Situating Practices posters, designed by Christian Skovgaard Petersen, 2019 (photo: Claire Booth-Kurpnieks)




Situating Practices was a group exhibition showcasing the work of postgraduate research students at different stages of their research and from different creative disciplines- this included artist practitioners, architects and researchers working at the boundaries of social science and creative practice. The exhibition ran for two weeks from 17.05.19 to 01.06.19 and was part of the Temporary Contemporary programme, a partnership project between the University of Huddersfield Art, Design and Architecture and the Creative Economies team at Kirklees Council, functioning as a space of live action research in Huddersfield Indoor Market. Nine practitioners were selected through an open call to explore different configurations of (art) practice as research or research as (art) practice. The exhibition sought to engage in a dialogue about what it means to do research in, with and through practice. Influenced by the ideas of “situated knowledges” and “heterogeneous multiplicities” in Donna Haraway’s essay Situated Knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective (Haraway, 1988), it explored what kinds of situated and tacit knowledges are produced in practice and how different narratives, making processes and spaces are negotiated within these practices. The works in the exhibition drew on different methodologies and modes of communication in their enquiries, from methods that embed practice within different research sites, such as auto-ethnography and field diaries (Christian Skovgaard PetersenBeth Morgan), to fieldwork within making spaces and communities (Julia McKinlaySusan Carron Clarke). Some of the researchers used their creative practice to uncover and illuminate tacit knowledges (Laura Harrisor reveal narratives and histories that would otherwise remain buried (Adrian EvansCaitlin Kiely). Other practices in the exhibition sought to intervene in and activate public space, using a satellite space within Queensgate Indoor Market as a place of further exploration (Charlotte EaglesJohn Carney). Through situating research practices within a gallery space, the group exhibition sought to consider not only how the artefacts of practice-led research function, but what kind of new knowledges and experiences encounters with this work can generate.  


As well as the process of working together to build the exhibition, the exhibition also intended to facilitate conversations between the participating artists around their research practices through a round-table discussion. The discussion, held before the exhibition preview, was primarily targeted at the contributing artist- researchers although the invitation was opened up to the public. This was taken up by a few members of academic staff and PGR students from the University of Huddersfield not participating in the exhibition. The purpose really, was to introduce each of the artists to each other’s work and take advantage of the opportunity to share experiences across disciplines and institutions. Taking a walk around the exhibition space the contributors were invited in turn to present their work to the group. Dr Louise Atkinson was invited to write a response to the emergent themes of the exhibition drawing on this discussion these were identified as “ways of knowing”, “interdisciplinarity”. “place and memory”, “collaborative practice” and “public interventions” (see following page). Following this the contributors were invited to dwell on more general questions of research as practice. These were the negotiation of ethics within creative practice and practice-based research, the relationship of methodology to practice and process and the disciplinary boundaries that they may encounter. The implications of which are drawn out in the third part of the exposition. This was originally intended to be part of a lengthier programme of discussion around the exhibition, however due to a number of practical reasons this did not come to pass. First of all, the short nature of exhibition install (2 weeks) was difficult to reconcile with teaching schedules, deadlines and other commitments. Moreover, as contributors, particularly those who lived more locally, were already spending available time invigilating the exhibition (a service not yet fully provided by the Temporary Contemporaryinitiative) it was difficult to get more than one exhibitor within the gallery space at one time before the other had to rush off the next appointment. The handover point however provided a key point of contact between people- sharing who had been in and what they had said. The other practical issue was funding related- while the project had secured funding from the University of Huddersfield Graduate School ‘Postgraduate Research Environment Fund’, the maximum funding for a PGR exhibition only allowed us to cover material costs for the installation, travel expenses for the exhibitors to come to Huddersfield twice- once to install and once for the discussion and private view, and transport for the return of works where necessary. The technical support for install and invigilation was offered in-kind. It is important to remember therefore, when thinking ecologically about exhibition-making that these conversations are situated within the wider ecologies of funding parameters, institutional values and bureaucracy. 


The exposition proceeds in 3 parts. First of all, Part 1 explore the exhibition itself considering the works side by side in the words of the practitioners. The artist statements and descriptions of the works were provided by the artists and have been kept as close the original contribution as possible. Part 2 includes the response to the exhibition by Dr Louise Atkinson in which she draws out the emergent themes of the exhibition and Part 3 situates the exhibition works within a broader discussion about ecological approaches to exhibition making. 


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS (alphabetical order)


Dr Louise Atkinson was awarded her practice-based doctorate from the University of Leeds in 2016 and now works as an independent artist- researcher, with recent projects including commissions from the Yorkshire Sculpture International ‘Making Matters’ project and the Refugee Council ‘No Place Like Home’. Dr Atkinson was invited to write a response to the work and themes of the exhibition from her subject specific knowledge in research as creative practice. Her response draws out the emergent themes of the exhibition, including multiple ways of knowing, interdisciplinarity, place and memory, collaborative practice and public interventions, through an analysis of the individual works included, concluding that these objects hold a double ontological status, representing both the processes and outcomes of the research, while existing within academia and as part of the wider artistic discourse.


Claire Booth-Kurpnieksis a final year Collaborative Doctoral Award candidate with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield. Her PhD research is addressing the question ‘How can we understand the Yorkshire Sculpture Park as generative of aesthetic and social experiences and what effect does this have on the wellbeing of the visiting public?’ through a qualitative methodology influenced by participatory research practices. Claire’s research interests are on the different modes of engaging publics with art, their potential impacts (aesthetic, wellbeing, transformative etc.), and socially engaged art practice. Her interest in the curatorial project of the ‘Situating Practices’ exhibition has arisen from the tension within her own PhD research, by thesis, about her own identity as a practitioner somewhere between research and art. Through this exhibition she is interested in interrogating how practice can be configured, with other PGR students, within the process of both research-as-art and art-as-research.


John Carneyis currently engaged in a practice-led Masters by Research at Manchester School of Art, titled ‘Concretising God- Dematerialisation, Fetishism and the Social Construction of Objects’. As an artist, he produces work that investigates the power and social agency that material things possess, to address the contention surrounding 'the material' of artworks (a well-documented problem for art production since the 1960s) and their immaterial antipodes (the mental and social forms that artworks produce, prompt or instigate). It is by viewing the agency of immaterial form as a sacred power- and by exploring the potentials of this affinity through the phenomenon of fetishism- that his practice takes root. 


Susan Carron Clarke is a practice-based PhD researcher in the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield. HerPhD research investigates the resurgence and revival of traditional stone carving techniques in community art and craft organisations. As an embedded researcher with the West Riding Stonecarving Associations (WRSA) she is documenting learning processes, techniques and the attraction to the materiality of stone in a communal workshop environment. The use of creative practice is part of a multi-method qualitative approach to studying a stone carving community in a way that allows for total immersion in a situated context. 


Charlotte Eagles is currently engaged in a practice-led Master by Research in the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield. Her practice explores and investigates ideas of the audience, community, collaborative narratives and participationFor Situating Practices Eagles has created a socially engaged platform to be both observed and engaged with, using her artistic practice as a methodology to investigate what it means to be an audience member. 


Adrian Evans is a Senior Lecturer in Architecture and PhD student the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield.  Evans's PhD research engages with narratives around the clearances and diaspora in/from Scotland, speculating that a creative deep mapping of place and landscape can disclose a narrative which has been overlooked and suppressed by a modernist, rational architectural approach.


Laura Harris is a PhD student at the University of Liverpool and Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool. Working at the intersection of sociology and art practice. Harris's PhD project 'Knowing from Inside the White Cube', uses artists' filmmaking to explore and express embodied and sensory knowledges. In particular, the project is concerned with the hidden labour required by the 'white cube' model of arts institutions. Working with gallery technicians, cleaners and volunteers, the project interrogated the installation of an exhibition In the Peaceful Dome, Bluecoat 2017-18. Focusing on the materiality of the exhibition as it interacts with embodied practice and tacit knowledges, the research aims to make visible the 'white cube' obscures: manual labour and unruly, lively materials. Sociological filmmaking tends towards the documentary format. Harris attempts to challenge this, using the film camera instead as a tool for 'sensuous scholarship'. Resisting linear narrative or voiceover, her films are an invitation into sensory worlds and as an exploration of artists filmmaking for sociological research. 


Caitlin Kiely is a visual storyteller undertaking an MA in Visual Communication at the Royal College of Art. Her practice is concerned with the landscape and how it is an archive for memories, histories and narratives to be contained and unearthed.  She has developed a type of archaeological methodology to her practice, as she observed, surveys, and excavated meaning and information from the landscape by considering traces of the past. Kiely is continuing to develop a practice-based research approach toward place. With this, she is challenging the conventional parameters of the landscape whilst exploring alternative methods of representation.


Julia McKinlayis working on a collaborative practice-based PhD at Leeds Beckett University in partnership with Yorkshire Sculpture International (YSI). YSI was a new sculpture festival delivered by the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park from June to September 2019. As part of her research for YSI, McKinlay has been researching the space and facilities for sculpture production in Yorkshire. Visiting foundries, fabricators and quarries has revealed new materials, accidental assemblages and industrial fabrication techniques. Finding links between processes and material by-products of these spaces for production and geological and biological formations has influenced the direction of her studio research.


Beth Morgan is a Graduate Teaching Assistant and is currently engaged in apractice-led Masters by Research in the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of HuddersfieldMorgan’s creative practice is focused on giving her own personal, remembered experiences of walking through landscapes visual form. Overly saturated colours, biomorphic shapes and layered forms build up as she recollects her experience of a specific walk in a particular site, transforming and shifting until it inspires a sculpture. Her practice-based Masters by Research concentrates on understanding her relationship with the landscape, considering how it is transformed through the act of walking and how memory distorts and abstracts, forming new experiences. Walking is an important part of her practice, the more she walks the more responses she creates, giving her a greater understanding of how walking informs and encompasses who she is as a creative practitioner.


Christian Skovgaard Petersen is a lecturer in Contemporary Art and Illustration at the University of Huddersfield. He is currently engaged in a practice-based PhD project titled ‘Practice Futures’.  Travelling to work between London and Yorkshire on a weekly basis, and having trained in Denmark, Sweden and Britain, Petersen is a veteran commuter who self-identifies with the travelling journeyman. Both in his research and practice as a maker and graphic novelist, he looks to the artisan craftsmen and craftswomen that have taken to the road to train and ply their trades across Europe since the 17th century. In anticipation of challenging current models of creative working, Petersen believes that the travelling journeyman can serve as a model for future creative practice.

Julia McKinlay- Quarry I and Quarry II, 2018, framed Mokuhanga woodblock prints (photo: Claire Booth-Kurpnieks)

Christian Skovgaard Petersen- Practice Fictions (2019)


In his PhD project, Practice FictionsPetersen uses field study, artistic research and design fiction with an aim of formulating a theory of creative practice with mobility and displacement at its centre that acknowledges and responds to issues around the free movement of labour and the consequences of automation. In this exhibition, he presents a fictive reconstruction of ceramic fragments collected on field trips to the Thames foreshore between 2014 and 2017, using amateur archaeology as a method for the construction of parallel stories. From the fragments he was able to create an abridged reconstruction of a 19th century transfer-ware pattern through the collation of its multiple design elements. The romantic fable attached to the pattern was consequently realigned to accommodate these multiplications and omissions from the fragments. The work explores the effects of automation and reproducibility in the industrial revolution within the transferware plate, the speculative endeavour of amateur archaeology and the tension between fiction and ‘truth’ through creative re-construction.


Susan Carron Clarke- The Girl with the Papua Shell Eyes, 2018, clay maquette, carved sandstone and papua shell, tools and stone samples (photos: Claire Booth- Kurpnieks)

Julia McKinlay- Quarry I and Quarry II (2018)


The two works within this exhibition Quarry Iand Quarry II(2018) are part of a series of water based woodblock printing developed as part of a residency at the Mokuhanga Innovation Laboratory (MI:LAB) in Japan. Mokuhanga is an ideal method of printmaking for depicting three dimensional objects in space. The medium allows layers of ink to be built up and brushed out to create gradients of colour- something less possible in other print mediums. The Quarry series developed from visiting the stone mason's yards near sculptor Isamu Noguchi's studio in Takamatsu. McKinlay was intrigued by the raw blocks of stones that were from the nearby quarry, the voids and channels carved into them, traces of the stones being removed from the mountainside. The works form part of McKinlay’s practice-based PhD project in collaboration with the Yorkshire Sculpture International festival, which is exploring print as a sculptural medium, and sculpture making spaces. 

Christian Skovgaard Peterson- Practice Fictions, 2019, framed digital prints, paint  (Photos: Claire Booth-Kurpnieks)

John Carney- Symbolic Retribution, 2018-2019, installation: flowers, candles, colour film photographs, archive box, gloves (photos: John Carney)

John Carney- Symbolic Retribution (2018-2019)


A fetish describes an object that possesses a power that is somehow inordinate, misplaced or inflated, resulting in our submitting to our own creations as if they were alien powers, or as anthropologist David Graeber describes, falling down and worshipping that which we ourselves have made (Graeber, 2005). In this sense, fetishism described an attempt to concretize the sacred and enshrine it in a material thing- a condition whereby the material and the immaterial become entangled. Under this condition, a fetish doesn't merely represent the deity but rather becomes it- animated by the perception of its devotee. Fetishism constitutes a social theory of objects- a condition wherein the object is elevated to become a social agent in its own right. By exploring the affinity between art objects and sacred objects- or fetishes- it is Carney's objective to investigate the agency that these objects possess, how that agency is generated and how this might be harnessed within an art practice. Symbolic Retribution(2018-2019) is a series of public actions and interventions where Carney creates and leaves flower memorials in public settings. These actions serve as a method of transforming an otherwise inert and ordinary space into a 'sacred' space and to explore the public's capacity to generate meaning. For this exhibition, alongside the archive of documentation within the Market Gallery space, Carney has created an intervention within the space of Queensgate Market.

Graeber, D. (2005). Fetishism as Social Creativity. Anthropological Theory,5(4), p.412

Caitlin Kiely- The Body as Landscape, Landscape as Archive (2018)


The Body as Landscape, Landscape as Archive (2018) began with Kiely's late grandfather's archival photo album, which documented his time in the construction industry. As he suffered with dementia his stories were often fragmentary and expressed incoherently. She, therefore, began to see a parallel between this and his photo album which had been subject to removal, loss and reorder throughout the years. In order to obtain the stories contained within these photographs, it involved asking her father questions in order to excavate his memories, which would otherwise have remained buried. Through this surfacing of memory, they collectively connected images with specific locations- allowing the archive photograph to transform into a physical place. This journey through place and memory not only pieced together her grandfather's fragmentary narrative, but also marked a new one between herself and her father. The Body as Landscape, Landscape as Archive (2018) explores the concept of landscape and how it can be a potential container for personal narratives and histories. It was informed by sedimentary rocks and how they provide an archive into the earth's history. It was through identifying a relationship between the reconfiguration of these rocks (as a result of metamorphism), and the reconfiguration of self, brought about by dementia, which helped her to consider the landscape as both an interior and exterior space. 

Susan Carron Clarke- The Girl with the Paua Shell Eyes (2019)

The Girl with the Paua Shell Eyes(2019) is loosely a self-portrait of the research practitioner. It was carved by hand from a block of Maltese limestone using traditional fire sharp tools and mallets. The exhibition documented the processes and techniques involved, including the original clay maquette, research diary, tools and the final carved form. This carving was Clarke's first substantial attempt at 'carving in the round' and forms part of a broader case study about the West Riding Stone Carving Association, based in Halifax. The carving process involved making a side and front template of the maquette and using it to carve across the block of limestone. A claw chisel and medium weight mallet was used for a roughing out phase along with some 'pitching' to remove larger pieces that were not required. To further refine the points a grid and plumb line helped to transfer additional measurements to the maquette. Flat, bullnose and gouge chisels were used with a dummy mallet to add detail and refine the shape. Finally, a range of files and rifflers helped to smooth the surface before finishing the sculpture with fine abrasive pads and sealing the powdery surface. Some colour and paua shell eyes were added to enhance the carved features and reflect light.          

Caitlin Kiely- The Body as Landscape, Landscape as Archive, 2018, video, print and mixed media installation (Photos: Claire Booth-Kurpnieks)





Charlotte Eagles- The Forum (2019)


The Forum (2019),installed in the satellite space from 25.05.19 to 01.06.19, was developed as a structure comprised of a desk, a question, a chair and a typewriter with a roll of paper attached. The purpose of the platform is to provoke participation and investigate the varying positions and states of being the audience. It can be used as a tool to translate the reflections and perspectives of the audience by acting as a mediator between the audience and the displaying of work, whilst also questioning how common interests can influence a sense of unification and community. The Forum(2019) activated the space of Queensgate Indoor Market, allowing the audience the opportunity to engage with the work as viewer or participant, either visually by analysing the displayed text, or through assuming the position of participant to contribute to the ongoing collaborative narrative between the audience and the artist.

Charlotte Eagles- The Forum,
2019, installation: typwriter, easel. chair, embroidered cushion (photos: Claire Booth-Kurpnieks)

Adrian Evans- A port facility for the return of the Knapdale Diaspora (2018-2019)

There is a disconnect between modernism and the landscape. Modernism, with its rationalist framing, objectivism and measurement, has allowed us to extract ourselves from the landscape and to treat it as a resource in even very context responsive modern architecture, as on the West coast of Scotland. Evans's PhD research engages with narratives around the clearances and diaspora in/from Scotland. Using Deep Mapping as an emergent method, a multi-media open-ended explorative portfolio of creative work seeks to examine multiple aspects of a place or landscape.

The artefacts within this installation explore the following manifesto of seven points:

  • How can the rational framing of the museum make a place for narrative?
  • The narratives of place in a haunted landscape are ghosts which occupy both the past and the present. The creation of artefacts which engage with these narratives provides access, through this temporal disruption, to the deep time of landscape.
  • Re-engagement with the landscape is wayfaring, a navigation, and in the full meaning of the phrase, 'making a way',
  • The nature of this particular place is highly defined by the imbricate nature of the land and sea, although land, inevitably, is the place of occupation and the key navigation is by sea.
  • I become an instrument of navigation. My deep mapping (artefacts) are the outputs of my instrument.
  • The instrument must be calibrated.
  • The vessel is both a container and a fundamental tool of navigation. It contains, and occludes, a cargo. This is a curation- of a cargo of curiosities- and an artefact that tells of a place in the landscape. The vessel, with its cargo of curious artefacts voyages on a diaspora of narrative carrying its place with it."

Beth Morgan- A Walk in Scarborough, 2019, ceramic sculptures, unframed paintings (photo: Laura Mateescu)

Adrian Evans- A port facility for the return of the Knapdale Diaspora, 2018-2019, mixed media architectural model installation. (Photos: Claire Booth-Kurpnieks)

Laura Harris- Knowing from Inside the White Cube,
2019, multi-channel video projection onto tracing paper, cartrdige paper, plexi-glass and chalkboard; chalk, window cleaner (photos: Claire Booth-Kurpnieks)

Beth Morgan- A Walk in Scarborough (2019)


The series of works on display, in paint and ceramic, are inspired by a walk along the long stretching coastline of South Bay in Scarborough; walking amongst thriving rock pools, barnacle-covered sea walls and craggy rocks, across barren sandscapes littered with seaweed cast onto the shore by a violent sea. Morgan’s practice is situated within these natural environments, immersing herself within them, considering the ways in which the weather alters the colours around her, how the wind catches a certain leaf, how the sun distorts the view or how tiredness can disrupt focus. No photographs are taken during the walk, only notes and quick sketches in her 'field journal'. These are used in the studio to prompt a memory or feeling. Within the gallery setting, the works themselves take on a whole new phenomenological experience for the audience, prompting feelings of the strangely familiar, as most people will have, at some point in their lives, been immersed in a similar landscape.

Laura Harris- Knowing from inside the White Cube (2019)


Knowing from Inside the White Cube(2019) invites the viewer into the sensory world of the gallery install through a multi-channel projection. The footage was shot during the install of an exhibition at Bluecoat, Liverpool. Challenging the 'hands-off' knowledge culture of arts institutions, the projection reflects the skilled manual, material work required by the 'white cube'. Gallery spaces tend to proscribe tactile experiences of artworks as material things; artworks exist in the social imaginary as 'out of arms reach'. This erases the bodies and labour of manual workers (the technician or cleaner) who have an intimate knowledge of the materiality of the gallery. This projection invited viewers to interact with the materials of the 'behind the scenes' work of installing Bluecoat's exhibition while making visible the labour that produced it.


The artist thanks all those whose labour made this installation possible.