TVAD - Theorising Visual Art and Design

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Theorising Visual Art and Design (TVAD) is a multi and inter-disciplinary research group in the School of Creative Arts.TVAD blue logo

The aim of TVAD is to explore the relationships between material, object, text, narrative and image as they emerge within contemporary art practice, applied arts, design, film, and digital and text-based media.

TVAD research includes practice-led and practice-based methods, in addition to text-based historical and philosophical methods.

Our researchers examine issues and interrogate assumptions of historiography, methodology, epistemology and pedagogy in the creative arts and design.

Research areas

The TVAD research areas include:

  • Relationships between text, narrative and image
  • Contemporary practice, criticism and histories of art, design and the applied arts
  • Space, gender and visual culture
  • Design and material culture in the 20th century
  • Historiography, methodology and pedagogy related to art and design
  • The definition, role and value of art in society.

TVAD meets on Wednesdays throughout the academic year where we hold informal lunchtime discussion groups as well as formal presentations from visiting and internal speakers.

We are able to supervise research degrees in a variety of theory of art and design related subjects. We are particularly interested in new doctoral research into:

  • Architecture histories,
  • Design typologies,
  • The theory of art as written by artists,
  • The history of writing about design.

Please contact Dr Alana Jelinek TVAD Group Leader, if you have subject specific enquiries or visit our Doctoral College for more information on research degrees.

Annual International TVAD symposium 2020/21

What the World Needs Now is Artists Engaged in Science

8 January 2021 (postponed from June 2020)
Online via Zoom

Since the 1960s we have seen numerous art-science experiments, often initiated by artists. Inter- and multi-disciplinary collaboration has never been a simple process. Some argue this is due to disciplinary boundaries emphasized in our educational system. For others, the issue is a lack of attention to real differences in thinking and approach. From the point of view of science, art is useful when it illustrates already established scientific theories. For many scientists, art provides a useful gateway to the general public, employing aesthetics to seduce audiences into engaging with scientific ideas. It seems that many scientists labour under the idea that art is simply the equivalent of beauty, despite the fact that for more than 100 years, and at least since Dada, artists have challenged this idea.

Questions this conference asks include:

  • What is the best that art-science collaborations can offer?
  • What can be achieved by artists working with scientists that cannot be achieved by artists alone, or scientists alone?
  • On the one hand, we ask what can scientists learn from artists? On the other, is it the role of art to illustrate important scientific truths, such as, climate science? In other words, what is the point of sci-art collaboration?

Further information