Wednesday, 31 October 2018


excited to be invited to give the keynote at Turn the Page Book Art Conference in Norwich in May 2019. I'm thinking about talking about taxonomy and definitions of book and how this has informed my practice and the work I have made over the past 30ish years. This will/might also touch on the educational work, residencies within the world of science and the wider place of book thinking as a tool in making sense of the world.
The morning at NUA was Pecha Kucha's -  some excellent communication skills were evidenced and the improved confidence was there to be seen and commented on. Next up a wonderful crit. The first of the year and some of the work was really exciting - lots of innovative outcomes around material manipulation and design solutions, all supported by great research and contextual understanding. The lateral thinking and problem solving workshops seem to be paying off.
Year 3 OCA were set the task of presenting the work of other students. Having lived with another person's work for a week the participants job was to present that work. This saw a wide range of approaches and readings leading to delivering many revelations and entry points to thinking about the work of others
At Camberwell on the Book Art Course it was also the first crit of the new students - set the task of going to a place in London and responding to it structurally after exposure to the previous weeks workshop around the fold and experimental bookmaking. The diverse approaches led to a number of truly glorious conversations which has had my head spinning all the way home.
Meanwhile quite possibly my all-time favourite response by a student after being introduced to the concept of the gantt chart - the action/questioning is a challenge to the very root of what we do and why we do it - its why I teach.

Sunday, 28 October 2018


Just received a pdf and now I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Telling Tales - the catalogue for Debjani Bhardwaj's glorious show for Tashkeel in UAE. I was a mentor as part of their critical practice program and wrote a text exploring creativity and where it comes from. Looking forward to seeing the text in a language that I can't read. I've spent the weekend so far at Spill Festival in Ipswich - a good feeling at the docks in Ipswich at sunset and there is more to come. Highlights were the gloriously distressing shared Saliva @sharedsaliva at Spill central and the stunning film Figure by Lanre Malaolu - here's a link  to some of the ideas behind it - but try to get and see it

Thursday, 25 October 2018


the workshop at The Maxwell around problem solving for the new cohort of PhD Nanotechnology students went well - I know this mainly because people laughed at my jokes! What was fascinating was the initial reaction that I had moved the tables from the usual configuration was the most challenging experience for the students - listening to a coat hanger and collaborating and laterally explaining what was in the bag through mime (you had to be there) were the least problematic issues. As ever it felt glorious to be in such a dynamic space with galvanised people - you can almost feel the creativity. I also took down all the exhibitions that were in the various spaces (apart from the prints that were created as a result of encountering crystallography that are a permanent feature within the corridors of metallurgy).
Meanwhile the work for Chelmsford is up and opened - I couldn't be at the ceremony but I do have a photograph - more to come when I visit the site. Can't wait for tonight's Spill opening and the weekend of performance Sirens calling......

Sunday, 21 October 2018


A quick jaunt around London's East End galleries took me first to The Whitechapel but £14.50 to see a deserted swimming pool seemed a little steep even of made by the wonderful by Elmgreen and Dragsetso onto Gao Gallery to see the beautiful tea soap installation by Godai Sahara. Carlos had some faintly creepy drawings (in a good way) by Stuart Middleton. Herald Street has the tiny space which had the work of Fermin Jimenez Landa who creates seemingly slight interventions - my favourite is that he walked across Europe without touching a door. Ryder projects had a neon display. Maureen Paley has the glorious AA Bronson AIDS wallpaper installation.
the show at 180 The Strand is fabulous - it's a must see and you really do need around 2 - 3 hours to fully take it all in. Difficult to know what to specifically recommend as my second viewing brought new and different highlights. This time around it was Jewel by Hassan Khan  and Now eat my script by Mounira Al Solnh  real gems.
After all the digital work - I also took in the ICA  it was a desire to see something 'physical' that led me to the National Gallery to see one of my go-to pictures - the Pope by Bellini but it was taken away for the show downstairs at which I would have to pay to see a picture I have stood in front of for I don't know how many years. So after a few other pieces in the area I settled for The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian by Antonio and Piero del Pollaiuolo focusing on the detail of the cloth.
Academic activity has been full on this week, both on and offline. In terms of teaching there was group and individual tutorials, seminars, practical making workshops and presentations. The research for the upcoming presentations included a wide ranging list of subjects from positing women's underarm hair as a radical textile activity to looking at rap videos to explore the influence of ostentatious visibility and its relationship to branding, marketing and product placement. Bureaucracy Includes monitoring attendance, writing up tutorial reports, populating timetables (still), and planning and organising in general (fire fighting) and of course there is the pleasure of getting to know my new line manager on the BA Textile Design Course at Norwich - Kate Farley. All good. A busy week ahead - the two opposites of working as an artist are happening on Tuesday. My work at Goldlay Sq is being unveiled as part of the new building development in Chelmsford, meanwhile in Cambridge the exhibitions I created that were part of  are being taken down and packed away after I have given a workshop around problem solving to the new cohort of Nanotechnology PhD students.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018


I've been engaging in a new walk that takes in both Walberswick and Southwold which means going past a fishmongers so after 1/2 dozen oysters in the harbour I'm yet again walking through the town so dropped into Southwold Museum for the first time ever . It's full of fantastic stories - each one connected to a wonderfully odd object. Coffee sent by Haile Selassie after the great flood of 53  and spikes dropped from zeppelins based on designs created to deter Roman Chariots were two of my favourites. meanwhile Hotel Artemis is an amalgam of several films you have already seen, there are no surprises but it looks good and Jodie Foster shines. and Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot - is beautifully shot by Gus Van Sant with some glorious acting by all - Jona Hill is superb. On the Music front enjoying Chet Faker and FKJ today working at Camberwell - running the last what is a book session where structural folding leads to building an individual relationship to bookness. After last week's Textile Design lecture I realised that I had left my keys in the theatre - really pleased this happened as KlangHaus were setting up for Fine Art - the performance/lecture was really engaging and informative - I last saw them in an immersive/performance/gig in an old factory in Norwich. If you get a chance go see them.

Saturday, 13 October 2018


what is society? what is insanity? and if a person transgresses societies moral structures does that make them insane? 22 July prompts some of these questions this conundrum leads to all kinds of questioning about where we are now. I had a meeting in Diss the other day to talk face to face about OCA and managed to walk past a piece of public work I created for a space just outside Morrisons on the main road going through the town - it still looks good. Meanwhile I've been randomly walking past Southwold lighthouse for 28 years and on Sunday I went up - wonderful. The view is obviously fabulous when you look out over the marshes, out to sea and the bays either side. When you look down on the town It's all about being nosey - you are in peoples back gardens - it's  a must see.  On Netflix the ending of Maniac was fairly traumatic with the C pill leading us deeper into what it is to be human. Leave no Trace is a beautiful film which in oblique ways gives us a lenses on the modern world  Eighth Grade gives an insight into the ways screens engage with a thirteen year old but maybe that angst was always there.... Doris Salcedo at White Cube is intriguing but unsure if it's interesting. The latest hot ones is a stunner with Tenacious D sweating it out over the wings.

Friday, 12 October 2018


On my way to symposium 1 at Camberwell - the last one with two cohorts! it's traditionally a great day of possibilities where we see what has been and project into the future what could be. 27ish years ago I can remember contacting Ivor Robinson at Oxford Poly for help after being invited to support the writing of the documents for the first MA dedicated to Book Arts within Camberwell College, in fact the whole country. The Course was developed out of Graphic Design thinking but was taught within a Fine Art context - for me this was perfect and symbolises something about the interdisciplinary nature of the book and the teaching on the course. Over the years the course has responded to academic, political, economic and social concerns. Its content evolved to encompass the current thinking of the times it has moved through whilst always responding to the needs of students. Deconstruction and what it is to learn were always at the centre of the course methodology, often students responded to this and went on to establish the teaching of book art after returning to the places they came from. Its academic teaching structure subsequently evolved to become a pathway within the MA offer. After its existence as a beacon of good practice with connections throughout the world the University of The Arts has now decided to discontinue a dedicated approach to the teaching of Book Art at an MA level. After 26 years as a Course Tutor supporting Susan Johanknecht as Course Leader I now find myself sharing a Course Leader post with Tanya Peixoto as we teach the course out. Ending something is different to beginning something. It's going to be a wild ride and I'm looking forward to the challenge of supporting the students and finding meaning in an ending. In the whole history of the course it appears that I'm the only person to of experienced the whole journey of Book Art within Camberwell - from its initial conception to its proposed demise (I literally have a copy of the final essay/dissertation every student has written!) so reflecting on this has been/is a thing. forward.

Saturday, 6 October 2018


A busy teaching week - watching some great Pecka Kucha's at NUA with the year 3 group, day one back at Camberwell after the break and OCA continues to grow and becomes more relevant with its professional structure and comprehensive use of technology. A day of tutorials with students from all over the world was mind blowingly transformative. I love Zoom (the system we use as a place to meet). Deep into Maniac and its either wonderful or just random. I love the visual tone of the work - it looks great and the actors are believable in the kooky, cartoon, unreality world they inhabit. Tuesday night I went to The Place to Seeta Patel in an interesting performance. American Animals is a very clever story where the retelling of truths and finding meaning are at its core,