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Janine Sykes



The project HOME (2021) is an outcome of the project Seeding Art Currency (2018) and considers what HOME means now as the forced-change imposed by COVID-19 arguably altered its purpose and experience. Both projects are part of a practice-led doctorate titled “Blended curation placing ‘citizen occupation’ at the centre of participatory, process-based, and new media art”.  Seeding Art Currency (SAC) was the first project where models from education, experiential communications, art, and curation inspire a new approach. The method includes using ‘data-into-form’ as a curatorial approach and the aim is to involve citizens in the process of mean-making in art projects and by doing so, helps create “a commons”. The term “blended” is repurposed from education, referring to a mix of on and offline learning. Whereas a commons, as George Monbiot says, “obliges people to work together, to sustain their resources […] It creates, in sum, a politics of belonging”. Therefore, designing a curatorial approach that encourages citizens to think, share and learn together is a political act. SAC (16 Oct–30 Nov. 2018) involved nine artists over a six-week programme and invited residents to co-create an installation in the Art Hostel. By posting responses to an online map, a painted mural of an abstract world-map (The World of Forms by Bobbi Rae) subtly changed over the duration of six weeks, with the gradual addition of real seeds representing map pins (online). The posts in the SAC map became the discourse under analysis. A key finding was the repetition of the word home: “sense of home”, “home is not a place it's a feeling”, etc. Therefore, in 2018 “home” was a pattern created by the Art Hostel (global) community and became the concept for the second project in April 2021 at the Art Hostel (in a new location). HOME in 2020 became the site for everything: studio, office, social space, school, etc. and as Steve Ali (2020) stated, COVID 19 “made us all refugees in our homes”.  Ali’s sentiment stands in contrast to those in the postings of residents at the former Art Hostel. For some people in society (before, after and during the pandemic) HOME means entrapment, a cold place, or “not here”, a place that they did not choose, or fit in. A place that one was invited to and then rejected, punished, and humiliated. A location that is difficult for some to navigate or have the freedom to roam. A place that is colonised, post-colonised or is currently being decolonised. HOME is a paradox, a celebration and tribulation. This presentation shares the current curatorial research methods for HOME.


An interest in New Media and Creativity began with a JISC project with Wolverhampton University. This continued as Lead Researcher at Leeds Arts University on the national Mobile Learning Network (MoLeNET, 2008) project. In 2012, ‘Locating the Value and Opportunities for Online Collaborative Creativity’ was published in the Journal of Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education. Other publications include contributions to Design Pedagogy and Research (2007) and ‘The Re-Emergence of the Staff Exhibition at Leeds Arts University’ (2015). Curatorial work includes Behind the Glass Mosaic 1913-2013, The Process Continues (2015) and Outside Collett Dickenson Pearce (2015), which led to contributing an essay to the Mary Quant, V&A exhibition catalogue (2019). Other projects include contributions to Treasures Revealed at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2017). Projects for a practice-led PhD in “blended curation” include: Seeding Art Currency (2018) (also a paper at iJADE Conference 2019, Goldsmiths, London UK, 2019) and HOME (2021). Janine Sykes is Subjects Leader of Postgraduate Studies at Leeds Arts University and 4th year PhD student at the University of Sunderland. 


Joanna Manousis

Casting Self Reflection: Three-Dimensional Mirrors within Contemporary Glass Art Practice  


Manousis’s research investigates dimensional cast glass as a canvas for mirroring applications to transform the aesthetic and experiential qualities of cast glass sculpture. Heavily steeped in material testing to create a palette of surface effects that are dictated by the initial form, glass body, firing temperature and heat resistant “refractory” material used to fabricate a mould, Manousis uses both quantitative and qualitative methods within her research. Three phases of material tests are observed and interpreted to inform the creation of unique artworks that are informed, both visually and conceptually by the history of the mirror and contemporary art practice incorporating reflective surfaces. 


Joanna Manousis is a British artist working in glass and mixed media. Her work has been recognized with nominations for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and a Bombay Sapphire Award Nomination for Excellence in Glass as well as the Margaret M. Mead Award and the Hans Godo Frabel Award. Manousis has received support from internationally recognized residency programs including: the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; the Corning Museum of Glass, New York; and Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France. Her work has been exhibited at Design Miami and Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland; FOG Art + Design, San Francisco; the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft, Ebeltoft, Denmark; and the British Glass Biennale, Stourbridge, England.  Manousis is currently pursuing a practice-based PhD at The National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland. She also holds a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Alfred University, New York, and a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art Glass from The University of Wolverhampton, England. Manousis has worked, studied, and taught in Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. 


Andy Mellors

Don’t Deny Your Past


I spent nearly thirty years working full-time and practising art as a hobby. Latterly my full-time work involved problem solving to improve processes and implementing management systems. In 1996, I completed an MSc in Quality Management. When I decided to return to the University to study Art, I tried to put all of that behind me and thought of my art practice as very different to what had come before. I now realise that what I saw as the two parts of my life are inseparable and that my research methodology has been developed largely from my time before I considered myself to be an artist.


Andy Mellors spent nearly thirty years across various industries before going to art school.

His career involved assessing management systems for compliance with standards and developing and implementing improvements to those systems and the processes that supported them. Mellors has an MSc in Quality Management and an MA in Art and the Environment. He is currently completing a practice-based PhD. He is researching a new genre of art that he calls “Driving Art” and is developing a definition of what that might be. As part of his research, Mellors has created four artworks. These track the development of his practice from its early associations with Walking Art to a practice inspired entirely by driving. Underlying these works is a concern for the environment, which became more focussed in the course of his MA studies.



Dena Bagi and Helen McGhie

A Book for Research that is Art

Contributors: Georgia Smithson, Crystal Bennes, Dena Bagi, Helen McGhie, Theo Harper, Laura Harrington, and Benjamin James.

With an essay by Nora O Murchú, Irish curator and researcher.


A Book for Research that is Art is a student-led publication that has emerged from discussions had between art and design researchers at The AHRC Northumbria-Sunderland Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT). The researchers have each reflected on their work in the publication, through creative chapters that explore ideas through text and image. Currently at the publication-sign off stage, Bagi and McGhie are offering a preview of the book and an insight into their collaborative process.


Dena Bagi

Dena Bagi is a UK-based lecturer and practice-based researcher working in the arts sector. Her research practice involves working closely with community members and artists to curate clay workshops, projects and learning/play spaces. She believes passionately that working with clay can have a profound effect on ‘healing’, and health in general. Bagi has worked in gallery-based engagement contexts for over a decade, holding learning-curator positions at the British Ceramics Biennial, Manchester Craft and Design Centre and Manchester Museum, designing large-scale play spaces, workshops, masterclasses and instigating long-standing projects within health and community settings. Over the past three years, however, she has been working in a more academic context, embarking on a practice-based PhD at The University of Sunderland and completing numerous projects with academic institutions, such as Aalto University. Recent research projects include the building a “clay gateway”, which acted as interpretation for visitors to the Finnish Research Pavilion, Venice. Bagi’s Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded PhD, which will be completed in 2023, aims to understand the impact of clay-working on the addiction recovery journey. The social, cathartic, and embodied “power” of the material are of particular interest. With strong beliefs in the value of co-authorship in learning and pedagogical happenings in the arts, her work—both in a HE context and as researcher—is governed by design methodologies that encourage a “collective” design process. Bagi also teaches at Masters level at the Manchester School of Art, in and around the area of gallery-based engagement and curating.


Helen McGhie

Helen McGhie is a photographic artist and researcher based in Greater Manchester. Her practice explores and reimagines ubiquitous images through the still and moving image. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally, most recently in Observe, Experiment, Archive (Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, 2019-20), Exploring Skyscapes (Nottingham Contemporary, 2020) and 209 Women (Portculis House/Open Eye Gallery, 2019). Recent publications include ‘Stargazing from the forest’, Photomonitor (online, Dec. 2020) and Monthly Photography (South Korea, Jul. 2020). McGhie is a Lecturer in Photography at the University of Sunderland and a studio member of Islington Mill, Salford.