Gregory Sporton

Gregory Sporton originally trained as a dancer at the Victorian College of the Arts in his native Australia. After a career as a dancer working for dance and opera companies around the world, he undertook postgraduate studies at the University of Warwick and completed a PhD at the University of Sheffield, supervised by Prof. Fred Inglis. After initial leadership experience of Dance Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, he became Head of Research and Graduate School at Laban Centre London (now part of TrinityLaban Conservatiore). Always interested in new technology and its impact on the arts, he moved to Birmingham City University to found the Visualisation Research Unit, a collection of tech-driven artists from many disciplines looking at how technology was changing creative practice. He was made a Professor there in 2011, and was heavily involved in the development of Eastside Projects and the Eastside Consortium in the Digbeth area of Birmingham. In 2013, he was appointed Professor of Digital Creativity at the University of Greenwich where he founded and led the Department of Creative Professions and Digital Arts, before becoming Head of School for the newly formed Westminster School of Arts.

His research publications cover a diverse range, including the 2015 book ‘Digital Creativity: Something from Nothing’ published by Palgrave Macmillan, and also work on dance, technology in the creative sphere and early Soviet period aesthetics. He is reviews editor for Scene, where he regularly publishes on performance from around the world. He still occasionally performs, notably with Sandra Norman in ‘DoubleTake 360’, a performance work combining the dancers in their present state with themselves on video from more than thirty years ago. He also publishes work on early Soviet-era aesthetics and politics.

For further information about Gregory’s research, supervision and teaching experience also see:

https://www.westminster.ac.uk/about-us/our-people/directory/sporton-gregory

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Art and Society

Explored through performance, installation, and ceramics, and between art and science, the diverse practices of CREAM researchers in this area are drawn together for their emphasis on critical and collective engagements with the question and role of art and society.

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REBEL MUSIC: Sound Systems Culture The Story of Blues Parties in Southampton

Saturday 19 October – Friday 20 December 2019

This exhibition recognises the impact that Jamaican music has had on culture and explores its past, present and future, with special focus on the untold story of the Southampton Blues Parties of the 70s and 80s.

Join us for a free evening of celebration and affirmation with an exhibition preview, a film screening of ‘Bass Culture’ Mykaell Riley and a special blues party hosted by MAKA foundation, Southampton’s leading reggae sound system since 1979.

In collaboration with Black History Month South. 

The exhibition was devised by Don John and together with archival materials and contemporary artist Gerard Hanson, will explore the story and impact of Jamaica and Jamaican-influenced music on British culture, particularly through the story of the ‘Shebeens’ or ‘Blues’ clubs in Southampton.

Gerard Hanson was born in Bradford of Jamaican and Irish parents and much of his art explores his heritage and identity.  In this exhibition he will be creatively exploring the reasons why the Shebeens came about and their impact on the city. People with memories to share are invited to contribute imagery or stories to contribute to the exhibition and help to tell the Southampton story.

Info about the film – ‘Bass Culture’ by Mykaell Riley

“This is the story of the soundtrack to multiculturalism, a hidden history that is still impacting on new British music.”
 – Mykaell Riley, Principal Investigator and Director of the Black Music Research Unit, University of Westminster

Bass Culture is the first Arts and Humanities Research Council award to the Black Music Research Unit at the University of Westminster. It takes the form of a three-year project exploring the impact of Jamaican and Jamaican-influenced music on British culture. Covering the period from the 1960s to the present day, the research explores the profound ways in which the island’s music remade popular music in Britain – and was fundamental in the emergence of multiculture in the British city and the redefinition of the post-colonial nation.

Exploring the impact of Bass Culture through the explosion of Jamaican genres like ska, reggae and dub in the UK to the development of distinct British variants like dub poetry, two-tone and lovers rock. They also explores Bass Culture as a creative practice, an independent economy and a source of alternative philosophical and political ideas.

6pm – 7pm: – EXHIBITION PREVIEW AT SHOWCASE GALLERY

7pm – 9pm: – FILM SCREENING OF ‘BASS CULTURE’ BY MYKAELL RILEY AT SHOWCASE GALLERY

9pm – til late: – BLUES PARTY WITH MAKA FOUNDATION across the road at Belgium and Blues

http://basscultureduk.com/about/

Cultural Icons: Remaking a popular pottery tradition

Saturday 14 September – Sunday 17 November 2019, 10.00–17.00

Cultural Icons takes inspiration from the history and tradition of the Staffordshire flatback, once produced by most of the potteries in the region. Such objects reflected the interests of ordinary people in Victorian England, their subjects including famous entertainers, politicians, royalty and religious themes. For this project, curator Tessa Peters assisted by artist Christie Brown invited figurative ceramicists to respond to the historic flat-back portrait figures in the extensive collections of the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery. The resulting artworks comment on aspects of mainstream culture, society and politics today.   

Stephen Dixon offers a satirical take on political events such as Brexit and the presidency of Trump, while Matt Smith’s series, Oceans Rise, Empires Fall, provides an allegorical vision of societal structures in a state of collapse. Claire Curneen’s timeless subjects – both religious and secular – feature mysterious pairings and propose enigmatic narratives. Ingrid Murphy’s She danced him into a flat spin series is the result of her direct hands-on engagement with a traditional flat-back scene within a virtual reality platform. Inspired by Staffordshire figures of Queen Victoria with her infant children, Joanne Ayre provides contemporary visions of motherhood including Meghan Markle and Shamima Begum, and Christie Brown’s flatbacks invite reflection on today’s celebrity culture exemplified by popular TV shows such as Love Island and Strictly Come Dancing. 

The artists were also commissioned to provide a related design for production as a limited edition by communities of makers in Stoke-on-Trent. This enabled workshop participants to develop new skills and gain an understanding of how the original flatbacks were made. The editions and one-off works are displayed alongside a selection of Victorian flatbacks from the museum’s collections and finely detailed drawings of historic flatbacks by John Hewitt that also encourage close study of the original portrait figures. 

An iteration of the exhibition tours to Hove Museum, 29 Nov 2019 – 11 April 2020.

The project was commissioned by the British Ceramics Biennial as part of the Four Sites initiative. It is supported by Arts Council England, Stoke-on-Trent Cultural Destinations, City of Stoke-on-Trent, Royal Pavilion & Museums/Brighton & Hove City Council.

Open daily 10am – 5pm

https://www.britishceramicsbiennial.com/event/the-potteries-museum-and-art-gallery-focus-weekend/?fbclid=IwAR1LKQzqbBvrFV6o0Kh03g2dPvN08_tBXJm54ryOOXJsnl7xuLalKImd1_E

Invisible Men – An anthology from the Westminster Menswear Archive

Friday 25 October – Sunday 24 November 2019, 11.00–19.00

Drawing exclusively from the Westminster Menswear Archive this exhibition explores the invisibility of menswear due to its intrinsic design language that concentrates on the reiterations of archetypal garments intended for specific functional, technical or military use. It will illustrate how designers have disrupted this through minimal, yet significant modifications to produce outcomes that both replicate and subvert their source material. 

Through this approach, the language of menswear has developed an almost fetishistic appreciation of the working man in all his heroic iterations, referencing the clothing of seafarers, soldiers, athletes, firefighters, road workers, explorers, and scientists. 
This design strategy has, for the most part, allowed men and what they wear to avoid scrutiny; these garments have remained invisible within fashion exhibitions in favour of only presenting menswear as the story of the dandy or the peacock.

This exhibition aims to shine a light on these invisible men.

FEATURED DESIGNERS:

A Cold Wall*, Adidas, Aitor Throup, Alexander McQueen, Austin Reed, Belstaff, Bernhard Willhelm , Blades, BodyMap, Burberry, Burton, C.P. Company, Calvin Klein, Carol Christian Poell, Christian Dior, Comme Des Garcons, Craig Green, Dege & Skinner, Gieves, H&M, Harrods, Helmut Lang, Irvine Sellars, Issey Miyake, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Jeremy Scott, John Stephen, Junior Gaultier, Junya Watanabe, Left Hand, Levi’s, Lewis Leathers, Liam Hodges, Mackintosh, Martin Margiela, Massimo Osti, Meadham Kirchhoff, Michiko Koshino, Mr Fish, Nigel Cabourn, Palace, Paul Smith, Peter Saville, Prada, Sibling, Stella McCartney, Stone Island, Umbro, Undercover, Vexed Generation, Vivienne Westwood , Vollebak, Zegna Sport.

Open Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 7pm

Free Entry

https://www.invisiblemenexhibition.com

Street Directory

Friday 11 October – Sunday 20 October 2019

Before it was a gallery, Filet was a butchers and a bike shop. It used to be a house next to a carpenters, and before that a tailors. There was a vicarage to its left and later on a library to its right. The shops around it have been bakers, dressmakers, bookies, a wool shop, confectioners, cafes and picture framers. Before that, it was part of a field for archery practice, and used to be called Murray Street, not Murray Grove. Its shops and surrounding houses and flats reflect the different architectural fashions and city planners of their time. It has been half destroyed by a wartime bomb and partly knocked down for slum clearance. But there is still an undertaker, a launderette, hairdresser, opticians, post office, cafes and artists living and working on the street. 

Street Directory amplifies the sounds and voices of Murray Grove, stretching back to the 1800s and forward to the present day, with the kind participation of people working on the street, including Filet. 

Please join us for food and drink from 6.30 to 8.30 on 11th October, and for discussions about the street, now and then, on Sunday 20th October from 2.30 – 6.30.

http://www.filetfilet.uk

Hyphen

Friday 22 March – Wednesday 27 March 2019

Hyphen is an exhibition of research-in-practice by PhD candidates and alumni at the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) and the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) at University of Westminster. 

What possible worlds can be discovered in the interstices between research and creation? What modes of knowing and un-knowing are activated in an exhibition focused on process rather than form? How do we study, as Moten and Harney say, with other people, and what do the works that we create do when they socialise with each other?

The hyphen is a mark that both separates and connects, and opens into multiplicities of origins, interests, cultures, media, practices, fields of research, modes of creation. The hyphen is non-binary, multidimensional; a link, a gap, a joint, a hinge, a line, a break, an opening, a void. Hyphen assembles practices that incorporate video, photography, sound, installation, ceramics, digital media, performance, dance, music, workshops, talks. http://www.hy-phen.space/exposition/
In conjunction with the exhibition, the online journal Hyphen was launched. (http://hy-phen.space)

Sankofa Whispers: Remembering, Reflecting and Reframing

Friday 28 June 2019, 18.30–20.30

Video Still from The Queen and the Black Eyed Squint North Kensington (2017). Courtesy Barby Asante.

Sankofa Whispers: Remembering, Reflecting and Reframing  

Screenings of contemporary films works that explore African Diasporic memory practices and knowledges, from the artists Barby Asante, Halima Haruna, Onyeka Igwe, Nuotama Bodomo, Jennifer Martin and Rhea Storr.

Followed by a discussion with Barby Asante, Filmmaker, curator and DJ Rabz Lansiquot and Filmmaker, researcher and educator, Judah Attille.

Book tickets at https://www.regentstreetcinema.com/programme/go-back-and-get-it-seeking-sankofa/

Stuart Cumberland

Stuart Cumberland is a painter who lives and works in London. His research is concerned with postconceptual painting, in other words, why, how and what to paint after conceptual art. He exhibits internationally and through representation at the Approach gallery.

He is best known for making a generic type of gestural, yet controlled, monochromatic abstract painting, which promote a conclusion that the label postconceptual painting is applied to artworks that are representations of painting and as such are not real painting. In recent years he has transferred his energies from making paintings to making what he calls pictures. Through this categorical switch the emphasis falls not so much on medium but upon image.

For his pictures Cumberland utilises a limited vernacular of motifs common to the history of art and specifically painting; such as the human head and face, dogs, guns and still life elements––table tops and chairs for example. These motifs are repeated through stencil techniques, from picture to picture, to make a variety of visual compositions providing the viewer with ambiguous (tragi-comic) imagery open to a play of unfixed interpretations.

For more information on Stuart’s research, teaching and supervision experience, also see: https://www.westminster.ac.uk/about-us/our-people/directory/cumberland-stuart

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Art and Society

Explored through performance, installation, and ceramics, and between art and science, the diverse practices of CREAM researchers in this area are drawn together for their emphasis on critical and collective engagements with the question and role of art and society.

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Clare Twomey, FACTORY: the seen and the unseen

Thursday 28 September – Sunday 8 October 2017

Clare Twomey, Tate Exchange

Artist Clare Twomey transforms Tate Exchange into a factory making everyday objects from clay to explore ideas around the concept of production.

In week one, a 30-metre production line, forty factory staff, eight tonnes of clay, a wall of drying racks, and over 2,000 fired clay objects will occupy the floor of Tate Exchange. You can clock in, join the production line and learn the skills of working with clay.  You will be able to exchange what you make for another person’s tea pot, jug or flower from the factory.

In week two the production line stops, the workers have left and you will enter a factory soundscape. The now redundant factory becomes a space for questions. Talks from industry specialists will explore how communities are built by collective labour, look at where the industrial processes of our past are informing out future and consider what we will need from factories in years to come.

Cards placed throughout the factory floor invite you to think about raw materials, how knowledge is acquired and shared, where transformation takes place and the different systems of value we apply to material culture and human relationships. Leave your thoughts and share where production exists for you in exchange for an object made in the factory.

Clare Twomey Artist statement

A factory is a term that refers to shared labour, where the production line is composed of many parts and processes and through shared goals a product is completed. I have spent years in ceramics factories understanding how they function, how human they are, how they make the things we want.  The factory I have built for Tate Exchange is not a real factory, it is not a real place of work, it is a place of simulation with the intent to draw us into a conversation about how we connect to our everyday ideas of labour, value and exchange.

When the factory is live it will draw us into its rhythm of the tasks of labour, the enchantments of handling materials, the languages of labour, skills and craft in repetition and the development of knowledge.  

In the redundant FACTORY the workers have gone but their voice and breath remain. The machines, the materials, the benches become small monuments. The space is filled with the evidence of the human, but the wholeness of the factory is fractured, a space now exists where the human is craved, the purpose of the factory has become a proposition of both loss and potential. The tasks of labour are now listening, reflecting, observing. The visitor is invited to and consider their own relationship to and experience of production.

Clare Twomey is an artist based in London whose work often involves intense research, focusing on themes such as collaboration in fabrication. She has an MA in Ceramics and Glass from the Royal College of Art and is Reader in the School of Media, Arts and Design at the University of Westminster where she directs Ceramics Research in The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM).

Tate Exchange: Production is supported by Maryam and Edward Eisler, Red Hat Inc., Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Art Fund. FACTORY: the seen and the unseen has received additional support from Dudson, the University of Westminster, the University of Nottingham and the British Ceramic Biennial.