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Joanne Lee

Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design


Summary

I am a photographer, writer, researcher and publisher with a curiosity about everyday things and the ordinary places in which I live and work. Much of my activity emerges through a serial publication, the Pam Flett Press, which explores the visual, verbal, audio and temporal possibilities of the ‘essay’, and via the opportunities for production that arise in dialogue with creative and critical friends. Whilst my practice lies at the intersection of writing, photography, design and print, conceptually and critically I am an avowed generalist, committed to making unexpected conjunctions between disciplines.

About

Having graduated in Combined and Media Arts, from what was then Sheffield City Polytechnic, I developed a broad interdisciplinary approach to practice, pedagogy and research, going on to teach Graphic Design, Fine Art, Photography, and Historical and Critical Studies on a range of UK undergraduate and postgraduate courses. I worked for 18 years at Nottingham Trent University, where I held the role of Course Leader for the large interdisciplinary Fine Art provision, before returning to Sheffield Hallam University to join the Visual Communication subject group. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

My particular interest and expertise lies in the possibilities of independent publishing and distribution for artists, designers, activists and academics; this relates to a broader concern for the role of pedagogy, research and creative practice in relation to contemporary neoliberal agendas. I have spoken about aspects of this work at events such as Loughborough University School of the Arts’ Researcher Essentials: Publishing and how to get Published; Art, Politics, and the Pamphleteer, Peoples’ History Museum, Manchester and Challenging Pedagogies, Paradox Fine Art European Forum Biennial Conference, University of Granada, Spain.

Critically, I am focused on ideas of ‘the everyday’ across a range of academic and creative disciplines such that my work has explored non-professional or amateur modes of production; informal messages graffitied across urban surfaces; littered chewing gum, and brownfield sites or so-called areas of terrain vague. This attention to overlooked objects, spaces and practices has involved my drawing on the work of French writer Georges Perec, about whom I have written for Species of Spaces: A Transdisciplinary Conference on the Work of Georges Perec, at Teesside University and its subsequent publication, as well as participating in a reading group with colleagues from Geography at Sheffield University in preparation for my presentation at an interdisciplinary symposium there on Perec’s Geographies / Perecquian Geographies.

Teaching

Department of Art and Design

Business, Technology and Enterprise

Visual Communication

Graphic Design, Illustration

Graduation Projects: Graphic Design Graduation Projects: Illustration

Research

My research is developed through the Pam Flett Press, an independent serial publication, which seeks to essay aspects of everyday life. Critically, this work focuses on ideas of ‘the everyday’ across a range of academic and creative disciplines; I have explored non-professional or amateur modes of production; informal messages graffitied across urban surfaces; littered chewing gum, and brownfield sites or so-called areas of terrain vague.  I am currently working on an issue about the phenomenon of ‘pareidolia’, the human propensity to read meaning into random data, and another on discarded plastic in urban and rural contexts, which draws upon Ursula Le Guin’s ‘carrier bag theory of fiction’.  I regularly discuss aspects of this work at conferences and gallery events: presentations have included Northern Light: Landscape Photography and Evocations of the North, Sheffield Hallam University; Provocative Plastics, Arts University Bournemouth; The Popular Life of Things, University of Silesia, Sosnowiec, Poland; and Ordinary/Everyday/Quotidian, University of York. The Press has been selected for KALEID London, an annual exhibition of the best books by European-based artists, and has been presented at PROGR-Fest, PROGR - Zentrum für Kulturproduktion, Bern Switzerland and Offprint, Tate Modern amongst other international venues.

My research frequently has a concern with space and place. I work with academics from Nottingham Trent University on Returns, an investigation of post-industrial landscapes emerging from Topographies of the Obsolete, an international cross-disciplinary project initiated by Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway which used the former Spode ceramics factory in Stoke-on-Trent as a place from which to consider urban ruins and the artefacts to be found there. I am also developing A Good Place That Is No Place, which essays a particular high-rise site in East Marsh, Grimsby, and its resonance for ideas of home, sanctuary and belonging. I am a member of Sheffield Hallam University’s Space and Place group and have contributed to the University of Central Lancashire’s Practising Place talks/publication programme. My work on overlooked objects, spaces and practices has involved an attention to the work of French writer Georges Perec, resulting in contributions to Species of Spaces: A Transdisciplinary Conference on the Work of Georges Perec, at Teesside University and a subsequent journal publication, as well as my participation in Perec’s Geographies / Perecquian Geographies, an interdisciplinary symposium at the University of Sheffield.

I am particularly interested in the contribution of practice to research, and co-curated Unconditional Love, a strand of the Society for Artistic Research’s 2014 Spring Meeting at Chelsea College of Arts. Seeking to develop audiences at the intersection of academia, visual practice and popular culture, I work on the possibilities of independent publishing and distribution for artists, designers, activists and academics; this relates to a broader concern for the role of pedagogy, research and creative practice in relation to contemporary neoliberal agendas. I have spoken about aspects of this work at events such as Loughborough University School of the Arts’ Researcher Essentials: Publishing and how to get Published; Art, Politics, and the Pamphleteer, Peoples’ History Museum, Manchester and Challenging Pedagogies, Paradox Fine Art European Forum Biennial Conference, University of Granada, Spain and Reflections on the Work of Albert Hunt: within the art school and without, The Northern Centre for Research into Art and Material Culture, Bradford School of Art.

Publications

Conference papers

Lee, J. (2016). Exploring a vague terrain. In SHU Space & Place Group Workshop Day, Heart of the Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, 11 May 2016. https://lukebennett13.wordpress.com/2016/04/04/details-of-the-shu-space-place-workshop-day-programme-registration-link-and-abstracts/

Lee, J. (2016). 'Photographic practice and the infra-ordinary' in a strand Performance, Practice and Pedagogy. In Perec’s Geographies / Perecquian Geographies : Interdisciplinary Symposium, University of Sheffield, 6 May 2016 - 7 May 2016. http://sheffield.ac.uk/geography/news/symposium-1.532816

Lee, J. (2016). Taking care in and of the art school : hope in precarious times. In Reflections on the Work of Albert Hunt/Within the Art School and Without, Dye House Gallery, Bradford School of Art, 17 March 2016. https://www.bradfordcollege.ac.uk/art-material-culture/reflections

Lee, J. (2016). Working with a spiral curriculum in 120 credit modules in Fine Art and Graphic Design/Illustration. In Annual Teaching and Learning Conference, Wolverhampton School of Art, 8 January 2016.

Lee, J. (2015). Witches knickers and carrier bag theories : thinking through plastic. In Provocative Plastics: Design in Plastics from the Practical to the Philosophical, Arts University Bournemouth, 17 September 2015 - 18 September 2015. http://provocativeplastics.com/

Lee, J. (2014). Publishing Pam Flett Press. In Researcher essentials: Publishing and how to get published, Loughborough University, 17 June 2015. https://misachievement.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/full-programme/

Lee, J. (2014). In between in the terrain vague. In Art of the Edgelands, University of Exeter, 26 April 2014. http://spacex.org.uk/events/symposium-art-of-the-edgelands-saturday-26-april/

Lee, J. (2014). 'Barely indicative of a method’: researching with Perec. In Species of Spaces: A Transdisciplinary Conference on the Work of Georges Perec, Teesside University, 28 March 2014.

Book chapters

Lee, J. (2019). Georges Perec's Geographies. In Forsdick, C., Leak, A., & Phillips, R. (Eds.) Georges Perec’s Geographies: Material, Performative and Textual Spaces. (pp. 218-235). London: UCL Press: http://doi.org/10.14324/111.9781787354418

Lee, J., & Wilson, P. (2019). A conversation about forms of inscription. In Speight, E. (Ed.) Practising Place: Creative and Critical Reflections on Place. (pp. 12-29). Art Editions North: https://issuu.com/incertainplacesuclan/docs/practising_place_issuu_

Lee, J. (2018). Vaguely Northern: in between in England. In Goldie, C., & White, D. (Eds.) Northern Light Landscape, Photography and Evocations of the North. (pp. 133-142). Transcript Verlag: https://www.transcript-verlag.de/978-3-8376-3975-9/northern-light/

Lee, J. (2016). I See Faces : popular pareidolia and the proliferation of meaning. In Malinowska, A., & Lebek, K. (Eds.) Materiality and popular culture : the popular life of things. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge: https://www.routledge.com/Materiality-and-Popular-Culture-The-Popular-Life-of-Things/Malinowska-Lebek/p/book/9781138657809

Lee, J. (2016). 'Long time dead' and 'Thinking about things'. In Swann, D. (Ed.) Dwelling. Debra Swann & Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University

Lee, J. (2015). White windows. In White window. Glasgow: Abigale Neate Wilson: http://www.abigaleneatewilson.com/white-window/

Lee, J. (2014). Exploring the metaphorical terrain. In Kelly, T. (Ed.) Feeling it for you (perspective) with seers in residence. (pp. 6-12). Nottingham, UK: Nottingham Trent University: http://www.boningtongallery.co.uk/shop/feeling-it-for-you-perspective-with-seers-in-residence

Lee, J. (2014). 'I see faces': popular pareidolia and the proliferation of meaning. https://popularlifeofthings.wordpress.com/

Lee, J. (2014). The art of failure. In Tymchak, I., & Michie, R. (Eds.) The Importance of Failure: a Bettakultcha experiment. (pp. 22-25). Leeds, UK: Bettakultcha: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Importance-Failure-Bettakultcha-experiment-ebook/dp/B00JZZRYKA/

Books

Lee, J. (2015). Vague terrain. Pam Flett Press. http://www.joannelee.info/_/vagueterrain.html

Lee, J. (2014). Gumming up the works. Pam Flett Press. http://www.joannelee.info/_/gumminguptheworks.html

Lee, J. (2014). Forms of distraction. Gardarsson Publishing. http://www.joannelee.info/_/distraction.html

Exhibitions

Lee, J. (2015). Seconds. [Photography, print/publication, installation]. Lace Market Gallery, Nottingham.

Lee, J. (2015). Returns. [Photographic projection; print publication]. Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University. http://www.boningtongallery.co.uk/exhibitions/returns

Lee, J. (2015). Editions #2. [Print, independent publications]. Made North Gallery, Sheffield. http://www.madenorthgallery.co.uk/portfolio/made-north-edition2/

Lee, J. (2015). Witches knickers. [Photography]. Harris Museum and Art Gallery. http://www.harrismuseum.org.uk/exhibitions-2015/948-a-green-and-pleasant-land-rural-life-in-art

Lee, J. (2016). 'Neepsend sequence' and 'Vague terrain'. [Photography; digital projection; print publication]. Sheffield Institute of Arts Gallery, Cantor Building, Sheffield. http://www.shu.ac.uk/

Brown, C., & Lee, J. (2016). In Return. Sheffield Institute of the Arts Gallery, Sheffield. http://www4.shu.ac.uk/sia/events/event-listing.html?event=188

Lee, J. (2018). A seven year cycle happens everyday : a reading room, exhibition and thinking space : Pam Flett Press. [Photography, print, publication, video]. Five Years, London.

Lee, J., Maier, D., Brown, A., & Stevens, C. (2018). re-turning. [photograph, digital video projection]. AirSpace Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent.

Presentations

Lee, J. (2016). Things think me : on chewing gum, plastic bags and smiling cheese graters. Presented at: Research seminar with Joanne Lee and Dr Joanna Croft, Department of Humanities and Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University, 2016

Lee, J., & Wilson, P. (2016). Forms of Inscription : surfaces, patterns and the typography of place. Presented at: Forms of Inscription: surfaces, patterns and the typography of place, Cantor Lecture Theatre, Sheffield Hallam University, 2016

Lee, J., Speight, E., Shirley, R., & Chesney, R. (2015). Re-imagining rural mythologies: interdisciplinary conference strand. Presented at: Geographical Imagination : Interpretations of Nature, Art and Politics : 6th Nordic Georgraphers Meeting, Tallinn & Tartu, Estonia, 2015

Lee, J. (2014). Puff of smoke: curating live art / performance in the gallery. Presented at: Puff of smoke, The Tetley, Leeds, 2014

Other activities

2014 - 2016 External Examiner at University of Bedfordshire for BA (Hons) Art & Design; Photography & Video Art; Fine Art. 
2010-2013 External Examiner, BA (Hons) Fine Art (Time Based Media/Print and Digital Media) Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London.
2013 External verifier, validation of BA (Hons) Visual Arts Practice top-up, City College Brighton / University of Brighton.
2010 External Verifier validation of Transart Institute MFA programme, University of Plymouth.

I am an experienced mentor having worked with a range of emerging and mid career writers and practitioners funded by a-n, Arts Council England, and CVAN NW (Contemporary Visual Arts Network North West) Art: ADDS (Art: Audience, Development, Discourse and Skills) programmes. I have acted as facilitator and evaluator on a project about the curation of live art and performance in the gallery, conducted consultancy work for arts organisation AXISWEB, and was an invited participant in one of a series of 'European Think Tanks exploring ‘the Power of Art and Culture in an Interconnected World’: this meeting, organized by the University of Turku, focused on art, creativity and active citizenship. I am a member of the Graphic Design Educators’ Network.




Postgraduate supervision

I am currently supervising three PhD students who are approaching completion in their projects: topics under investigation include the colour phenomenon of metamerism; practices of participatory curation; and the artistry of conversation.

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