Tactics and Praxis: Creativity, Pleasure and Ethics in Academic Work

5 July 2021 - 8 July 2021

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Convenors

Georgina Evans
Louise Haywood
Isabelle McNeill
 

Contributors

Emma Bell (Open University)
Lindiwe Dovey (SOAS and Screen Worlds)
Alexandra Grieve (University of Cambridge)
Nanette Hoogslag (Anglia Ruskin University)
Geiste Kincinaityte (University of Cambridge)
Nobunye Levin (SOAS and Screen Worlds)
Katherina Manolessou (Anglia Ruskin University / Independent artist)
Vanessa Marr (University of Brighton)
Leila Mukhida (University of Cambridge)
Rose Sinclair (Goldsmiths)
Elaine Tam (Independent Curator)
Sheena Vachhani (Bristol University)
 

 

Summary

This conference, which develops out of our series of seminar workshops, aims to reinvigorate approaches to academic work in its relation to creativity, ethics and pleasure. We take our cue from the ‘diversionary tactics’ described by Michel de Certeau in The Practice of Everyday Life, which he believed could foster ‘a return of the ethical, of pleasure and of invention within the scientific institution’ (1984: 28).

The conference will explore cutting-edge work that brings praxis and research into contact in creative ways. In so doing, we will challenge the dominant emphasis on outputs, which views academic labour primarily in terms of productivity. We aim to investigate and encourage creative approaches to intellectual endeavours and research, as well as to interrogate the institutionalisation of academic writing and publishing. We will examine the potential of valuing affect, the body and creative praxis, not only as an antidote to the pressures of neoliberal academia, but also as offering new ways of thinking and acting, ethically, politically and intellectually.

Active creative practice will be integral to the conference proceedings, in both structured and unstructured activities. Taking inspiration from the work of Faith Ringgold and others, as well as the projects of the Craftivist Collective and traditional community quilts, a collaborative, virtual quilt will be created during the conference. We will examine how habitual academic labour might be reinvigorated through a creative understanding of ‘craft’, set into relation with concepts of stitching, (inter)weaving and montage.
 

Supported by:

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If you have specific accessibility needs for this event please get in touch. We will do our best to accommodate any requests.

Conference assistance: conferences@crassh.cam.ac.uk 

Tactics & Praxis Conference Programme 2021

Monday 5 July

10.30 – 11.30

The Fabric of Living and Working

Reflecting on Embodied Practices of Craft Work and Vital Materiality

  • Emma Bell (Open University)
  • Sheena Vachhani (Bristol University)
  • Rose Sinclair (Goldsmiths) 
13.30 – 15.00

Workshop: Feeling, Making, Thinking

Join Artist and Academic Vanessa Marr (University of Brighton) for an afternoon of feeling, making and thinking through craft.

 

Inspired by craftivist practices (Greer, 2014) and autoethnography as a method that uses ‘research, writing, story and method that connect the autobiographical and personal to the cultural, social, and political’ (Ellis, 2004), you will be prompted to creatively investigate the lived experience of your academic enquiry. We will question the purpose of our research, the hierarchies it often manifests, the influences of visual culture and the gendered experience of writing, making and presenting, through the supportive sharing and celebration of ideas and experiences.

 

Participants will be invited to draw, collage and work with textiles to produce a collaborative, digital quilt that unites expressions of feminist agency, perspective and identity. You can use whatever you have to hand; a suggested materials list will be provided after registration.

Tuesday 6 July

12.00

LUNCH

Drop in and stitch/make
Feel free to bring your lunch and work with others during this informal session (cameras and microphones can be on or off).

POSTPONED

POSTPONED - Workshop: "In My Room": Towards moody reading, making room, creating pleasure

  • Lindiwe Dovey (SOAS and Screen Worlds)
  • Nobunye Levin (SOAS and Screen Worlds)

 

Taking as a prompt Mati Diop’s short film In My Room, made during the 2020 lockdown, this session will explore – through moody reading and collaborative creation – the impact of the pandemic on our sense of the spaces, and specifically the rooms, that we live and work in – some shared, others inhabited alone. Questions we will collectively explore include:

 

● In ‘the room’, “in my room”,  how do I ‘make room’ for myself and others, where ‘the room’ is at once both a physical and interior/subjective space? 

 

●How has our sense of space, self and others been defined and delimited by rooms, both before and during the pandemic?

 

●For those who identify as women, teachers, mothers, and/or carers, how do we 'set the mood' in our ‘rooms’ to create intellectual and affective pleasure?

Wednesday 7 July

12.00

LUNCH 

Drop in and stitch/make
Feel free to bring your lunch and work with others during this informal session (cameras and microphones can be on or off).

13.30 - 15.00

The Pleasures of Pattern in Illustration

  • Nanette Hoogslag (Anglia Ruskin University): The Pleasures of Pattern: The Sympathy of Illustration
  • Katherina Manolessou (Anglia Ruskin University / Independent Artist): Pattern and the Craft of Picturebooks for Children: Studio and University

Thursday 8 July

10.00 - 11.30

Futures of Scholarship

  • Alex Simone Grieve (University of Cambridge)
  • Geiste Kincinatyte (University of Cambridge)
  • Elaine Tam (Independent Curator)
13.30-15.00

Workshop: Structured Solidarity Building

  • Leila Mukhida (University of Cambridge)