Jill Howitt is our Critical And Theoretical Studies (CATS) leader for the faculty.
After completing her own first degree in Fine Art at Exeter College of Art and Design, Jill’s career progressed towards a focus on theory, allowing her to combine experience gained as a practicing abstract artist with her on-going research work.
She completed an Open University MA in Art History focusing on the cultural and aesthetic issues surrounding Anish Kapoor’s 110m long, 50m high Temenos; a public artwork in Middlesborough Dock. Her current PhD builds on that study, and is titled, On The Borders: Public Art and Coastal Sites In The North Of England.
Jill says: “My research work has developed with the Open University to look at art in the public realm. I am interested in the critical frameworks required to assess public sculptures as art and as public works. Each of the works identified for this study has specific economic and social aims. The joining of the words public and art suggests that there will be a relationship between sculpture and site and that there will be some public involvement or benefit.
“I am interested in the role of art within the contexts of place, identity and migration. While some of the sculptures I am researching commemorate place, some examine identity outside of civic and national boundaries by celebrating journeys, migration routes and the connections between places, rather than the differences. For example, Immigrants is a cast sculpture placed in Hull, Liverpool, Portsmouth and in several sites in America. It traces the route travelled by immigrants from Eastern Europe, through Britain via Hull and Liverpool, bound for America.”
Jill also writes exhibition reviews and attends conferences and forums run by the Open University, such as The Surrealist House at the Barbican, London. She also attends events that focus on public art in the north of England such as, Magnificent Distance – a critical forum that took place in Newcastle, in August 2012.
Jill is a BAAT-registered art therapist.
She has been teaching since 1982.