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All Arts programmes have a work placement option and strong links with cultural and creative industries. Our students are informed by an expanded conception of art and are active agents of change, both within and beyond the sphere of art.
What kind of practices do we need to develop a sense of ourselves as creative shapers of society? What could an education for democracy look like that enables a transformative learning process towards understanding oneself as an agent of change? I look at these questions through the example of Earth Forum, a social sculpture practice developed by Shelley Sacks for the 2011 Climate Summit. Over the years, it has been used internationally with individuals, groups, and organisations as a multi-stakeholder process for:
My research aims to understand the impact and value of this ‘transformative intervention format’ as experienced by individual users, groups, and organisations. I am particularly interested in how Earth Forum – at the intersection of the fields of social sculpture, transformative learning theory and practice, and education for democracy – can help develop social, creative, reflective, and communicative competences for democratic culture and ecological citizenship. Ultimately, I envisage presenting Earth Forum as a model for innovative transdisciplinary practice that integrates insights from these three fields, and, in doing so, helps pave the way for working towards an eco-social future.
My research surrounding recorded sound media and perceptions of time is explored through a body of work that questions how aural and visual recorded media form as a process of reduction. By producing performances, films and exhibitions that are made through the prism of technological development in sound and image making, what i examine is how reduction in the recorded material reframes time as a live experience. Since starting his research at Brookes in 2012, Ben has been active with the Audiograft Festival in presenting his work and curating the Artist dialogue conversations. His work has taken him from the speeding up tape dictaphones in freezers, making the slowest speed photochemical paper possible to juxtaposing moments of listening in from film footage slowed down to the nth degree. Whilst undertaking his research with SARU at Brookes, he is an active artist in the North of England and is an advisory consultant in Cinema Technology and Artist AV services. His background in sound and film in the Arts has been a contributng factor to working in SARU under supervision of Paul Whitty and externally from Artist Rob Gawthrop. More about Ben is on his website http://thosesoundsbetween.co.uk.
The primary aim of this practice-based research project is to establish a contemplative listening and field recording praxis that sits naturally within the teachings and practices of Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism. The project draws from the fields of Buddhist Studies, Auditory Neuroscience and the Arts to develop an integrated approach to listening that cultivates mindfulness of both our soundscape and our cognitive and affective responses to sound. Such an approach provides opportunities to nurture interior stillness and insight. The outcome of the research is anticipated to be twofold. Firstly, the creation of a body of field recordings, compositions and writings emerging from a sustained contemplative listening practice. Secondly, a cogent thesis identifying and examining the principal characteristics of a contemplative approach to listening and field recording. Stemming from these personal investigations, it is hoped that a range of participatory practices can be fashioned that effectively support personal wellbeing and prosocial behaviour in a variety of community settings. Richard Bentley is a professional musician, community artist and lecturer in audio production at both Oxford Brookes and the University of West London.
My research explores the uncanny and the sublime and is concerned with uncertain states rather than concrete knowledge.
I am examining in what ways image and sound can be manipulated in order to shape and disrupt our understanding of space and time. How can a process of ‘defamiliarisation’, or making familiar things appear strange, blur the boundaries between imagination and reality and lead to a liminal experience?
In this research project I explore key contemporary developments in the field of social sculpture and connective practice, as well as its philosophical roots and holistic principles. I will compare my findings with related proposals from the wider field of post-disciplinary, transformational practice and research. By doing so, I will investigate how contemporary social sculpture practice contributes to the emergence of a new paradigm - one that enables individuals and groups to work towards a free and responsible future way of living, on all levels of personal, social and ecological life. Also, I will develop new forms of and criteria for social sculpture connective practice, with the aim of offering significant ways forward in this area. Findings will be disseminated in an academic journal article and through other means, for example as part of 'University of the Trees – Lab for New Knowledge and an Eco-Social Future', a framework for citizen engagement with this field of enquiry.
I carry out this research as part of a larger team, which includes Prof. Sacks, in relation to the work of the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University.
Oxford is already a great place to study, but I chose Oxford Brookes University because of its lean towards contemporary practice within the Music department as a whole. Such an approach is epitomised by SARU (Sonic Arts Research Unit), where there is a great understanding of field recording work in contemporary musical practice - as well as for their usage in social, and scientific projects.
I was influenced by the ‘Sound Diaries’ project during my undergraduate degree, and I also began making sound-maps as part of my MA. This is a great place to be researching ‘cultures in field recording’.
Késia is a classical pianist, and her research investigates interdisciplinary strategies for the piano recital.
Késia has been exploring ways to shape the piano recital as a comprehensive work of art, incorporating concepts from theatre and visual arts in her performances. Késia has been questioning the traditional conventions of live classical music, and has been motivated to offer other possibilities of engagement to her audiences.
Késia started those investigations during her MA in Contemporary Arts and Music at Brookes and, after a brief period in her home country - Brazil, she came back to develop it further in her Ph.D.
Contributions to scholarly development is focused on his leadership role in the research group CREATE which currently has projects exploring interactive journalism and experimental immersive media production. He is an active member of professional and academic bodies including the Society for Animation Studies (SAS), British Association of Film, Television and Screen Studies (BAFTSS), the European Documentary Network (EDN) and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
For more information, see John's staff profile.
The intention of my research is to investigate the rise of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) following the Labour party’s election defeat of 1931 and how that increased profile influenced both the publishing output and the paratext of two British publishing houses in particular – Gollancz and Lawrence & Wishart. This will include case studies on the Left Book Club, George Orwell’s The Road To Wigan Pier and a study of the influence of Russian design on the paratext at the two publishers.
The aim of my study is to investigate how social media can be used by publishers, beyond the platforms’ marketing potential, to create content for published works of fiction. I will also be exploring how social media generated content alters the definition of a book, and simultaneously embraces and exploits subculture genres and their demographics. This will help to determine if a shift is needed by the publishing industry to harness the rise of the citizen author who forgoes the traditional publishing model in preference of publishing and promoting their own work, both digitally and in print. To do this I will be drawing on Foucault’s methods of archaeology and genealogy and Marshall McLuhan’s theories of the ‘rear-view mirror’ (McLuhan & Fiore, 2008) and the ‘global village’ (McLuhan, 2013).Focusing on the ways the definition of the book has altered in relation to social media and new technology will highlight how the combination of these two modern phenomena have given rise to the citizen author. By exploring how subculture fiction genres have grown within this new social media environment, I will be able to trace how the citizen author, who is often found within these subculture genres, has grown and eschewed the traditional publishing route. A knowledge of the trajectory of the citizen author within the subculture can be applied to more mainstream genres to allow for creating a generalised model of how the publishing industry can alter to harness the congruent power of social networking sites and the citizen author.