Spotlight 2018

We are delighted to present Encountering this year’s Spotlight Exhibition and Symposium, highlighting CSM Doctoral research


Spotlight 2018 Exhibition: 27 Feb – 6 April

Works by PhD students in the Windows Gallery at CSM

Adrianna Cobo, Richard Crawford, Lesley-Ann Daly, Mahtab Hanna, Melodie Holiday, Jon Martin, Christina Skarpari


Spotlight 2018 Symposium: 14 March, 10-5pm, D113 CSM 

Presentations by Sara Buoso, Sasha Burkhanova, Adrianna Cobo, Richard Crawford, Mähtab Hanna, Jon Martin, Christina Skarpari, Tamara Tyler

The Symposium is Free, but, booking essential: Please email Christina Skarpari:


Spotlight 2018 has been supported by Dr Joanne Morra and funded by Research at CSM.




Spotlight 2018 Exhibition: 27 Feb – 6 April

Works by PhD students in the Windows Gallery at CSM

Adrianna Cobo, Richard Crawford, Lesley-Ann Daly, Mahtab Hanna, Melodie Holiday, Jon Martin, Christina Skarpari 




  Christina Skarpari

  Melodie Holiday

   Lesley-Ann Daly

  Richard Crawford

  Mahtab Hanna


Mahtab Hanna with reflected work by Christina Skarpari and Melodie Holiday

  Jon Martin


  Adrianna Cobo



Spotlight 2018 Symposium: 14 March, 10-5pm, D113 CSM 


Presentations by Sara Buoso, Sasha Burkhanova, Adrianna Cobo, Richard Crawford, Mähtab Hanna, Jon Martin, Christina Skarpari, Tamara Tyler

The Symposium is Free, but, booking essential: Please email Christina Skarpari:



Session 1. 10.00 – 11.30 am

Encountering the Political           

Chair: Richard Crawford

Adrianna Cobo – Maintenance Structures in Contemporary Public Space

This paper will focus on exploring the mechanisms by which the physical and social structures of contemporary space are controlled and maintained, through cleanliness and surveillance (Foucault 1977). The notion of habitus, defined by Pierre Bourdieu as structural to human practices (Bourdieu 1990), will be reflected through the paper as a maintenance structure, embodied in individuals, and manifested through the professionalisation of labour, and in daily actions. The paper applies these theories to the public realm, where, intentionally or not, the labour of designers becomes that of maintenance agents of power structures for the profession, and translates into aesthetic codes, by which the visual image of public space becomes a maintenance agent itself, inasmuch as its fixed presence communicates and sustains social distinctions and power structures through design. This in contrast with the labour of other maintenance agents such as professional cleaning staff, rarely regarded as contributing to the aesthetic dimension of public space. The paper is referenced to relevant performance practices addressing these issues, such as the work of Laderman Ukeles on Maintenance Art and Francis Alÿs on The Politics of Rehearsal, amongst others. By highlighting maintenance protocols as essential to the establishment of aesthetic codes for public space, the paper will interrogate the agency of performance practice in changing the politics of visibility and power in public space.


Mahtab Hanna – Silent Protest: The Personal is Political

Political jewellery is defined as a contributor to the performance of protest, in that it communicates individual or group political isolation and identity, and converts these into a method of communication to unite people of shared values, beliefs or ideals in the form of silent resistance.

This research aims to examine to what extent can protestation be achieved through jewellery that has hidden/covert messages, or more open expressions of opinions by individuals or groups within the public arena. Personal views, gender and consciousness are central to the theme of political jewellery because the relative role of state versus individualism effects strategies to influence people’s views.


Tamara Tyler – Technological Tornado Woman

The paper examines my latest film, Technological Tornado Woman and its implications for my research.Technological Tornado Woman explores the performing body in space and time. I examine the concept of a circular and fragmented space-time, in order to investigate a subjective female space. The performer enacts a ritual with the air and her body, using it to transform into a spiraling, whirling strong body of movement, the body as an instrument and spiral of time. The film uses the editing process to manipulate and heighten the movement and space- time of the dancer.

My practice re-visions the choreography of Loie Fuller to explore how notions of femininity could be inscribed through movement and transformation. I look at the notion of a female subjectivity and space -time by examining the writings of Luce Irigaray and her conceptions of ‘parler femme’ and of notions of becoming. The film also looks at the notion of a haptic visuality in the textures and sensations of the film: breath, the fabric, slow motion, the wind and the air. The research explores the female body as one crossing, spiraling, invoking temporalities and liminalities, mimetically re-visioning images of women from dance and film history.


Coffee break 11,30 am – 12.00 pm


Session 2. 12.00 – 1.30 pm

Encountering the Ethical

Chair: Joanne Morra

Sasha Burkhanova- The co-constitutive ethics of a contemporary art curator

This paper examines a contemporary art curator as an ethical subject, and regards ethics from the viewpoint of philosophy and curatorial practice. Criticising the limited understanding of ‘curatorial ethics’ as a set of universal, externally provided principles that govern one’s action, this PhD proposes an alternative perspective, that acknowledges the specific condition and productive power of an individual curatorial practice today. I will coin it as ‘co-constitutive ethics’.

‘Co-constitutive ethics’ is conceptualised as a practice of establishing the relation between the two spaces: the ethical (constituted by recognised rules and common practices of curatorial ethics)  and the non-ethical (the space of unroutinised processes, events and encounters, not explicitly named as ethical). It stands for a radical embodied awareness that the boarder between the two spaces is never pre-given, but enacted — through an individual curatorial practice. It consequently calls for a curator’s responsibility — not so much regarding her assimilation to, or transgression of certain norms, but for what she excludes from the very scope of the ethical.

The theoretical foundation for developing ‘co-constitutive ethics’ was established by unpacking the notion of curatorial ethics through Foucauldian discourse analyses, modified by the critique of feminist philosopher Karen Barad (2007) and the perspectives on curatorial subject formation by curators Lucy Lippard, Susana Milevska, and Beatrice Von Bismarck. After examining what is recognised as, and understood by ‘curatorial ethics’ in the contemporary art community, I employed my own curatorial practice to explore the possibilities and implications of transgressing the curatorial ethics: by getting outside the regulated ‘ethical’ relations and accredited knowledge. This experiment enabled the position of an “improper”(Lippard, 2009), destabilised (Milevska, 2015), and radically self-aware (Von Bismarck, 2015) curator — the non-unitary ethical curatorial subject, that I’ve enacted and interrogated in the three art projects, conducted and discussed as a part of this research.


Christina Skarpari – Craft Stories: Pipilla documentary

This paper reflects on some of the socially responsive communication design strategies employed in my

recent documentary entitled, Craft Stories: Pipilla, which was filmed in the Cypriot community context and has a twofold aim: to encourage potential ‘bearers’ to engage with their community’s endangered craft called ‘pipilla’, and to reveal perspectives and attitudes toward the preservation of endangered crafts.


Richard Crawford – Carl Akeley’s Gorilla

I will compare the statements that Carl Akeley made in his field journal about the intense empathy he felt for the gorillas that his party shot on Mount Mikeno in central Africa, with the appearance of the gorilla diorama display at the American Museum of Natural History that contains taxidermy representations of these gorillas. I will ask: ‘Whose vision of the gorilla is Akeley representing?’


Lunch: 1.30 – 2.30 pm


Session 3. 2.30 – 4.00 pm

Encountering the Affective

Chair: Dr Catarina Albano

Sara Buoso – Traces, Material discursivity and the Reader: an investigation in     light of Rosa Barba’s practice

Thought in response to the location of the 2018 – Spotlight’s exhibition, the paper proposes an enquiry on the relationship between history, the present and the viewer, through the work of artist, Rosa Barba (b.1972). In particular, the paper addresses an investigation on the material discursivity of light, expressed through the archival approach proposed by the artist, who problematizes the linearity of historical representation, in favour of sight-specific strategies, metamorphoses and disseminations. It follows that, while elaborating a poetics of distance, the artistic practice of Barba projects new conditions of light, by rethinking the relationship between the art-work and the reader. The paper concludes by reflecting on this encountering, with a focus on the experience of light in between the individual and the collective.


Jon Martin – Creative block

I would like to take the opportunity to ask my peers what they understand by ‘creative block’. My own reading of the phenomenon has developed over the years that I have been considering it; but rather than opening this session with this isolated understanding, I would rather hear from others what it might mean to them.

I contend that a creative block is inherently personal: situated within individual being and therefore particular. It is not a solid entity or simple issue, but rather an assemblage of factors from life experiences.

My research methodology includes the invitation to ‘recent creatives’ to discuss their

block, its qualities and characteristics. One intention is that this affords the discussant subject the opportunity to formulate their own understanding of what they have, for future potential utilisation. This symposium affords me the space to gauge reaction to such enquiry. I will define the terms of the exercise at a later date, but might ask delegates to discuss briefly in pairs what the term might mean to them, before a slightly formalised group discussion. I will then relay some of my findings. This will be accompanied by visuals, since my creative block has form and dimensionality.


Tea break: 4.00 – 4.30 pm

Plenary/ Long table discussion: 4.30 – 5.30 pm






For information on previous Spotlights, please check out:

Spotlight 2017:

Spotlight 2016:

Spotlight 2015:


The Doctoral Platform at CSM offers PhD candidates the space in which to meet, share research, as well as co-ordinate, curate and participate in a variety of events.

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