Dr Jeremy Collins
"This is my truth, now show me yours" – (attributed to) Aneurin Bevan
In March 2017 three books were published on the same apparently new subject: d’Ancona, Ball (11 May 2017), and Davis (18 May 2017); the term "post truth" seemed to have come from nowhere to being described as a new "mainstay in political commentary" and announced as "word of the year" by Oxford Dictionaries. Despite the apparent novelty of the term (which is defined in part as foregrounding emotion rather than rationality in public communication), it can be linked to other earlier critical perspectives on propaganda, often derived from wartime contexts, and the notion of bulls**t discussed by Harry Frankfurt which emphasises the distinction between those with and without respect for the truth. These ideas can be applied and explored across a range of contexts in creative practice, and the studio will encourage students to consider them in relation to popular culture, political communications, film and media, promotions and marketing, art and design.
Readings and references
- Arendt H (1972) Crises of the Republic: Lying in Politics; Civil Disobedience; On Violence; Thoughts on Politics and Revolution. 1 edition. Mariner Books.
- Ball J (2017) Post-Truth: How Bullshit Conquered the World. Biteback Publishing.
- Beckett C (2017) ‘Post-truth’: a myth created by journalists? Polis. (Accessed 7 July 2017).
- d’Ancona M (2017) Post-Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back. 01 edition. Ebury Digital.
- Davis C (2017) Post-Truth by Evan Davis; Post-Truth by Matthew d’Ancona; Post-Truth by James Ball. (Accessed 7 July 2017).
- Davis E (2017) Post-Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It. Little, Brown Book Group.
- Frankfurt HG (2005) On Bullshit. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
- John Corner (2017) Fake news, post-truth and media–political change. Media, Culture & Society 39(7): 1100–1107.
- Jowett G and O’Donnell V (2015) Propaganda & Persuasion. 6th ed. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
- McIntyre L (2018) Post-Truth. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- O’Shaughnessy NJ (2004) Politics and propaganda: weapons of mass seduction. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Rabin-Havt AR (2016) Lies, Incorporated: The World of Post-Truth Politics. New York: Anchor Books.
Image: Dominic Cummings Covid-19 meme circulating on Twitter. Banner: Hans Op de Beeck, Staging Silence (3), video still (detail), 2019
Dissertation Studios 2020–21
Studio 01: Another Place
Out of a direct treatment of place, whether subjective or objective, emerges another place. It is neither new, nor fixed in time, but it has remained unexplored, scarcely documented – piles of lime and useless cicadas.
Studio 02: Feminist Approaches
The Dissertation Studio 02 seminar series will address feminist practices within architecture, history and activism.
Studio 03: 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 04: 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 05: This is my truth; show me yours: Post-truth, propaganda and bulls**t
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 "bulls**t". We will consider the usefulness of these ideas, and how they can be explored in creative practice.
Studio 06: The Practice of Space – Writing Atmospheres in Art and Architecture
Nico de Oliveira
Dissertation Studio 06 looks at space as practice, since each location is a mutable entity framed as a moment in time, populated by individuals and shaped by their actions as artists, musicians, curators, designers, architects, writers and spectators.
Studio 07: 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 08: Speak, Form.
Dissertation Studio 8 asks: How is it that form might speak? This studio looks at the power of rhetoric, of the medium as message, of the figure as discourse.
Studio 09: 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 10: Sport and Aesthetics
Dissertation Studio 10 will examine the concept of aesthetics as applied within that most everyday activity: sport.
Studio 11: Le Marteau Sans Maître (The Hammer without a Master)
In a networked world where knowledge and information seems to be accessible everywhere and in any form; and where people in distant places appear to speak to us in real time from our computer screens, Studio 11 tries to imagine an ‘immediate’ and performative experience of the world – outside language and not shaped by our intellect and will.
Studio 12: Material Culture and Transcultural Exchanges
Dissertation Studio 12 is concerned with the increasing complexity of the material and symbolic flows of fashion, textile, artefact and commodity.
Studio 13: B(read)
Focussing on two of life’s key ingredients, reading and bread, this Dissertation Studio offers sessions that will encourage you to experience and experiment with both.
Studio 14: Rewilding
In this Dissertation Studio, we will examine some of the many ways in which art, architecture, and design connect to the discourse on rewilding.
Studio 15: “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 16: A Material World
This Dissertation 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 17: 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.
Studio 18: Modes of Human Exchange (Being-with and without)
This studio considers the current (exceptional) conditions of human exchange in a broader historical/social context, highlighting how facial/bodily gestures and the decorum of their physical/ambient surroundings have provided essential clues to the way we respond to, and interact with, the ‘other’.