Ellen Wynn

Watching 24-hour live media coverage of the 2010 Chilean miners’ rescue brought memories rushing back to fine artist Ellen Wynn.

Her father worked at Markham Colliery in Chesterfield when disaster struck the pit in 1973 and 18 of his colleagues lost their lives.

Footage of the Chilean rescue struck a chord with Ellen, who has been teaching at Hull School of Art and Design since 2004, and led her to develop theories about the idea of the spectacle in relation to disaster, rescue and her own artistic practice.

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Alongside her teaching practice in Critical and Theoretical Studies, Ellen practices fine art.

Ellen’s teaching has primarily centred on 3D design, graphics and architecture and she regularly attends lectures and exhibitions to update and extend her knowledge.

A fully trained architect, she practiced architecture before developing her interest in fine art.

Currently she is researching a follow-up to a 2002 one-woman show at Red Gallery, Inform.

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Inform 2 centres around TV coverage of the Chilean miners’ rescue.

For Inform, she combined newsprint and media imagery with everyday domestic items, thereby instilling the artworks with literal and figurative additional layers of meaning. At the time, Ellen said:

“By distorting or changing their expected context, household objects such as blankets, chairs and newspapers are transformed into works of art which aim to awaken an interest in the relevance of news in our routine lives and to question, even threaten, our domestic comfort zone.”

Now, she says:

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“Inform was partly a personal response to the media coverage of 9/11. Distant and ‘unlikely’ events create anxiety, fear and euphoria, which distort the core of our everyday reality”.

Poststructuralist and postmodernist theory runs through all of this work. Exploring the way events are mediated through our TV screens as an assumed reality is central to Inform 2.

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Craft in relation to fine art played and still plays a large role in her work. When she was young her mother worked from home as a milliner and curtain maker, and she taught Ellen to sew. The process of hand-stitching represents independence, comfort and control which form a strong juxtaposition with the subject matter she tackles.

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Inspired by her response to the Chilean miners’ rescue, she hopes to exhibit Inform 2 in 2015.

“This work will reference my early paintings,” Ellen says. “Using textile craft techniques to labour and ‘upholster’ the canvas and in particular to reference to the home environment, I will explore the status of craft in relation to painting and in particular the language of embroidery.”

Focusing chiefly on materialising painting as object, she plans to use the TV imagery that captured the collective consciousness during the rescue.

Ellen says:

“In relation to my role as a HE lecturer, I would like to enrich my teaching through my practice and to establish research interests in relation to my work.”

A larger range of Ellen’s work can be seen in her online gallery HERE:

Val Phelps

As a playwright, actor and director, Val Phelps practises many different play genres and styles of theatre.

From dark fairy tales, docudramas, murder mysteries and short story performances, to the theatre of cruelty and the intriguingly titled “invisible theatre”, Val brings a varied professional background to her teaching at Hull School of Performance Arts (HSPA).

Val’s main research interest – and submitted PhD proposal – centres on text relating to styles of theatre; titled Writing and Performance Studies, she eventually plans to turn her findings into a textbook that will include three of her own scripts.

Val says:

“I am exploring ways in which we can put practitioners together to explore how methodologies and theories work, and give examples of how they can be used in recognised texts. I often see HE students struggle to understand how texts relate to theatre styles.”

Traditional theatre textbooks, says Val, tend to polarise methods, labelling plays as either Brechtian or Stanislavskian, for example.

“As long as you understand those two styles, there is nothing wrong with using them together. I am also exploring theatre practitioner Antonin Artaud’s  methods of the theatre of cruelty – the ways that making an audience feel uncomfortable can help them explore emotions and senses in a much more intense manner.”

As well as the PhD, which has been submitted as a proposal to Birmingham University, Val has a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing and Theatre Studies from Bolton, an MA in Creative Writing from Bretton Hall and a PGCE from Huddersfield.

She has penned 15 plays – including 2012’s darkly humorous horror, The Bates Motel, which was performed at Tickton Little Theatre in East Yorkshire – and has run her own professional touring company since 1995.

With Blue Angel Theatre Company, Val wrote, acted and directed courtroom dramas for Wakefield Town Hall, ran murder mystery events in hotels, as well as the aforementioned “invisible theatre”.

Other recent plays include The Writers’ Circle, also performed at Tickton Little Theatre, and Original Sin, an observational piece about the nature of humanity.

She has had plays commissioned by clients ranging from household names to The Leeds School of Medicine and belongs to the London Society of Writers, which meets quarterly for collaborative writing projects and networking opportunities.

Val has been teaching since 2001 and lecturing at HSPA since 2006. She has performed readings of her work, such as Red Riding Hood: The Truth, at Oxford Literature Festival. She attends creative writing workshops, most recently a three-day event at the Faber Academy in London with Hanif Kareishi and Marcel Theroux.

Tim Keech

Hull School of Performance Art’s guitar specialist Tim Keech has decades of experience as a lecturer, tutor and professional musician. He ranks flexibility almost as highly as the art and craft of performance for musical artists.

And within our Faculty of Arts, fractional Music lecturer Tim specialises in theory and performance practice.

His teaching career includes teaching music and physics in schools; running his own music school in Spring Bank, Hull; teaching guitar at the University of Hull; and lecturing at Hull School of Performance Arts, where he has taught since 1997. Tim has a BSc (Hons) in Civil Engineering from the University of Leeds, a PGCE and an MMus in Music Composition from the University of Hull.

But music performance has been a constant throughout Tim’s career.

“A gig has been part of my way of making a living for the past 20 years,” he says. “It’s a day at the office for me, you have to be able to judge each performance and adapt.”

Tim mainly performs with jazz fusion band Mad Dog and the Sophisticats. With this outfit, he plays up to 100 gigs per year, up to half of which are likely to be weddings. He also plays in the Wakefield Arms Jazz Band and produces CDs for the band ahead of its annual visits to a jazz festival in Herne, Germany.

Although his “first love” is jazz, Tim says:

“To make a living teaching guitar, you have to be pretty versatile.”

He also composes, writes, sings, plays, arranges and produces for other musicians. Tim does the arrangements for an Andrews Sisters cover act based in Leeds and runs an a capella close harmony jazz group, Bamba Dooda.

When studying for his MMus, Tim researched the development of jazz harmony, including mapping the fingerboard of a guitar, which he describes as “a lifetime’s work”.

“My research didn’t end with the completion of the MMus,” he says. “I investigate better ways of passing on playing techniques to my students. That is a constant. If I go into a practice session now I’m not trying to advance my own technique, but look at ways I can accelerate students’ progress, or anticipate and avoid potential difficulties. Continuity is the key.

“From a guitar-teaching point of view, I’m always interested in doing the job better and looking at ways I can circumvent or pre-empt students’ problems.”

Tim’s great passion is to pass on good performance habits. Many of his former students are now professional musicians.

“From a technical point of view, the biggest mistake most people make is picking up the guitar incorrectly,” he says. “My performance expertise comes into play when we’re looking at turning a musician into a professional act. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you pause on stage for as little as three seconds, you can empty a dancefloor.”

Lucy Markham

Fashion lecturer and bespoke dressmaker Lucy Markham has first-hand experience of the issues facing her students.

“It’s good for the students to know that you’ve been through it,” says Lucy,

…who has been lecturing at Hull School of Art and Design (HSAD) since 2009; runs her own business; and also offers private sewing classes. She works with a diverse range of clients, from amateur seamstresses to up-and-coming fashion designers and professional costumiers.

Lucy’s research interests include ongoing investigations into the shapes, volumes and textures created by fabrics, as well as a specialism in pattern-cutting.

“My MA was about the manipulation of fabric on the stand, static pieces,” says Lucy. “It was a cross between fashion and art.”

Her MA research inspired Lucy to launch her own dressmaking business, Lucy Markham Bespoke Dressmaking, in October 2012, which she runs from a custom-built studio at her home.

“I’m interested in bringing manufacturing back to England with Lucy Markham Bespoke Dressmaking,” she says.

Lucy is creating a niche for herself offering a small-scale manufacturing service for up-and-coming designers.

She says:

“I can run out up to 30 pieces, which is great for new designers wanting samples running up. Often, designers might have a vision in their head, but can’t or don’t have the time to make it. Cutting a pattern and making a garment is a specialist skill that not many people have. The great thing about our BA (Hons) Fashion course at HSAD is that it is 80% practical – our students do all the research and pattern-cutting themselves.”

Much of Lucy’s client-based private practice comes through word of mouth. She also teaches sewing classes;  has a strong seam of her own womenswear designs; and is currently working on a collection to show at her home studio.

She is developing research into the use of mobile technology apps for Fashion students and investigating electronic patter-cutting techniques to inform her teaching.

Visit Lucy’s website: www.lucymarkhambespoke.co.uk

Louise Lumsden

A passion for interior design coupled with an academic interest in creative teaching: Louise Lumsden has a well rounded approach to her subject, practice and teaching.

“Interior Design is a very visual subject,” she says. “It is very important to present visual stimuli and experiences to the students.”

After 15 years’ experience running a family building development company, Louise branched out into domestic interiors, and ran paint effect workshops from 2003 onwards.

“I have always had an interest in interiors,” she says. “I painted, created artefacts and ran my own workshops from the family business.”

Qualifications in Interior Design and Paint Effects from York’s Askham Bryan College followed and in 2008, she began lecturing at Harrogate School of Art and Design (HSAD). She now combines interior design commissions and practice with her teaching and research, and also has a degree in Professional Training and Development.

Louise’s MA in Higher Education Practice with the University of Huddersfield involves theoretical and practical applications of Creativity In Teaching. It is due for completion in 2013.

Of her MA studies, she says: “I am looking at the environment, the way our landscape shapes the way we see things – the multi-sensory experience. The way you learn is really important as it can stimulate the senses and promote learning.

“We want students to achieve and enjoy their experience. It is vital to present learning materials in an imaginative way to meet the needs of students and provide links with industry.

She takes her students to inspirational exhibitions such as the Surface Design Show in London.

“It is an opportunity to find out about new products, establish contacts and develop links with designers, manufacturers and suppliers,” she says. “The students return full of inspiration, enthusiasm and motivation.”

Louise keeps up-to-date with nationwide exhibitions, journals and e-journals to ensure her teaching and practice remains on-trend.

Thanks to her industry experience, she has a healthy book of contacts, which helps her to provide her students with varied live projects.

Julie Kinsey

Technical perfection in core skills and workplace adaptability are the key lessons that Julie Kinsey brings to Fashion students at Harrogate School of Art and Design.

Julie entered the trade as a machinist in 1975 and has since taken the best of British manufacturing expertise and used it to educate students and professionals all over the world. There are opportunities, she says, there for the taking once her students have fully grasped the basics of fashion production.

“The basics don’t change,” she says. “To be able to design and make clothing, you need to know how to put garments together. But you also have to adapt to survive.”

Starting out working in Leeds factories that employed thousands of highly skilled machinists, Julie soon witnessed the migration of work to manufacturers abroad and the loss of skilled British workers.

So, she moved into training roles very early on in her career, and trained machinists to work in production lines, as well as for bespoke items, such as Burberry suits and coats.

She has been lecturing since the 1980s, most recently at Harrogate School of Art and Design (HSAD), on our Fashion Design and Production course.

Julie says:

“When I began teaching in education in 1986, I was running a youth training scheme to get skilled machinists back into the British manufacturing industry.”

She has trained teachers on an international level and has written a world-leading, garment construction design package for teachers in China and other parts of the Far East. Julie’s teaching model is still in use to this day in the Hong Kong fashion manufacturing industry.

She now makes sure her HSAD degree students get a good grounding in all aspects of fashion pattern and garment construction. Their work is shown regularly at HSAD and at other exhibitions such as the Knitting and Stitching Show, in Harrogate.

Julie continues to develop her own practice and research. She takes commissions for bespoke wedding dresses and is currently refreshing her knowledge of corsetry on a practical course. She builds and maintains connections to the fashion industry.

“I love to do new courses,” she says. “If I haven’t studied a subject for a while, I take a course to make sure I know what the latest practice is. Once I complete my courses, I take them further and expand on them for the benefit of my students.”

Helen Graham

Signs, symbols and mythology inform ceramist Helen Graham’s work.

Using handmade porcelain and terracotta forms, she creates thought-provoking works on themes such as politics, feminism and advertising.

Her current practice is a progression from her MA in Visual Arts.

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Creating hand-built forms from Southern Ice porcelain – a “very white, very translucent and very expensive” material – Helen imposes recognisable contemporary symbols on to handled flasks that reflect Classical and pre-Classical history and mythology.

Helen says:

“I am interested in themes such as gender and semiotics, and aim to create a visual narrative through inlaid decoration. Some are obvious comments; others are more obtuse and open to interpretation.”

Forms are created to reflect Ancient Near Eastern and Greek designs and decorated with, for example, female and male symbols for toilets, mixed in with religious imagery such as a bishop’s mitre. Helen designed this work to question the current Pope’s pledge to address world poverty while rejecting women’s reproductive rights, and refers to it as a commentary on Christianity’s uneasy relationship with women.

“We live in a culture where women’s lives are determined by the ways in which they are perceived,” she says. “And yet, at the 2013 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the term “reproductive rights” was removed, such is the strength of the Vatican lobby”.

“I am fascinated by archaeology and ancient sites and am a complete trainspotter for pre-Christian imagery. Many pre-Christian religions had female deities but Christianity either maligned them, or appropriated them and their festivals.”

Other recent works include a series about the 2012 Olympics, depicting Jessica Ennis and a female Iraqi archer,

“it’s a comment about passivism and women as products”, says Helen.

She is currently building her practice in preparation for the pursuit of a PhD.

Prior to her MA studies, Helen completed a BA (Hons) in Art and Design at Bradford University, specialising in ceramics and print-making (1989). She worked on a Creative Workshop Scheme and, in 1990, won a Princes Trust grant to investigate Portuguese ceramics, such as azulejoes and decorated majolica ware.

Helen was a founder member of Prospect Mill Studios in Thornton, Bradford. She is a qualified and experienced silversmith and holds a PGCE qualification. She has been teaching at HSAD since 2000.

She exhibits and sells her work widely, most recently at the British Craft Fair, Dean Clough in Halifax and at Gallery Eleven in Hull as part of a Northern Potters’ Association show. Upcoming exhibitions include a display in the North York Moors visitor centre at Danby; the Lillian Coleman Gallery in St John’s Wood, London; and The Meeting Room at South Square Centre in Thornton, Bradford, in November.

You can view Helen’s ceramics at: www.helengraham.org.uk.

Edward Webster

Photographer Edward Webster balances digital techniques with historic processes. The basic blueprint for his work and teaching stems from the assertion that photography is a tool that filters the world.

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So, he emphasises the importance of ethics in his art.

“It’s not just about teaching technique,” says Edward. “It’s about giving people the opportunity to view the world in a sensitive manner. That underpins everything we do here, as well as everything I do as a professional artist.”

Edward has taught at HSAD since 2002. He has a BA (Hons) in Photography from Blackpool and the Fylde University; and an MA in Contemporary Fine Art from Leeds Metropolitan University, where he developed his specialism in historic processes, including making a large home-built camera capable of producing 11inx14in negatives. This was used in his artist residency at Knaresborough Castle in 2005 and continuing work in Moravia, in the Czech Republic.

As a result of his research, he now specialises in cyanotype, mixed media, photomontage and portraiture.

He says:

“I came to academia as a mature student, having previously worked in the commercial photographic industry. The MA work led to artist’s residencies and exhibitions.”

His most recent gallery contribution was portraiture work at the Blueprint exhibition in at Studio Eleven, in Humber Street, Hull. http://www.studioeleven.co.uk/current-exhibitions.php

“The work I showed in Hull was four portraits of influential musicians – Jools Holland, Dweezil Zappa, Courtney Pine and ska trombone player Rico Rodriguez –shot on film and adapted.

“I mix media together using film, digital capture, scanners and process from the 1800s, such as cyanotype,” says Edward. “I make digital negatives and print from there. It all works together nicely.  The process excites me every time I see it – that word ‘magic’ often comes up.”

Edward also hosts regular workshops in cyanotype at Studio Eleven, saying: “I keep up with digital photography but now I can trace my photographic roots right back to the beginning.”

Previous work includes a Dada-esque photomontageanti-art” series of based on the Vanitas genre, called War, Knowledge, Science and Wealth.

He explains:

“For War, I took a line drawing of the original Little Boy atom bomb, mixed with an image of a pin-up girl, and sat it on a Van Gogh table; Knowledge is based on a 16th-century painting called The Ambassadors, in which I’ve replaced the famous oblique skull with a laptop and the two character with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates; for Wealth, I took Damien Hirst’s diamond skull, turned it upside down with Van Gogh’s flowers coming out of the top and put it through the cyanotype process.”

Ongoing research projects include themed portraiture work based around characters spotted in his home town of Knaresborough; and the delivery of talks at HE teaching and learning conferences; and theoretical research that goes hand in hand with his practice.

Edward also helps run a commercial studio www.hopewellstudios.com.

Bridget Hansford

The School of Architecture has a vital role to play in the city of Hull, says lecturer and practice director Bridget Hansford.

“The school is fundamental in terms of raising ambition,” she says. “It provides opportunities for the city to move forward with projects that challenge the status quo.  Not only is that very useful for the city, it allows the city to sell its ideas to a wider audience. We can look beyond reactive ideas and build on the capacity within the city to think of new solutions.”

And her students come up with bold proposals that demonstrate the creative potential of architecture and the city.

Bridget has been an academic here at Hull School of Art and Design (HSAD) since the course was set up in 2009 but has taught since 1991 at universities including the original School of Architecture in Hull. She has been a practising architect since 1984 and is the co-director of an established practice in Beverley, Salt Architects and has won several industry and RIBA awards.

She says:

“It is an essential part of my practice that I teach and it is important to teach what I practice. It feeds both ways and the challenges of each make my practice and teaching more robust.”

Not only do Bridget’s undergraduates work in the city of Hull, regularly presenting their ideas to the city council, they also spend one year in practice, which includes employment at Salt Architects for some students. “Salt Architects is committed to the education of young people,” says Bridget.

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With Salt Architects, Bridget and co-director Gary Hornsby, she has a broad portfolio of work, from domestic projects to community work, schools and third-sector organisations, such as social enterprises. Bridget  demonstrates a commitment to experimental architecture while working with a social conscience and a sense of social responsibility in her own practice.

“I work two days a week at Hull School of Art and Design and the rest of my week is dedicated to practice, which is my research,” says Bridget. “We look at experimental building methods and building types working, for example, with social enterprises.”

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Current experimental projects include the design of a sustainable floating café on a newly created lake, fish farm, educational and leisure buildings in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire. Being developed on the site of a contaminated landfill site, it poses an interesting challenge to Bridget and the Salt Architects team.

“It’s very interesting and it’s certainly a challenge,” she says. “It’s going to be an exemplar for what can be done on land such as this. It’s a sustainable project, using sustainable materials. We are working with Green Future Building, whose trainees are building the pontoon on which the café will be built – they’ve already built incredible dome structures that been filled with fish and algae on an adjacent site.”

Other notable projects include building a children’s centre in Wheeler Street, Hull, and a classroom for Densholme community farm in Great Hatfield, East Yorkshire, a social enterprise aimed at people with learning difficulties or mental health problems.

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Salt Architects is also one of the York Diocese architects for Church of England schools in North and East Yorkshire. This provides Bridget with the opportunity to combine her architecture skills with landscape designing, working extensively with schoolchildren to develop their own ideas for their playground spaces and school grounds.

Bridget has a BA Hons Dip Arch and RIBA qualifications as an architect and as a landscape designer.  Prior to setting up Salt Architects, her previous industry experience includes 10 years working as an associate architect in York, where she was responsible for prestigious, high-profile projects, such as Ripon College, York St John University and Betty’s cafes and tea rooms.

Annabel Smith

There is no time like the present for enterprising fashion designers, says Annabel Smith.

The Fashion course leader and lecturer at Harrogate School of Art and Design, Annabel has run her own fashion design business and is currently researching a Doctorate in Design Practice that aims to pass entrepreneurial skills on to her creative students.

Australian-born Annabel has a degree in Fine Art, from La Trobe University, Melbourne. She uprooted to the UK in the 1980s, gaining a second degree in Fashion Design and Knitwear from the former Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University) and a PGCE.

Annabel began teaching fashion at Harrogate School of Art in after gaining considerable industry experience. She spent two years designing bridalwear and five years running a design room for a company specialising in casual and smart-casual clothing, before launching her own business as a couture wedding gown designer in Windsor.

Moving to Harrogate in 1998, she brought the business to Yorkshire with her. And, since 2000, she has been heavily involved in the teaching and development of our Fashion offering.

She is now using her Doctorate research to design learning material to help students acquire the skills to enable them to start their own businesses. This material, and its delivery format, helps develop effective entrepreneurship and strategic thinking but in a way that suits her students’ creative learning styles.  A five-year programme from the University of Northumbria, her doctorate has included a two-year taught MA. In it, Annabel’s uses her business acumen to enable our graduates to succeed.

Annabel says:

“My hypothesis is fashion students are not being taught business in a language that’s appropriate to creative minds. I’m designing learning material that will be appropriate, accessible and in a format that creative students find relevant.”

One of the lessons Annabel has learned from her teaching practice is that creative people often learn in a “visual” way.

“I am currently in the middle of researching the theories and practice behind learning styles for my Doctorate thesis,” she says. “I don’t expect students to remember it all but, if it’s delivered in a format and a way that they enjoy  – which they can identify with, which is visual, exciting, a story that they can access at any time and is relevant to them specifically – then with a bit of luck, it will stick.

“Some educationalists are already working along these lines. It’s interesting, it’s expanded exponentially. I intend to test my theory with active research methodology, assessing my students’ power of recall, as well as assessing the things they got bored with.”

Annabel attends entrepreneurship marketplace events in London, where she shares knowledge and expertise with businesspeople who wish to mentor creative students. She also gets her students involved in Yorkshire Young Enterprise, which offers mentored business support.

“My job is purely to give them that core information and core skills to get them started,” she says.  “There is a lot of relevant material that we could be teaching in terms of the philosophy and ethics of business, which is very hard to convey to visual learners and is an area many fashion and art schools brush over. I want to make it relevant to fashion design students, and creative learners generally, so they can go out and contribute to business in the real world.”