Annual report 07 08

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originally, this was a tabled document, this is it without tables
Submitted 17th March 2008

Cluster research development plans

The Annual report for the Research Cluster should include:

• A summary of the Management and organisation arrangements during the last year
• Report on Progress against the 2004/5 plan
• Activities in 2007
• Self-Assessment of Cluster performance
• Explanation of how the 2007 activity plan is expected to contribute to development targets
• Plan of Action for 2008
• Report of expenditure from core funding

Cluster Title: Critical Practice

Cluster Convener(s):
Professor Neil Cummings, Dr Mary Anne Francis
E:mail: ************

Report on the Management and Organisation

(i.e how many meetings have been held, how the group makes decisions etc.)

In compliance with Aim 2, of our aims and objectives:

We will reflect critically upon, and act creatively within the contexts in which we operate - including the very conditions of our own possibility.

We are trying to be sensitive to issues of governance.

It’s clear that peer-to-peer organizational structures - open, transparent, broadly consensual, and self-managing - offer new models for thinking about issues of accountability and governance - particularly in the public sector, cultural organizations, or those in receipt of public funds.

We are striving to be an open organization, and to make all decisions, processes and production, open and public.
We use 'rough consensus' for decision making, as advised by Open Organization

We post all agendas, minutes, budget and decision-making processes online for public scrutiny.

There have been 30 minuted meetings: minutes archived at old minutes and new minutes

Report on Progress against the 2004/5 plan

with reference to development indicators in the Five Year Plan submitted 2004/05

Projected Year 2, with actual

  • Increase UAL research active staff/students in core Critical Practice from 10 – 15
9 members of staff are active within Critical Practice, 4 research students are affiliated, 8 undergraduates have participated, 9 core 'peer' collaborators, 6 recent participants and 15 people registered on the mailing list. Critical Practice integrates Professors, Research Fellows, Staff, Research students, recent graduates and 'peer' collaborators at every level of its organization, and varied research activity.
  • Develop our ‘open’ organizational structure and methods
We continue to use Open Organizationa guidlines for organization and management. We intend to generate draft guidelines for 'Open' budget management after our ResourceCamp on the 29-30th March, and participate in a refresher Open Organizational workshop on the 6th April 2008
  • seek AHRC funding with Tate Archive for APG; archive project, apply for AHRC fellowship – Neal White
As substantial bid has been submitted to the AHRC by Tate Archives to develop the APG Open Archive project. Critical Practice will be involved in the display and 'making public' of the initial research and digitation of the archived material.
  • * Become a recognised ‘Unit’ within the International Fine Art Research Centre
Given the emergent nature of ICFAR, this has ceased to be a relevant developmental aim for Critical Practice
Thinking Through Practice is thriving. They have evolved their own dedicated sister website at Thinking Through Practice, made a large AHRC application, and will host renowned philosopher Bernard Stiegler as part of the international Festival of Europe. Despite a general lack of college interest and ambition the Research Exchanges continue to be organised and be productive .
  • develop AHRC funding for What is an Ethical Practice? apply for AHRC fellowship - Mary Ane Francis
Mary Anne Francis made an AHRC bid, the bid was unsuccessful; the project might be reconfigured and run inside Critical Practice

Activities in 2007/8

London Festival of Europe

co-ordinators: Isobel Bowditch and Trevor Giles
working group: Neil Cummings, Cinzia Cremona, Alexander Page, Mary Anne Francis, Joe Balfour, Marsha Bradfield, Robert Dingle and Tom Trevatt, Mike Knowlden, Federico.

'...a Congress on methods of engagement with European affairs and the construction of a pan-European cultural avant-garde.'

Critical Practice will host How to Make Europe Dream? A Cultural Congress as part of this year's London Festival of Europe. As well as hosting the Congress, we are working on a Market of Ideas. The Project is developing as London Festival of Europe


Working group: Neil Cummings, Cinzia Cremona, Marsha Bradfield, Trevor Giles

We are committed to participating in an event called Disclosures.

Disclosures seeks to scrutinise the notion of openness across fields of cultural production at large. A first reading of openness refers to situations in which the viewer, reader, listener or internet user becomes emancipated through egalitarian participation, diffuse collaborative authorship and/or the breaking down of hierarchical and social boundaries

It's organised by Anna Colin and Mia Jankowicz of Gasworks. It opens 28th March and is scheduled for the 29th - 30th March 2008. See the programme here.

Critical Practice will contribute directly to Phase 1 and Phase 3 of the programme.
Phase 1
The View From Here: after Open Congress, node.London and WMAOYW
1130-1300 Saturday 29th March 2008. Toynbee Hall, Lecture Hall, 28 Commercial Street, London E1 6LS

Phase 2
Blue Skies Grey Skies 1500 - 1545, Sunday 30th March, 2008. Common Room, Middlesex Street Estate, Middlesex Street, London E1 7AW
We are going to convene a ResourceCamp to tackle the 'elephant in the room' of open organizations - the management and distribution of money and resources. A draft letter of invitation.


Working Group: Trevor (coordinator), Neil, Marsha, Robin, Cinzia We have decided to take up an invitation to contribute a 'micro-event' to Visions from the 5th - 15th June 2008 at the Bow Arts Trust, London.

our contribution is entitled Co-Production 2-6pm, Sunday 8th June 2008
Critical Practice intends to move the productive commentary, dialogue and criticism associated with domestic moving image participation, to the habitually more quiet, singular and passive spectatorship of art gallery consumption. We will collectively engage moving image ‘open’ submissions, in the spirit of productive spectatorship. An Arts Council Engand application has been made to secure our participation.

Inaugural publication

coordinated Cinzia Cremona
Working GroupNeil Cummings Trevor Giles, Mary Anne Francis, Spring Eugenia Beirer, Manuela Zechner

Our collaboratively authored inaugural publication attempted to represent some of our diverse activity beyond the realm and constituency of the internet. Designed by Trevor Giles - with 'open source' fonts, recycled paper and carbon neutral production :) -

For digital copy of our inaugural publication download a pdf, for a hard copy send a request to the mailing list.

Future Archive: a topology towards futurity

coordinatrice by Manuela Zechner.
working group Mary Anne Francis, Neil Cummings, Ian Drysdale, Cinzia Cremona, Anja Kanngieser and also Tim Flitcroft.

The future archive is a project that issues a series of responses to the problem of how to perform divergent futures. It engages interview/conversations that are set in possible times and spaces to come, in which two or more people performatively inhabit as proposed versions of futurity. From there, contemporary society is remembered.
Future Archive has evolved its own dedicated website at Future Archive

Thinking Through Practice

coordinated by Isobel Bowditch and Andrew Chesher
Working Group Beatrice Schulz, Carlos Monleon, Cinzia Cremona, Damian Taylor, Katrine Hjelde, Lawrence Sullivan, Marsha Bradfield, Mary-Anne Francis, Neil Cummings, Rory Pilgrim, Sophie Arditti

Thinking Through Practice explores manifestions of philosophical thinking beyond the academic text.

Can aesthetic practice successfully address philosophical issues or successfully deliver a mode of philosophical investigation? The project takes the form of a series of public events, with invited speakers, film screenings, workshops or discussions. The format of the events is dictated by the nature of the practice being presented. The working group meets regularly to discuss events, texts and ideas.

Events are documented and evolving on our dedicated sister-site Thinking Through Practice

Two separate-but-related symposia are planned for May /June 2008 around the theme of music and voice.

APG Open Archive

Coordinator: Neil Cummings
Working Group Mary Anne Francis; Neal White

A collaboration with Visiting Research Fellow Neal White of Organisation + Imagination (formerly APG, the Artist Placement Group) and Tate Archives.

An archive of twenty five years work of the APG has been acquired by the Tate, and in keeping with the radical practice of the APG we have been invited to collaborate on how to make the archive accessible. 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. Tate submitted an AHRC bid in January 08 and we are currently awaiting the feedback.

Beyond the Free Market

working group Spring Exprit (Eugenia Beirer),[Mary Anne Francis, Trevor Giles, Mike Knowlden and Chan Baik

Beyond The Free Market looks at the consequences of capitalist economic policies for food production and consumption. We aim to explore, through creative, critical practice issues such as: food overproduction, food insufficiency and the impact of these on developing and third world countries. Our work refers to Freeganism or Skipping, agricultural subsidies, waste and recycling.

Beyond The Free Market have been developing some products to generate funds for the Kitchen and promote BTFM concerns like Rubbish goods and 'Green Gifts'

Research Exchanges

'coordinated by Dr Mary Anne Francis and Dr Tim O’Riley

Research exchanges are termly events where research active artists, theorists, designers and students at Chelsea College of Art and Design present their research to peers. Its an informal and supportive event - with wine!

Past Exchanges

Tuesday 4th March 2008, 5.30 - 7 pm
Ellen Sims, Director of CLIP / CETL at Chelsea, will be speaking about the dissolution of disciplinary boundaries as this relates to contemporary art education and art practice.
Wednesday 20th February 2008, 5.30 – 7pm
A quickfire Pecha Kucha session. ‘Pecha Kucha’ is a mode of presentation that originated in Japan, and asks 20 people to show 20 slides (about their work) for 20 seconds a slide.
Monday 21st January 2008 5.15 - 7ish
Neil Cummings and Dave Beech in conversation around some recent research projects that seem to overlap around ideas of public space, the market in contemporary art and issues related to 'markets' as public space.
Monday 4th June 2007 5.15 - 7ish
Jo Melvin on Telling Stories: the Archive as Documentafiction

Self-Assessment of Cluster performance

Its been another amazing year, and Critical Practice has been extraordinarily active (see evidence above)

We have invested in building an organizational structure that is robust, innovative and in line with our aims and objectives.

Voluntary participation contributes enormously to the organization, and activities of Critical Practice. Voluntary participation is difficult to quantify, value and reimburse. Consequently we have struggled with the ethical problems of how and where to spend our budget.


Plan of Action for 2008

and an explanation of how the plan is expected to contribute to development targets

annotated Plan of Action for 2008/9, from our original development targets in our Five Year Plan
Year 3

  • develop and enhance collaborations at national level with other agencies eg. Demos, Static, Tate, International Research Centre, Open Organizations
We are building networked collaborations with Tate Archives on the APG Open Archive project, Gasworks and the Triangle network through Disclosures, working towards a knowledge Transfer Partnership with the New Economics Foundatiion -NEF, and europen collaborations with the London Festival of Europe.
  • Increase UAL research active staff/students in core Critical Practice from 15 - 20
We may have reached a critical mass of interested participants at Chelsea. Over the coming year we should concentrate on building 'peer' networks with other clusters both within the university and without.
  • Develop our ‘open’ organizational structure and methods; Diffuse knowledge throughout the staff/student body at Cheslea
We are planning further workshops to explore ‘open’ business models, and accounting practices. We intend to better address the ethical and practical issues of budget management, and our financial interface with Chelsea and the University. Critical Practice participants are very active in the research culture at Chelsea, through Research Exchanges, talks, lectures, workshops and events
    • publish/archive /webcast Thinking Through Practice, launch beta version of APG website
The Thinking Through Practice sister site is up and running, as is a dedicated Future Archive site. Given the complex nature of the collaboration with Tate Archives -the large AHRC bid was submitted in January 2008- the APG site will take significantly longer to develop
  • develop What is an ethical practice?
Not sure what to say about this

We continue to generate influential research at College and an international level, while engaging staff, students and external partners at many stages of their careers. Critical Practice remains ethically committed to integrating research into lecture, seminar and course development at Chelsea. </blockquote>

Report of expenditure from core funding

Expenditure 07 / 08

See budget 07_08

List of staff, fellows, students and peers involved in the cluster

Research Fellow Dr Mary Anne Francis 0.5 Chelsea
Corrado Morgana Chelsea 0.5 Chelsea
Professor Neil Cummings 0.5 Chelsea
AHRC Research Fellow Dr Tim O'Riley Chelsea
Dr Andrew Chesher 0.5 Chelsea
Dr Isobel Bowditch 0.2 Chelsea
Visiting Research Fellow Neal White
Visiting Research Fellow Dr Wayne Clements
Marsha Bradfield Chelsea Research Student

Affiliated Chelsea Research Students
Katrine Hjelde, Lawrence O'Sullivan, Michaela Ross

Affiliated Chelsea BA students
Carlos Monleon, Amy O'Neill, Rory Pilgrim, Matthew Robinson, Beatrice Schulz, Damian Taylor, Teresa and Sophie.

peer participants
Trevor Giles (CCAD Alumni)
Cinzia Cremona (CSM Alumni Westminster Researcher)
Ian Drysdale (CCAD Alumni)
Manuela Zechner (CCAD Alumni Goldsmiths MA)
Darrel Stadlen (CCAD Alumni)
Eugenia Beirer (CCAD Alumni)
Robin Bhattacharya (CCAD Alumni)
Tom Neill (CCAD Alumni)
Wei-Ho Ng (CCAD Alumni)
And, Alexander Page, Joe Balfour, Robert Dingle, Tom Trevatt, Mike Knowlden and Federico.

and 15 unknown contributors to the wiki and mailing list

external partners
London Festival of Europe
Tate Archives
O+I -formerly Artists Placement Group

return to annual reports or housekeeping