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Print Making Thinking

PrintMakingThinking is a cross disciplinary printmaking project developed with an interest in the relationship between fine art practice and pedagogy. Over eight months, the project will initiate establish and nurture a space for collective discussion and research, and deliver a shared learning experience brought about through creative making processes.

The project aims to explore the interdependence of thinking and making; the interface between the human gesture, analogue and digital technology; and the interplay of scientific knowledge and creative imagination within the printmaking craft. We will explore the breadth of these concerns by sharply focusing on a principle at the heart of printmaking: that an imprint is created by pressing together two forms that each brings its own inherent history and characteristics to the new hybrid form they yield. This dynamic is complex and multifarious, and opens the way to a conceptual conversation about how intellectual and practical insight is formed and shared. To this end we invite researchers and participants particularly from the fields of science and medicine, philosophy, history, and sociology, and from researchers with an interest in exploring and participating in a collaborative learning and making research process. Our research questions will be explored by participating in and contributing to a collective research forum, talks and discussions; by learning traditional and hybrid technology, drawing and print techniques; by experimenting with print and book making crafts and their collaborative nature; and by gaining a first-hand understanding of the collective experience of contemporary making practices.

The research process will begin in the academic year 2017 and will culminate in a three day event taking place in Easter 2018. Here researchers will have the opportunity to participate in a series of making workshops, working together to produce a collective printed ‘object’ that has imprinted and been imprinted by the conversation we have developed.

Aims of the Project

We anticipate that the project will:
- contextualize how our conversation informs approaches to contemporary creative teaching and learning experiences in educational environments and structures;
- open up cross disciplinary relationships and knowledge transfer among its participants;
- highlight and connect the diverse sites of research connected to the craft of printmaking, both in Oxford and in the wider printmaking community.

Project Timeline

Oct 2017: Call for participants
Nov 2017: First meet-up (introductions, ‘show & tell’, starting the collective research forum)
Nov 2017-Mar 2018: collective research
Apr 2018: three-day workshop

Thereafter: distribute printed artefacts and explore circulating our findings

How the project will proceed

For the first meet-up participants are invited to bring along a tool, or object they regularly handle as part of their working process, and describe how they use it and why it is important to their work. These informal presentations will form the basis of an ongoing conversation about the use of tools, objects and equipment in the making process. Participants are encouraged to continue this conversation through a dedicated online research platform (including a blog and social media feeds; this will be developed by volunteers from the Ruskin BFA programme), generating a wealth of material that will inform the three-day workshop and the printed matter that results from it. At the heart of this project is a belief that making and thinking have an interdependent relationship, and that new insights into this relationship can be derived through a process of collaborative making in the print studio. Therefore the three-day workshop will be arranged to facilitate the production of ad-hoc printed artefacts as the conversation proceeds; making and thinking continually informing one another. On each of the three days, a hands-on presentation by an invited specialist will lead the workshop, with most of the day spent practically engaging with a range of printing processes.

As a group, we will consider how the research materials generated through the online forum, as well as transcripts from presentations or discussions, and any other texts or images resulting from the process. Following the workshop the resulting artefacts and texts will be collated, printed in multiples and distributed to participants. We will then look into further developing this outcome, or elements of it, for wider circulation.