NAFAE Annual Symposium and Exhibition | Artist as Superconnector/Superconductor: pedagogical provocations | 24 March 2017 | Coventry University

NAFAE imageArtist as Superconnector/Superconductor: pedagogical provocations


Symposium date: 24th March 2017

Exhibition date: 23rd March – 13th April 2017 

Hosted jointly by NAFAE and Coventry University

Venue: Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Graham Sutherland 

Building, Lanchester Research Gallery & Lecture Theatre G22, Coventry University, UK

Conveners: Jane Ball, Dr. Andrea Hannon, David Martin, Professor Jill Journeaux

Artist as Superconnector/Superconductor’ aimed to explore and reflect on the implications of connected modes of practice for Fine Art pedagogy and curriculum design. Artists frequently operate within a web of networks or ‘meshworks’, navigating complex situations and events, in creative (ex)-change. How are these ways of operating impacting on curriculum and pedagogy of Fine Art at FE and HE level? What are the key points of critical reflection? Where are the innovative models/case studies and examples of best practice?

Key words: cultural ecology, exchange, conversation, network, meshwork


‘Creativity comes from being at a point of exchange’ Robert Hewison, Cultural Historian[1]

In 2015 John Holden, proposed that we consider the interconnectedness of the various parts of the cultural world. In his report titled The Ecology of Culture, commissioned by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for their Cultural Value Project he suggests that we apply the metaphors of emergence, growth, evolution, complex interdependencies, systemic fragility, life cycles and webs to the worlds of culture and that rather than consider the cultural arena through the lens of economy it would be more helpful to examine it in terms of an ecology – a messy dynamic system of interconnecting strands.

This analogy could be broadened to consider the strands of interconnectivity that exist between the cultural arena and a diverse range of other fields too, including the scientific, economic, political, educational and social, bringing into relation a rich diversity of multidisciplinary activity. Frequently artists operate within such networks or ‘meshworks’[2] navigating such complex situations and events, creating lines of movement, growth and creative (ex)-change, becoming sort of ‘superconnectors’ or ‘superconductors’[3]

The NAFAE 2017 symposium investigated how artists engage in collaborative activities and shared investigations within this arena., encouraging debate on how Fine Art courses are working with cultural, commercial, social, public and private organisations to provide innovative learning opportunities for Fine Art students.




9.00 – 9.30 am Arrival, registration and coffee in the Lanchester Gallery, on the ground floor of the Graham Sutherland Building, Coventry University.


9.30 – 10.30 am Annual General Meeting in GSG22


10.30 – 10.45 am coffee (registration continues)


Conference- Artist as Superconnector/Superconductor: pedagogical provocations,


Chairs: Jill Journeaux, Jane Ball

10.45 -10.55



10.55- 11.15


Welcome from John Devane, Head of School of Art and Design Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Coventry University


Key Note Speaker: Sarah Shalgosky, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre


11.15 – 11.35


Jenny Walden, University of Portsmouth

‘All good dreamers pass this way some day’-(Joni Mitchell 1971)

11.35 – 11.55


David Haley, Visiting Prof. Zhongyuan University

Steps Towards an Ecology of Pedagogy: The Art of ‘Capable Futures’


Short comfort break

12 noon – 12.20


Marsha Bradfield, Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London

Authorship and/as ‘Riding the Hyphen’: The Sensibility of the ‘Artist and’ in Economies and Ecologies of Collaborative Cultural Production based on the examples of #Transacting: A Market of Values

12.20 – 12.40 Louise Atkinson and Jessica Bradley, University of Leeds

Meaning making and collaborative ethnography in transdisciplinary arts

12.40 – 1pm Questions/comments led by Linden Reilly


1pm – 2.20pm Lunch at Drapers and an opportunity to view the exhibition in the gallery


2.20pm – 3.10pm Parallel sessions
Session A: GSG22

Chair-Linden Reilly

Session B: Lanchester Gallery

Participatory Workshop

Session C: GSG11

Chair: Paul Haywood

Tracy Mackenna, University of Dundee John Hammersley– independent artists educator Judy Thomas, Northumbria University
Katrine Hjelde, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL


Terri Newman & Stephanie Cantwell, Goldsmiths, University of London, Bacons College and Alexandra Park School


3.10-3.30 Coffee break


3.30 – 4.30 pm Parallel sessions
Session D: GSG22

Chair: David Haley

Session E: Lanchester Gallery Session F: GSG11

Chair- Maggie Ayliffe

Martin Newth and Patricia Ellis, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL The Precarious University

Participatory workshop chaired by

Ian Hartshorne, Manchester School of Art, MMU


Paul Jones & Adam Cooke, Wrexham Glyndwr University Judy Thomas, Northumbria University and Susan Coles, Independent Creativity and Education Consultant


4.30pm Reconvene in GSG22 Final Thoughts – Paul Haywood, NAFAE Chair

The conference Artist as Superconnector/Superconductor includes artworks in an accompanying exhibition in the Lanchester Research Gallery, Graham Sutherland Building.

The Private View of the exhibition will take place on the evening of 23rd March 6-8pmall welcome

The exhibition includes artwork by:-

Joe Woodhouse, University of Sunderland: Foundation Press,

John Hammersley, Independent artist educator: Conduct and Connectivity

Jane Ball, Coventry University: Carousel: Ruination and Reconnection The Precarious University

Alongside this exhibition is A Stranger in Space, an aligned showcase of work by current students and alumni from the BA Fine Art and the MA Contemporary Arts courses at Coventry University. It explores experiences of dislocation and disconnection through a networked response to the work of artist Yoon Suok Won. A Stranger in Space is curated by David Martin, a doctoral researcher in the Visual Arts Research Group, who is researching The Impact of British Media Artists on Visual Arts Higher Education in the UK, between 1980 and 2005.

Both the exhibitions will run from 23rd March – 7th April.

 Titles of presentations in the Parallel Sessions

Session A

  1. Prof. Tracy Mackenna, University of Dundee: The People’s Story and Making Museums: dynamic co-devised projects
  2. Dr. Katrine Hjelde, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL: Collaboration and collective engagement: developing practice through Praxis

Session B

  1. John Hammersley– independent artists educator: Conduct and Connectivity in Socially Engaged Art


Session C

  1. Dr Judy Thomas, Northumbria University: Collaborative Dialogue: Connecting, Conducting..
  2. Terri Newman & Stephanie Cantwell, Goldsmiths, University of London, Bacons Col. and Alexandra Park School: Inter-Institutional Collaboration in Arts Education


Session D

  1. Martin Newth, and Patricia Ellis, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL: Studiomakers, Is a new approach to the fine art curriculum required?
  2. Dr. Dan Pryde-Jarman, Hereford College of Arts: The Fine Art Student-Run Space
  3. Paul Jones & Adam Cooke, Wrexham Glyndwr University: Urgent and Emergent Practices: Establishing Connections and Feedback Loops


Session E

  1. The Precarious University


Session F

  1. Prof. Catrin Webster, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David: Contemporary Dialogues
  2. Ian Hartshorne, Manchester School of Art, MMU: Teaching Painting; a collaborative network
  3. Judy Thomas, Northumbria University and Susan Coles, Independent Creativity and Education Consultant: How do we change the system?