Figure 1: Phil Hill (October, 2020) Ideas on Funding blog post.
I should work to remove central focus from a single institution as the Arts Council wouldn’t want to fund a project that they might consider be me doing my existing job. The application is also for an individual artist; therefore, it should be about me working with a range of institutions.
It would be beneficial to find the local Arts Council officer to discuss my idea, which would support my application when it is ready to be submitted. There might also be a bridge person within the local council already who works with placing artists into educational settings. It is important that I then pursue any connection to the council to support the development with my idea and application. This might also include some match funding that the Arts Council would ultimately be expecting to see as part of any application.
It would be worth pushing for some kind of outdoor exhibition – potentially in the high-street – as the Arts Council would be keen to fund a project that is seen to be reacting positively to the ongoing Covid situation.
As it stands, the biggest challenge for my application is in the lack of other institutions to approach for the images. This in itself is not hugely problematic to overcome as I will happily make those contacts. The main challenge actually would be finding the time to go and work with them. As I work in an educational setting, finding the time would present the biggest obstacle.
Clearly, I have some work to do in order to develop this idea. I have made good strides so far, including some key contact within the council. Jen and Harry both mentioned that these applications take some time to put together, there is a fair amount of logistics to consider and also in gaining support from other stakeholders.
I have started to experiment with the idea of throwing the focus of my images, which is something that I started initially for my Informing Contexts WIPP (Fig: 1). What I have found in the black and white landscapes that I am applying this to, is there is a kind of flatness to the image. Uta Barth refers to her work being about the image themselves (Barth, 2012), in that her shallow depth of field forces the viewer to consider the surface of the photographer as much as trying to work out the content that Barth has photographed (Fig: 2). In the book ‘Art and Objects,’ Graham Harmon noted this in the chapter ‘The Canvas is the Message’ (2020, pp. 83-110), which is also in reference to Marshall Mcluhan’s ‘Medium is the Message’ (1967) suggesting that it is important to analyse the medium that the content and ‘message’ is being presented and its impact on the concept. As Harmon discusses on Clement Greenberg: “For the most part, Greenberg was fixated on insisting that content in avant-garde painting must signal awareness of the chief feature of its medium; flatness” (2020, p. 85). And this is an observation that seems to be shared by David Campany when he discusses the work of Robert Rauschenberg (Fig: 3), stating: “here, the flatness of the canvas was emphasised, as opposed to the deep space of realist pictorial illusion” (2020, p. 106).
There is an acknowledgement here that the material has its role to play in first the construction and then the reading of it. By reducing the depth of field and visual information the outcome is as much about the medium as the objects depicted, which in turn can place the photographer into the scene. The awareness that this is a photograph by the image moving further along the spectrum of indexical, which highlights the influence that the medium has over the outcome.
Where I find it useful to experiment with is how I find my connection to this place continually tenuous. It is also a useful method in exploring where the countryside starts to become urban, which is something impossible to photograph as a clearly defined thing. The blur creates its own boundary that I can hang these ideas on.
Throwing Focus Experiment outcome 19/10
I am quite happy with the way that these have turned out. There is a quality created by the blur that makes me want to investigate the contents of the image much more (ignoring that I know already). Although I enjoy these images and like the short series that it presents, I am still unsure on how they might fit into the wider narrative. This is potentially a personal challenge as I still find it hard to remove the iconic element of the image – I just want to focus it. That said, this was shot in a location that I have created work before, and that work might be considered tried, tested, even derivative of imagery seen before, so this is a useful way of breaking that kind of image making.
Additionally, I have just started reading ‘Edgelands’ (Farley & Symmonds Roberts, 2011), which was recommended to me by both Colin and Andy during a couple of my webinars. The book is becoming revelatory to the way that I have been approaching my project and consider what I have been looking for in my landscape work. As a result, I am considering working more with the type of image that I created for the last module wipp, and really refine my approach to look at and explore some of the concepts presented in ‘Edgelands.’
Not to discount the throwing focus experiment however, just that presently there does not seem to me a way of constructing my narrative using these disparate elements, which I am keen to avoid owing to some previous WIPP feedback for Informing Contexts.
Chris Killip is well known for his social documentary images from his native Isle of Man (Fig: 1) and also those created in the north of England for the seminal book ‘In Flagrante’ (Fig: 2). It was suggested to me that I take a look at his work more closely, owing to the way that he also constructs his landscape images with people occupying the space (Fig: 3).
On researching Killip a little more, it is also worth noting that he got his start in photography by assisting a well-known commercial photographer at the time, giving him a solid grounding in the technique of photography. This supports what Todd Hido asserted that craft is fundamental in being able to realise concepts (2019). Geoffrey Batchen states that Killip was influenced by the work of Paul Strand (Fig: 4) who as Batchen points out “Combined portraits with environments to make a simple statement about man’s symbiotic relationship with the landscape” (Batchen & Killip, 2001, p. 7), which Killip does extremely effectively and essentially what I am aiming to achieve by exploring more of a connection between my own portraits and the land. That said, both the work of Killip and Strand have since become a canon of photographic process, which is very recognisable and I would not aim to emulate this (considering my discussion around my own authorship). Additionally, Killip has also since stated himself that Strand’s approach was to have an honorable intent but a patronising result, which is in part the colonising power of the camera (Smith & Killip, 2018).
however, it is the link that Killip is able to achieve so effectively, which is where I might discover ways to present this within my own sequences. This link is in the way that the land is treated as a character in its own right, the same as the individual portrait and also the people within the landscape. There is agency in the land in the effect that it has on the people that occupy it, just as the people also impact the land. I have discussed this previously in the way that Bryan Schutmaat also places a similar agency on the place (Fig: 5) and it is in his approach to ‘Good God Damn’ that I find a lot of interest in exploring. The idea that the land is another character feeds quite well into my research into Object Orientated Ontology, which considers all objects have equal agency over the anthropocentric interpretation of them; it is important to treat the land in the same way as the portraits that I make. I can also utilise the tool of the camera to place influence over both the people and the landscape, as this too has the same agency on the objects within the frame.
There is also a question of representation, which I continually ask and Batchen also discussed this in relation to Killip’s work, stating:
“The new photographic moralists tend to dictate that only those from within a community really have the right to represent it. However, it is more generally agreed that good photography stems not from a position of insider privilege, but from having a defined, honest and impassioned point of view”
(2001, p. 6).
Although I have lived in Watford for the last 7 years, I have not felt a great deal on connection to it. Does residing in a place mean that I now how the right to represent it? I wouldn’t consider myself having some great insider knowledge that affords the that right. I make my peace in what Batchen says in the way that my project is evolving into an autobiographical exploration, which is defined and impassioned, whether or not it’s honest remains to be seen
The land as another person, only not there.
It was noted during the last webinar by Andy that I had quite a shallow depth of field happening in many of my initial landscape tests. My response was that I possibly approached the land as I have done any portrait and used the focus as a way to isolate the subject. This led me to consider a way that I might include the land within my work is to treat it as if I were shooting a portrait within the landscape environment, only without the person present – potentially the person is me, or merely a continuation of the portraits that I have been shooting. Uta Barth, of course works with this kind of mindset with her photography (Fig: 6) and notes that her work is about perception and separation from the object being depicted (Barth in Mirlesse, 2012). I am drawn to the idea that Barth’s images are not out of focus as much as there is nothing presently in the field of focus. As my work centres around the portrait, an area of investigation for me is to explore the idea of DOF pointed out by Andy a little further by throwing the focus entirely.
I am also still interested in the impact that the qualities of the image have on the reading of it. After looking at the work of Awoiska van der Molen, I also intend to experiment with long exposure on film and also introduce movement in how Schutmaat utilises it for ‘Good God Damn.’
Me – Experiments with Long Exposure and Movement
I have produced some experiments with me in the frame. I have been hesitant to add myself to the work, insisting that my presence is inherent through the images that I am presenting. However, there is potentially an opportunity to further develop the link between the portraits and the land through my own connection to this place. I made a number of short experiments using to see how this might work, they are also longer exposures with a fair amount of movement as I consider how much of myself I would want to include into the image and the wider series (Fig: 7). Some of these work quite well however could drift into the repetitive and even one or two looking like a ‘big foot’ sighting image! (Fig: 8).
I feel that there is much potential to present a series of images that could be made up of thrown focus, long exposure, movement, or a combination of all of these elements.
Smith, B. & Killip, C., 2018. A Small Voice Podcast: Conversations with photographers – 94 Chris Killip. [Online] Available at: https://bensmithphoto.com/asmallvoice/chris-killip [Accessed 13 October 2020].
One of the key areas I was to explore during this module is how I can begin to operate past my former commercial practice into areas that compliment and co-exist with my current working practice as a lecturer. I have been planning to continue my look into funding, grants, and bursaries. Previously, I have created unsuccessful applications for the RPS (Fig: 1) and Grain Photo. I am currently awaiting to hear back from Format 21, where I created an application for an exhibit under the theme of ‘Control,’ which has a number of links to my research into the idea of the agency inherent in the qualities of the photographic process.
Figure 1: Phil Hill (June, 2020) Discussing entering awards and applying for RPS Bursary
Considering the lack of success in my application to these previous grants, I really need to unpick the way that I am approaching and constructing my proposals. To support this, I aim to share my ideas much more, and also seek mentors to support the process of application. One area that I am able to do this is and the next step for me is applying for an Arts Council grant. After much discussion, I have been able to gain the support of an artist team, Jenifer Essex and Harry Man, who have a great deal of experience in gaining both research and development grants and also performance and publication funding. I have collaborated with the pair previously to create images for their projects and now able to draw on their experience and knowledge in creating an application to the Arts Council myself.
One area that I am keen to explore is to work on a collaborative project with the FE college where I work. As my research project centres around the idea of community, the college performs a vital role in the community – potentially more so than other educational institutions when considering the idea of lifelong learning. There also seems to be a tendency to forget about further education when discussed in a political sense; funding for colleges has remained stagnant for some time and many are struggling as a result and there was also the exams chaos over the summer months that left FE students right at the bottom of the pecking order when receiving their results. Additionally, the Btec qualification that the students are studying has become a slang term for anything considered second rate, even by the students who are working towards them. This demographic is also the least socially mobile, with 13% of working class boys making it to university, for example. (Coughlan, 2020), and likely to feel the aftermath of the current pandemic the most. My project proposal to the Arts council, intends to focus on celebrating the kids that attend FE in a collaborative way, with the potential to collect stories, portraits and images taken by the students themselves. This is a work in progress alongside my current research project to test possibilities.
There are plenty of crossovers and links to my research project, especially in Ferdinand Tönnies concept of Gemeinschaft and Gesselschaft, or community and society (2002). The college exists as part of the community in its societal function however there is a personal connection for me in not only that I work at the college, but I also attended one and also come from the same demographic as the kids that I teach. Historically, there is a precedent for this particular kind of project offering the potential for a re-photographic review of the state of FE. photographer Matthew Finn recently published his work ‘School of Art’ which consists of a portrait series of students from the late 90s during the shift in politics and culture (Fig: 2). Finn’s work was actually created at a previous iteration of West Herts College where I work now and before it was merged into the present college. The work was also created at a similar time to when I was also attending college. I feel that as a result, it could make an interesting review of the state of FE at another turning point for young people.
I have help initial discussions with various elements at the college who are very supportive of the idea. I was initially worried that owing to the current situation we may not be able to create such a project. I am aiming to be as transparent as possible with the project and also need the support of institutions to make it work. There are plenty of logistical challenges that would need to be overcome, for example the seeking of permissions. However, there are systems in place at the college that can support with this. Arts Council are very keen on working with the communities on projects, so I will work to create a series of workshops and talks to support the project. In my initial discussion it was mentioned that there is a current town initiative to re-brand Watford as a creative hub outside of London, which means there is potential to showcase the creative students in particular and as a result may create another opportunity for collaboration and support from other stakeholders. It also has the potential to provide me with images for my project and material to be used by these other institutions.
Coughlan, S. (2020, September 27). University entrance: The ‘taboo’ about who doesn’t go. BBC News. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-54278727
This is actually a challenging question – worth exploring. How much of my work is influenced to the point of being derivative of others. I have of course taken inspiration from a number of different photographers throughout this MA for example, Alys Tomlinson, Alec Soth and Vanessa Winship. During Landings, my work was complimented by a number of my peers, which is always appreciated, notably, Gem Crichton asked me if I liked the work of Winship, clearly highlighting that the influence of her work is present in mine; potentially there is some work that needs to be done to continue to use these influences in a positive way without my work becoming homage to a practitioner or style.
In the episode of ‘The Messy Truth’ featuring Alex Coggin on ‘Authorship’ (2019) this idea was discussed with a key takeaway was the suggestion from Coggin that photographer must be careful what they are consuming in the form of other images, with interviewer Gem Fletcher also noting that too much influence can lead to ‘Career suicide’ (2019). The comment is fairly alarming when I find myself working to develop my workflow and style. However, it is also worth noting that within the same episode both Coggin and Fletcher talk openly about how Coggin’ s own work is visually similar to practitioners, such as Martin Parr, to the extent that his agents have trouble navigating this at times. That said, they do have a point as I am not aiming to emulate another photographer’s style, only take inspiration from and it can be quite easy to get caught up in the kinds of trends that are happening on platform’s such as Instagram, which leads too homogenisation in terms of what we consume and ultimately produce. Clearly, I have work to do in order to resolve this, especially before the start of the FMP.
Taking a minute to consider my strengths from a commercial point of view. Attributes, such as the ability to network effectively is not something I have been hugely prolific with and when the opportunity has presented itself, I have not found that I could capitalise on it. Not to say that I am completely unable, as I have been a freelance – more that I work more effectively electronically. Email and I also keep a fairly large mailing list. When I was working as a travel & lifestyle photographer, I was also living in Perth, Western Australia, which has a significantly smaller creative network and easier to stand out and also cut through and market the fact I was based in a region useful to an editor of a European travel publication.
If I was to aim and compete in the UK market, then I feel I would need to develop my confidence in this area a lot more. I don’t rely on full time commercial compensation to survive however, in order to develop my practice, it is in a world that is still competitive and requires work in this area.
As I am considering strategies for working with landscapes and bringing these into my broader narrative, my initial explorations vary slightly. I am primarily continuing to look at the idea of where the countryside stops and the urban begins. A useful visual way of showing this initially is where the M25 is, as it provides a useful barrier between what is considered greater London versus everything outside of it. An area worth exploring is the images shot during fog, albeit weather dependent.
During the last webinar with Colin, it was suggested that I could also consider the idea of edgelands and the book by Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley, which I think would link quite well to my initial research into this area. It was also suggested that I consider the way that create a story and then take control of it. Chris Killip was also suggested as he has stated before about his work in the foreword to In flagrante that: “This book is a fiction about a metaphor” (Roberts, 2009), which is definitely an area of investigation.
I am continuing to produce portraits as part of my work in progress and hope that the current pandemic rules allow for that to continue. My focus is shifting with these onto people that I know, over encounters that I am having in my community – although, I could extend this to people that I have already photographed to see how that relationship is changing.
I am also wanting to experiment with the placement and sequencing of images together to see how they are working as diptychs. For example, the placement of Ryan next to the disused church is in part because of the window in the Ryan portrait and also the symbolism of his tattoo in relation to the cross on the side of the church
Coggin, A., 2019. The Messy Truth: Alex Coggin on Authorship [Interview] (May 2019).
Roberts, S., 2009. CHRIS KILLIP, IN FLAGRANTE. [Online] Available at: http://we-english.co.uk/blog/2009/03/03/chris-killip-in-flagrante/ [Accessed 9 October 2020].
During the second meeting, we decided that one of the strongest ideas for this brief could be the idea of ‘Greenwashing’ and how a company, or entity might signal that they are green but in fact have an underlying carbon footprint. For example, using online streaming services, such as Spotify are actually worse for the environment than producing physical media in plastic, owing to the amount of energy it takes to send content over the internet (Blistein, 2019), and the use of cotton ‘tote’ bags over their plastic equivalent also have a pretty significant cost and need to be reused over 120 times for the offset to take effect (Edgington, 2019).
Aiming to stick with an online impact, we discussed the impact of the internet on the environment and there are figures that suggest that it contributes around 3.7% of the world’s greenhouse emissions (Griffiths, 2020). Where this relates to the ‘Your Street & Climate Change’ brief could be in raising awareness of this impact as it impacts all of us; we are all users of the internet, social media and mobile devices so all are contributing to this significant effect on climate change.
How do you raise awareness?
My idea is to create a viral social media campaign that could include short mobile device advertisements, hashtags, and even Instagram and/or Snapchat filters. It is worth noting however, that this would also have an impact on the environment by its very nature so it would be important to weight the cost/benefit of such a campaign. Ultimately, I believe that in order to cut-through in today’s online world, it is important to use the platform that everyone is currently engaged with – or risk such a campaign being ignored.
The goal of such a campaign might be to set a date where people could take part in a ‘world social media detox’ in a similar way to how the ‘Earth Hour’ works. This would focus on internet use.
Testing my idea
To play with the idea of a viral social media campaign, I decided to utilise the statistics and see how that might look in the format of a quick video that would appear in the timeline of a social media app (Fig: 1). I feel that there is potential for a kind of interruption of the usual scrolling that takes place and may even have some kind of interaction with after they have uploaded a selfie.
I used a series of selfie images as a stand in for anything produced for the campaign that cycle quickly through to denote the amount of images uploaded to the internet every second. The text ‘Did you know that your #selfie costs 3.7% of the world’s greenhouse emissions’ is animated and plays through the duration of the short video. In order to give this additional clarity, I added a green layer in between with an 80% opacity, which also creates a link to Oxfam branding.
This is an initial test, so completely rough. The text could benefit from being slightly faster and there is also opportunity to add additional copy, such as the source of the statistics and additional Oxfam Branding.
Blistein, J., 2019. Is Streaming Music Dangerous to the Environment? One Researcher Is Sounding the Alarm. [Online] Available at: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/environmental-impact-streaming-music-835220/ [Accessed 7 October 2020].
Edgington, T., 2019. Plastic or paper: Which bag is greener?. [Online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47027792 [Accessed 7 October 2020].
Griffiths, S., 2020. Why your internet habits are not as clean as you think. [Online] Available at: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200305-why-your-internet-habits-are-not-as-clean-as-you-think [Accessed 7 October 2020].
I have felt that I would like to develop my writing about photography as I have become quite interested in some of the ideas behind the reasons why I am photographing. I have taken the opportunity to submit a number of text to open calls and other competitions to see how I might develop this as part of my visual practice. Prior to the MA and when I was a freelance photographer, I would often contribute written articles to accompany my images and found that this was a useful way to present myself commercially. I found that editors and commissioners of work were more likely to hire me if I had a complete package of word and images – for the travel sector at least. This very much sits in the topics of the ‘Art and Commerce’ week as I acknowledge that the style of writing that I am pitching for are very different entities and should be approached in different ways.
After submitting to a number of these calls without much success, I replied to my rejected entry to the Source Magazine’s writing prize to see if I could get some feedback from the Editor, Richard West. For some context, my entry to the prize was about an idea that I had during the last module about how photographers aim to separate themselves from the sea of images; by drawing attention to the process of the photography in the images that they produce (Fig: 1).
Figure 1: Phil Hill (July, 2020) Link to ‘Drawing Attention to the Image’
West did see that I was aiming to write about what he referred to as the ‘presence of the photographer in the image’ (2020) however he didn’t think that the ideas I was putting across were put across in a convincing way. The idea of ‘Presence’ is clearly an area that I need to continue to investigate and read further into the topic in order to create a fully rounded argument. The examples that I used to support my points were also considered disparate, which may be a reflection of how I was trying to cram in as much information within the 700-word limit. Not a great deal of space to flesh out a convincing argument, which is completely a reflection on me as I have a tendency of dancing around a topic when I really need to be more concise (a challenge that I have found for each of the oral presentations). I was reading quite a bit into the topic and possibly needed some more time to really drill down to the fundamentals of the idea; I can see the links, yet unable to convey this to the reader, an important consideration for my writing and also my images. To better communicate the idea of drawing attention to the process, it was suggested that I might be better looking at concentrating on photographers working at a similar time, or focus on a similar subject as a better basis for comparison.
For example, West mentions that my use of Robert Frank in this regard as Source have in the past highlighted similarities to his aesthetic with that of the vernacular, and it is in fact Frank’s lens on the culture and politics of the time that is important (2020). This is a valid point, and I think that I have missed an opportunity to better explain my reasoning behind using Frank as an example in my essay. Crucially, I believe that there is an awareness that Frank has over the vernacular, which creates the separation of his work and comment on American society that it is synonymous for. Interestingly, in this week’s reading was ‘The Messy Truth’ episode on Authorship with Alex Coggin (2019) discussed the idea of how an image can be ‘unmistakeably authored,’ which is something that definitely feeds into this idea that I am trying to get across. Ultimately, the authorship that Coggin is referring to is a way that photographers apply the process and intentionally draws attention to the photograph, the photography, and the photographer creating a significance for the image. My essay, I feel was misinterpreted to be more about the photographer might use equipment, so I must work harder to ensure that my meaning is being interpreted. As West suggests, it is important to get many people to read through my work.
Finally, West notes that my concluding paragraph could have been more concise, which is a fair point. I have started to understand that I have a tendency to not properly structure my essays and instead keen to get the ideas down onto the page in order to evolve the writing as I am typing. Potentially, in future this is something that I should treat as a draft version to be structured (Table: 1).
Definition of Terms
If you are going to utilise terminology in a particular context
Reason + Counter point
Reason + Counter point
Reason + Counter point
Table 1: Phil Hill (October, 2020) Suggested future essay structure
Coggin, A., 2019. The Messy Truth: Alex Coggin on Authorship [Interview] (May 2019).
West, R., 2020. RE: Submission: Source Writing Prize [Email] (1 October 2020).
I teach digital media at an FE college, so my current practice is focused on this as my full time profession. I have also spent the last number of years working towards teaching qualifications and HEA Fellowship, which has meant the commercial aspects of my practice have taken more of a back seat. Prior to teaching, I was a full time freelance photographer, working on the travel and lifestyle sector mainly for airline publications (Fig: 1). Although this is far removed from the practice that I am aiming to develop on the MA, I do still license images from my archive on a fairly regular basis through a range of different platforms.
Throughout this process, I have sought commercial opportunities with the work that I have produced for each of the module in order to raise my profile as an art practitioner over an editorial photographer. I enjoy teaching, so see myself producing longer term projects whilst moving more into higher education teaching in the medium to long term.
During Positions and Practice for example, I created a project around Somerset Carnivals that I grew up with (Fig: 2). As this was the first project that I produced for the MA, I feel that it was more in line with the work that I used to produce. I aimed to share this work through a number of platforms and gained initial interest from the BBC and C41 magazine but unfortunately, owing to the pandemic, priorities changed, and the work no longer fit into what they were publishing. I did get one of the portraits from the series into the KLPA this year and although that has no reward as commerce, it does help to raise profile (Fig: 3).
During the last module, I also produced a series of images for a local school, which they used for marketing (Fig: 4) and in return I was able to access and create a number of portraits that contributed towards my project (Fig: 5).
Jumping to this module, my aim is to try and create some projects that would run alongside the development of my WIPP, which also have more commercial possibilities and could translate into funding and/or building of profile. To develop my approach from the first module, I also want to see the possibilities of creating work utilising the research, style and intent developed over the past year. I have been continuing to send work and have gained some interest, which has yet to translate into something tangible but has been quite positive. One of my aims since the beginning of the MA was to also explore the potential for funding, which might be more in line with my intent, so will be creating a community focused grant application to gauge possibilities in Art and Commerce.
Alys Tomlinson – Tomlinson comfortably blends both her commercial practice as well as her long term art projects on her website as there is a clear difference between these two areas. Her client list is very much based on working with institutions and focussed on people, which aligns quite well with her personal work, such as ‘Ex-Voto.’ She has said that she doesn’t see a significant need to separate these two on her site as they all represent her practice and her ability to work in both realms (2020). Tomlinson has also stated however, that even though she is represented by a gallery and she would like to see her work move towards this area, she acknowledges the need for her commercial practice to co-exist with her art practice (2019)
Clementine Schneiderman – What is most interesting about Schneiderman’s approach is how she embeds herself into the communities that she focusses her work on. And by doing so she creates opportunities for both her own practice and also commercial outlets for her images without compromising her intent. ‘It’s Called ffasiwin’ (2019) for example, is an ongoing collaborative project with a community of the Welsh Valley and merges seamlessly with commissioned work that she has completed for Vogue.
Simon Roberts – Roberts has established a practice that also blends his personal projects with his commercial work and seems to have reached a point where he is commissioned to create work related to this personal practice.
I stated in my project proposal for positions and practice that I was keen to go through the process of applying for grants and bursaries, especially during this module where it feels the most relevant. I have applied for others prior to this module, for example a Grain Bursary and the RPS Postgraduate bursary, which have been useful to work through the process of these kinds of application. I am interested to apply for an Arts Council Grant as I feel this too would be useful to explore possibilities and work through the process. My aim is to propose a project that is thematically related to my research project and can be worked on alongside it, if not form part of my wider project. As my research is centered around the idea of community, I feel that it would be a good organisation to work with and I also aim to include the college where I work as it performs an essential service for the community.
I have been developing my academic writing and during the breaks between modules, I have been aiming to consolidate my research by writing essays in response to ‘calls for papers.’ So far I have not had success at publishing any of these however, one of my essays was well received by the editor who replied with interest in the ideas that I presented but unfortunately it did not fit with what they were currently publishing. I take this as a really positive response to my writing yet my approach still needs to be refined. In that case, I submitted what I had instead of considering what they would be interested in, which is clearly not the right way to approach submitting work. I have now focused attention onto themed calls to create a piece of writing that is still speculative but also thematically expected. For example, I was forwarded an opportunity that called for papers on the theme of ‘Community,’ which aligns with my research project and I will work towards submitting for this. Additionally, this has the added benefit of supporting the research that I am creating for my photography.
Feedback from rejected essays has been a challenge as most organisations are not in a position to provide it. However, I recently entered the Source magazine writing prize and although I did not get my essay selected, the editor was willing to respond to my request for feedback, which I was greatly appreciative and intend to reflect and refine my approach to writing.
I decided to select the Oxfam A as I am quite interested in exploring the idea of climate change on my own street. It aligns quite well with the research and my investigations into the idea of community and that I have already begun to create work based in my local area.
One of my key goals for Sustainable prospects was also to see how I might apply the focus of my research project and its core idea into a more commercially viable project, so this creates an embedded opportunity for me to consider first. It also means that there is potential for crossover and any of the images that I create for the brief might also sit quite well in the broader project that I am working on this module.
1. Your Street & Climate Change
Coming up with a concept that shows how climate change impacts everyone, not just how it is perceived in media as happening in other places far away. There is a topicality to how we are being impacted during the pandemic and arguments as to if Covid-19 was as a result of climate change, with no clear evidence that suggests so. However, there are other drug resistant Pathogens that are becoming more and more dangerous as a result of climate change (Richtel & Jacobs, 2019).
We are surrounded by all kinds of fungus, which are unable to live in the human body owing to our warm blood and a body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius, which the fungi will die off as it lives at much lower temps. Yet, one particular strain known as Candida Auris has been infecting a number of people around the world leading to deaths in some of the cases (Webster, 2020). What is being suggested, is that this fungus is periodically being exposed to warmer and warmer days as the climate is heating up ono average every year. As a result, it is able to survive at much higher temperatures, which crucially means that it can also survive in the human body causing disease (2020). Additionally, there has been a steady decline in body temperatures, especially in western culture, which has been linked to the way modern medicine has had an impact on our ability to survive many illnesses (Casadevall, et al., 2019).
What is quite striking about Candida Auris is that it exists everywhere, including on the streets that we live. Until now it has not posed a threat, until climate change has created the conditions for its need to survive at higher temperatures. This is something that has the potential to impact all of us and could even lead to the next pandemic if not addressed.
This is an initial idea at this stage, but I do see some potential in exploring it as a way to highlight that climate change impacts everyone and Is not just something that effects those in faraway places. I will pitch the idea as I feel that it can fit the Oxfam brief however, do realise that it also has a lot of links to the Welcome Trust ‘Climate and Health’ brief. If we as a group decide to create something else for the Oxfam A challenge, I may still explore this one independently and submit to the Welcome Trust photo competition as I feel it should be explored.
Casadevall, A., Kontoyiannis, D. P. & Vincent, R., 2019. On the Emergence of Candida auris: Climate Change, Azoles, Swamps, and Birds. American Society for Microbiology.
Richtel, M. & Jacobs, A., 2019. A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy: The rise of Candida auris embodies a serious and growing public health threat: drug-resistant germs.. [Online] Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/06/health/drug-resistant-candida-auris.html [Accessed 1 October 2020].
Webster, M., 2020. Radiolab Podcast – Fungus Amungus. [Online] Available at: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/fungus-amungus [Accessed 1 October 2020].