibilities for the text that are engendered by unconventional, unexpected and cross-disciplinary approaches.

“We are at a loss: we don’t know what to call ourselves. The name, ‘Critical Poetics’, approaches our purpose and function, but does not quite encapsulate all that we do. From the Greek ‘poeisis’ meaning ‘to make’, we understand ‘poetics’ as ‘the creative principles informing any literary, social or cultural construction, or the theoretical study of these; a theory of form’ (Oxford English Dictionary). And we understand ‘critical’ as ‘occupied with or skilful in criticism’, and ‘criticism’ as ‘the art of estimating the qualities and character of literary or artistic work’ (OED). But we do not wish only to critique artistic works, or the process of creating these works; rather, we also want to explore the ways in which we can engage with these works, how we can interact and play with them, and how, in that interaction and play, we can create our own texts. How can our criticism be as creative, as dynamic, as innovative and poetic as that which it analyses? And how can our creative works also offer a critical intervention? Are we critics first and artists later, or vice versa, or both at once? Does it help us to focus on the border between the two, or could we simply dismantle it? If our writing is at once creative and critical, and if we are concerned less with division than with unity, what name might we give to what we do?”

Tentative thematics for the Critical Poetics research group include: On Home, On Monsters, On Orbit, On Play, On Spiders, On Tact, On Telephony, On Travel, On the Uncanny, On (Un)ending, On the Unknown, On the Unthinkable.