For good or ill, we live in a global world. Whilst this may appear to be obvious, globalism is only a relatively recent term as is the phenomenon itself. What do we mean by this? How did we arrive in this place? Is the whole world global (who are the participants and the excluded in globalism?) And what are the benefits and problems associated with a global cultural, political and design economy? Often regarded as simply being a situation in which many of us live in the West and without question, globalism is so commonplace that we hardly recognise.
Yet at the same time, in the UK we witness moments and incidents of the global phenomenon that are demonised and sensationalised. Where do we stand in terms of global awareness and critique, is the shrinking of the world a good thing, what are its ethical dimensions and what do we think about the opposite position of Nationalism and its manifestations in terms of politics and art and design? Where and what are the barriers to global connectivity and the reception of influences from around the world?
Examining a vastly complex issue, this studio will offer the western history of how the global age arose (and in so doing expose ideas around multiple histories and query the privileging in those emanating from the west) explore and discuss its manifestations in art and design, architecture and food. It will examine different aspects of the UK’s global story: the negative (slavery); areas for debate (the influence of large corporations, McDonalds/Coca-Cola for example) and examine the positive aspects of a world in which greater understanding, inclusivity and sharing between different communities and groups of people is possible.
Suggested readings, resources and preparatory activities
- National Maritime Museum
- Brick Lane, London
- Gerrard Street, London
- Yinka Shonibare
- The history of ‘Curry’ and the Chinese takeaway in the UK
- BP British Art Lecture – Yinka Shonibare
- BBC, British History’s Biggest Fibs, Episode 3, The Jewel in the Crown, available on Box of Broadcasts (Bob)
- Adamson, G. et al eds., Global Design History (London: Routledge, 2011)
- McMillan, M., The Front Room, Migrant Aesthetics in the Home (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2005)
Image: Fundiswa Mahola at her shop selling furry emojis, Cape Town airport. Photograph: Harriet McKay
Studio 01: ideas in places
This studio prescribes a direct treatment of place, whether subjective or objective.
Studio 02: Narrative and Storytelling
This studio focuses on modes of storytelling and narrative conventions. We will particularly consider how narrative intersects with, and informs, identity.
Studio 03: The Conquest of Joy
This studio encourages dialogues around the cultural production at a time when narratives founded on certainty have ceased to make sense.
Studio 04: Bullshit, propaganda and post-truth
This studio will look at the emergence of the notion of ‘post truth’ and explore links between other ideas around propaganda and Harry Frankfurt’s argument about ‘bullshit’. We will consider the usefulness of these ideas, and how they can be explored in creative practice.
Studio 05: Meaningful Work
This studio will consider the value of making -in itself, independent of the product or outcome, exploring the idea of craft as meaningful work.
Studio 06: Writing Rough
What are the outer limits of the essay? Write on the edge of the possible in a rich, researched and evidenced discussion which creatively explores the expanded field of the essay.
Studio 07: Thinking with Ruins
This studio pays heed to these cultural forms and persuasions but asks, how might we productively think with ruins in the present?
Studio 08: The things you can tell just by looking (or, Oriented Writing)
Writing tells us who we are and how each of us thinks and interprets the world.
Studio 09: Le Marteau Sans Maître
Digging through the deepest layers of archaeological time, André Leroi-Gourhan (La geste et la parole, 1964) concluded that for millions of years, human culture and technology evolved without complex language, rational planning or abstract ‘thinking at a distance’.
Studio 10: Globalism
For good or ill, we live in a global world. Whilst this may appear to be obvious, globalism is only a relatively recent term as is the phenomenon itself. What do we mean by this? How did we arrive in this place?
Studio 11: Performative Acts: Art, Architecture and Writing
Nico de Oliveira
In the last decade or so we have moved from objects to subjects or audiences. In parallel, the word performative has been adapted from a theoretical term to a key rubric within the discourse of contemporary art, architecture and beyond.
Studio 12: Decay, Repair and Back Again
Things break down and decay. In this studio you will experiment repair as strategy to negotiate breakdown, and you will practice mining patina and weathering for information and stories.
Studio 13: ‘If I stay silent nothing will change’: Identity, Politics, Social Change and Creative Culture(s)
This cross-disciplinary studio considers how power, culture, politics, identity, representation, activism, social media, and mass culture theory intersect with a range of arts practices, including photography, architecture, design and fine art, film studies, fashion and music, sound, pop art, and theatre.
Studio 14: A Material World
As the title suggests, this Studio will be based on the processes that are intrinsic to the design and making of textiles, however it will also be looking at the materiality of these textiles as objects.
Studio 15: Souvenir
This studio is concerned with those objects that are lent a particular enchantment because of their relationship with the past. It considers the role of memory and how it is embodied in cultural artefacts.