Welcome to the Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre.

At D-MARC the focus of our research is on an understanding of the shifting boundaries and new relationships between traditional arts disciplines, which have been created by new technologies. We explore the creative potential of hybrid forms made possible by digitalisation, and are also concerned to develop theoretical and pedagogic understandings capable of keeping pace with, and informing, technological developments.

Recent Submissions

  • Florence Nightingale, the Colossus: Was She a Feminist?

    Hogan, Susan; University of Derby (Bridgewater State University, 2022)
    Nightingale displayed a particular brand of feminism that reflected the circumstances of her era. The question of women’s involvement in healthcare is addressed through an analysis of Nightingale’s most famous work, Notes on Nursing. What it is, and what it is not (1859/60). Then other key works are scrutinised with reference to ideas about female involvement in healthcare and how she addresses the position of women in general terms.2 Nightingale’s works, Notes on Hospitals (1859); Suggestions for Thought to the Searchers after Truth among the Artisans of England (1860); Introductory Notes on Lying-In Institutions (1871) are focussed upon illustrating her views on women’s involvement in healthcare and answering the overarching question: was and how was she feminist?
  • Social distancing without emotional distancing?

    Hunt, Ava; Wooster, Roger; University of Derby; Independent researcher (Intellect, 2021-12-01)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of society and no more so than in educational applications of theatre for children in schools. This article explores the complexities of what applied theatre/drama offer the young to think critically and develop empathetic human relationships crucial to sound mental health. The article’s authors reaffirm ways in which applied theatre/drama and TIE have contributed to healthy social development through contributions to the Personal, Social and Health Education curriculum. Cited are recent projects with compromised praxis in the face of the pandemic. Identified is a shift in educational priorities that are returning to traditional approaches in place of wider heuristic social education. Consequent moves to online teaching and imposition of social distancing has led to concerning levels of social distancing potentially impacting negatively on mental health of the young. However, applied theatre/drama disciplines play a particular role in facilitating emotional maturity through critical thinking.
  • Realising Art and Design Research in Policy Making Decisions

    Jones, Rhiannon; PolicyConnect; University of Derby (All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group (APDIG), 2021-12-09)
    Dr Rhiannon Jones was invited as a guest speaker for the second round table of The All-Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group (APDIG) is a cross-party coalition of Parliamentarians as well as art and design sector organisations that work to: critique existing government decision-making, help the sector better engage with the policy process, as well as develop new policy ideas that improve the sector. Led by Policy Connect, which is a cross-party think tank with five main policy pillars which are: Education & Skills; Industry, Technology & Innovation; Sustainability; Health; and Assistive & Accessible Technology. They specialise in supporting parliamentary groups, forums and commissions for which Policy Connect provides the secretariat and delivers impactful policy research and event programmes. They collaborate with parliamentarians through these groups allows us to influence public policy in Westminster and Whitehall. We are a social enterprise and are funded by a combination of regular annual membership subscriptions and time-limited sponsorships. They are proud to be a Disability Confident and London Living Wage employer, and a member of Social Enterprise UK. Dr Rhiannon Jones was invited to speak about her research in Art and Design and Civic Practice, as a thought leader in Social and Design innovation. She introduced her research project, S.H.E.D which uses pop up innovation and arts hubs across the country to engage, inspire and cultivate ideas and dialogue and get people more engaged in arts while speaking on the need to inspire decision makers by creating a bridge between the camps between industry and H.E.
  • The Leadership Labyrinth: a question of authenticity

    Jones, Rhiannon; CHEAD; University of Derby (CHEAD, 2021-12-15)
    This paper was written in order to share the research and Atypical leadership model by Dr Rhiannon Jones. The approach to set up alternative pathways into H.E for students, residents and communities. To innovate, research through practice and to measure and define leadership not only as administrative paperwork, writing of risk registers, managing teams, marketing, pitching, etc but being able to stand back, observe, see the potential in others and create the space for them to flourish. This blended way of making, learning bringing students into the city with staff to work with public, artists, schools – sharing in challenges we face and using innovation and research to blend with civic pedagogy to lead in that as the only way forward… to create new infrastructures, destabilise existing ones, use the S.H.E.D to create a new site, a new incubation space for learning, sharing, leading. The work of CHEAD, of PolicyConnect and other key stakeholders and policy makers are actively engaging with Art and Design Educators with Higher Education. We know that we not only need to rethink and reposition the Art and Design sector, but its associated perception of value and how it sees itself. The role of artistic practice, education and research is extremely valuable to industry, and needs to be reconsidered for how it is written, constituted and engaged within law and policy and by its leaders. Whatever your job description or title, we are all leaders. We can amplify the impact of the work that we do, on changing pathways to education – through how we can engage early years those at risk of exclusion or who have lack of access to arts and culture – by working collaboratively, across disciplines and sectors - with business, the F.A and H.E. We need to create shared agendas, goals and to do this We need to integrate and collaborate. And we do this by how we can inspire people who are the decision makers and inspire people for whom the decisions are being made for to engage with that process. This is what my research, like the work of others is trying to enable. To be the bridge between those two, to speak openly, to create safe spaces for discourse – to turn and face one another and talk. We need to support Artistic practice that is actively seeking out new methodologies to innovate to blend research, with pathways to education and direct feedback and feedforward to policymakers, stakeholders and with the public and communities that we are engaging. Recently at Design for Planet, the Design Councils Summit at the V&A in Dundee individuals, such as myself, were called to action to put our communities at the heart of everything we do, and Jane Davidison (2021) reminded us that we need to design for living and back to first principles of design – beauty, utility and dudility. We need to establish a pipeline for alternative approaches to leadership, to facilitate room for roots to bed in, shoots to grown and for leadership in H.E to be led as examples of best practice from Art and Design. "Leadership comes in many forms. Leadership is changing, but not quickly enough. Contemporary leaders bring something new to the table. Leadership is diverse and Leaders come from all backgrounds, disciplines, perspectives and experience. We need to support more art and design educators from underrepresented groups to achieve leadership roles. Do you identify yourself as a Leader or is the label of ‘Leader’ unappealing to you? This programme will explore traditional and evolving concepts of leadership within the context of art and design education and is designed to appeal to a wide range of art and design educators considering career progression, aspiring to leadership or keen to explore whether a leadership role is something you want in your next academic role" CHEAD, 2021.
  • On Symbiosis, Zoonosis

    Sharples, Victoria; University of Derby (Issuu, 2021-12)
    On Symbiosis, Zoonosis is an essay featured in the artist's publication Anoxic Bodies (2021). Anoxic Bodies is a collection of meditations, poems and short essays: On the Airborne; On Symbiosis, Zoonosis; On the Machinic and Biological ~ Carrying, Exchanging and Transmissions; On Cleaning & Cleansing; and On Anoxic Bodies. It accompanies a series of works, of the same name, made using: soap, water, germ and virucidal solution, hand-sanitiser, hermetically- sealed plastic substrates, osha root, astragalus, eucalyptus, and saliva. These function as material compositions to call on, as to signify, cellular envelopes and structures. In part a response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, this publication pulls from, and unpacks, discourses surrounding: human and non-human bodily relationality; socio-economics; telecommunication technologies; carrying and exchange; social bubbles, cleaning and cleansing; medicinal plants and the airborne. This work follows the rubric of mail art and New Materialism.
  • Draw | Breath | Animal

    Bartram, Angela; Deigaard, Lee; University of Derby; Utah State University (Eccles and Tippets Galleries, Logan, Utah, 2021-11)
    The animal and being animal is a proposition and position that invites observational and critical debate. To observe the non-human animal is too often tense and politicised; to take on an understated what-it-is-to-be-animal is a sensitised and sensitive means to understand differing perspectives. Artists Lee Deigaard (USA) and Angela Bartram (UK) critically approach the animal as the animal. Using diverse methods and materials and curious to potentialities, they explore working as humans from an animal-centric perspective. They bring sensitivities to their handling of the animal as both artistic subject and collaborator, of behaving as animal, in order to observe and engage with empathy and openness to the unexpected, to animal insight and revelation. Iterative long term projects in drawing and printmaking foreground proximity and proprioceptive, nearly devotional studio and caretaking practices centering on respiration and companionate movement within a global pandemic. This exhibition explores the socialised and familiar in close observation, directly and indirectly, in their individual yet companion practices and additionally features the artists in conversation and active collaboration on site in the gallery. The exhibition was accompanied by a Commmunitas Lecture in the gallery on Thursday 18th November 2021. Bartram‘s participation was supported through a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Utah State University.
  • Fish Market, Lagos: Artist Pages and Supporting Statement

    Baker, Steve; University of Derby (Routledge, 2021-11-30)
    This set of artist pages presents photographic work undertaken in Portugal in my capacity as artist in residence for the Animal remains conference. The short supporting text discusses the images in the context of an influential recent call for artists to desist altogether from the pictorial representation of animal bodies, and of the contrary case made by other authors for the ethical necessity of attentive looking.
  • Gender-based refugee experiences: the role of education, training and arts-based interventions for girls and women refugees

    Skyrme, Sarah; Hogan, Susan; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2021)
    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) has identified that refugee children's participation in mainstream schooling in many refugee host countries (RHCs) is substantially lower than their settled peers and that for girls the gap is even more significant. Furthermore, the gap between refugee girls, their settled peers and refugee boys widens, as girls get older. This is often attributed to social and cultural traditions that under-value girls' education and limit their participation in activities outside the home or immediate community setting. This project has explored the literature around arts-based interventions aimed at girls and young women and the particular affordances and ethical complexities of these.
  • Arts, creativity and health

    Bungay, H.; Chatterjee, H.; Hogan, Susan; Anglia Ruskin University; University College London; University of Derby (Elsevier BV, 2021-09-15)
  • El deseo de una conexión con otros. Aprendiendo de y con los perros mediante la investigación artística

    Bartram, Angela; University of Derby (Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, 2021-12)
    El animal, y las cuestiones que le atañen con respecto a su muchas veces compleja relación con la humanidad, cobran relevancia cuando se considera la agencia, la igualdad y las codependencias efectivas. Cómo responden los animales humanos también y tratan a los no humanos, en especial los invitados a nuestros hogares como compañía, es pertinente en el conjunto de los constructos interespecie. Es preciso reconsiderar, revisitar y rebalancear el supuesto de que los animales no humanos son siempre los observados (Berger, 1980), pues esto influye en la manera como los humanos consideran otras especies como cuerpos de valor inferior. Este artículo explora los entresijos, las complejidades y las abundancias productivas en mi proyecto de investigación artística, Be Your Dog (Sea su perro), que se propone justo eso. Discute las perspectivas y especificidades de género, la formación de la manada canina y sus componentes individuales, y la influencia de la galería en la relevancia artística de este proyecto, que explora cómo establecer igualdad por medio de la sincronicidad y la empatía entre especies dentro de un acto creativo.
  • Desiring a Connection with Others: Learning from and with dogs through artistic research

    Bartram, Angela; University of Derby (Universidad Colegio Mayor de Cundinamarca, 2021-12)
    The animal, and the questions that pertain to it in respect of its often-complex relationship with humanity, are of significance when considering agency, equality and effective co-dependencies. How human animals respond too, and treat non-humans, particularly those invited into our homes to be companions, has pertinency within the assembly of interspecies constructs. That non-human animals are always the observed (Berger, 1980) must be re-examined, re-addressed and re-balanced for it influences how humans consider other species as bodies of lesser value. This article explores the intricacies, complexities and productive abundancies in my artistic research project, Be Your Dog, which aims to do just. It discusses gender perspectives and specificities, the formation of the dog pack and its individual components, and the sway of the gallery on artistic relevance in this project that explores how to establish equality through interspecies synchronicity and empathy within a creative act. Available online in English and Spanish, and in print in Spanish.
  • Design for Planet: Climate Action Workshop and Pledges

    Jones, Rhiannon; Barend, Slabbert; V&A Dundee; University of Derby (V&A Dundee, 2021-11-08)
    The aim of the study was to capture the impact of the Design for Planet S.H.E.D project work, which contains 1) A school workshop 2) Conference delegates making pledges for the planet 3) Public consultation optional activity with 6 questions. This will be alongside a bespoke artistic installation and workshop on the participants and find out what benefits it may have given them. We will gain the impressions of the public and school children from Dundee who will attend a S.H.E.D Workshop to make placards about climate change at large who come and engage with the installation at the V&A Dundee where we will be installed for Design Council Uk, Design for Planet COP26 Summit. The objectives for the study was to Install a bespoke Design for Planet S.H.E.D at the V&A Dundee that would facilitate a conversation with the public and as a result of its design bring school children on site to the V&A Dundee. Through this, we were able to better understand how this has changed (if at all) the visibility and thinking of participants who have contributed to the exhibit and workshop. We were also able to measure the impact on the participants/public, how (if at all) has this changed their perspectives on Design and climate change and their place in the Climate Challenge. The outcome of this research enquiry captured the thinking of young people in Dundee and the city on the issue of climate change. This was achieved through the methodology of creative place-making through the use of S.H.E.D as a co-designed space. This collaborative initiative between VandA Dundee, Design Council, Uk, University of Derby, Designing Dialogue CIC, National Justice Museum, The University of Derby, Claypotts Castle PS School Dundee. Dr Jones was invited by Design Council CEO to install, working with the V&A Dundee Learning team and Designing Dialogue CIC we were able to deliver a schools workshop to capture thoughts of Dundee school children manifested in placards and potted seeds and other artworks from National justice museum and shed partners. The pledge board, invited VIP delegates at the summit to pledge to the planet something tangible they will do and this will be captured on an installation panel wall within S.H.E.D, pledges were live etched in wood. This will fed into capturing of pledges, dissemination work and research into global design leaders thinking in 2021 and as a resource for the Design Council, uk. The workshop collected photos, audio and podcast material from the school children and engaged them in the research enquiry into creative place-making through the use of co-desing to facilitate change for the climate and the planet. It also continues to test the working methodology of Dr Jones through the use of S.H.E.D as a space for designing dialogue.
  • The (in)separability of matter: on prāṇa, energy and permeation

    Sharples, Victoria; University of Derby (2021-10-01)
    ‘The (in)separability of matter: on prāṇa, energy and permeation’ is a paper in response to a three-year practice-led study, which speculates on (non)human bodily ‘intra-activity’ (Barad, 2007) relative to cremation practices at Pashupatinath Temple and along the sacred and contaminated Bagmati River in Kathmandu through Gas Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and Inductively Coupled Plasma–Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) ash analysis readings. It is the outcome of field research, laboratory experiments and a series of participatory projects which aim to unbalance asymmetric tendencies which assume the ontological separation of the human and non-human through collective; microperformative, practices. Realised between 2018–2020, Ash is an international (e)mail art project in which three pieces of Nepalese Lokta paper were placed on the surface of the Bagmati downstream from Pashupatinath. Once dried, participants sent their contributions to the UK using their closest postal service. Contributions were received from artists Sagar Manandhar and Pratima Thakali from Kathmandu University, and from Nepali musician Anil Shahi. On arrival, the substrates were incinerated and analysed through GC-MS and ICP-MS at the University of York and the University of Leeds. Through the intersection of art, ecology and New Materialism, this paper calls into question the permeability of organic and machinic matter as agential, osmotic and energetic (Salter, 2020). It builds on the assumed ‘aliveness’ of ‘live art’ practice (Hauser & Strecker, 2020), and calls on ‘passive’ matter to contribute to this discourse. For ENERGY: SLSA 2021, this paper unpacks the spiritual substance of prāṇa as an energy-current that permeates all.
  • Design for Planet: S.H.E.D [Installation]

    Jones, Rhiannon; Slabbert, Barend; VandA Dundee; University of Derby (Design Council, UK, 2021-11-08)
    Dr Rhiannon Jones was invited by the Design Council, UK to design a bespoke S.H.E.D Installation for Design for Planet, which was commissioned by the Design Council for installation at the V&A Dundee. The research activity was divided into four distinctive elements: A workshop with local Dundee schools to engage with the local community on climate change. A bespoke S.H.E.D that was created and positioned outside the V&A Dundee, for public engagement and interaction. A bespoke pledge wall that was designed for, and installed inside the V&A to capture pledges from design leaders as a call for action A sound pod installation designed for, and installed inside the V&A, that had original podcasts created by children aged 6 - 18 with EmprezU from Derby, on the subject of Climate Change. The combination of these elements resulted in a dynamic creative placemaking methodology for engaging the public of Dundee, local schools in Dundee and global leaders in design experts through the use of a co-designed civic space. . The installation addressed how to co-design S.H.E.D for the V&A and the Design Councils theme of climate Change. The installation responded to the themes of co-creation with communities, and content displayed on S.H.E.D reflected the local community of Dundee, allowing for public consultation and engagement with artistic content on display from a range of artists and partners from the UK. Barend Slabbert supported this research activity with creating the visualisation of the designs and install processes along side the Designing Dialogue CIC which delivers S.H.E.D.
  • Arts Imagining Communities To Come

    Jones, Rhiannon; Universidad de las Artes del Ecuador (UArtes); University of Derby (Cumulus Association, 2021-11-11)
    Dr Rhiannon Jones was invited to chair an online workshop that was designed to provide a call to action for the art and design industry to commit to a sustainable, climate-first future. The workshop provided an opportunity for academics to participate in a discussion about Imagining communities of the future. In order to enable this, Dr Jones shared learnings from DesignforPlanet www.designforplanet.org where she had returned from the Design Council, UK summit, for COP26 as a guest speaker. A landmark event to galvanise and support the UK’s design industry to commit to a sustainable, climate-first future in response to COP26, hosted at the VandA Dundee; the only UNESCO Design City in the UK. This workshop provided time to disseminate key objectives and reposition these within the art and design global network of Cumulus. Colleagues from the UK, Finland, Italy, Ecuador, Germany. This international research activity allowed Dr Jones to discuss artistic approaches for co-designing with communities in urban and rural locations. This, workshop resulted in perspectives on the industrialisation of countries and perceptions of the impact of the climate crisis being shared and reinvigorated the questioning of the value of art and design, as an instigator and leader for climate change. The workshop led by Dr Rhiannon Jones sat at the heart of Cumulus Conference Guayaquil 2021: Arts Imagining Communities To Come. It promoted academic reflections and artistic performances focusing on different ways of working with local communities. It invited artists, scholars, professors, and researchers to share their experiences and reflections on this matter, pre, during and after the pandemic.
  • Design for Planet: Cocreate with community

    Jones, Rhiannon; V&A Dundee; University of Derby (2021-11-08)
    Dr Rhiannon Jones was invited to present her research at the Design Council, UK summit hosted at the V&A Dundee. Dr Jones spoke of codesign and cocreation with communities, and the methodology of the S.H.E.D as a reseraxhc process to work between communities and H.E and how it can work towards creating influnce and driving policy change. It also gave example of how design is conceptualised in terms of the root, greek definition for dialogue - as something that is moving, living, and transforming. This application towards an object, such as a shed in order to create a transformative/reconfigurable arts space as a way to consult with and problem solve matters such as climate change. 120 Global design leaders and innovators were invited to the Design Council Summit to listen to the talk, in response to COP26. Along with an online audience of over 5,500. Design for Planet was a landmark festival to galvanise and support the UK’s design industry to commit to a sustainable, climate-first future. The two-day event will give a platform for visionaries across the sector who are leading the way in sustainability and climate action, and will support others in the industry to prioritise the welfare of our planet in their work. Design for Planet welcomed over 100 invited experts and was live streamed to thousands of online participants.
  • Dark Fringes: Complexity and Emergence in Realist Collage

    Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (2019-06-13)
    The paper will present practice research at the intersection of collage, animation, found footage film and documentary. The research investigates the capacity of the fragmented, layered language of collage to engage the stratified, laminated reality advanced by the philosophy of critical realism. In contrast to empiricism and idealism, critical realism recognises the socially embedded, material and historically situated basis of knowledge production. In response, the research pursues a multivocal and pluralist approach to representation that the paper claims is necessary in apprehending the dense complexity of social relations. The project examines the status of archive footage as evidence of the multiple mechanisms and structures that have generated historical events. This draws from the critical realist concept of emergence in interrogating how the meaning of archive materials is mediated thorough the convergence of layers in collage aesthetics. This suggests that the spaces at the fringes of collage fragments can address the tension and exchange between facts and values in the negotiation of reality. The paper argues for the recognition of the interstitial space between and around evidence and facts, advancing an approach to realism open to the role of imagination and narrative in how we understand the world. In reference to the politics of layered realities, collage is suggested as a tool for challenging reductive accounts of the social world that obscure the power relations that determine events. Specifically, through aligning a critical realist engagement with intersectionality with postcolonial and Marxist perspectives, the work aims to contribute to the decolonisation of the mainstream media’s representation of the working classes and social history.
  • Layered Realities and the Narration of History

    Bosward, Marc; University of Derby (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-12-17)
  • Proximity collective

    Howard, Rebecca; Atkinson, Anne-Marie; Hall, Antony; Carragher, Ann; Haynes, Jackie; Ford, Sarah-Joy; a-n The Artists Information Company; Manchester Metropolitan University; Abingdon Studios; University of Cumbria (2021-09-29)
    The Coast is Queer was an online two-day event hosted by founding director of Abingdon Studios, Garth Gatrix. The event, which was part of of the a-n Assembly 2021, invited artists and art organisations to participate in discussions around queerness and coastal practices. Following an exhibition at Abingdon Studios in Blackpool, Proximity Collective (an artist group from Manchester, Leeds and Blackpool) were invited to share their own experiences of working both collectively and individually as practicing artists and researchers.
  • Belong

    McMahon, Daithí; O'Connor, Fred; University of Derby; Independent researcher (2020-07-26)
    'Belong’ is a contemporary radio drama set in Dublin, told from the perspective of Christy - a single homeless man in his late fifties. Following the breakup of a long-term relationship he loses his job due to his mental health issues and is evicted from his bedsit when the property owner decides to convert the building into luxury apartments. Unable to find affordable accommodation, Christy is forced to take refuge in emergency hostels but eventually ends up sleeping rough on the streets. Christy's depression makes him extremely anxious, withdrawn, and afraid of connecting with new people or reaching out for help. Despite this, Christy befriends Kevin, a young man who spent much of his youth being abused while in foster care and now living on the streets. A rehabilitation opportunity emerges which can save Christy - but can he help Kevin avoid a life on the streets? In the radio drama, ‘Belong’ the authors aim to raise awareness for the homeless crisis in Ireland, and give those struggling on the streets a national voice. In highlighting the plethora of challenges facing those struggling to maintain a roof over their head, the issue of spiralling property crisis which is impacting generations of vulnerable people across the country is laid bare. Another key focus of the drama is the cultural stigma around mental health issues, the lack of key support services for those with limited means, and the resulting struggle for those affected to reach out and access help. The drama is also in recognition of the many staff and volunteers who are helping those on the streets of Ireland every day of the year through organisations such as the Simon Community, Focus Ireland and many more. This project was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence Fee. ‘Belong’ is brought to you by the multi-award winning team at Henchman Productions that brought the previous audio dramas Home Again, Matches and Yummy Mummy to Newstalk. The team has won six New York Festivals International Radio Awards, competed at the Prix Europa in 2015 and 2016 and won Best Drama at the PPI Radio Awards 2015. CREDITS: ‘Belong’ is a Henchman production written and directed by Fred O’Connor and Daithí McMahon. The drama was produced by Daithí McMahon and Aisling O’Connor and recorded at Tinpot Productions with sound by Sean Byrne. The role of Christy was played Morgan C. Jones with performances by Karen Scully, Ken Fletcher, Aoibheann McCann, Laura Kelly, Caroline Power and Fiach Kunz. Selected musical pieces by Kevin MacLeod.

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