Spotlight 2019

Every year The Doctoral Platform offers CSM PhD students the opportunity of working together in organising an exhibition and symposium dedicated to their work. This is Spotlight.


Spotlight 2019: PhD Research at CSM


 Research is process…

 Document presents the thinking work-in-process of CSM Research students. The act of documentation is a problematic, necessary aspect of all research, most certainly practice-based research; and this work responds visually and conceptually to questions that it raises. Breadth of individual practice is reflected in the range of documents exhibited, which also indicate considerations of methodology and materiality.

 Document exhibition: L Gallery, CSM, 14 February – 20 March 2019

 Document symposium: room B002, CSM, 13 March 2019, 09.30 – 16.00  For information contact Richard Crawford:

 With thanks to Prof. Tom Corby, Dr. Jo Morra and Research at CSM. Thanks also to Kate Pelan and Holy Burford-Thomas



Spotlight Exhibition is curated by Jon Martin, and includes the work of: Adriana Cobo, Richard Crawford, Lesley-Ann Daly, Luca Federici, Loula Guarin Figueroa, Slawa Harasymowicz, Megan Rowden. Yijing Wang

Research is process

Practice-based research is a fundamental aspect of the arts university; although it may usually be considered the other way round, with research informing practice. But the interplay is fundamental to the process of discovery – of voice, context, aesthetic, form. One ‘problem’ of research is documentation of the process(es) undertaken, particularly since many of these will not be visible in the work as presented. Effective simplicity is hard graft: much material must be pared away to extract the gem of outcome. But this unseen work has been instrumental in the becoming of that which will be shown.

For the Research student, a particular challenge is how to recognise – and prove – the work of the process. Regardless of whether such research finds a place in the submitted thesis, it has been critical to its development, and to ideas spawned by that. So we ask:

  • How do we describe what we’ve thought, discussed, tried and rejected in the process?
  • Might that which we consider ‘not of relevance’ be of value elsewhere, later?
  • Can we make virtue of our archive?

Document presents the thinking work-in-process of CSM Research students at various stages of study but all engaged in practice and research. This work responds visually and conceptually to questions that documentation raises. Breadth of individual practice is reflected in the range of documents here shown, which also indicate considerations of methodology and materiality.

  1. Documentation is proof of thought or action: conceptual, abstract process made material
  2. The document is that artefact of record
  3. To document is the act of recording
  4. ‘Document …’ serves to remind

document(s), documentation, records, account(s), data, file(s), dossier(s), information, evidence, report(s); annal(s), archive(s), chronicle(s); note(s), minutes, transactions, proceedings, transcript(s); certificate(s), deed(s), instrument(s); diary, journal, memoir; register, log, logbook; yearbook, almanac; inventory, list, catalogue; case history, case study, casebook; French: procès-verbal; dated act(s); rare muniment(s)


Lesley-Ann Daly, The Impacts of Human Enhancement Technology (media: print)

This piece is a work in progress. The aim is to make the potential impacts of Human Enhancement technologies more understandable to the public, in order to start a discussion. It visually documents issues that are discussed in theoretical and governmental papers, intentionally moving away from dense academic text and into an accessible visual medium.

It is on display for the first time here in order to gain some feedback about how successful the piece is in engaging a non-specialist audience and conveying the information intended.

For any feedback or to inquire more about the piece please feel free to email me at


Yijing Wang, Longhorn Miao’s Love Songs   (media: animation (5 minutes, 33 seconds); plus cultural artefacts and illustrations)


Longhorn Miao’s Love Songs is an animated documentary about Longhorn Miao’s experience and collective memory of their traditional weddings. This project aims to explore whether animation can be used as an alternative of film to encourage the active participation of Longhorn Miao people in the creation of their own representations. Our different languages and cultural backgrounds make the cross-ethnical cooperation become the biggest challenge and research focus in the practice of this animation. Therefore, the concept of participatory design and the principle of ethnographic fieldwork are applied to the production process of the animated documentary.


Sława Harasymowicz, Other trip (media: print-based)


‘we had no map and we were left, in the heat, to fend for ourselves. The address provided was incorrect and we had to walk a great distance. The stairs were in complete darkness at night, the locks to the room in question were stuck. It was very stuffy and the windows were difficult to operate.’ –

The building in Kraków never changed. It was the same in the late 1970s, and when I went back to look in the late 1990s, and again in 2000s and 2010s. Post-war border changes, mass displacement, family history, the reality of communism, autobiography, new capitalist reality, fiction.


Luca Federici, Glitters and Blood (media: plastic container, canvas stained with blood and glitters, needles, butterfly needles, small sculptures)

Showing this work is particularly challenging. As a performance artist, I believe that performance is something ephemeral that exists in a specific time and space. I have never deemed the documentation, such as the photographs, the traces and processes, to be works of art.

I have decided to present some items I used during a performance, even though I still struggle to see this work as a form of art and still do not know how to define it, or whether it should be ‘shown’.


Loula Mercedes, Materiality of Growth (media: 3D objects and one landscape printed photograph)

At this initial point in my research I am observing systems of farming cacao and coffee, in six farms in Colombia, to identify by-products with potential for material development. I visited the farms for the first time and interacted with the families and people who run them to investigate their practices and patterns in the cultivation of these crops. I am also interested in documenting where or what is the human value within these agricultural processes?

This installation consists of samples from the farms and portrays a farmer at work; he kindly offered me his hat to represent the people behind the process.


Richard Crawford, My Archive of Dead Animals (media: photographic prints)

In order to understand what has been going on in the world of taxidermy, I have tried to visit natural history collections wherever I have travelled. This archive is a tiny sample of the taxidermy I have come across in the last five years.

So much of what I now know about taxidermy has come about through looking at it and comparing it with other examples. Artists’ taxidermy looks different from museum taxidermy for a reason: it generally critiques normative modes of animal representation. Badly-made taxidermy looks different from realistic taxidermy with the result that no-one believes that it represents a real animal. Dioramas present the animal in a different way from portrait taxidermy. In dioramas, the context gives the animal meaning, whereas in a portrait the meaning resides in the animal itself. Then there are the oddities: animal representations that are uncanny or disturbing. The feeling that something is not right is much stronger when you stand in front of a piece of odd taxidermy.

In fact, I now get this feeling to some extent whenever I look at taxidermy. If you look at my archive of dead animals long enough, you may start to feel the same way.


Megan Rowden, Tactility (media: ceramics, coffee tables)

In year 1 of a possible eight-year practical enquiry I am only just beginning to visualise my research. I am exploring the triangular relationship and emotional outcomes between artist, clay and the audience. Ceramics exist daily in our lives for domestic and industrial reasons. I am fascinated by how this familiarity influences the reaction to ceramics in an art context.

In this instance I have focussed on shape, texture, colour, size and placement. The observations will inevitably lead to more theoretical development before repeating the experiment with new work.


Adriana Cobo, Granny Square (media: plarn crochet; process photographs and briefs)

The Granny Square project draws its name from this classic crotchet motif which often constitutes the basic piece for larger crochet assemblages. It consists of making a large crochet piece, tailored to cover one of the benches on Granary Square.

The garment has been made using granny squares to assemble a depiction of a significant image in Somers Town: a bird, which characterises the airing courts of Saint Michael’s Flats, where the airing lines posts are topped with finials in the forms of birds, as shown on the painting depicted. Father Basil Jellicoe, a great reformer of Somers Town, commissioned sculptor Gilbert Bayles in 1931 to make these finials, following his belief that beauty in the everyday dignified people’s lives. Bayles used diverse motifs for his finials, including boats, devils and birds.

The project has been made in collaboration with St. Pancras Community Association (SPCA) – Knit and Stich Club, We Are Ageing Better Saint Pancras and King’s Cross, CSM MArch Students and CSM Public.

Making this piece for a prominent public space (Granary Square), allowed showcasing not only local crotchet expertise, but also histories and stories from adjacent places and people, which can often be overshadowed by the new.


Jon Martin

A PhD is solitary endeavour, so a group show is a questionable enterprise. Curating disparate visual research to afford the viewer the impression of cohesive intention requires some framing. My practice-informed research pivots on the fulcrum of creative process, from a starting point of creative block – conceptualised as a thing of ‘absence’. Situating space for others, I now realise, is a key aspect of my own practice; and so this show also documents a previously unrecognised level of personal thinking-in-action.

Document is an attempt to make space for the less-heard, more inner (or outsider) voices of arts research. These include those of doubt in experimentation, frustration at obliqueness and dismay at the dead-end; highlighting the uncertainty of decision-making, the struggle to find value in wrong turns, the tedium of cataloguing or filing data. These processes are not visible in the work – and nor should they be – but the dialogue between maker and shown is emphasised here.

Other narratives will be constructed by those who see and think.

As an element of The Doctoral Platform, Spotlight allows Research students to come together for seminar discussion, presentation and collegiality. This occasional space provides support, stimulation and encouragement for those working and thinking independently.

Document has a counterpoint in the Spotlight symposium, where some of those showing here and our peers will present other facets of our research.

Spotlight symposium: Wednesday 13 March 2019,

09.30–16.30, room B002, CSM, UAL

Please contact Richard Crawford: for further details

Spotlight would not be possible without Dr. Jo Morra

Thank you to Prof. Tom Corby and Research at CSM for funding the exhibition and symposium.

Thanks also to Kate Pelan and Holly Burford-Thomas




‘Document’: Spotlight Symposium

13th March 2019, 9:30-4:00pm

Room B002, Central St Martins. Granary Square N1C 4AA.

Spotlight Symposium includes presentations and performances by Adriana Cobo, Richard Crawford, Lesley-Ann Daly, Luca Federici, Slawa Harasymowicz, Jon Martin, Megan Rowden,  Tamara Tyrer, Yijing Wang


9.30    Coffee and a chance to look at the Spotlight exhibition in the ‘L’ Gallery.

10.00  Welcome: Jo Morra

10.15  Process: Chairperson: Richard Crawford

Adriana Cobo: Granny Square: Crotchet and the politics of the new on the     privately owned public square

Jon Martin: Expressing the difficulty of research process

Megan Rowden: The bond between artist, material and the audience.


11.30  Coffee break


11.45  History, Memory & Loss: Chairperson: Adrianna Cobo

Slawa Harasymowicz: ‘Other Trip’.

Yijing Wang: Ethnographic Animation: Co-Design with the Longhorn Miao.

Richard Crawford: What taxidermy artists show in Natural History Museums.


1.00    Lunch


2.00    The Body: Chairperson: Jo Morra

Tamara Tyrer: ‘Ann in the shower’ (film/presentation)

Lesley-Ann Daly: Examining the potential impacts of Human Enhancement technology – ethical issues and proposed regulation

Luca Federici: ‘Glitters and Blood’ (performance/presentation)

3.30    Discussion

4.0       Close & Drinks


Abstracts and Biographies

Adriana Cobo

Title: Granny Square: Crotchet and the politics of the new on the privately owned public square

Abstract: In the 1930’s Father Basil Jellicoe transformed the housing stock in Somers Town. His projects where particularly sensitive their residents needs and desires. He believed beauty dignified life, and paid special attention to embellishing communal areas such as entrances, washing and airing courts. He commissioned sculptor Gilbert Bayles to make finials for the airing post in many of his housing projects, which Bayles sculptured in the form of birds, devils, boats and fairy tale characters. These figures are iconic to many life-long residents, who acknowledge them with joy and pride. Today, the King’s Cross project has revolutionized urban regeneration. Its impact has spread the politics of the new over the existing, which however ‘old’, bares its own values. Many Somers Town residents, for example, despair over the fact that the name Somers Town is sometimes displaced by an ever expanding labeling of the area as plainly ‘King’s Cross’. My paper explores the clash and potential negotiation between the old and the new in and around ‘King’s Cross’, by reflecting on my project Granny Square; a homage sited on Granary Square, to Basil Jellicoe and Gilbert Bayles’ ornate airing courtyards for Saint Michaels Flats, Somers Town.

Biography: Adriana Cobo works on critical performance practice for public spaces. Trained as an architect and scenographer, she has explored themes such as architectural ornament and replica, panoptical structures and the ethics of modern architecture through both research and practice. Her performances ‘The Great Unwashed’ (2015-16), ‘The Disappearing Garden’ (2017-18), and ‘Granny Square’ (2018-19) are tailored to Granary Square, the flagship privately-owned public space in London’s King’s Cross. These constitute her current research-practice, which critically examines the codes and practices of contemporary public space, including those that involve taste and architectural design. Adriana is a PhD Candidate at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art, with the project ‘Taste Untold’.


Richard Crawford

Title: What taxidermy artists exhibit in Natural History museums.

Abstract: Since the beginning of the twenty first century, taxidermy artists have shown their work in natural history museums. In this paper I look at the work of two taxidermy artists who exhibited at the Horniman Museum in London, and ask what their interventions have contributed to a predominantly scientific natural history collection and how they may have changed visitor’s understanding of taxidermy. I develop an analysis of their interventions using the concept of ‘Speculative Taxidermy’ proposed by Giovanni Aloi (2018).

Biography: I am a mature student who has worked as a teacher for most of my career. I have also exhibited my art work in various locations in the UK. My research interest is the relationship between taxidermy and art.


Lesley-Ann Daly

Title: Examining the potential impacts of Human Enhancement technology; ethical issues and proposed regulation

Abstract: Human Enhancement (HE) policy recommendation documents raise issues including: therapy vs enhancement; accessibility; lack of regulation; and morphological freedom. All advocate that the public be brought into the discussion as they will be affected by the development and widespread implementation of the technology. However, as these documents are very dense, it is hard to see how the public will be able to understand and meaningfully engage with the issues they raise. By deconstructing and mapping provocative topics raised by policy recommendation documents, this project aims to create an experiential design piece. This piece will allow the public to obtain a better understanding of the field HE and it’s potential positive and negative consequences, allowing them to contribute to the conversation.

I will be talking about and showing a large scale information design piece that maps these issues.

Biography: Lesley-Ann Daly is a Designer and Researcher. Her work investigates the future possibilities of sensory augmentation technology and the personal and societal influences they may have on our lives. For her PhD she is using Critical Design methodologies to examine the effects of Sensory Augmentation technology on its users, and ethical issues related to the use of the technology. By exploring emerging technologies and ongoing scientific research, she is developing speculative scenarios that critique the positive and negative implications. By looking at contentious issues her work aims to raise awareness and provoke debate in order to influence the development of future human enhancement devices.


Luca Federici

Title: The performance of pain and pleasure

Abstract: In 2015 I began exploiting my body as a space to be “marked” and manipulated with piercings, hooks, scars in order to explore themes related to loss, decay, shame and gender fluidity. I see these practices as powerful means for the creation of meaningful rituals, based on the tradition of pain and self-sacrifice. These ritualised actions can be also viewed as an expression of political dissent toward a society that attempts to control people’s desires and sexual drives. Intervening upon my body with needles, scalpels, self-flogging and hooks has the value of reclaiming my bodily ownership and empowering my body through pain and endurance. The research I will be pursuing focuses upon the performance of pain experienced by BDSM practitioners in relation to my practice, for instance, Ron Athey’s and Bob Flanagan’s work. I will examine how BDSM and the experience of pain can be used to achieve pleasure and transcendence and how it can lead to greater control over our drives and enable BDSM practitioners to construct selfhood.

Biography: Luca Federici was born in 1979 in Pesaro (Italy). In 2006 he started studying at the Academy of Fine Arts “Raffaello”, Urbino (PU). In 2009, he obtained BA Degree in Fine Arts and in 2012 he completed the MA in painting. His exhibitions include: “Prima Biennale di Lecce” (2011) organized by Paolo Levi and the LiberArt association at Stomeo art gallery in Martano (Lecce); “NefArt”, (2011), organized by the Neapolitan Academy at Santa Maria dei Periclitanti Church in Naples; “L’Arte: Una Storia Essenziale” (2012), arranged by Monica Martins ‘Viv’Artes art gallery (Vittorio Veneto). In October 2011 he exhibited a sculpture made of metal net and fur at Traffic art gallery in Urbania (PU). Presently, he lives London where he graduated in MA Fine Arts at Chelsea College of Art and Design where he began experimenting with performance art. He performed at FUCK/LIVE/ART (2016), an evening of performances curated by Franko B and Emergency (2018) held in Manchester (+18 event), and BDSM/fetish nights such as Club DVS and Psycho Ward.


Sława Harasymowicz

Title: Other Trip.

Abstract: Central to my presentation is the notion of home as a variable and as a reconstruction. My enquiry is inspired by a tenement building located in Kraków, Poland; a place where collective history, my own family history and my autobiography have been forced together. The end of the Second World War and The Yalta Conference border ‘agreements’ in the context of Poland and Russia meant displacement of hundreds of thousands of Polish nationals from within the newly formed Soviet Union’s Ukrainian Republic into a reshaped Poland. This displacement was referred to as repatriation (a return home). My paper will present a body of work and research developed as I continue to investigate issues around architecture and amnesia: how does a building, as a material and a re-imagined site preserve memory, and at the same time how it erases memory to encourage forgetting. What interests me is how the processes of remembering and forgetting are not dependent on chronology but seem to follow other arrangements, and have their own strange logic.

Biography: Sława Harasymowicz’s practice deploys a diverse range of media to unpack the relationships between text and meaning, word and context, art and language, (lack of) image and imagination. She studied at the Royal College of Art, London (MA Communication Art and Design, 2006). Her practice-based PhD in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London considers issues around personal memory, collective traumatic history and autobiography in the context of the Second World War history in Poland (specifically, contexts other than the Holocaust). Her selected recent projects include, Jest już dzień jasny (Ordre de bataille) BWA Gallery in Tarnów, Poland (2018), supported by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and 12/6, presented as part of The Trouble with Value, Bunkier Sztuki, Kraków, Poland (2018).


Jon Martin

 Title: Expressing the difficulty of research process

Abstract: I am in my research; my research is of me. How do I express my research?

This presentation considers various factors of conceptual-practical-performance difficulty that I have encountered in my research-to-date. Its purpose is to acknowledge the process of research as research – as my research does – which causes inherent difficulty; that may be intrinsic to the process. However, research is generally considered to require dissemination (as a vital aspect of its process): so what is the effect of its feeling / being / becoming inexpressible? What is, or may be, the form of my practice-informed research into non-practice?

Biography: tbc


Megan Rowden

 Title: The bond between artist, material and the audience.

Abstract: I will be holding a workshop that looks at how we encounter materials and art, and the role of an active audience.

Biography: Megan Rowden is currently in her first year of a part-time doctoral study at Central St Martins. She has studied clay for 18 years and exhibited her work for the past 10 years. She has taught at Richmond Art School for the past 7 years in 3D design, and Fine Art, as well as working with adult learners with learning difficulties and disabilities. Her interests include alternative ceramic firings, sensory art and investigating the perceived value of ceramic objects.


Tamara Tyrer

Title: ‘Ann in the Shower’

Abstract: My PhD investigates the question and possibility of representing a female space and time through a visual evocation of interiority and female subjectivity by creating a form of haptic cinema. The presentation will focus on the first research film that I created, Ann in the Shower, which was made in order to test out the enquiries of my practice in preparation for the more scripted films following that. In the presentation, I will discuss how the film experiments with the notion of creating a form of haptic cinema, by exploring the movement and sensation of the body and water and how that is filmed and edited, specifically though close ups, zooms and the use of sound. I will discuss how I experiment with using camera work, combined with slow motion, to explore the idea of immersion into the image and into the interiority of the dancer. I will expand on the concept of the haptic as a way of exploring a different kind of looking and relationality, connecting notions of the haptic to Luce Irigaray’s concept of the retouché.

Biography: I am a practicing artist, specialising in film and performance.  I created, directed and co-produced Whoopee, a renowned and pioneering site-specific theatre event, juxtaposing live art and dance with vaudeville and burlesque traditions. I directed acclaimed shows in venues including the V&A, ICA, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Hackney Empire, the Porchester Baths swimming pool London and the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. My work has been exhibited at the National Gallery, The Courtauld and the Rochelle School.


Yijing Wang

Title: Ethnographic Animation: Co-Design with the Longhorn Miao

Abstract: Post-colonial critiques have questioned the passive role of the subjects being researched in live-action ethnographic documentary. Can animation be used instead of film as a method to encourage the active participation of minority people in the creation of their own representations? This paper will examine whether animation could be used as an innovative form of ethnographic documentary, and discuss how to strengthen the voices of minorities by using animated documentary. The first section investigates the use of animation as an ethnographic tool and looks at ways in which animation can creatively interpret the authentic voices of minorities. The project will aim to record both oral traditions, and memory of performance traditions where written documents are unavailable, this is in order to convey Longhorn Miao’s perspective on their own culture. The second section explores ways of working with minority people to ensure their perspectives are represented in ethnographic animation. This study attempts to involve the Longhorn Miao as active rather than passive participants, using co-design design principles, to create their own animated representation in which they are clearly and accurately conveyed. The study will also consider the minority’s ‘emic’ and researcher’s ‘etic’ outlooks and establish a relationship between the two. The last section introduces my fieldwork and my animated documentary for the Longhorn Miao people. It will also explain the application potential of my research to other fields.

Biography: Yijing is a PhD candidate in Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. She earned her undergraduate degree at Central Academy of Fine Arts, China (2013) and MA at UAL, CSM (2015). Since completing her BA course, she had been participating in several projects for Chinese minority themed animation. Currently, her PhD research is using animation as a form of ethnographic documentary, exploring animation’s potential to document the underrepresented cultures of minorities. Drawing on new approaches to animated documentary and preliminary studies of the Longhorn Miao, she is currently preparing an animated documentary with this group that will test her theories and methodology.

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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