Heidi Yeo

Studio 19: Material in Motion

Studio 19: Material in Motion

Studio brief

"Things make us just as much as we make things" (Miller). This studio will explore a reading of objects focusing on the interplay between materials, the objects they form and their context.

Are objects complete once they are designed? Is their form and impact frozen once manufactured, sold or used? We will investigate what constitutes a stimulating relationship with objects, and why individuals may invest great attention in acquiring them, only for them to be soon discarded. We will explore how objects change, and also our relationship with them, over time. This will involve consideration of the complex relationships between material, object and context, covering both intentional and unintentional aspects. The attributing of value will be considered as a judgement made by an audience, whether an individual or by society more broadly. This exploration will embrace the perception and experience of objects from a broad sensory perspective, how they function against intent and over time, the potential for emotional attachment, our own and other cultural perspectives and economic interests. We will also analyse object transformation from ordinary to extraordinary or obsolete, through transitions of time and context.

The studio will be of relevance to a broad spectrum of 3D students interested in consumer culture, and more specifically those seeking to grow audience desire for their work, whilst valuing the principle of consuming less. It will also speak to those interested in contemporary material culture, that have an interest in what such objects do and will say about us, and the times that we live in, to future generations. From a ‘me’ to a ‘we’ focus, you will have the opportunity to consider the implications of your research in relation to your design practice decisions.

View: Westfield Commercial plus a short behind-the-scenes film on the making of the commercial for the launch of Westfield London.


The London Design Festival
Various events, various venues, 16 to 24 September 2017, London

Hella Jongarius: Breathing Colour
URGENT – Runs to September 24th 2017 at the Design Museum, London

California: Designing Freedom
Runs to 15 October 2017 at the Design Museum, London

Women’s Hour Craft Prize
Runs to 5 February 2018 at the V&A, London

Plywood: Material of the Modern World
Runs to 12 November 2017 at the V&A, London

Collect: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects
Runs 22nd to 25th February at the Saatchi Gallery, London

Fashioned from Nature
Opening 21 April 2018 at the V&A, London

Week 1 to 6 – In addition to introducing the formal framework of a dissertation, the first six weeks seminars will model a development of a dissertation proposal, which can be varied or interpreted, or even ignored assuming you present an alternative model. A combination of material/object handling, object in context visits, readings, short pieces of writing, group work plus discussion and debate, will demonstrate how what you do can work to produce and animate a dissertation. These weeks will also serve to demonstrate that you are a valuable resource to each other in identifying authentic areas of interest, engaging with the dissertation process and developing confidence in setting up a range of primary research experiences.

Week 7 – We will review the experiences and ideas that have emerged during the seminar series and consider how these relate to your emergent practices as artists, designers and craftspeople.

Week 8 to hand in – You will set up a support agreement within the group, meeting regularly to continue to share ideas, research, books etc and offer feedback, which is intended to be of great mutual benefit over the following weeks of self-study and individual tutorials.

Reading list

  • Appadurai, A, The Social Life of Things (Cambridge: CUP, 1986)
  • Baudrillard, J, trans. Benedict, J, The System of Objects (London & New York: Verso, 1996 [1968])
  • Chapman, J, Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences, and Empathy (London: Earthscan, 2005)
  • Dudley, S (ed), Museum Materialities: Objects, Engagements, Interpretations (Oxon: Routledge, 2009)
  • Fine, B, The World of Consumption: The Material and Cultural Revisited (Routledge, 2002)
  • Hallam, E, Hockey, J, Death, Memory and Material Culture (Oxford: Berg, 2001)
  • Hyde, L, The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World (Canongate Canons: Re-issue edition, 2012)
  • Karana, E, Pedgley, O, Rognoli, V, Materials Experience: Fundamentals of Materials and Design (Amsterdam: Butterworth–Heinemann, 2014)
  • Salminen, J, Trevor, M, Letcher, J, Scott, L, (eds), Materials for a Sustainable Future (Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2012)
  • Schwartzman, M, See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception (London: Black Dog Pub, 2011)
  • Simmel, G, The Metropolis and Mental Life (1903)
  • Sudjic, D, The Language of Things (London: Penguin, 2009)
  • Turkle, S, Evocative Objects: Things We Think With (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2011)



Tutor Heidi Yeo

Tutor biography

Heidi Yeo

Senior lecturer for Jewellery and Silversmithing BA (Hons).

After graduating Heidi Yeo established a successful international jewellery practice working with such clients as Guggenheim Museum NY, MoMA San Francisco, The Royal Academy, Aquascutum and Selfridges in London.

Dissertation Studios

Studio 1: Another India

Harriet McKay

Studio 1: Another India will examine, reflect upon and critique the historic use of "exotic" motifs in design.

Studio 2: Contemporary Ecology

Nabil Ahmed

In Studio 2 we will explore environmental topics through the lens of art, architecture, spatial practice, media and design disciplines.

Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry

Christina Paine

Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry is an exploration of race, gender, class and more in music.

Studio 4: Not allowed

Emma Davenport

Studio 4: What Not to Wear? will investigate the roles that dress and fashion play in our workplaces.

Studio 5: Imperfect Theories

Ektoras Arkomanis

Studio 5: Imperfect Theories allows you to critically examine any work that can be seen as theory or presents an interesting relationship with theory.

Studio 6: Curating as a Spatial Practice: From the Wunderkammer to Installation art

Nico de Oliveira

Studio 6: This dissertation studio is designed to help students who are interested in curating as a broad subject, as well as those who wish to contextualise their own practice within the scope of displaying art.

Studio 7: Souvenir

Dr Lesley Stevenson

Studio 7: This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past.

Studio 8: Post – card

Edwina Attlee

Studio 8 will look at one element of that system – the picture postcard – from a number of different perspectives.

Studio 9: ‘The Form of the Text’

Danielle Hewitt

Studio 9: Together we will explore the space of criticism; acknowledging our point of encounter with objects, places, sites and processes and the relationship between text, writer and reader.

Studio 10: Constellating

Sinead Evans

As creative practitioners we digest and produce images every day – as citizens of the digital age we consume between hundreds and thousands of images each day. This dissertation studio will slim down your daily diet to one image.

Studio 11: Science Fiction Futurity

Luke Jones

Speculative descriptions of the future reveal a magnified — or distorted — reflection of the fears and desires of the present.

Studio 12: Alternative Fashioned Modernities

Lezley George

Much is happening in the world today that foregrounds questions pertinent to our identities in a globalised world.

Studio 13: Desire, Trauma, History

Jonathan Whitehall

How does the relationship of memory to fantasy affect history? What are the links between desire, sexuality and trauma? How are these relationships played out or negotiated in visual and written practice? These questions will form the beginning of our enquiries into artworks, films and literature.

Studio 14: Design and Nature: Forms of an Entanglement

Gabriele Oropallo

We will look at how the idea of nature has been constructed over time and place, and study its impact on design practice in an age marked by the sustainability imperative.

Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas

Lewis Jones

Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas encourages you to explore how and why we make music, including its origin, relationship to technology and more.

Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling

Jon Baldwin

Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling will see you produce storygraphs, storyboards and various forms of narrative analysis in the seminars.

Studio 17: Knowing Audiences

Jeremy Collins

Studio 17: Knowing Audiences will encourage you to study an audience group using qualitative research methods in your investigations.

Studio 18: Time and the Image

David Howells

This workshop will address some perennial problems of writing in the field of visual culture.

Studio 19: Material in Motion

Heidi Yeo

Studio 19: This studio will explore a reading of objects focusing on the interplay between materials, the objects they form and their context.

Studio 20: The Liminal

Andrew Hewish

This Dissertation Studio examines instances of the liminal as they occur in critical theory and culture, and is open to any topic and students from all disciplines.

Studio 21: Reading the library (and nothing but the library)

Joseph Kohlmaier

This year, Studio 21 will stage an unusual experiment. It will move, unpack, catalogue, and perform readings from one private library; and make this library, without exception, the single resource for all the research and writing in the studio.

Studio 22: Meaningful work

Paul Harper

Studio 22: Meaningful work explores the value of making and the idea of craft as meaningful work.

Studio 23: A Common Thread

Gina Pierce

Studio 23: In A Common Thread, we unpick and examine the importance of textiles and how they underpin culture, industry, and global connections.

Cass Studios archive by year