The Theory and Practice of ‘Theory and Practice’ in Art and Design HE

17 May 2017Red RoomChelsea College of Arts John Islip Street
9.30am to 4.30pm
This teaching platform will look beyond the simple binaries between theory and practice and put into focus the evolving pedagogical relationships between these two different yet intertwined disciplines.

It seeks to be inclusive of current theories and practices that relate theory and practice. It aims to question contemporary theories and practices, which support ‘theory and practice’ in Art and Design undergraduate courses in the UK.

The Theory and Practice of ‘Theory and Practice’ in Art and Design HE

17 May 2017

9.30am to 4.30pm


Red Room

Chelsea College of Arts John Islip Street


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This teaching platform will look beyond the simple binaries between theory and practice and put into focus the evolving pedagogical relationships between these two different yet intertwined disciplines.

It seeks to be inclusive of current theories and practices that relate theory and practice. It aims to question contemporary theories and practices, which support ‘theory and practice’ in Art and Design undergraduate courses in the UK.

The conference will consider the long and complex history of the ways in which theory and practice has been taught on arts undergraduate courses in the UK. From the Coldstream Reports in 1969/70 with the introduction of Art History and Complementary studies on an undergraduate degree in Art and Design and the subsequent developments in Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Complimentary and Contextual Studies.

As Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (1990 p2) argues, “Since practice is an irreducible theoretical moment, no practice takes place without presupposing itself as a example of a more or less powerful theory,” then can we now see the possibility of there being no difference between theory and practice being the future of the pedagogies of theory and practice in UK undergraduate courses?

The conference will reflect on how different writing practices support the relationships between theory and practice in contemporary Arts education. As this education, now contextualised within the massification of the University sector, involves preparing students for the world beyond university, we ask how can these writing practices support this preparation?

What will I learn?
This teaching platform will offer an opportunity for art and design educators to explore some of the historical and evolving relationships that theory has with practice and practice has with theory.

Themes covered by the day will include: writing practices; the possibilities of being no difference between theory and practice; the future of the relationships between theory and practice in UK undergraduate courses; curriculum models and pedagogies that most effectively support the integration of theory and practice.

Who should attend?
This event is open to academics, technicians, support tutors and librarians who have an interest in the relationships between practice and theory.

Spivak, G. C., Harasym, S. (ed) (1990) The Post-Colonial Critic: Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues. Routledge. New York & London

Draft Programme (subject to change)

0930-1000 Registration and Coffee
1000-1010 Introductions – Prof Susan Orr, David Webster
1010-1110 Workshop with Dr Mark Ingham
1110-1130 Refreshments and Networking
1130-1220 Keynote with Dr Julia Lockheart
1230-1320 Lunch
1320-1420 Roundtable discussion
1420-1500 Degrees of Separation – Alumni Presentation & workshop
Carlotta Solari and Michel Erler
1500-1530 Refreshments
1530-1615 Future Theory:
Craig Burston
Katharine Dwyer
1615-1630 Plenary

Speaker Biographies

Craig Burston is Course Leader on BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design at London College of Communication.  His teaching emphasis focuses on the practical testing and application of semiotic theory, the interplay between analogue and digital media and the impact of new technologies upon aesthetics.  Craig’s ongoing practice based research explores the relationship between iconic representation, memory and communication and has manifested itself through a range of output including audio-visual collaborations, gallery installations, research seminars and comic strips.  With photographer and digital media artist Richard Tomlinson, Craig is also the co-founder of skip-rat designs, latterly skipratmedia. Twitter: @skipratmedia

Katharine Dwyer spent a decade working in a corporate environment before returning to study Fine Art at UAL. Katharine completed her Master of Fine Art (MFA) at Wimbledon College of Arts in 2016. Her art pratice explores languages of authority, both personal and institutional, which are used to manufacture consent in the modern workplace. Twitter @tumble33

Dr. Mark Ingham is the Contextual and Theoretical Studies Coordinator at London College of Communication.  Mark is a fine artist who uses old SLR film cameras and LED lights to create multiple slide projectors in large scale art installations. His art and design research includes, relationships between autobiographical memory and photography, Gilles Deleuze’s and Felix Guattari’s ideas of ‘Becoming Rhizomatic’. His pedagogical research into the relationships between theory and practice and their roles in art and design disciplines has made him acutely aware of the importance of an holistic approach to teaching. He used his knowledge of making and doing skills, including design and multimedia software, in combination with his practical and theoretical knowledge to give students a full and rounded educational experience. Twitter: @malarkeypalaver

Dr Julia Lockheart is the director of the Writing-PAD project and co-editor, with Professor John Wood, of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice. She has studied both Fine Art and TESOL to MA level and is also qualified to teach adults with SpLDs (Dyslexia).  Julia has a PhD in Design from Goldsmiths, University of London.  Her research focussed on developing tools for co-writing in design teams.  She has presented and published both nationally and internationally. Twitter: @jollyjewels

Prof Susan Orr is Dean: Learning, Teaching and Enhancement at University of the Arts London. Susan has written extensively on the subject of art and design assessment and her more recent work explores various aspects of art and design pedagogy in higher education. Susan is editor for the journal Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education, and on the editorial board of three further journals.  Susan is on the Executive of CHEAD (Council for Higher Education in Art and Design) and GLAD (Group for Learning in Art and Design). In 2010, Susan was awarded a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship. This was awarded in recognition of her teaching, leadership, research and contribution to art and design HE pedagogy. Twitter: @Susan_K_Orr

Carlotta Solari is multidisciplinary designer and artist, and Michel Erler is a designer and researcher. Both are recent graduates from BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts at London College of Communication (UAL). Twitter @SolariTotti @MichelErler

David Webster is Associate Dean: Learning, Teaching and Enhancement for Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges at University of the Arts London.
Twitter @webster858

Teaching Platform Series 
This event is part of a series hosted by University of the Arts London, exploring key issues in Arts teaching and learning in higher education. Each event includes leading speakers sharing current thinking in creative education and is designed to be interactive: delegates will have opportunities to engage in activities to support networking and engagement.

For more information about Teaching and Learning at UAL visit the Exchange website.  To subscribe to our mailing list for more details about these and other events, please email, or follow us on Twitter @UALTLE.


‘Fishing for Zebedee’

‘Fishing for Zebedee’

I am becoming animal, a rocking horse, a ventriloquist’s emu, a felt frog who will never be a prince. The labyrinth I inhabit has multiple exits but only one entrance. How you come out of my maze does not depend on how you enter, you will be morphed. Charged by the planes of immanence your lines of flight will electrify and animate you. Suckling and entangling you become; bag puss, zippy, muffin the mule, bill and ben, lady penelope, lady lovelace and finally zebedee, boing! You fight the forces of abstraction to distraction and it is a draw. You perform, you happen, you dematerialise, you objectify, you are the subject, you are not. You will evolve, revolve, and dissolve some of those images of thought you have explored by constructing fleeting imaginary worlds. What will pull you back to the memory of crossing the singular threshold? Will it be through rosebudishness, madeleineness, or by the encounter with the idea that forces you to think differently? I will bring a spring, a wooden ball, a moustache, red, blue, yellow and black.

Taking in Vilem Flusser and Louis Bec’s Vampyroteuthis Infernalis as a ‘line of flight’ this paper uses the characters from the Magic Roundabout as luminaires in, ‘The eternal night of the vampyroteuthis [which] is filled with colours and sounds that are emitted by living beings-an eternal festival of colours and sounds, a son et lumiere of extraordinary opulence. The ocean floor is carpeted with red, white, and violet stone; there are dunes of blue and yellow sand, sparkling with pearls and fragments of molten meteorites. Forests, meadows, and plains of plant-like animals, beaming with colours, sway in the current with fanned tentacles. Wandering in their midst are giant iridescent snails, and whirring above them are swarms of crabs, flashing in silver, red, and yellow. It is a luxuriant garden that the vampyroteuthis can illuminate, on a whim, to enjoy its desserts in splendour.’ (Flusser & Bec 2000:35)




Symposium | Material Others and Other Materialities

September 30, 2016 12.45 – 6.15pm

Iklectik Art Lab, 20 Carlisle Lane, London SE1 7LG

In their short philosophical fable ‘Vampyroteuthis Infernalis’, Vilem Flusser and Louis Bec compare human existence to that of a deep-sea squid, the Vampyroteuthis Infernalis. In the process they raise questions about the relation of cognition, culture and sociality to corporeal anatomy and environment. Flusser and Bec’s ruminations form the background context and connecting thread for this symposium, which brings together 10 papers to explore questions of materiality and otherness, specifically in relation to art and design and media. All presentations take a point of departure from Flusser and Bec’s text to discuss an artefact in relation to the symposium’s themes. Register via Eventbrite:


1. Phenomenological Materialities The Immateriality of Titian’s Pesaro Altarpiece | Ken Wilder, Chelsea College of Arts Circle or Oval?: Concepts, Non-identity and the Lifeworld | Johanna Bolton, Royal College of Art Things that Happen Again: Roni Horn and the Phenomenology of the Other | Andrew Chesher, Chelsea College of Arts Chair: Allan Parsons; Discussant: t.b.c.

2. My Body and the Body: The Other and the Alien My Neighbour, That Thing | Werner Prall, Middlesex University The Corporeal Witness in Katie Green’s Lighter than my Shadow | Dan Smith, Chelsea College of Arts Fishing for Zebedee | Mark Ingham, London College of Communication Chair: Amanda Windle; Discussant: t.b.c.

3. Digital Materialities

The Material Other in Fashion Making: The T-shirt | Douglas Atkinson, London College of Fashion Emergent Materiality: The Self and the Other in Material Dialogues | Virna Koutla, Royal College of Art Robotum Anthromorphum: of Virtual Assistants and their Networked Materialities | Michel Erler, London College of Communication The Nonhumanity of Planetary Computing, Metis, or how to live with Digital Uncertainty | Betti Marenko, Central Saint Martins Chair: Andrew Chesher; Discussant: Amanda Windle

For more details:

“Mark, How did you know any thing before the Internet existed?”

Designs on eLearning conference

NYC New School
21 – 22 September 2016
“Mark, How did you know any thing before the Internet existed?”
21 September 11:30 Room 3

Presenter: Mark Ingham
Institution: London College of Communication, University of the Arts London
Theme: Anxiety and Security in the Curriculum
Format: workshop
The During a debate about the reasons why conspicuous theories are perpetuated and are still prevalent today a first year BA art and design student with a puzzled mixture of bewilderment, arrogance, anxiety and concern asked me how my pre digital generation knew anything before the Internet existed.

This group of very articulate students seemed both highly sceptical of any knowledge from any source yet wanted to believe in unfounded and contentious conspiracy theories. They gave the same credence to a highly qualified structural engineer as a basement blogger. Both sources were seen as ‘opinions’ and both as equally legitimate.Digging deeper into this it seemed that they thought the older generations were too accepting of ‘authority’ and their internet savvy generation were just being more open and more thoughtful.

This worshop will interrogate this paradox of accepting what is on the Internet as all the same yet at the same time distrusting well researched information based on prior experiments or prior knowledge. It will also attempt to answer the question, ‘How did we know anything before the Internet?’

Setting up the debate, ‘Why do conspiracy theories still exist and what role has the Internet palates in perpetuating them’. The participants will be divided into two opposing debating groups each with an conflicting statement. They will then debate each other’s ideas. There will then be a plenary session of 20 minutes to discuss the ideas from the debate.

This will be a very hands on session where I will recreate the debate format of the session I had with students. It will become a debating chamber.

A more nuanced understanding of the reasons why students are anxious and yet arrogant about the supply of knowledge in our digital age.

The outcomes of this session will be fed back into UALs digital pedagogical strategy through our Learning and Teaching days. It will also be disseminated on the LCC School of Design Contextual and Theorectical course and unit blogs.


“Mark, How did you know any thing before the Internet existed?”