Five Year Plan
This is a replica of the original document written to secure funding for Critical Practice, from (May need revision? Copied it as found...)
Chelsea College of Art and Design in January 2006
Cluster research development plans
Research development plans should include
• A brief description of the research focus and/or rationale of the cluster
• An identified cluster leader or representative
• Management and organisation arrangements
• List of staff, fellows and students involved in the cluster
• Aims and objectives
• Current position in regard to UAL’s research relation to strategic development indicators (see Cluster Indicators and Five Year Plan spreadsheet).
• Five years targets in relation to development indicators (see Cluster Indicators and Five Year Plan spreadsheet)
• Outline plan for achieving development targets
Cluster Title: Critical Practice
Cluster Leader or representative: (coordinator) Neil Cummings and Reader in Theory and Practice
Brief description of the research focus and/or rationale for the existence of the cluster
The collaborative research cluster Critical Practice recognises dramatic changes in the social, political, aesthetic, and financial construction of society. Rapid technological change in information exchange for instance, has diffused the tradition boundaries between cultural distinctions and reconfigured economies of value.
In this new environment, our practices - as artists, curators, designers or theorists- or their interpretation, or how they are theorised, historicized and administered are no longer separate concerns, or indeed different disciplines. Critical Practice will engage with all the forces that make art, and the increasingly devolved experience of art available to artists, art institutions and their audiences. Using ‘critical fieldwork’ we will explore new models for creative practice, and look to engage those models in appropriate local and international contexts.
Key Words: critical practice, collaborative practice, art practice, art theory, art, art institutions, art audiences, political economy of art
Aims and Objectives
1. The cluster of researchers in Critical Practice does not seek to merely participate in research into the theory and practice of art; we seek to analyse and change the nature of those theories and practices.
2. Critical Practice is truly committed to collaboration, internally at Chelsea and with external partners.
3. The research that drives Critical Practice is reflexive, its critical and reflective of the contexts in which it operates and the conditions of its own possibility. The nature of research –its politics, finance and ontology- will itself become a legitimate subject of exploration
4. We will explore new models for creative practice, and look to engage those models in appropriate contexts.
5. Critical Practices is ethically committed to integrating its research into lecture, seminar and course development at Chelsea, at every level.
3, Collaboration is simultaneously an organizational method and a subject of our research. We will use open, transparent and accountable management techniques – ensuring that all of our research is in the public domain; as many meetings as possible will be open and public, we intend to post agendas, minutes, points of action, budget and decision making processes on line for public scrutiny - as advised by .
2. Critical Practice will imaginatively seek to engage its research in the highest appropriate public forum, both nationally and internationally; we imagine participation in exhibition and the institutions of exhibition –museums, galleries, academies and archives, through curating seminars, conferences, and film screenings, producing publications, and utilizing broadcast and webcast media.
3.Critical Practice is ideologically committed to publically funded research remaining in the pubic domain, free of copyright restrictions
Activities: Current activities
We are developing
1. APG; archive with Neal White of Ravensbourne College of Art, the Artist Placement Group and Tate Archives.
An archive of twenty five years work of the APG has been acquired by the Tate, in keeping with the radical practice of the APG we have been invited to collaborate on how to make the archive freely accessible on-line. Using open source methodologies –from wiki technologies to open, transparent and accountable methods of interaction- we intend to ensure the archive becomes a creative resource for contemporary socially engaged art practice. We intend to secure AHRC funding and a research fellowship
2. Thinking Through Practice
Philosophical texts provide a key resource for much research activity in the Arts. It is clear, however, that artists and designers address themselves to the issues they raise by means other than the argument structures or exegesis that such texts standardly employ. We propose to host a series of events –open to all- at Chelsea foregrounding areas of practice which are not defined by any particular ‘genre’ or discipline. The kinds of practice we have in mind are exemplary models of cross-disciplinary research and integration of theory and practice.
The first pilot event will be held on Saturday 4th February 2006: Screening of the award-winning but little seen film The Ister and presentation by filmmaker David Barison.
3. A series of mini-Open Congess
Building on the success and innovative methodology of Open Congress, and to coincide with part two of the Season of Media Arts London in March 2006, we will convene a series of public, open, participatory and collaborative seminars in different sites through-out London. These public seminars will reflexively address the core questions of Critical Practice itself; What is Critique? What does it mean to be Critical? What is a Practice? How is a Practice critically inflected? What does an artist do? What is Research?
4. ‘What is an Eco-Ethical (Art) Practice?’
We intend to explore issues of over-production and over-consumption as these are inflected by an attention of the production of culture and knowledge. This project will explore the notion of cultural limits, the tensions between an eco-ethical cultural practice as a symbolic phenomenon and its material incursions; the articulation of non-production or non-event. We intend to secure AHRC funding and a research fellowship
5. Producing an Open Congress Reader ‘[FLOSS] Art: “Open Congress” at Tate Britain’
The reader will include historical texts, texts produced at Open Congress, and critical reflection upon the event. The reader will be published to coincide with the second Node.London season of media arts, in March.
1. Open Congress: Creativity and the public domain Tate Britain; 7th and 8th October 2005
Inspired by Free Software; software which challenges conventional practices of authorship, ownership and distribution, this innovative congress explored the implications of those developments for art, visual culture and cultural production in general.
Open Congress took place across two days, and was structured through three themes of Governance, Creativity and Knowledge; with an extraordinary array of international and UK participants - artists, theorists, academics and activists - who shaped the Congress through simultaneous presentations, discussion, workshops and events.
Major Funding by: Chelsea Research Committee, Arts Council and British Council Support from: Node.London, Wireless London, Tate Britain and Tate Digital visit
or view archived presentations at
2. College Research Exchanges,
initiated by Critical Practice, currently maintained by members Dr Mary Anne Francis and Dr Tim O’Rilley
Research exchanges are termly fora where research active staff present their research to colleagues. Several research groups and clusters have evolved as a result.
Management and Organisation (i.e structure of cluster; it’s committee/steering group/informal meetings; process for decision making;
co-organized by Neil Cummings and Research Fellow Dr Mary Anne Francis
As a cluster we meet face-to-face regularly, at least twice a term. Dr Mary Anne Francis threads the cluster together and we utilize email for internal communication, and the Open Congress wiki for external communication –we are currently (funds willing) installing a Critical Practice wiki. Our collective experience of wiki technology means there is a constant exchange of ideas, communication and cluster development.
During the organization of Open Congress, we began to use open, transparent and accountable management techniques –open public meetings, posting agendas, minutes, points of action, budget and decision making processes on line for public scrutiny- as advised by . As we are truly committed to collaboration, both as a organizational method and a subject of our research, we have a flat management structure and encourage distributed responsibility; consequently the cluster is made from Readers, Fellows, senior lectures –in Design and Fine Art, research students, technicians, current BA students, ex-students, and external collaborators.
We use a ‘rough consensus’ for decision making, again as advised by Open Organization
Our experience of Open Congress has shown that true participation and collaboration requires a shared ownership of interests and objectives.
Ian Drysdale, Darrel Stadlen, Tom Neill, Trevor Giles, Wei Ho Ng, Neal White of Ravensbourne College of Art, the Artist Placement Group and Tate Archives. Node.Lonon, and cybersalon
List of Chelsea staff, fellows and students involved in the cluster (short form CV’s for staff and RF3 for students will need to be provided). Staff NameFTE or ALStudent
Dr Mary Anne Francis FTE
Neil Cummings FTE
Corrado Morgana AL
Bernice Donszelman FTE
Pete Maloney FTE
List of other staff, fellows and students involved in the cluster (short form CV’s for staff and RF3 for students will need to be provided).
Tim O'Riley FTE
Andrew Chesher FTE
Dan Smith FTE
Current position in regard to UAL’s research development indicators
Critical Practice has a proven record for generating influential research at College and an international level. We are also engaging staff and students at many stages of their career. Most of the researchers in Critical Practice are ethically committed to integrating research into lecture, seminar and course development at Chelsea and elsewhere, and we are ideologically committed to publically disseminate our research. Already, in the first eighteen months of our existence, we have attracted external funding; Mary Anne Francis has secured Arts Council of England funding (for a documentary and evaluative publication relating to ‘Open Congress’) and the British Council supported Open Congress with fares for overseas speakers to the tune of £1K. NODE.London (Networked or Distirubed Events.London) supported ‘Open Congress’ to the tune of £5K and Tate Britain and Tate On-line events supported the event in-kind.
Five year targets in relation to development indicators
- Develop a critical practice mission statement
- Increase UAL research active staff/students in Critical Practice from 7 – 10
- Continue to develop Research Exchanges at Chelsea
- Install and maintain Critical Practice wiki, and Open Congress wiki
- Publish Open Congress Reader ‘[FLOSS] Art: “Open Congress” at Tate Britain’
- Initiate Thinking Through Practice seminar series, investigate/seek AHRC funding with Tate Archive for APG:archive project
- Increase UAL research active staff/students in core Critical Practice from 10 – 15
- Develop our ‘open’ organizational structure and methods
- seek AHRC funding with Tate Archive for APG; archive project, apply for AHRC fellowship – Neal White
- Become a recognised ‘Unit’ within the International Fine Art Research Centre
- continue Thinking Through Practice seminars and Research Exchanges at Chelsea
- develop AHRC funding for What is an Ethical Practice? apply for AHRC fellowship - Mary Ane Francis
• develop and enhance collaborations at national level with other agencies eg. Demos, Static, Tate, International Research Centre, Open Organizations
- Increase UAL research active staff/students in core Critical Practice from 15 - 20
- Develop our ‘open’ organizational structure and methods; Diffuse knowledge throughout the staff/student body at Cheslea
- publish/archive /webcast Thinking Through Practice, launch beta version of APG website
- develop What is an ethical practice?
- develop and enhance collaborations at international level with other agencies eg. Casco -Belgium, Arteleku –Spain,
- develop and enhance funding relationships at national level – AHRC, ACE and industry
- develop and launch APG archive website, network with Open Congress and Open Organizations
- mesh our research with our ‘open’ organisational model. Export this model.
- develop What is an ethical practice?
- develop and enhance funding relationships at an international level
- develop What is an ethical practice? internationally
Outline plan for achieving development targets
Critical Practice has a proven record for generating influential research at College and an international level. We are also engaging staff and students at many stages of their career. Most of the researchers in Critical Practice are ethically committed to integrating research into lecture, seminar and course development at Chelsea, and we are ideologically committed to publically disseminate our research. We have attracted external funding, and have dynamic relationships with funding bodies and ‘industrial’ partners including Node.London, Arts Council and Tate .
We intend to become better networked and supported at an International level.
We will –funds willing- be very interested in helping to build a high quality infrastructure at Chelsea –one of the benefits of open, transparent, peer-to-peer and accountable organizations is that other people/clusters/groups can learn quickly from their ‘best’ practices.
Please ensure that you have completed all sections:
- An identified cluster leader or representative
- A brief description of the research focus and/or rationale for the existence of the cluster
- Aims and objectives
- Management and organisation
- List of staff, fellows and students involved in the cluster (short form CV’s for staff and RF3 for students will need to be provided).
- Current position in regard to UAL’s research relation to development indicators
- Five years targets in relation to development indicators
- Outline plan for achieving development targets