Friday, April 29, 2011

Field Notes: Brighton, UK

I was honoured to present at the Picture This: Postcards and Letters Beyond text conference at the University of Sussex in Brighton UK. The conference was a fantastic two day event and accompanying exhibition curated by Nicola Ashmore, which included my piece A Big Adventure (pictured above). It was my first time in the UK and I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and meeting fellow presenters who discussed postcards and letters from a range of perspectives. My paper was titled Writing from the Margin: Letters of resistance, the conference website will soon be updated with copies of conference papers and other resource links.

I particularly enjoyed the following presentations:

Des Barry on the use of found postcards from the Tristan Narvaja market in Uruguay as a starting point for creative narrative, click here to see more of his project with Uruguayan Diego Vidart

Rachel Flynn presented a paper titled Using the written letter as a fine-art source to inform and stimulate a creative practice-led enquiry, she is currently undertaking her PhD at the Scottish Centre for Island Studies, University of the West of Scotland. I found her discussion on practice led research within Fine Art practice engaging and insightful.

Robyn Creagh a fellow Australian based in Perth and London delivered an original paper combining postcards she has written to herself with a discussion of the interconnected nature of place, experience and memory

There were also fantastic keynote speakers including Ann Dumas, curator at the Royal Academy of Arts in London who spoke about the groundbreaking exhibition Vincent Van Gogh: Artist and Writer. The exhibition is particularly significant as it brought together a number of the letters that Van Gogh and his brother Theo exchanged, the letters are more akin to a visual art journal including sketches and insight into his creative process.

I was also profoundly affected by Professor Marcus Wood's paper titled Obscene aesthetics: Posting the lynching postcard. His work is concerned with cultures of slavery, you can read more about his practice here

The conference provided me with a wonderful opportunity to present my own ideas and expose my artwork to a new audience. The presentation panels were followed by a group discussion which provided an opportunity to both receive and provide presenters with feedback and more importantly highlight places of cross-over and valuable insights gained from current practice and research from divergent perspectives. The opportunity to exchange ideas with other arts and cultural practitioners was truly the highlight of the conference and made the effort very much worthwhile.

I would like to acknowledge the generous assistance of the conference organisers Katie Reid and Bethan Stevens in awarding me with a travel bursary and to the College of Fine Art, University of New South Wales which assisted in funding my attendance to the conference through a COFA Travel Grant.