J is for…

…juggling, well the ability to juggle many, many things. It also stands for jigsaw puzzle, and how your life works that way sometimes. Oh and junket, but thats just because I like that word. JUNKET, so american. Maybe it’s the phonetics of it, as to why I like it.

So I realise I haven’t been very good at keeping up with blogging lately, in fact it has been over a month, but I have a good reason, well actually a few…I moved house two days before Christmas, which was manic and tense, but I got there with some help from some very good friends and my family (thank you!) who had the patience of a saint. I was one tough cookie during those few days. Unbearable at times. I also had a PhD deadline for the Pg Cert course in mid-January, I didn’t have to hand in then but Rachel being Rachel decided to meet the full-time deadline, even though I am only registered part-time. Let’s see if I can keep this up.

Where to begin! Happy New Year (or xin nian kuai le in pinyin). As I look back through my diary into the end of last year all I see is scrawls about an arts council application, literature review and research proposal, writing writing writing, dinners and Christmas parties, drinks and sleeps, snow days, super sneezes (evidently I got a cold at some stage), notify change of address (which is a nightmare over Christmas and New Year), and “you smell like vogue magazine”. My brother said this to me on Christmas Day, as my RJW gave me a bottle of Chanel Allure. What he actually meant was I smelt like those tear open strips they have in magazines that give you a taster of scent. I liked this phrase.

Anyway…where am I at now with things?

Let me start with a PhD update. I have finished the Pg Cert Research Practice course. It culminated in a Literature Review, Research Proposal and a series of presentations by all students, showing where you research had taken you since the start in October 2009. My presentation looked into where my ideas came from, where they had taken me and where I am at now.

After introducing the research aims, objectives, questions and methodological approach to my study, I eventually spoke of the post-colonial theories I had examined as part of my Literature Review by Homi K. Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, Annie Coombes and Sarat Maharaj also in relation to the Third Guangzhou Triennial in 2008. As China has no direct history with colonialism, and thus, no experience of being colonised, it was necessary to state how contemporary Chinese art can be examined in relation to post-colonial theory. I referenced curator Gao Shiming, who saw post-colonialism as,

“…not only an experience, but a discourse; not only a view, but a perspective; not only a discourse, but also an epistemological system and a form of spectatorship…a creative system…a discourse at a curatorial level, but as a context, it belongs to everyone.”

I hope to interview Gao later on this year, as part of the fieldwork research I am planning in China. My supervisor Joshua has suggested two events which would be beneficial for me to attend, including an exhibition curated by him at China Central Academy of Fine Art (CAFA) opening in September 2010, and a conference as part of the Shanghai Biennale 2010. Perhaps i’ll go out for both…but as always it depends on funding. I have two research grants to apply for, it’s all about successful form filling. So that is definitely part of the where to next section, along with the exhibition Facing East: Recent Works from China, India and Japan from the Frank Cohen Collection, which opens at Manchester Art Gallery next month (4 Feb – 11 Apr 2010). I hope to talk to the curator David Thorpe about his interpretations of contemporary Chinese art. I think I need to start contacting those to be interviewed…maybe I need to do a Gant chart or a timescale. Furthermore, I am aiming to submit the 9R form (the formal PhD proposal) by Easter time. Numerous group tutorials have been scheduled, and I just hoe I can keep up.

After the presentation, I encouraged and received over 45 minutes of critical feedback and discussion, which, in hindsight, I should have recorded. Next time Rachel! We spoke of assessing the audiences perception of the exhibitions of contemporary Chinese art which included reading published exhibition reviews, and interviewing/distributing questionnaires to the visitors/viewers. The use of terminology is something that kept on arising. On this occasion, it was the term “accuracy” being deemed inappropriate, perhaps mis-understood, mis-translated is ok, and less specific, or even appropriated, mis-translated, mis-displayed, mis-readings of interpretations? Hmmm….also how are accidental translations assessed? All of these issues need to be discussed. My study was referenced as incoding to decoding, where I need to look at the commercial side of curating, if only briefly, and how the West is defined and seen from a Chinese perspective. I was recommended the work of Corinne Kratz and her theories of perception through display, and also the book ‘Art and Agency’ by Alfred Gell…which I am trying to get hold of, not easily either as they are not in the library.

Now on to the exhibition I am organising,  planning and curating for the AirSpace Gallery. I found out last week that I was successful in receiving the Arts Council grant, which means I can produce a publication. I have already designed the poster and flyer with Phil Rawle (Wren Park) and am now in the very frantic stages of collating, writing and editing texts. He has been fantastic in producing artwork so quickly…it would be great to hear some feedback about it, and about the show.

Design by Phil Rawle, Wren Park

\”home\” is a group exhibition looking into how, when set in a comparable context with artists from South Asia, British artists of South Asian descent view their own origin and literal physical sense of location, alongside more figurative investigations and manifestations of the self and identity, locality and vicinity, foreign and foreignness, home and origin. The exhibition will display established artists together with recent graduates at the beginning of their creative careers, including Hetain Patel, Harminder Singh Judge, Samit Das, Kashif Nadim Chaudry and Chinmoyi Patel. The private view is on Friday 12th February 2010, from 6pm, and refreshments will be provided by Barefoot Wines. All very exciting and it would be fantastic to see you there or hear your views on the show. I discovered that the Staffordshire Hoard is on display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery at the same time, so I’m hoping for some extra footfall to my show. I’ll definitely be flyer-ing in the queues if they were anything like when it was on display in Birmingham.

Tomorrow I start the Preparing Postgraduate Researchers to Teach in Higher Education – Supporting Learning course by SEDA (Staff and Educational Development Association) as part of their Professional Development Framework (PDF). We will see what this course brings…apart from a free lunch. I can’t wait to start lecturing next month…to start those dialogues with students. Finally, I have been asked to do some freelance art marketing writing for Karen Osbourne who runs Kaos Arts. I have enjoyed working with her so far and she is sending some really interesting writing opportunities to me. I hope this work continues into the future.

Oh and one last thing, I’ll update you on my progression with Mandarin after my second session of the term tomorrow. Slowly getting back into it after the Christmas and New Year break…zai jian! (for now…)


  1. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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