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Dr Judith Stewart PhD, MA, BA

Lecturer


Summary

I am an artist, writer, and curator whose interests centre on questions relating to landscape and the rural everyday. A further strand of research concerns participatory practices and the hierarchical structures that determine relationships between artists, galleries, and audiences. I teach mainly on the Arts & Cultural Management MA where I lead modules on Critical Issues in Culture and Research Methods and Skills.

About

Before joining SHU in 2018, I taught Fine Art at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) and was part of an interdisciplinary team delivering core modules across eight postgraduate subjects. For most of my career I have combined my art practice with freelance work as a curator, researcher, and part-time lecturer. Between 2000-2003, I was a full-time curator at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery where I developed a contemporary art programme reflecting social and political issues. I also used this role to test different ways for galleries to support artists’ critical development. This laid the groundwork for my doctorate (MMU 2007), which identified how New Labour’s drive to use the arts as an instrument of social policy impacted the work of socially-engaged artists. My freelance curatorial projects include the multi-site exhibition ‘Strangers to Ourselves’ (2003-2004), co-curated with Mario Rossi; ‘Margate Mementos’ for Turner Contemporary (2004); and ‘Constellation’, a collaborative exhibition between NUA and Piet Zwart Institute (2016). Between 2010-2014 I worked with Firstsite Gallery, Colchester, This involved:

  • devising and implementing a strategy to support artists and artist groups in the region.
  • being research advisor to Firstsite’s Associate Artists.
  • delivering the Contemporary Art and Professional Practice MA, an NSEAD accredited course developed by Firstsite in partnership with Colchester Institute.

These experiences informed my continuing research into issues facing artists employed to deliver gallery participation and education programmes, resulting in conference presentations and journal articles, often with the artist Lawrence Bradby, with whom I have published various articles for ‘Engage International Journal of Visual Art & Education’, ‘Conjunctions: Transdisciplinary Journal of Cultural Participation’, and a book chapter in Mann & Bonham-Carter’s ‘But How Does It Work? Clarifying Social Rhetoric in the Arts’ (Palgrave, 2017). These address participatory practices from artists’ perspectives. A shared interest in landscape, place-identity, belonging and the rural everyday led in 2016 to a collaboration with James Quinn. The outcomes of our research - artist books, prints, films, and texts - consider the role of dialogue in visual practice, the ways that our responses to place and space are influenced by culture, and the hybrid form of the essay-film. ‘Conversations from the Car’ was shown at In the Open (Sheffield, 2017) and ‘Italy of the Imagination’ at the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (UK and Ireland) conference, 2019 (Plymouth). Adopting a collaborative approach has provided a further dimension to my efforts to find alternatives to the gendered, heroic, individualistic legacy, associated with landscape and the Romantic Sublime. My work has been shown at various galleries in the UK, and my editorial roles reflect my interest in writing as practice. Key publications are ‘Place in Time: The work of Tim Simmons’ (Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2020) and a special edition (Co-editor Sarah Horton) of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice (Intellect, 2020). I am a member of the creative practice-led research group Land2. My current research concentrates on establishing new methodologies that create narratives of place-identity by prioritising affect and visual memory. Hanse: Re-imagining the North Sea, jointly led with Patrick Wichert, uses the structure of the medieval Hanse-League to re-think the UK’s relationship with Europe by focussing on fragile coastlines and marginalised communities.

Teaching

Department of Media Arts and Communication

Social Sciences and Arts

Subject area

Media Arts & Photography

Courses

MA Arts & Cultural Management, MA Photography (from 2021/2)

Modules

Critical Issues in Culture, Research Methods and Skills, Dissertation/Final Projects

Research

Current Projects

1) Since 2018 I have been laying the foundations for a major research project that bring my interests in landscape, participation and process together. Hanse: Re-imagining the North Sea uses the medieval Hanse-League to re-think the UK’s relationship with Europe by focussing on fragile coastlines and marginalised communities. Working in partnership with colleagues in Europe and with arts organisations in Norfolk, Hanse’s primary aim is to establish new methodologies for creating narratives of place-identity prioritising affect and the visual.

2) With James Quinn I am working on a commission for an exhibition 'Undisclosed', which has the theme of modern slavery. We are working with migrant agricultural workers, focussing on memories of place, to produce an artist book, prints and film. The exhibition opens in Norwich in 2022.

Featured Projects

Place in Time: The Work of Tim Simmons
Drumming Up an Audience
Journal of Writing in Creative Practice
Italy of the Imagination
Conversations From the Car
Living in the End Times

Collaborators and Sponsors

Collaborators: Patrick Wichert; Lawrence Bradby, artist; James Quinn, artist.

Publications

Journal articles

Stewart, J., & Bradby, L. (2021). Culture of the Interior (A Conversation). Engage International Journal of Visual Art & Gallery Education, 45 (Class). https://engage.org/articles/culture-of-the-interior-a-conversation/

Bradby, L., & Stewart, J. (2020). Drumming Up an Audience: When Spectacle Becomes Failure. Conjunctions Transdiciplinary Journal of Cultural Participation, 7 (2). http://doi.org/10.7146/tjcp.v7i2.121814

Stewart, J., & Bradby, L. (2020). The British art show 8, Norwich: transformative experiences fade away. Engage: the international journal of visual art and gallery education, 44. https://engage.org/journals/44-biennials-and-beyond/

Stewart, J. (2020). All the Better for Being Vague? The Authority of text. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 13 (2), 259-270. http://doi.org/10.1386/jwcp_0008_1

Stewart, J. (2020). All the Better for Being Vague? The Authority of text. Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 13 (2), 259-270. http://doi.org/10.1386/jwcp_0008_1

Stewart, J. (2015). Some Are More Equal Than Others: Hierarchies of value inside the art gallery. Engage - the international Journal of Visual art & Gallery Education. https://engage.org/journals/engage-35/

Book chapters

Stewart, J., & Bradby, L. (2017). Artists on the Gallery Payroll: A Case Study and a Corporate Turn. In Rhetoric, Social Value and the Arts But How Does it Work?. (pp. 125-142). Palgrave Macmillan: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-45297-5

Stewart, J. (2014). Whose Everyday? Politics, Ethics and Art. In An Endless Round of Repetitive Tasks with Operatic Anger and Comic Turns. Sideline Publications

Books

Stewart, J. (Ed.). (2020). Place In Time: the Work of Tim Simmons. Dewi Lewis. https://www.dewilewis.com/products/place-in-time?_pos=1&_sid=de3c02f27&_ss=r

Stewart, J. (Ed.). (2020). Place In Time: the Work of Tim Simmons. Dewi Lewis. https://www.dewilewis.com/products/place-in-time?_pos=1&_sid=de3c02f27&_ss=r

Stewart, J. (Ed.). (2020). Place In Time: the Work of Tim Simmons. Dewi Lewis. https://www.dewilewis.com/products/place-in-time?_pos=1&_sid=de3c02f27&_ss=r

Other activities

External Examiner Central St Martin’s, UAL, for BA Fine Art & Diploma in Professional Studies. External Examiner Plymouth College of Art MAs in Fine Art, Painting, Illustration, Drawing and MA by Research.

Postgraduate supervision

Topics related to landscape, the Sublime, fine art film and photography, socially-engaged/participatory art practices and their histories, curating contemporary art. Current supervision: Paul Vousden, ‘The Legacy of the Burkean Sublime: Representations of the British Landscape in Visual Art’ (completion expected Nov 2021). Patrick Wichert, ‘Vestiges of affect: A photographic re-calling of a forced migrant community’s landscapes.' (proposed completion date 2023)

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