'Kneading to Know '. clay, paint, collage. 2019
Chalmers & May is an interdisciplinary collaboration between myself and Nic Chalmers. Working with a wide range of creatives, we offer bespoke arts education that encourages participants to embody their own creative processes and engage with subject matter at a material level.
Nic and and I met in 2013, when Nic joined my studio, and it was when neither of us was looking in the direction of work that the project emerged.
Publications include an article and essay contribution to Leap into Action – Critical Performative Pedagogies in Art & Design Education, edited by Dr Lee Campbell (Peter Lang USA) 2020
How can we use a performative pedagogy to disrupt monologic forms of teaching and champion a dialogical practice designed to stimulate, rather than instruct? How might we reconnect the sentient body (of both student and ‘lecturer’) to the teaching space? And how can we facilitate a visceral relationship to atmosphere, aura and physicality such that students may be present, immersed and trusting of the environment created for them?
Through a series of instructions presented in the form of a score, Chalmers & May will outline their approach to teaching as a performative offering. Engaging with the choreographic as an organisational practice, this movement-led resource is intended to direct the ‘lecturer’ within the aural, visual, physical space, and to help students inhabit their most receptive states. Through a sequence of haptic interventions, students are encouraged to focus on the practice of listening as bodily awareness - to sense the emergent without relying on parroting words or memorising visual aids and to find a physicality for the subject matter – to ‘invent’ its materiality so that it might be handled.
Chalmers & May treat the performance lecture as a constellating medium: a mode of enquiry aimed at keeping a given subject matter in flux – through disturbances of movement, hiccups of speech, deviations of theme etc. – and an invitation to dwell in the spaces between. It involves a live process of cutting, handling, arranging and rearranging – in such a way as to emphasise how we are arriving and why it is that another departure is presenting itself – and aims to disrupt the default mode of visual engagement in favour of the ‘metamorphic’ image. By exploring the dynamics of pattern and process, this pedagogic approach supports the ongoing relationship between the what-was and the what-is-about-to-be; it prompts a correspondence between subjects, participants, materials and the spaces they inhabit, and employs a multi-channel mode of delivery – sonic, visual, physical – each contingent on the other for its context.