Items where Subject is "Cultural History"

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Number of items at this level: 21.

Book

Plastics have now been our most used materials for over fifty years. This book adopts a new approach, exploring plastics’ contribution from two perspectives: as a medium for making and their value in societal use. The first approach examines the multivalent nature of plastics materiality and their impact on creativity through the work of artists, designers and manufacturers. The second perspective explores attitudes to plastics and the different value systems applied to them through current research undertaken by design, materials and socio-cultural historians. The book addresses the environmental impact of plastics and elucidates the ways in which they can and must be part of the solution. The individual viewpoints are provocative and controversial but together they present a balanced and scholarly un-picking of the debate that surrounds this ubiquitous group of materials.

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'Lost Islands: inventing Avalon, destroying Eden' is a monograph published by Heart of Albion Press in 2008. It asks whether narratives of place can affect not only our perception of actual locations, but also our treatment of them: whether imaginary geographies can have real world consequences.

In this interdisciplinary examination of the cultural history of islands, the author draws upon folklore, mythology, literature, popular culture, and environmental science to delve into humanity’s long fascination with islands. Drawing upon extensive field research undertaken exploring islands off the coast of Britain (Iona; Lundy; Bardsey; Isles of Scilly; Isle of Man; Holy Island; St Michael’s Mount; Isle of Wight; the Western Isles), which included a week’s solo writing retreat on the tiny Bardsey Island off the tip of the Llyn Peninsula, northwest Wales; as well as archival research pouring over early accounts of explorers; the experiential research as a professional storyteller enthralling audiences with tales of magical islands; and the latest climate science on the impact of Global Warming on sea levels and migration; Lost Islands attempts to understand our collective fascination with islands, real and imaginary. The way we have tendency to narrativize islands, projecting our desires and fears upon them (a tendency with antecedents back to the earliest of literature, such as the immramas of the Celtic saints), show that the island can be an act of the imagination as well as a geographical fact. Interweaving an erudite analysis with personal embodied anecdote, the text challenges the islandization of disciplines and traditions. A study of the littoral and the liminal, the monograph adopts a hybrid style blending the creative and critical to bring alive the ‘threshold’ quality of such places, sometimes described as ‘thin places’. The result is a kind of palimpsest of different texts and modes of thinking, and as such Lost Islands (illustrated throughout by the author’s own photographs) is research ‘for’ islands as well ‘through’ and ‘into’ them, via a creative-critical practice (Frayling, 1993).

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Film Talks is an edited collection of unique conversations on experimental cinema from a range of eminent and emerging film and video makers. The book represents a contemporary snapshot of the ways in which experimental cinema is perceived by its practitioners, often in relation to other art forms, moving image culture at large and wider social issues. It is an invaluable guide for those keen to immerse themselves in the insights and perspectives that only artists can offer.

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Drawing on previously unpublished company archives, this book considers Marks & Spencer's contribution to British – and, since the 1970s, international – fashion. Rachel Worth discusses how, from the 1920s, the company brought fashion to the high street, offering well-designed clothing at affordable prices. She analyses the unique ways in which the company democratised fashion, arguing that its pioneering role in the development of new fabrics, the employment of designers as consultants and its marketing and promotional strategies have changed the ways in which we understand and consume fashion.

This book received Arts and Humanities Research Council Funding (AHRC).

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Book Section

Once heralded as a ‘fortress built by Nature for herself... a moat defensive to a house…’ our island is slowly unravelling. Across political, social and economic dimensions, Britain is beset and besieged. ‘Our scepter’d isle’ is fast fraying at the edges.

Politically, these have been intense years. A tortuous and messy divorce from Europe is being tested daily at customs posts on the land and across invisible lines on the high seas. Once a totem of English authority, the White Cliffs of Dover have become irreversibly politicised. One faction regards them as unassailable battlements, while a rival party deploys their sheer white slopes as a vast projection screen to beam forlorn messages of loss to our European neighbours. North and south along the coastline, our Channel beaches have become the landing sites for waves of refugees seeking solace and security after perilous voyages from war-ravaged homelands.

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The special authority invested in the war artist and the image had become denuded by the mid-1980s. Although an independent artist working to commission, Peter Howson’s work in the Balkans was considered to have crossed the line that distinguished between impersonal witness and overzealous artist. Unlike William Orpen’s impartial rendition of gross personal violation, Howson was deemed to have become both judge and jury, an advocate not an artist, corrupted by circumstantial evidence rather than remaining vigilant as an uncorruptible viewer. For his part, Howson was clear that the terms of engagement had fundamentally changed since the Great War: it was no longer simply about what could be seen or not seen, but also what was known and could not be denied.

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"Fortunes of War evolved through an enquiry led (pre-internet) approach that focused on a Lamarkian preoccupation with the potential impact of an environment on collective and individual behaviour. The intention was to create anticipatory photographic images. A ‘retention vanish’ approach to composition placed the emphasis on framing the subject of the image from the perspective of the distraction and not the scene. Through this an attempt was made to counter pre-occupied states of mind, circumventing a censorship of expectation relating to the form of both the work itself and significantly that of its maker."

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Herein you will find a fascinating variety of material. The ways we perceive the landscape, and what it means to us, reflect the diversity of our humanity… From the slums of Beijing to the rich urban spaces of Barcelona, from the Malvern Hills to the Green Belt – landscape in poetry, planning and art – you will be captivated.
Merrick Denton Thompson, OBE. Former President of the Landscape Institute

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In spite of the long-lived and ongoing trade in plastic flowers, they are scarcely mentioned in books on plastics and in accounts of the history and craft of artificial flowers. This chapter considers the cultural, historical and commercial value of plastic flowers. In its consideration of the presence, popularity and provocative nature of plastic flowers, notions of taste and different attitudes towards plastics and plastic flowers, it draws on the views of designers, key manufacturers, academics and professionals associated with design, horticulture and floristry. It argues that plastic flowers have and continue to make, an important contribution to design and culture, even though they can disgust as well as delight.

This chapter considers objects as powerful pedagogic tools and examines how they can facilitate student-centred, experiential and active learning. This study reports key research findings, based on students’ critical and reflective evaluation of their object-based learning, and provides evidence that objects provide active learning experiences that can engage learners, enrich learning and energise teaching.

The study considers how students develop their engagement with objects and how they can explore individual preferences through the appraisal of objects’ form and function. The discussion considers how mundane objects can generate valuable and memorable pedagogic experiences, notably when studied away from the museum and placed in the context of the students’ classroom. Objects can present complex, challenging conundrums which students, through their interrogation of examples, can interpret, take meaning and make sense of. Students’ hands-on engagement with objects can inform and inspire their thinking and design making.

In particular the toilet brush - a necessary prosaic design – is considered as a valuable pedagogic implement: it can encourage students to critically analyse its social, historical, cultural, economic and technological relevance and worth. The discussion evidences that objects can generate deep learning opportunities as items stimulate curiosity and critical and analytical investigation, debate and evaluation. This chapter explores the challenges and nuances of using such learning objects and considers the reasons why certain designs prove to be successful learning aids and are popular with both learners and tutors. This study presents a specific pedagogic approach that offers potential for cross-discipline adoption and adaptation.

Article

This article contextualizes and characterizes the Venezuelan feminist film collective Grupo Feminista Miercoles. Founded by Venezuelan Josefina Acevedo and Italians Franca Donda and Ambretta Marrosu, among others, Grupo Feminista Miercoles (1979–88) produced the documentary Yo, tu, Ismaelina (‘I, you, Ismaelina’) (1981) and the videos Argelia Laya, por ejemplo (‘Argelia Laya, for example’) (1987), Eumelia Hernandez, calle arriba, calle abajo (‘Eumelia Hernandez, up and down the street’) (1988) and Una del monton (‘One of the bunch’) (1988), and participated in several activities organized by the Venezuelan women’s movement. On the one hand, this article pays attention to both the cinematic and political contexts that allowed the emergence of this collective, with a focus on the influence that Italian cinematic and feminist ideas had in these contexts. On the other hand, it also provides formal analysis of the collective’s filmography and explores how feminist ideas and praxis are deployed in its films. The overall aim of this article is to restore the contributions of Grupo Feminista Miercoles to both Latin American political cinema and transnational feminist cinema.

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This article contextualises and characterises the history and film production of the Colombian feminist film collective Cine Mujer, and analyses how its collective and collaborative practices challenged auteurism. From 1978 to the late 1990s, Cine Mujer produced several short films, documentaries, series, and videos, and acted as a distribution company of Latin American women’s cinema. Its twenty years of activity possibly make it one of the world’s longest-lasting feminist film collectives. Yet, its history is largely unknown in Colombia and abroad. Thus, the question that motivates this article is related to how to inscribe Cine Mujer in film history without uncritically reproducing the methodologies that cast a shadow on women’s cinema. Throughout its trajectory, Cine Mujer transitioned from being an independent cinematic project interested in artistic experimentation to a media organization that produced educational videos commissioned by governmental and global institutions and often targeted at marginalised women. Based on interviews conducted with some of the Cine Mujer members, the Cine Mujer’s catalogues, and its films and videos, I organise Cine Mujer’s corpus of work in three main modes of production that disrupt the role of the auteur and the centrality of the director.

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The creative turn within geography has seen a number of returns to the artists’ studio as a site for exploring the vital, immanent, and affective relations that form these spaces of creative practice. Where interviews, observations, collaborations, with artists have directed attention to the non-representational, this paper approaches the studio as both a scene, and an atmospheric staging. Taking up broader discourses around the scenographic, it argues that scenes not only take account of the durational and compositional construction of studio spaces, but can be understood as a form of training and attunement through which participants are enrolled in the joint composition of studio atmospheres and registers. It directs attention to the agency that these compositions have in the production of the studio imaginary.

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In Theodor Adorno’s writing the term “natural history” has quite a different meaning to its usual scientific usage. Adorno’s idea of natural history aims at reconciling, in form and in content, the opposing forces of nature and history with the aim of overcoming the division of natural being and historical being that Adorno considered to be the central problem of critical social theory. Through sprawling installations the French contemporary artist Pierre Huyghe creates new forms of interaction between natural systems and artificial constructs. Huyghe’s body of work is submitted to interpretation through Adorno’s dialectic of nature and history to establish the relevance of both Huyghe’s practice and Adorno’s thought to the conditions of the Anthropocene.

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This paper aims to explore the concepts of student-centred, experiential, problem-based and enquiry-based learning through the critical consideration of On Trial a specific case study example of a particularly successful approach to learning that celebrates what Finkel (2000) calls teaching with your mouth shut.

The discussion explores how the format, language and dynamics of the courtroom drama are used as the context and vehicle to secure deep learning through dynamic role play where the tutor is the silent witness.

This article considers how this learning experience harnesses popular culture to help students engage with tough academic issues and wider ethical concerns relevant to their specialist discipline. It explores the challenges and nuances of such learning and considers the reasons for its success and popularity with both learners and fellow teachers.

This article relates to the ongoing research of a UK National Teaching Fellow.

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Independent filmmaking is often faced with difficulties. For the team behind San Sabba, the issue resided in the invisibilities embedded in the film’s location: a concentration camp within the city of Trieste. This article will explore how and why the writer and director of San Sabba considered Trieste as an archive of multiple histories, memories, and postmemory due to the historical findings the film is based on, and how silenced history informed a phenomenological examination of what a landscape can add to the collective memory. Linking other locations in the city, which contribute to the elucidation of stories and histories deprived of public attention, this article analyses the historical data and considers the ontological qualities of the landscape as an archive where dominant narratives impact the understandings of present and past identities.

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Resemblance to Other Animals (16 mins, HD, 2019) is a memory work that considers locational effect and its recollection. Its key elements, images of encased taxidermy and a traveller’s voice, offer different temporal plains and positions. The images were shot in the Horniman Museum’s, London, natural history gallery and the recordings were inspired by work related travel, time away from home. These combined sensory streams, conjoined by narrative’s reason, suggest temporal and spatial complexity and the partialness of remembrance.

The Horniman Museum is a testament to the Victorian mania for collecting, which was also the time of the ‘memory crisis’ when Bergson, Freud, Proust and later Benjamin were proposing a new intuitive, individuated, understanding of memory. A museum collection creates history, a vision of the past, that is in itself a product of history. Resemblance to Other Animals juxtaposes this site with personal recollection, which relates a sense of place to identity and can challenge institutionalised positions, examining how this correlation can be conceptualised and represented.

This examination considers whether the artistic engagement with form and content can formulate a place of creative reckoning, were an imaginative exploration can occur and a different past can be discovered, and if these sensory and conceptual elements can create a memorious investigation that generates new readings.

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Show/Exhibition

The Flock! exhibition explored the diverse and dynamic uses of flock. It provided an understanding of the applications, benefits and important qualities and uses of flock through the exploration of an array of historical and contemporary flocked objects. The exhibition explored how flock is used across a variety of contexts, including interior design, publishing, and fashion design. It addressed the importance of flock as an important process and surface treatment that is widely used. Importantly it explained that flock is a distinct process and outcome that is not to be mistaken as velvet or referred to just as a ‘fuzzy’ surface.
The exhibition provided visitors with an understanding of flock and how and why it continues to endure and appeal.

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This unique exhibition, the first exhibition of its type, explored flock and the extent of its use across a range of contexts. The exhibition brought together for the first time numerous historical and contemporary examples of flock in its exploration of flock's sumptuous, tactile surface finish. The exhibition explored flock's rich history and importantly its contemporary relevance and importance.

The exhibition showcased artwork and design objects produced by artists, designers and many of the leading international flock manufacturers. The exhibition gained a The Textile Society Award and was successfully supported by the Arts Council England-Grants for the Arts, and the European Flock Association. The exhibition was accompanied by Flockage: the symposium that featured presentations by leading flock specialists and design academics. The exhibition was extended by four months owing to popular demand and resulted in Hardie being invited guest speaker at the Flock Association of Europe conference in Berlin, 2009.

Video

Following recent endeavours that have unearthed women’s cinema and reclaimed its contribution to film history, this video essay revisits the filmography of the Colombian feminist film collective Cine Mujer (1978–1999). Narrated by three of its members—Eulalia Carrizosa, Patricia Restrepo, and Clara Riascos—through semi-structured interviews that intersect the personal, professional and political, this short film also reuses Cine Mujer’s archive. Its purpose is, one the one hand, to contribute to restoring its legacy and, on the other hand, to reframe and resignify its images within women’s ongoing battle for equality.

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Monograph

The Hidden Stories app delves deep into the untold history of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, bringing the area to life through poetry, plays and narrative non-fiction.

The app operates via locative technology that triggers fragments of writing at specific locations; the texts are effectively connected with the location and history they are exploring, with content being unlocked as the user moves around the area.

Each text is displayed differently within the app, taking advantage of the framework to emphasise the ideas being presented by the writers and reflecting the concept of hidden stories.

Hidden Stories was commissioned by Phoenix and developed by Cuttlefish Multimedia as part of Affective Digital Histories, a research project investigating how communities change with urban decline and regeneration. The five pieces of creative writing used in the app were commissioned and edited by Corinne Fowler, director of the University of Leicester’s Centre for New Writing. To find out more visit affectivedigitalhistories.org.uk.

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