Working title of thesis
Can craft objects be identified as queer or be made to “queer” a museum or gallery space?
Abstract of thesis as planned
Working as both a curator and an artist, the PhD explores the ability of queer culture and theory to be communicated through craft objects and exhibitions.
Museums and galleries have traditionally shied away from the emerging discipline of Queer theory. More fluid than lesbian or gay, queer can be used to describe anything non-normative. Using Polari – a secret language historically used by the gay community – as a metaphor, I will build a visual bibliography of “queer work”, identifying shared characteristics, aesthetics and themes and considering whether characteristics can be mapped or if the works are solely united by their stance of being opposed to the norm.
Queer can be a very visual signifier – camp and the gay gaze are both well documented – so exploring it through visual arts practice is key.
Context is another significant part of how people interpret objects. Building on my curatorial experience, I will examine how the presentation of objects can imbue them with a queer status.
Aims of investigation
This research will help move the ideas about how to present queer craft forward, generate debate in the museum and gallery community and make galleries more confident in using the term.
Research questions to be addressed
- What is queer craft: shared visual languages and methods
- How can Craft ‘queer’ a space?
- How can we utilise Queer Craft to the benefit of the crafts sector?
- practice-led research in ceramic form will build on an existing body of work and will include site-specific material for interventionist placement in museums, with subsequent critical evaluation;
- case studies with a range of art/craft makers whose ‘outsider status’ (queer or otherwise) or interventionist methods resonate with this enquiry.
- semi-structured interviews with key museum and gallery curators in order to map the status of current queer practice in relation to sexuality-based selection, subject and exhibition.
Awards and grants related to the study
- August 2010: Arts and Humanities Research Council grant for PhD in Queer Craft
- May 2010: Arts Council Grant for Queering the Museum
- June 2009: Arts Council Grant for the Arts Award to set upUnravelled, a group exploring conceptual craft practice and developinginterventions in Historic Buildings
- Nov 2009: Commissioned by ShOUT! Festival to develop new work
- May 2009: arc award, aspex gallery - grant with 12 months mentoring and a solo show in 2010
- Nov 2008: Selected by Arts and Business for Visual, a schemewhich aims to promote businesses to commission and work withcontemporary artists
- Sept 2008: Arts Council Grant for the Arts Award to develop new work and be mentored by Stephen Dixon for 18 months
- Queering the Museum, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (solo show)
- DIY a Craft Revolution, Society for Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh (touring show)
- Milk, ASPEX, Portsmouth, Solo Show
- Unravelling the Manor House, Preston Manor
- ASPEX, Portsmouth, Solo Show for arc award
- Arts and Business, London Offices
- New Brewery Arts, Cirencester
- Hove Museum and Art Gallery
- V&A Showcase in partnership with the Crafts Council