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33 Projects, page 1 of 4

  • Canada
  • UK Research and Innovation
  • UKRI|AHRC

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/L008483/1
    Funder Contribution: 35,300 GBP
    Partners: Northumbria University, IISc, Carleton University

    This research will create a truly innovative, international research network that will stretch far and wide in the area of "Cultures of Creativity and Innovation in Design". The international research network coordinating body comprises Professors Paul Rodgers and Paul Jones from Northumbria University, Professor Amaresh Chakrabarti, a world-leading researcher in Design Creativity, from the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Professor Lorenzo Imbesi, an internationally-acclaimed researcher in Design Culture, from the School of Industrial Design at Carleton University, Canada. The importance of creativity in the cultural, creative and other industries and the significant contributions that creativity adds to a nation's overall GDP and the subsequent health and wellbeing of its people cannot be overstated. In Europe, the value of the cultural and creative industries is estimated at well over 700 billion Euros each year, twice that of Europe's car manufacturing industry. The value of creativity and innovation, to any nation, is therefore huge. Creativity and innovation adds real value, which enables a number of benefits such as economic growth and social wellbeing. In many societies creativity epitomises success, excitement and value. Whether driven by individuals, companies, enterprises or regions creativity and innovation establishes immediate empathy, and conveys an image of dynamism. Creativity is thus a positive word in societies constantly aspiring to innovation and progress. In short, creativity in all of its manifestations enriches society. This network seeks to gain an understanding of this dynamic ecology that creativity and innovation bring to society. Creativity is a vital ingredient in the production of products, services and systems, both in the cultural industries and across the economy as a whole. Yet despite its importance and the ubiquitous use of creativity as a term there are issues regarding its definitional clarity. A better understanding and articulation of creativity as a concept and a process would support enhanced future innovation. Socio-cultural approaches to creativity explain that creative ideas or products do not happen inside people's heads, but in the interaction between a person's thoughts and a socio-cultural context. It is acknowledged that creativity cannot be taught, but that it can be cultivated and this has significant implications for a nation's design and innovation culture. It is known that creativity flourishes in congenial environments and in creative climates. This research will examine how creativity is valued, exploited, and facilitated across different national and cultural settings as all can have a major impact on a nation's creative potential. The key aim of this network is to investigate attitudes about creativity and how it is best cultivated and exploited across three different geographical locations (UK, India, and Canada), different environments, and cultures from both an individual designer's perspective and design groups' perspectives. The network seeks to investigate cultures of creativity and innovation in design and question its nature. For instance, can creativity be adequately conceptualised in a design context? What role do cultural organisations and national bodies play in harnessing creativity? Where do the "edges" lie between creativity and innovation? Do richer environments and approaches for facilitating creativity exist? What design skills, knowledge, and expertise are required for creativity? Moreover, what are the key drivers that motivate the creativity and innovation of designers and other stakeholders? Are they economical, cultural, social, or political? This research network will host 3 workshops, each one facilitating inquiry amongst invited design practitioners, researchers, educators and other stakeholders involved in design practice.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K000764/1
    Funder Contribution: 96,159 GBP
    Partners: Keele University, New Vic Theatre, University of Alberta

    This proposal builds on - and extends to new audiences and user communities - our NDA funded research project (2009-2012) entitled Ages and Stages: The Place of Theatre in Representations and Recollections of Ageing. It aims to develop some of the activities and research-led learning from that project and, in so doing, reach out to - and bring together - user communities who may not traditionally have worked with drama in the ways proposed here. This will be achieved through the following connected programme of drama-related activities: 1) The formation of an intergenerational theatre company at the New Vic Theatre. Through a regular series of workshops, the company will bring older and younger people together in creative, drama-based activities to enhance understanding between the generations and support the continued social engagement of both groups. 2) A touring performance. The IG company will create a touring piece(s) which can be taken out to audiences within, and beyond, North Staffordshire. We anticipate that these audiences might include local councils; primary as well as secondary schools; residential homes/housing developments for older people; community groups and higher education institutions providing professional training courses (for teachers, social workers and doctors/nurses). 3) An inter-professional training course and training materials/resources, which will aim to develop practice capabilities and age awareness amongst teachers, health and social care professionals, arts practitioners and others interested in learning about and including intergenerational theatre/drama in their practice. The IG company will act as an important resource by contributing to the development and delivery of the training sessions and providing feedback to participants. 4) A scoping exercise for a wider 'Creative Age Festival', which could leave a concrete community legacy from Ages & Stages. The project will continue to be overseen by the existing 'Ages and Stages' Advisory Group, which includes experts in drama, intergenerational practice, policy and gerontology. The group will also be refreshed by new members, including younger members of the intergenerational theatre company (aged 16-18) . The activities we propose are timely for the following reasons. First, there is a notable groundswell of interest in the arts in general and theatre/drama in particular, not simply as a cultural activity but as one which has the potential to impact positively on the well-being of older and younger people. Second, in times of scarce resources, it is important to capitalise on activities which bring people together rather than those which might pit the generations against each other. Third, there is a role for practitioners in facilitating and enabling these kinds of activities but rarely, to our knowledge, have there been opportunities for professionals from differing arenas to work together as is proposed here. Finally, it is important to make best use of existing knowledge - not just that generated from our own work but also that of colleagues. We will be drawing strongly from our collaborators, including our linked Canadian project (about the impact of theatre on health ageing, which runs until 2013), and will also remain part of the New Dynamics of Ageing programme and will benefit from the knowledge exchanges this offers.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/G010455/1
    Funder Contribution: 183,430 GBP
    Partners: Galt Museum & Archives, Glenbow Museum, University of Oxford

    This project brings together UK-based researchers with Blackfoot people in Alberta, Canada, and Montana, USA, to explore the cultural history and contemporary meanings of 5 Blackfoot men's shirts held in the collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum. Collected in 1841, the hide shirts are decorated with porcupine quillwork and beadwork; three, with human- and horse-hair fringes along the sleeves, are ritual garments. There are just two shirts of this age in Canadian museums, and Blackfoot people have had little access to them. However, some cultural knowledge relating to them has been retained, and elders wish to revive traditional practices associated with them. Blackfoot leaders have spoken of the shirts as important for youth and hope that learning about them will strengthen cultural identity: in the words of Frank Weasel Head, Kainai ceremonial leader, 'These shirts are our curriculum. That's how we learn who we are.'\n\nThe project will make the shirts available to Blackfoot people and the wider public for the first time, and explore how historic artefacts can be used by indigenous communities to revive, share and transmit cultural knowledge, and how they serve to anchor social memory and in the construction of identity. It will consider how the transmission of cultural knowledge can benefit different generations, and explore the implications of such knowledge for museum practice.\n\nThrough the exhibition of these shirts at Glenbow and Galt Museums in Alberta, and through handling workshops for Blackfoot people (including elders, artists, and youth), we hope to show how close examination of the shirts can allow for the retrieval, consolidation, and transmission of cultural knowledge embodied in such artefacts. Elders hope that access to the shirts will be a catalyst for reviving the knowledge of the making and uses of them: 'the Elders left us messages, it's up to us to understand them' (Narcisse Blood, Kainai).The exhibitions, an integral part of the research process, will provide an opportunity for discussions amongst Blackfoot community members, helping to raise fragments of memories which will then surface more readily in workshops. Information surfacing within each workshop, eg. relating to the manufacture/use of the shirts, will be recorded and shared with subsequent workshop participants in order to facilitate the exchange and transmission of knowledge. Workshops will be developed by the project team in collaboration with ceremonial leaders and educators from the four Blackfoot nations. An innovation in international museum access, they will be facilitated by a conservator (PRM staff member Heather Richardson, a specialist on First Nations material) and a Project Facilitator (Beth Carter, a Glenbow curator with extensive experience working with Blackfoot people), and will involve Blackfoot seamstresses, elders, ceremonial leaders, and youth. Curators Peers (Pitt Rivers Museum), Conaty and Carter (Glenbow), Aitkens (Galt Museum) together with Brown (Aberdeen), will observe and assist the workshops.\n\nThe project builds on previous AHRB-funded research carried out by Brown and Peers which explored how historic photographs of ancestors were culturally interpreted by Blackfoot people (Brown, Peers et al 2006). Based on relationships developed then and in Brown's D.Phil. research (1997-2000), and on specific community consultations regarding the shirts (2003, 2005, 2006, 2008), this proposal responds to repeated requests by Blackfoot ceremonial leaders, Elders and educators, who wish to study these artefacts to aid in cultural revitalization. The Glenbow and Galt Museums are offering considerable in-kind support including exhibition and workshop space. Outcomes will include an illustrated book with research findings, refereed articles, and a conference to bring together UK museum professionals with Blackfoot people to explore perspectives on such early collections.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K006029/1
    Funder Contribution: 914,212 GBP
    Partners: Qanirtuuq Incorporated, University of Aberdeen, UBC, MUN, UAF, AVCP, Trent University Canada

    Northern sea ice levels are at an historical and millennial low, and nowhere are the effects of contemporary climate change more pronounced and destructive than in the Arctic. The Western Arctic rim of North America is considered the climate change "miners canary", with temperatures increasing at twice the global average. In the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (Y-K Delta), Western Alaska, the indigenous Yup'ik Eskimos are facing life-altering decisions in an uncertain future, as rising temperatures, melting permafrost and coastal erosion threaten traditional subsistence lifeways, livelihoods and settlements - the Yup'ik face becoming "the world's first climate change refugees" (The Guardian 2008). For the Yup'ik, however - whose relationship to the total environment is central to their worldview - coping with global climate change entails far more than adapting to new physical and ecological conditions. This is reflected in the holistic incorporation of both natural and social phenomena embodied in the use of the Yup'ik word ella, (variably translating as "weather", "world", "universe", "awareness"), which is understood in intensely social as well as physical terms. Ella reflects the relationship Yup'ik society has with the natural world. As changing environmental conditions jeopardise traditional subsistence practices in the Arctic, their deep-rooted dependency and social connection to the land is also threatened - further severing their ecological ties and compromising their cultural adaptive capacity that has defined Yup'ik community and identity for thousands of years. Rapid climatic change is by no means a uniquely modern phenomenon and the indigenous cultures of this region have faced such life-changing situations before. In fact, Western Alaska has experienced pronounced climatic variations within the last millennia, with the forebears of the Yup'ik being similarly challenged by regime shifts that would have influenced the availability of important subsistence resources, much the same as their descendants face today. The ELLA project will use both the products and processes of archaeological research to understand how Yup'ik Eskimos adapted to rapid climate change in the late prehistoric past (AD 1350-1700), and to inform and empower descendant Yup'ik communities struggling with contemporary global warming today. Taking full advantage of the spectacular but critically endangered archaeological resource now emerging from melting permafrost along the Bering Sea coast, this community-based project will illuminate the adaptive capacity of the precontact Yup'ik; build sustainable frameworks for the documenting of local sites under threat; and reinforce Yup'ik cultural resilience by providing new contexts for encountering and documenting their past.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/R001677/1
    Funder Contribution: 30,036 GBP
    Partners: University Health Network, Toronto, University of Westminster, Université Concordia

    Since the first successful operation in 1967, heart transplantation has become an almost routine form of surgery. Yet whilst significant bio-scientific research has been conducted into the procedure and its medical outcomes, there has been very little research into the emotional and psychological impact of transplantation on the families of deceased donors. On a broader level, organ transplantation signifies a shift in the way the body is viewed, raising questions around bodily boundaries, identity, and new non-biological kinship relationships. The Principal and Co-Investigators are part of a long term international, interdisciplinary research project based in Toronto, Canada looking at the psycho-social effects of heart transplantation. The study, which is currently focused on better understanding the experience of heart donor families, is unique in that it brings together medics, visual artists, a philosopher and social scientists to study transplantation from multiple, interwoven perspectives with the aim of understanding the procedure within a broad social and psychological context. The proposed Hybrid Bodies UK network will bring collaborators involved in this existing group into dialogue with relevant UK-based artists, scientists, theorists and medical professionals with the aim of involving some of these new partners in establishing an artist-led UK base for our project. In October 2017 we will hold a work in progress exhibition in London of artworks made by the three artists in the GOLA team. Each of these artists has extensive experience of making work that traverses the boundaries between art and science. They currently have access to the research findings of the scientific partners in Canada and to records of the personal experiences of donor family members there. Exploring issues of identity, embodiment, affect and kinship, they will continue to work closely with Dr. Ross and Dr. Shildrick to create work informed and inspired by this phenomenological research material. The exhibition and an accompanying half-day symposium will be for an invited audience of heart donor families, artists, medical scientists, and others with an interest in organ donation. The artists and (where possible) other members of the existing team will be present for the duration of the exhibition, where the artworks will act as a focal point for dialogue. While the artworks share a common starting point, each of the three artists will produce a separate work. They will liaise with Curator, Hannah Redler to ensure that relationships between the exhibited works are strong and the exhibition is cohesive, allowing space for the artworks to mutate and change in response to feedback. In March 2018 we will hold a two-day workshop at University of Southampton that brings together existing members of the group with new members recruited at the initial exhibition for a more in-depth practical exchange of experience, ideas and practices facilitated through activities such as small group work, structured interdisciplinary Q&A sessions, panel discussions and presentations from different disciplinary standpoints. This program of events will enable us to share both our existing innovative interdisciplinary working methods and our insight into some of the disruptive and emotionally disturbing aspects of heart transplantation with interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners in the UK. Channeled through visual and media arts, our ongoing research will explore the complexities of organ transplantation in a novel way. Using artworks in development as a focal point, we aim to entangle new research from the arts, biosciences and humanities without privileging any one discourse. Broadening the reach of our existing collaboration to facilitate exchange between researchers working in two different cultural contexts (Canada/UK) will lead to richer alternative avenues for new understandings, knowledge translation and outreach in both countries.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K003054/1
    Funder Contribution: 785,054 GBP
    Partners: Durham World Heritage Site, Durham Cathedral, University of Toronto, Durham University

    'Records of Early English Drama North-East' (REED-NE) is part of a massive international project to assemble a complete record of surviving sources for medieval and early modern performance in Britain. REED volumes are to scholars in literature and theatre what Pevsner is to architects and art historians. REED's main office at the University of Toronto coordinates a team of researchers who trawl Britain's archives by region and edit their findings to an internationally recognized scholarly standard. The volumes which have already appeared have revolutionized our understanding of British performance history, replacing a view based largely on conjecture with one derived from detailed factual information about performers and the social and financial organisation of performance. REED volumes have redressed the London-centric imbalance of research obsessed by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and drawn attention to the many forms of anonymous performance in regions which have often been unjustly seen as 'marginal'. REED-NE, the latest stage in the series, will find and edit all records pertaining to drama, music and ceremonial in England's North-East, from the earliest sources (around 9th century) to 1642. REED-NE will cover Yorkshire (excluding the city of York, whose records have already appeared), Durham and Northumberland, in a collection of five or more volumes published by Boydell. To date, discoveries include: 1. A medieval sequence of liturgy and drama about the Sacrament which linked the lay community with their ecclesiastical city governors (Durham). 2. Child drama and misrule ceremonies (Boy Bishops and Lords of Misrule from Durham and West Yorkshire). 3. The earliest known evidence for three types of folk drama: the Stag Ceremony (before 1280, abolished 1315); the Plough Ceremony (from 1378); and the Man/Woman performer (1433-4) (all Durham). 4. New evidence relating to mystery cycles in at least four cities (Beverley, Doncaster, Durham and Newcastle). This will reduce the reliance of scholars on the probably untypical cycles from York and Chester. 5. A major stand-alone biblical play (Hull's 'Noah'). 6. Rare evidence for a Paternoster play (Beverley). 7. Performance traditions in noble households, including the Percies (Northumberland), the Ingrams, Talbots and Wentworths (West Yorkshire), and in the houses of lesser gentry in all North-Eastern counties. 8. An important body of information concerning illegal recusant drama in North Yorkshire. This will transform the historical understanding of the polemic use of drama by Catholics in provincial England. 9. A wealth of evidence about town waits, travelling performers, and patrons; we hope to discover and map performance circuits and locations from at least the later Middle Ages onwards. The REED-NE volumes will be accompanied by a Companion volume discussing the historical and cultural significance of our findings. Our findings will also be linked to an interactive map of provincial England on the REED Patrons and Performances website at Toronto. Geo-coding is only now being adopted for literary projects. Visualising research data with GIS mapping will offer a new perspective on historical performance in England and contribute to the advancement of the Spatial Humanities. A summer festival in Durham in 2016 will showcase our research to academics and the wider public with a conference and an exhibition of objects and manuscripts pertaining to religious and secular drama at Durham's World Heritage Site. Based on our collected records, we will stage medieval and Renaissance repertoire at Durham Castle and the Cathedral. For the first time since the 9th century, the Lindisfarne 'Harrowing of Hell' - probably Britain's oldest surviving drama - will be performed. All events will be freely accessible. We expect our work to have a major impact, on our discipline worldwide, and also on regional communities and their awareness of their heritage.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/P008038/1
    Funder Contribution: 80,530 GBP
    Partners: University of Birmingham, Inst for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Inst of Social Work & Social Science, Queen's University Canada

    As of April 2016, a total of 103,510 uniformed personnel from 123 countries were serving in 16 peacekeeping operations around the world. Where foreign soldiers - during war, occupation or peacekeeping operations - are on foreign soil, military-civilian relations develop, including those between soldiers and local women. Peacekeepers have increasingly been associated with sexual exploitation and abuse of the vulnerable populations they had been mandated to protect. Many of the intimate relations between peacekeeping personnel and local women, of both voluntary and exploitative nature, have led to pregnancies and to children being born. These so-called 'peace babies' and their mothers face particular challenges in volatile post-conflict communities, reportedly including childhood adversities as well as stigmatization, discrimination and disproportionate economic and social hardships. This project proposes an in-depth-study on the situation of 'peace babies' conceived by personnel from or associated with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). MINUSTAH is among the missions associated with allegations of misconduct, not least related to sexual and gender-based violence and consequently the unintended legacy of children fathered by UN personnel. The UN has recently acknowledged that 'peacekeeper babies' exist. Yet, an evidence base relating to the welfare of children fathered by UN peacekeepers (globally or in Haiti) is virtually non-existent, and it is clear that the existing UN policies and support programs are inadequate. The proposed study addresses this critical knowledge gap through the following original contributions: - Theoretical contribution - analysing the lack of accountability of the UN and its personnel for children fathered by UN peacekeepers by introducing a victim-centred approach; - Empirical contributions: i) exploring the gender norms, and the socioeconomic, cultural and security circumstances that contribute to unequal power relations between UN personnel and local civilians; ii) mapping the whereabouts of 'peace babies' in Haiti through a situational analysis of the areas surrounding six UN bases and exploring the circumstances around their conceptions; and iii) investigating the life experiences of women raising children fathered by peacekeepers; and - Methodological contribution - using an innovative mixed quantitative/qualitative research tool, Cognitive Edge's SenseMaker, to provide a more nuanced understanding of these complex issues. The multidisciplinary collaboration between scholars from the University of Birmingham, Queen's University, Kingston, the Centre of International and Defence Policy, and Haitian-based Enstiti Travay Sosyal ak Syans Sosyal (ETS), along with civil society organisations, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and Haitian-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, will address this knowledge gap and enhance our understanding of the challenges faced by peace babies and their families as well as the obstacles to accessing support. Beyond the core UK-Canada-Haiti partnership, the project will include further ODA-recipient countries (among others Cambodia, Bosnia, Liberia and the DRC) and in a final project conference will apply insights from Haiti to Peace Support Operations (PSO) more generally in discourse with academic and non-academic participants from other countries with extensive PSO experience.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K003666/1
    Funder Contribution: 27,741 GBP
    Partners: Ontario Crafts Council, University of Edinburgh, Craftscotland, NSCAD

    The Naked Craft Network, hereafter NCN, is an international collective of research academics, writers, curators and industry partners whose aim is to develop strategies for craft theory and policy, future craft practice and dissemination of craft based work rooted in local places and spaces. The Crafts Council's (UK) recent report entitled "Craft in an Age of Change" (February 2012) highlights a UK perspective on current craft practices across the 4 regions (Scotland, Wales, England and NI), and provides a wealth of data about the economic importance of the craft sector. This significant policy document also highlights pressures in the years to come for the sector. Themes developed from this research report, of particular interest for the NCN, lead to 3 particular questions: - local vs. global: 70% of makers in UK do not export: how can we support an increase in moving the local globally? - understanding practice: how can we support the interpretation for "what" is going out into the global space (the vernacular of the locals; understanding practice) - demographics: average age of makers in UK surveyed is 49 - how do we support the emerging makers and their vision of future practice in the global/local context? NCN intends to develop a better understanding of the relationships between the identification inherently attributed to geopolitical regions outlined in this Craft Council report, and the reciprocal role that the material production of craft plays in building, maintaining and disseminating identities in a global arena of commerce and culture in the future. The approach that NCN adopts is to bring together relevant stakeholders involved with craft practice into discussions to engage and exchange how the understanding of craft practice, rooted in local communities and traditions evolves and is challenged, promoted and communicated on the post-colonial global stage. "The craft sector finds itself pulled in different directions. There is a strong 'localist' strain in craft. Many makers seek to build small businesses strongly rooted in particular places, emphasizing authenticity and building on local traditions in, for example, their choice of material. On the other hand, many makers want to take advantage of the business opportunities globalisation offers." (Craft in an Age of Change, Crafts Council UK, February 2012). This context presents NCN with some significant questions: what do we mean by traditional craft practice in the post-colonial age? What role does our local heritage play in a global context? How do the objects and artefacts of localised production, that are part of the fabric of our tradition and heritage, become understood in a larger, globalized context? Which locality can lay claim to authenticity of tradition? Our initial partnership involves a case-study approach of two independent communities with a common heritage; Scotland and Nova Scotia, Canada (New Scotland). Within both Canada and Scotland, craft practice is informed by many similarities arising from similar geophysical, political, social and historical elements. For both countries, craft plays an essential role in the cultural and creative industries, providing communities with important financial frameworks as well as being a catalyst for strengthening the connections between creativity, place, landscape and identity. In light of the common heritage and affiliation that Canadians and Scots already share, how will the work of contemporary Scottish makers challenge or reinforce the current conception of Scotland abroad? In what way will Canadian makers move beyond tradition and production of stereotyped histories derived from a post-colonial reminiscence? In understanding the trajectories of these two divergent communities which share a historically common point of connection, NCN intends to establish a space for reflecting upon and re-evaluating the traditional roles of craft practice in the future.

  • Project . 2008 - 2009
    Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/G009538/1
    Funder Contribution: 16,426 GBP
    Partners: The Stephen Lawrence Gallery, UEL, York University Canada, Faction Films

    The chain of events surrounding the purported discovery of a Bosnian pyramid is harnessed by a chain video camera interweaving between the dig sites and the town below...\n\nIn 2006 CNN announced to the world the discovery of the largest and potentially oldest pyramid in the world. This was not in Egypt but Visoko, in central Bosnia. If the discovery turned out to be true it would change the way we understand history. And even if it wasn't, the mere idea of pyramids in Bosnia could change the fortunes of a small town struggling to recover from a decade of war.\n\nFor 1000s of years the locals noted the pyramidal shape of the great hill overlooking the town, but not with any thought it was real, until archaeologist Semir Osmanagich, the self-proclaimed 'Indiana Jones of Bosnia,' revealed its existence. He claims that Visoko is in fact a valley comprising of four pyramids, a temple, and a network of prehistoric tunnels stretching 2.5 km underground.\n\nVisoko has become a Brigadoon, embracing the pyramid theory with gusto, transforming itself economically through new enterprise. The town now has an archaeological park and a burgeoning tourist agency based on the pyramids. To date some 50,000 tourists have visited the town and Pyramid sites. The Hotel Hollywood has been renamed The Pyramid of the Sun Hotel. Behind the Mayor's desk is a picture of a sphinx. You can eat Pyramid Pizzas in an Aztec styled restaurant. But the archaeological dig sites are constantly in a state of start and stop and there is no certainty that Visoko will retain world attention.\n\nThis research project does not set out to represent the discovery of the pyramids nor to prove or disprove their existence. The landscape itself seems beyond containment and any efforts to depict the pyramids fall short of the phenomena. The standard fact-finding format of TV news has failed to capture this faith-based narrative. The real story has yet to be told, not of the pyramids, but of Visoko, an ordinary town reinventing itself around an extraordinary set of events. Everything about Visoko invites reinvention. This is why Buried Land is concerned with multiple narratives and multiple truths. \n\nA surreal situation requires a surreal approach, the meeting of visions with visions, and so I will encounter the imaginary head on, combining documentary and fiction techniques. The central concept for Buried Land is the construction of a human chain stretching around the town to the foothills and the summit of the pyramid. A camera is passed from hand to hand along this chain, recording a gigantic filmed take. The function of the chain is both to echo the enterprise and the conceit of the Pyramid Foundation and to provide an initial purpose for a film production, one which will increasingly be taken-up by the participants in the chain. Along with the principal investigator, members of the community will co-author filmed sequences that utilise reenactment and fictional elements, as well as images of actuality. Narratives retraced by the people of the town will tell the stories of key characters - the small and large players in the events - introducing visionary sequences, unearthing the town to find what lies beneath. All of the characters and situations hang from the chain like pendants on a necklace.\n\nThe chain and the resultant film is a reflection of the scale and scope of the event the film has as its subject: the pyramid. Like the pyramid, the chain is the enigma that motivates the camera to question and gather fragments. It prises open the stories of the town, moving with a domino effect, passing through windows, ignoring public and private boundaries. It interweaves between scenes conveying the cultural and political complexity of the pyramid claim, depositing the viewer at situations. \n\nBuried Land enters the world of 'belief archaeology.' How will the camera chain illuminate the event of the pyramid? Is the emperor without clothes? What is under the hill?

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/F001436/1
    Funder Contribution: 24,446 GBP
    Partners: St. Mary's University, University of Sussex, University of Akron, University of Leicester

    The research locates the early British overseas empire within a single, global framework of interpretation. Until now, historians of British Asia have seldom engaged with historians of British America, and this means that few studies of Britain's empire have ever considered together or simultaneously the two great arenas of early British expansionist activity: the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Basin. Consequently writing about the empire has fractured into separate fields of geographical and thematic study, and historians are now beginning to recognise that this significantly limits our understanding of British imperialism. This fundamental problem can only be overcome by a collaborative approach, and consequently the project brings together a high-quality international team of historians of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions from the UK, USA, Canada, Europe, and India who will consider imperial processes that were occurring at the same time in different parts of the world. The participants in the project will each analyse a key theme from their own geographical and disciplinary perspective, and the detailed exploration of comparisons and contrasts will enable a properly integrated analysis to be made for the first time of Britain's emerging global empire. Focused discussion will encourage participants to look beyond their usual fields of inquiry and it is anticipated that all will benefit from the insights who engage with similar themes and problems in different geographical contexts. As a result the research will identify and analyse common processes, interactions, and responses generated by imperial expansion in the British Atlantic and British Asia, and it will significantly advance understanding of the position of Africa within Britain's early modern empire. By the end of the project we will have a much clearer understanding of whether British expansion in the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Basin served to create two very different imperial worlds or, alternatively, one world that was to some extent unified by underlying common characteristics that emerged across several continents between c.1500 and 1820. \n\nThe research will integrate and unify current scholarship through discussion papers and a major publication, but the project will also act as a springboard for the development of new agendas because the exchanges of ideas undertaken by the participants in the project will inform future work in the field of British imperial history. It is anticipated that the global and comparative research approach will be applied to the exploration of other themes in the history of Britain's early modern empire, and new researchers will be actively engaged in the agenda-setting element of the project. Consequently, the project has the undoubted potential to make a major and lasting contribution to the long-term development of research and writing about the British empire and the dynamics of imperialism.\n\nA carefully co-ordinated programme of activities will ensure that the research findings will be disseminated to scholars, students, and a general audience, both in the UK and elsewhere. Workshops, seminar presentations, panel discussions at international meetings, and an online project report will each facilitate critical appraisal of the research; and the project will also feed into public discussion of imperialism and representations of empire through events staged at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.\n

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33 Projects, page 1 of 4
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/L008483/1
    Funder Contribution: 35,300 GBP
    Partners: Northumbria University, IISc, Carleton University

    This research will create a truly innovative, international research network that will stretch far and wide in the area of "Cultures of Creativity and Innovation in Design". The international research network coordinating body comprises Professors Paul Rodgers and Paul Jones from Northumbria University, Professor Amaresh Chakrabarti, a world-leading researcher in Design Creativity, from the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Professor Lorenzo Imbesi, an internationally-acclaimed researcher in Design Culture, from the School of Industrial Design at Carleton University, Canada. The importance of creativity in the cultural, creative and other industries and the significant contributions that creativity adds to a nation's overall GDP and the subsequent health and wellbeing of its people cannot be overstated. In Europe, the value of the cultural and creative industries is estimated at well over 700 billion Euros each year, twice that of Europe's car manufacturing industry. The value of creativity and innovation, to any nation, is therefore huge. Creativity and innovation adds real value, which enables a number of benefits such as economic growth and social wellbeing. In many societies creativity epitomises success, excitement and value. Whether driven by individuals, companies, enterprises or regions creativity and innovation establishes immediate empathy, and conveys an image of dynamism. Creativity is thus a positive word in societies constantly aspiring to innovation and progress. In short, creativity in all of its manifestations enriches society. This network seeks to gain an understanding of this dynamic ecology that creativity and innovation bring to society. Creativity is a vital ingredient in the production of products, services and systems, both in the cultural industries and across the economy as a whole. Yet despite its importance and the ubiquitous use of creativity as a term there are issues regarding its definitional clarity. A better understanding and articulation of creativity as a concept and a process would support enhanced future innovation. Socio-cultural approaches to creativity explain that creative ideas or products do not happen inside people's heads, but in the interaction between a person's thoughts and a socio-cultural context. It is acknowledged that creativity cannot be taught, but that it can be cultivated and this has significant implications for a nation's design and innovation culture. It is known that creativity flourishes in congenial environments and in creative climates. This research will examine how creativity is valued, exploited, and facilitated across different national and cultural settings as all can have a major impact on a nation's creative potential. The key aim of this network is to investigate attitudes about creativity and how it is best cultivated and exploited across three different geographical locations (UK, India, and Canada), different environments, and cultures from both an individual designer's perspective and design groups' perspectives. The network seeks to investigate cultures of creativity and innovation in design and question its nature. For instance, can creativity be adequately conceptualised in a design context? What role do cultural organisations and national bodies play in harnessing creativity? Where do the "edges" lie between creativity and innovation? Do richer environments and approaches for facilitating creativity exist? What design skills, knowledge, and expertise are required for creativity? Moreover, what are the key drivers that motivate the creativity and innovation of designers and other stakeholders? Are they economical, cultural, social, or political? This research network will host 3 workshops, each one facilitating inquiry amongst invited design practitioners, researchers, educators and other stakeholders involved in design practice.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K000764/1
    Funder Contribution: 96,159 GBP
    Partners: Keele University, New Vic Theatre, University of Alberta

    This proposal builds on - and extends to new audiences and user communities - our NDA funded research project (2009-2012) entitled Ages and Stages: The Place of Theatre in Representations and Recollections of Ageing. It aims to develop some of the activities and research-led learning from that project and, in so doing, reach out to - and bring together - user communities who may not traditionally have worked with drama in the ways proposed here. This will be achieved through the following connected programme of drama-related activities: 1) The formation of an intergenerational theatre company at the New Vic Theatre. Through a regular series of workshops, the company will bring older and younger people together in creative, drama-based activities to enhance understanding between the generations and support the continued social engagement of both groups. 2) A touring performance. The IG company will create a touring piece(s) which can be taken out to audiences within, and beyond, North Staffordshire. We anticipate that these audiences might include local councils; primary as well as secondary schools; residential homes/housing developments for older people; community groups and higher education institutions providing professional training courses (for teachers, social workers and doctors/nurses). 3) An inter-professional training course and training materials/resources, which will aim to develop practice capabilities and age awareness amongst teachers, health and social care professionals, arts practitioners and others interested in learning about and including intergenerational theatre/drama in their practice. The IG company will act as an important resource by contributing to the development and delivery of the training sessions and providing feedback to participants. 4) A scoping exercise for a wider 'Creative Age Festival', which could leave a concrete community legacy from Ages & Stages. The project will continue to be overseen by the existing 'Ages and Stages' Advisory Group, which includes experts in drama, intergenerational practice, policy and gerontology. The group will also be refreshed by new members, including younger members of the intergenerational theatre company (aged 16-18) . The activities we propose are timely for the following reasons. First, there is a notable groundswell of interest in the arts in general and theatre/drama in particular, not simply as a cultural activity but as one which has the potential to impact positively on the well-being of older and younger people. Second, in times of scarce resources, it is important to capitalise on activities which bring people together rather than those which might pit the generations against each other. Third, there is a role for practitioners in facilitating and enabling these kinds of activities but rarely, to our knowledge, have there been opportunities for professionals from differing arenas to work together as is proposed here. Finally, it is important to make best use of existing knowledge - not just that generated from our own work but also that of colleagues. We will be drawing strongly from our collaborators, including our linked Canadian project (about the impact of theatre on health ageing, which runs until 2013), and will also remain part of the New Dynamics of Ageing programme and will benefit from the knowledge exchanges this offers.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/G010455/1
    Funder Contribution: 183,430 GBP
    Partners: Galt Museum & Archives, Glenbow Museum, University of Oxford

    This project brings together UK-based researchers with Blackfoot people in Alberta, Canada, and Montana, USA, to explore the cultural history and contemporary meanings of 5 Blackfoot men's shirts held in the collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum. Collected in 1841, the hide shirts are decorated with porcupine quillwork and beadwork; three, with human- and horse-hair fringes along the sleeves, are ritual garments. There are just two shirts of this age in Canadian museums, and Blackfoot people have had little access to them. However, some cultural knowledge relating to them has been retained, and elders wish to revive traditional practices associated with them. Blackfoot leaders have spoken of the shirts as important for youth and hope that learning about them will strengthen cultural identity: in the words of Frank Weasel Head, Kainai ceremonial leader, 'These shirts are our curriculum. That's how we learn who we are.'\n\nThe project will make the shirts available to Blackfoot people and the wider public for the first time, and explore how historic artefacts can be used by indigenous communities to revive, share and transmit cultural knowledge, and how they serve to anchor social memory and in the construction of identity. It will consider how the transmission of cultural knowledge can benefit different generations, and explore the implications of such knowledge for museum practice.\n\nThrough the exhibition of these shirts at Glenbow and Galt Museums in Alberta, and through handling workshops for Blackfoot people (including elders, artists, and youth), we hope to show how close examination of the shirts can allow for the retrieval, consolidation, and transmission of cultural knowledge embodied in such artefacts. Elders hope that access to the shirts will be a catalyst for reviving the knowledge of the making and uses of them: 'the Elders left us messages, it's up to us to understand them' (Narcisse Blood, Kainai).The exhibitions, an integral part of the research process, will provide an opportunity for discussions amongst Blackfoot community members, helping to raise fragments of memories which will then surface more readily in workshops. Information surfacing within each workshop, eg. relating to the manufacture/use of the shirts, will be recorded and shared with subsequent workshop participants in order to facilitate the exchange and transmission of knowledge. Workshops will be developed by the project team in collaboration with ceremonial leaders and educators from the four Blackfoot nations. An innovation in international museum access, they will be facilitated by a conservator (PRM staff member Heather Richardson, a specialist on First Nations material) and a Project Facilitator (Beth Carter, a Glenbow curator with extensive experience working with Blackfoot people), and will involve Blackfoot seamstresses, elders, ceremonial leaders, and youth. Curators Peers (Pitt Rivers Museum), Conaty and Carter (Glenbow), Aitkens (Galt Museum) together with Brown (Aberdeen), will observe and assist the workshops.\n\nThe project builds on previous AHRB-funded research carried out by Brown and Peers which explored how historic photographs of ancestors were culturally interpreted by Blackfoot people (Brown, Peers et al 2006). Based on relationships developed then and in Brown's D.Phil. research (1997-2000), and on specific community consultations regarding the shirts (2003, 2005, 2006, 2008), this proposal responds to repeated requests by Blackfoot ceremonial leaders, Elders and educators, who wish to study these artefacts to aid in cultural revitalization. The Glenbow and Galt Museums are offering considerable in-kind support including exhibition and workshop space. Outcomes will include an illustrated book with research findings, refereed articles, and a conference to bring together UK museum professionals with Blackfoot people to explore perspectives on such early collections.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K006029/1
    Funder Contribution: 914,212 GBP
    Partners: Qanirtuuq Incorporated, University of Aberdeen, UBC, MUN, UAF, AVCP, Trent University Canada

    Northern sea ice levels are at an historical and millennial low, and nowhere are the effects of contemporary climate change more pronounced and destructive than in the Arctic. The Western Arctic rim of North America is considered the climate change "miners canary", with temperatures increasing at twice the global average. In the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta (Y-K Delta), Western Alaska, the indigenous Yup'ik Eskimos are facing life-altering decisions in an uncertain future, as rising temperatures, melting permafrost and coastal erosion threaten traditional subsistence lifeways, livelihoods and settlements - the Yup'ik face becoming "the world's first climate change refugees" (The Guardian 2008). For the Yup'ik, however - whose relationship to the total environment is central to their worldview - coping with global climate change entails far more than adapting to new physical and ecological conditions. This is reflected in the holistic incorporation of both natural and social phenomena embodied in the use of the Yup'ik word ella, (variably translating as "weather", "world", "universe", "awareness"), which is understood in intensely social as well as physical terms. Ella reflects the relationship Yup'ik society has with the natural world. As changing environmental conditions jeopardise traditional subsistence practices in the Arctic, their deep-rooted dependency and social connection to the land is also threatened - further severing their ecological ties and compromising their cultural adaptive capacity that has defined Yup'ik community and identity for thousands of years. Rapid climatic change is by no means a uniquely modern phenomenon and the indigenous cultures of this region have faced such life-changing situations before. In fact, Western Alaska has experienced pronounced climatic variations within the last millennia, with the forebears of the Yup'ik being similarly challenged by regime shifts that would have influenced the availability of important subsistence resources, much the same as their descendants face today. The ELLA project will use both the products and processes of archaeological research to understand how Yup'ik Eskimos adapted to rapid climate change in the late prehistoric past (AD 1350-1700), and to inform and empower descendant Yup'ik communities struggling with contemporary global warming today. Taking full advantage of the spectacular but critically endangered archaeological resource now emerging from melting permafrost along the Bering Sea coast, this community-based project will illuminate the adaptive capacity of the precontact Yup'ik; build sustainable frameworks for the documenting of local sites under threat; and reinforce Yup'ik cultural resilience by providing new contexts for encountering and documenting their past.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/R001677/1
    Funder Contribution: 30,036 GBP
    Partners: University Health Network, Toronto, University of Westminster, Université Concordia

    Since the first successful operation in 1967, heart transplantation has become an almost routine form of surgery. Yet whilst significant bio-scientific research has been conducted into the procedure and its medical outcomes, there has been very little research into the emotional and psychological impact of transplantation on the families of deceased donors. On a broader level, organ transplantation signifies a shift in the way the body is viewed, raising questions around bodily boundaries, identity, and new non-biological kinship relationships. The Principal and Co-Investigators are part of a long term international, interdisciplinary research project based in Toronto, Canada looking at the psycho-social effects of heart transplantation. The study, which is currently focused on better understanding the experience of heart donor families, is unique in that it brings together medics, visual artists, a philosopher and social scientists to study transplantation from multiple, interwoven perspectives with the aim of understanding the procedure within a broad social and psychological context. The proposed Hybrid Bodies UK network will bring collaborators involved in this existing group into dialogue with relevant UK-based artists, scientists, theorists and medical professionals with the aim of involving some of these new partners in establishing an artist-led UK base for our project. In October 2017 we will hold a work in progress exhibition in London of artworks made by the three artists in the GOLA team. Each of these artists has extensive experience of making work that traverses the boundaries between art and science. They currently have access to the research findings of the scientific partners in Canada and to records of the personal experiences of donor family members there. Exploring issues of identity, embodiment, affect and kinship, they will continue to work closely with Dr. Ross and Dr. Shildrick to create work informed and inspired by this phenomenological research material. The exhibition and an accompanying half-day symposium will be for an invited audience of heart donor families, artists, medical scientists, and others with an interest in organ donation. The artists and (where possible) other members of the existing team will be present for the duration of the exhibition, where the artworks will act as a focal point for dialogue. While the artworks share a common starting point, each of the three artists will produce a separate work. They will liaise with Curator, Hannah Redler to ensure that relationships between the exhibited works are strong and the exhibition is cohesive, allowing space for the artworks to mutate and change in response to feedback. In March 2018 we will hold a two-day workshop at University of Southampton that brings together existing members of the group with new members recruited at the initial exhibition for a more in-depth practical exchange of experience, ideas and practices facilitated through activities such as small group work, structured interdisciplinary Q&A sessions, panel discussions and presentations from different disciplinary standpoints. This program of events will enable us to share both our existing innovative interdisciplinary working methods and our insight into some of the disruptive and emotionally disturbing aspects of heart transplantation with interdisciplinary researchers and practitioners in the UK. Channeled through visual and media arts, our ongoing research will explore the complexities of organ transplantation in a novel way. Using artworks in development as a focal point, we aim to entangle new research from the arts, biosciences and humanities without privileging any one discourse. Broadening the reach of our existing collaboration to facilitate exchange between researchers working in two different cultural contexts (Canada/UK) will lead to richer alternative avenues for new understandings, knowledge translation and outreach in both countries.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K003054/1
    Funder Contribution: 785,054 GBP
    Partners: Durham World Heritage Site, Durham Cathedral, University of Toronto, Durham University

    'Records of Early English Drama North-East' (REED-NE) is part of a massive international project to assemble a complete record of surviving sources for medieval and early modern performance in Britain. REED volumes are to scholars in literature and theatre what Pevsner is to architects and art historians. REED's main office at the University of Toronto coordinates a team of researchers who trawl Britain's archives by region and edit their findings to an internationally recognized scholarly standard. The volumes which have already appeared have revolutionized our understanding of British performance history, replacing a view based largely on conjecture with one derived from detailed factual information about performers and the social and financial organisation of performance. REED volumes have redressed the London-centric imbalance of research obsessed by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, and drawn attention to the many forms of anonymous performance in regions which have often been unjustly seen as 'marginal'. REED-NE, the latest stage in the series, will find and edit all records pertaining to drama, music and ceremonial in England's North-East, from the earliest sources (around 9th century) to 1642. REED-NE will cover Yorkshire (excluding the city of York, whose records have already appeared), Durham and Northumberland, in a collection of five or more volumes published by Boydell. To date, discoveries include: 1. A medieval sequence of liturgy and drama about the Sacrament which linked the lay community with their ecclesiastical city governors (Durham). 2. Child drama and misrule ceremonies (Boy Bishops and Lords of Misrule from Durham and West Yorkshire). 3. The earliest known evidence for three types of folk drama: the Stag Ceremony (before 1280, abolished 1315); the Plough Ceremony (from 1378); and the Man/Woman performer (1433-4) (all Durham). 4. New evidence relating to mystery cycles in at least four cities (Beverley, Doncaster, Durham and Newcastle). This will reduce the reliance of scholars on the probably untypical cycles from York and Chester. 5. A major stand-alone biblical play (Hull's 'Noah'). 6. Rare evidence for a Paternoster play (Beverley). 7. Performance traditions in noble households, including the Percies (Northumberland), the Ingrams, Talbots and Wentworths (West Yorkshire), and in the houses of lesser gentry in all North-Eastern counties. 8. An important body of information concerning illegal recusant drama in North Yorkshire. This will transform the historical understanding of the polemic use of drama by Catholics in provincial England. 9. A wealth of evidence about town waits, travelling performers, and patrons; we hope to discover and map performance circuits and locations from at least the later Middle Ages onwards. The REED-NE volumes will be accompanied by a Companion volume discussing the historical and cultural significance of our findings. Our findings will also be linked to an interactive map of provincial England on the REED Patrons and Performances website at Toronto. Geo-coding is only now being adopted for literary projects. Visualising research data with GIS mapping will offer a new perspective on historical performance in England and contribute to the advancement of the Spatial Humanities. A summer festival in Durham in 2016 will showcase our research to academics and the wider public with a conference and an exhibition of objects and manuscripts pertaining to religious and secular drama at Durham's World Heritage Site. Based on our collected records, we will stage medieval and Renaissance repertoire at Durham Castle and the Cathedral. For the first time since the 9th century, the Lindisfarne 'Harrowing of Hell' - probably Britain's oldest surviving drama - will be performed. All events will be freely accessible. We expect our work to have a major impact, on our discipline worldwide, and also on regional communities and their awareness of their heritage.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/P008038/1
    Funder Contribution: 80,530 GBP
    Partners: University of Birmingham, Inst for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Inst of Social Work & Social Science, Queen's University Canada

    As of April 2016, a total of 103,510 uniformed personnel from 123 countries were serving in 16 peacekeeping operations around the world. Where foreign soldiers - during war, occupation or peacekeeping operations - are on foreign soil, military-civilian relations develop, including those between soldiers and local women. Peacekeepers have increasingly been associated with sexual exploitation and abuse of the vulnerable populations they had been mandated to protect. Many of the intimate relations between peacekeeping personnel and local women, of both voluntary and exploitative nature, have led to pregnancies and to children being born. These so-called 'peace babies' and their mothers face particular challenges in volatile post-conflict communities, reportedly including childhood adversities as well as stigmatization, discrimination and disproportionate economic and social hardships. This project proposes an in-depth-study on the situation of 'peace babies' conceived by personnel from or associated with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). MINUSTAH is among the missions associated with allegations of misconduct, not least related to sexual and gender-based violence and consequently the unintended legacy of children fathered by UN personnel. The UN has recently acknowledged that 'peacekeeper babies' exist. Yet, an evidence base relating to the welfare of children fathered by UN peacekeepers (globally or in Haiti) is virtually non-existent, and it is clear that the existing UN policies and support programs are inadequate. The proposed study addresses this critical knowledge gap through the following original contributions: - Theoretical contribution - analysing the lack of accountability of the UN and its personnel for children fathered by UN peacekeepers by introducing a victim-centred approach; - Empirical contributions: i) exploring the gender norms, and the socioeconomic, cultural and security circumstances that contribute to unequal power relations between UN personnel and local civilians; ii) mapping the whereabouts of 'peace babies' in Haiti through a situational analysis of the areas surrounding six UN bases and exploring the circumstances around their conceptions; and iii) investigating the life experiences of women raising children fathered by peacekeepers; and - Methodological contribution - using an innovative mixed quantitative/qualitative research tool, Cognitive Edge's SenseMaker, to provide a more nuanced understanding of these complex issues. The multidisciplinary collaboration between scholars from the University of Birmingham, Queen's University, Kingston, the Centre of International and Defence Policy, and Haitian-based Enstiti Travay Sosyal ak Syans Sosyal (ETS), along with civil society organisations, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and Haitian-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, will address this knowledge gap and enhance our understanding of the challenges faced by peace babies and their families as well as the obstacles to accessing support. Beyond the core UK-Canada-Haiti partnership, the project will include further ODA-recipient countries (among others Cambodia, Bosnia, Liberia and the DRC) and in a final project conference will apply insights from Haiti to Peace Support Operations (PSO) more generally in discourse with academic and non-academic participants from other countries with extensive PSO experience.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/K003666/1
    Funder Contribution: 27,741 GBP
    Partners: Ontario Crafts Council, University of Edinburgh, Craftscotland, NSCAD

    The Naked Craft Network, hereafter NCN, is an international collective of research academics, writers, curators and industry partners whose aim is to develop strategies for craft theory and policy, future craft practice and dissemination of craft based work rooted in local places and spaces. The Crafts Council's (UK) recent report entitled "Craft in an Age of Change" (February 2012) highlights a UK perspective on current craft practices across the 4 regions (Scotland, Wales, England and NI), and provides a wealth of data about the economic importance of the craft sector. This significant policy document also highlights pressures in the years to come for the sector. Themes developed from this research report, of particular interest for the NCN, lead to 3 particular questions: - local vs. global: 70% of makers in UK do not export: how can we support an increase in moving the local globally? - understanding practice: how can we support the interpretation for "what" is going out into the global space (the vernacular of the locals; understanding practice) - demographics: average age of makers in UK surveyed is 49 - how do we support the emerging makers and their vision of future practice in the global/local context? NCN intends to develop a better understanding of the relationships between the identification inherently attributed to geopolitical regions outlined in this Craft Council report, and the reciprocal role that the material production of craft plays in building, maintaining and disseminating identities in a global arena of commerce and culture in the future. The approach that NCN adopts is to bring together relevant stakeholders involved with craft practice into discussions to engage and exchange how the understanding of craft practice, rooted in local communities and traditions evolves and is challenged, promoted and communicated on the post-colonial global stage. "The craft sector finds itself pulled in different directions. There is a strong 'localist' strain in craft. Many makers seek to build small businesses strongly rooted in particular places, emphasizing authenticity and building on local traditions in, for example, their choice of material. On the other hand, many makers want to take advantage of the business opportunities globalisation offers." (Craft in an Age of Change, Crafts Council UK, February 2012). This context presents NCN with some significant questions: what do we mean by traditional craft practice in the post-colonial age? What role does our local heritage play in a global context? How do the objects and artefacts of localised production, that are part of the fabric of our tradition and heritage, become understood in a larger, globalized context? Which locality can lay claim to authenticity of tradition? Our initial partnership involves a case-study approach of two independent communities with a common heritage; Scotland and Nova Scotia, Canada (New Scotland). Within both Canada and Scotland, craft practice is informed by many similarities arising from similar geophysical, political, social and historical elements. For both countries, craft plays an essential role in the cultural and creative industries, providing communities with important financial frameworks as well as being a catalyst for strengthening the connections between creativity, place, landscape and identity. In light of the common heritage and affiliation that Canadians and Scots already share, how will the work of contemporary Scottish makers challenge or reinforce the current conception of Scotland abroad? In what way will Canadian makers move beyond tradition and production of stereotyped histories derived from a post-colonial reminiscence? In understanding the trajectories of these two divergent communities which share a historically common point of connection, NCN intends to establish a space for reflecting upon and re-evaluating the traditional roles of craft practice in the future.

  • Project . 2008 - 2009
    Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/G009538/1
    Funder Contribution: 16,426 GBP
    Partners: The Stephen Lawrence Gallery, UEL, York University Canada, Faction Films

    The chain of events surrounding the purported discovery of a Bosnian pyramid is harnessed by a chain video camera interweaving between the dig sites and the town below...\n\nIn 2006 CNN announced to the world the discovery of the largest and potentially oldest pyramid in the world. This was not in Egypt but Visoko, in central Bosnia. If the discovery turned out to be true it would change the way we understand history. And even if it wasn't, the mere idea of pyramids in Bosnia could change the fortunes of a small town struggling to recover from a decade of war.\n\nFor 1000s of years the locals noted the pyramidal shape of the great hill overlooking the town, but not with any thought it was real, until archaeologist Semir Osmanagich, the self-proclaimed 'Indiana Jones of Bosnia,' revealed its existence. He claims that Visoko is in fact a valley comprising of four pyramids, a temple, and a network of prehistoric tunnels stretching 2.5 km underground.\n\nVisoko has become a Brigadoon, embracing the pyramid theory with gusto, transforming itself economically through new enterprise. The town now has an archaeological park and a burgeoning tourist agency based on the pyramids. To date some 50,000 tourists have visited the town and Pyramid sites. The Hotel Hollywood has been renamed The Pyramid of the Sun Hotel. Behind the Mayor's desk is a picture of a sphinx. You can eat Pyramid Pizzas in an Aztec styled restaurant. But the archaeological dig sites are constantly in a state of start and stop and there is no certainty that Visoko will retain world attention.\n\nThis research project does not set out to represent the discovery of the pyramids nor to prove or disprove their existence. The landscape itself seems beyond containment and any efforts to depict the pyramids fall short of the phenomena. The standard fact-finding format of TV news has failed to capture this faith-based narrative. The real story has yet to be told, not of the pyramids, but of Visoko, an ordinary town reinventing itself around an extraordinary set of events. Everything about Visoko invites reinvention. This is why Buried Land is concerned with multiple narratives and multiple truths. \n\nA surreal situation requires a surreal approach, the meeting of visions with visions, and so I will encounter the imaginary head on, combining documentary and fiction techniques. The central concept for Buried Land is the construction of a human chain stretching around the town to the foothills and the summit of the pyramid. A camera is passed from hand to hand along this chain, recording a gigantic filmed take. The function of the chain is both to echo the enterprise and the conceit of the Pyramid Foundation and to provide an initial purpose for a film production, one which will increasingly be taken-up by the participants in the chain. Along with the principal investigator, members of the community will co-author filmed sequences that utilise reenactment and fictional elements, as well as images of actuality. Narratives retraced by the people of the town will tell the stories of key characters - the small and large players in the events - introducing visionary sequences, unearthing the town to find what lies beneath. All of the characters and situations hang from the chain like pendants on a necklace.\n\nThe chain and the resultant film is a reflection of the scale and scope of the event the film has as its subject: the pyramid. Like the pyramid, the chain is the enigma that motivates the camera to question and gather fragments. It prises open the stories of the town, moving with a domino effect, passing through windows, ignoring public and private boundaries. It interweaves between scenes conveying the cultural and political complexity of the pyramid claim, depositing the viewer at situations. \n\nBuried Land enters the world of 'belief archaeology.' How will the camera chain illuminate the event of the pyramid? Is the emperor without clothes? What is under the hill?

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: AH/F001436/1
    Funder Contribution: 24,446 GBP
    Partners: St. Mary's University, University of Sussex, University of Akron, University of Leicester

    The research locates the early British overseas empire within a single, global framework of interpretation. Until now, historians of British Asia have seldom engaged with historians of British America, and this means that few studies of Britain's empire have ever considered together or simultaneously the two great arenas of early British expansionist activity: the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Basin. Consequently writing about the empire has fractured into separate fields of geographical and thematic study, and historians are now beginning to recognise that this significantly limits our understanding of British imperialism. This fundamental problem can only be overcome by a collaborative approach, and consequently the project brings together a high-quality international team of historians of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions from the UK, USA, Canada, Europe, and India who will consider imperial processes that were occurring at the same time in different parts of the world. The participants in the project will each analyse a key theme from their own geographical and disciplinary perspective, and the detailed exploration of comparisons and contrasts will enable a properly integrated analysis to be made for the first time of Britain's emerging global empire. Focused discussion will encourage participants to look beyond their usual fields of inquiry and it is anticipated that all will benefit from the insights who engage with similar themes and problems in different geographical contexts. As a result the research will identify and analyse common processes, interactions, and responses generated by imperial expansion in the British Atlantic and British Asia, and it will significantly advance understanding of the position of Africa within Britain's early modern empire. By the end of the project we will have a much clearer understanding of whether British expansion in the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Basin served to create two very different imperial worlds or, alternatively, one world that was to some extent unified by underlying common characteristics that emerged across several continents between c.1500 and 1820. \n\nThe research will integrate and unify current scholarship through discussion papers and a major publication, but the project will also act as a springboard for the development of new agendas because the exchanges of ideas undertaken by the participants in the project will inform future work in the field of British imperial history. It is anticipated that the global and comparative research approach will be applied to the exploration of other themes in the history of Britain's early modern empire, and new researchers will be actively engaged in the agenda-setting element of the project. Consequently, the project has the undoubted potential to make a major and lasting contribution to the long-term development of research and writing about the British empire and the dynamics of imperialism.\n\nA carefully co-ordinated programme of activities will ensure that the research findings will be disseminated to scholars, students, and a general audience, both in the UK and elsewhere. Workshops, seminar presentations, panel discussions at international meetings, and an online project report will each facilitate critical appraisal of the research; and the project will also feed into public discussion of imperialism and representations of empire through events staged at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.\n