Category Archives: Research

    The Curating Contemporary Design MA students visited the Kazakh city Almaty as part of their research. Image credit: REX features

    Kingston School of Art students travelled to Kazakhstan at the invitation of the British Council to help plan an exhibition which aims to raise the profile of Kazakh design.

    Curating Contemporary Design MA students were given a project brief to research Kazakhstan’s emerging design identity. Different groups explored the Kazakh people’s nomadic heritage, disrupted by Soviet rule for much of the 20th Century until independence was declared in 1991.

    The winning entry, named A Chest of Future Memories – a reference to the large chests given as presents to Kazakh newlyweds – was chosen to form the basis of the exhibition at EXPO 2017: Future Energy taking place in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.

    The trip comes at an exciting time for the Faculty, as it prepares to return to its original name of Kingston School of Art in September to celebrate its art school ethos and heritage as one of the country’s leading providers of art and design education.

    Read more.

    Stanley Picker Gallery is pleased to present an evening of dance inspired by Yemi Awosile’s Orishirishi – a new body of research that casts a lens on the insatiable desire to maintain a sense of place and ownership over one’s identity through outward public personas.

    Exhibited within ‘changing rooms’ in the main gallery space, the title of this work is a Nigerian (Yoruba) word taken from Awosile’s family tribe’s vocabulary, loosely meaning ‘an assortment of different things’ and showcases a collection of textiles which classify materials as an arrangement of experiences, alongside multi-media print, t-shirts and acoustic drapes.

    The dance pieces will be performed by Pinelopi Kefou, Rebecca Korang and Anna Guzak – all final year students of Kingston University’s Dance programme under the tutelage of course lecturers Daniela Perazzo Domm and Elena Catalano, and are currently being workshopped in collaboration with Awolsile. As part of their research the trio are participating in practical and print-based workshops, and for the performance itself hope to don some of their own creations along with bespoke pieces by Awosile!

    Performances will be staged at regular intervals within the main gallery space, allowing the visitors to move through, and interact with the exhibition – and music of hip hop artists Khirkee 17 – alongside dancers.

    We invite all to join us for this unique and revealing event. Entrance is free.

    For more information about this project and others please contact Natalie Kay on 020 8417 4074 or email

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    Senior research fellow in the history of art at Kingston University, Dr Jonathan Black has released a new book detailing the representations of one of Britain’s most famous war heroes, entitled ‘Winston Churchill in British Art, 1900 to the Present Day’.

    In the heavily-illustrated book which contains 100 plates by more than 70 artists in its 280 pages, Dr Black covers the changing image of Churchill in a time of mass-produced cartoons in newspapers, through to photographs, scultpures and paintings.

    Dr Black said his book is the first on the subject of Churchill’s image. “I was interested in exploring the extent to which Churchill was complicit in the creation of his own ‘look’,” he explained. “It took me the best part of two years to research and I had the help of the Churchill Archive in Churchill College, Cambridge.”

    “The book also includes some striking, more recent images by Banksy and Marcus Harvey, which depict him as a jovial punk rocker complete with Mohican hairstyle and by Ralph Steadman in which he is transformed into a genial, cigar-smoking cat,” he said.

    The book, covered by the popular image of Churchill as a bulldog standing guard over England in June 1940, received an enthusiastic review from the London Review of Books which described it as a brisk and enjoyable biography.

    Dr Black’s book is now available for purchase.

    Cover image: Marc Atkins

    A new book on Berlin’s urban culture by Art and Design Professor Stephen Barber is forthcoming in April from prominent arts publisher Reaktion Books.

    Berlin Bodies: Anatomizing the Streets of the City examines how people have interacted with the streets, buildings, squares and spaces of the German capital, from riots and ruins to nightclubs, architectural experiments, citywide spectacles, film, art and performances, all of which have affected the structure of the city and the people who inhabit it.

    The book launches at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (Zhilka Auditorium) on 20 April 2017 from 7.00pm.

    Stephen Barber is a Professor at Kingston University’s Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture and the author of six previous books for Reaktion, including Performance Projections (2014), Jean Genet (2004) and Projected Cities (2002).

    Phillip Warnell, Ming of Harlem: Twenty One Storeys in the Air, 2014. (Still)

    Wild Minds‘ is focused on the ambiguities and co-operations that define our relations with other species.

    Bringing together filmmakers, theorists, curators and those working directly with other species, the symposium will combine presentations, in-conversation, film, and notes on performance.

    The various contributors will consider processes by which co-presence, proximity, encounters and (impossible) relations with wild minds are established: from the origins of wild life photographic representation; generational transmission of zoo and conservation; one-to-one animal encounters; image-making solutions of contemporary artists’ film and other commercial cinema.

    Participants will share from their research specialisms, experience, theoretical frameworks and practical references, traversing livelihoods and project-based work.

    “What is opened up is not a debate about ‘animal intelligence’ with all its burdensome procession of qualitative evaluations, it is the possibility that there may be incorporations and pathways other than those captured by the human…it is, in other words, the possibility that humans do not have an exclusive claim to meaning”.

    – Jean-Christophe Bailly


    Cinema 1, London ICA, Friday March 31 2017, from 11.15am
    Symposium convener: Phillip Warnell (FADA)
    Support from FADA

    Contributions from:

    Jean-Christophe Bailly (poet and philosopher; author of ‘The Animal Side’)

    Michael Lawrence (Sussex University; editor of The Zoo & Screen Media: Images of Exhibition and Encounter)

    Lynn Turner (Goldsmiths University; editor of ‘The Edinburgh Companion to Animal Studies’)

    Filipa Ramos (curator; editor of ‘Animals’ Whitechapel Docs/MIT Press)
    Phillip Warnell (FADA (Kingston School of Art); artist-filmmaker, London)

    Honor Beddard (Wellcome collection curator, ‘making nature’ exhibition)

    Charlotte Corney (zoo director, IOW and tiger expert)

    Éléonore Saintagnan et Grégoire Motte (filmmakers, Brussels)

    Ben Rivers (filmmaker and programmer, London)

    Fevered Sleep (performance company, London)

    Myrto Farmaki (video inserts)

    The Cinema 1 programme includes a UK premiere of ‘The Wild Beasts’ (2015) by Éléonore Saintagnan et Grégoire Motte.

    An evening screening of films (in Cinema 2) is being co-programmed by Ben Rivers and Phillip Warnell. Details to be announced.

    Book your ticket.

    Electricity Supply Board exhibition kitchen in the Spring Show model farmhouse, ESB Annual Report 1961–62. Courtesy of the ESB Archives.

    Electricity Supply Board exhibition kitchen in the Spring Show model farmhouse, ESB Annual Report 1961-62. Courtesy of the ESB Archives.

    Design history lecturer Dr. Sorcha O’Brien, from the School of Art and Design History and the Modern Interiors Research Centre (MIRC), has been awarded an Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Leadership Early Career Fellowship  for her research project ‘The Electrification of the Rural Irish Home: Housewives, Electrical Products and Domesticity in the 1950s and 1960s’ in partnership with the National Museum of Ireland (NMI).

    Making use of the extensive ESB Archive, as well as several other national and institutional archives and collections, the project will look the issues surrounding the consumption of domestic electrical products in the Republic of Ireland in the wake of the Electricity Supply Board’s (ESB) rural electrification project, and will culminate in a monograph and an exhibition in the National Museum of Ireland.

    The vast majority of post-War domestic products were imported into Ireland from Britain, the United States and several European countries such as Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, due to the very small scale of design and manufacturing in Ireland, and this project will look at the selection of products sold on the Irish market, through department stores, drapery shops and the dedicated network of ESB shops. It will consider the way which these products were promoted and sold to the rural Irish housewife, through domestic advice literature, advertising and exhibitions such as model houses at the yearly agricultural Spring Show in Dublin.

    The focus will be on the housewives themselves and the emotional meaning of domestic products in the home, particularly in the context of post-war Ireland, where new ideas about modernisation were starting to challenge the power of the establishment and the Catholic Church.

    A series of oral history interviews will be carried out in conjunction with the National Museum of Ireland, to allow these women to speak for themselves and to tell their own stories. It will also look at the role played by the ESB’s female electrical demonstrators in familiarising rural women with electricity and electrical products, as well as the involvement of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association in promoting electricity to their members.

    Museum galleries at the National Museum of Ireland Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland.

    Museum galleries at the National Museum of Ireland Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo. Courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland.

    The AHRC Leadership Fellow scheme provides time for future research leaders to undertake focused individual research alongside collaborative activities which have the potential to generate a transformative impact on their subject area and beyond.

    The funding of approximately £200,000 includes provision for a six month exhibition in the National Museum of Ireland’s Country Life site in Castlebar, Co. Mayo. This award winning museum is located in a purpose-built building on the grounds of Turlough Park, and houses the Irish national collection of folk crafts, domestic life and traditional material culture.

    The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of events developed in conjunction with Age & Opportunity, the Irish organisation best known for the Bealtaine festival of creativity in older age.

    Seed funding for initial research on the project was provided by the Modern Interiors Research Centre, the Design History Society, and the Fundació Història del Disseny.