TVAD - Theorising Visual Art and Design

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

    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.

    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.

    Symposia and events

    International Symposium 2019

    Theme: 'Artists, Designers and the Philosophers we Love'

    When: 21-22 June 2019
    Where: School of Creative Arts, College Lane, Hatfield

    Kerry Power (artist and lecturer)
    Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

    Confirmed speakers:
    Hudda Khaireh (Artist, independent), Franz Fanon
    Kerry Purcell (University of Hertfordshire), Alain Badiou
    Alana Jelinek (Artist, University of Hertfordshire), Emmanuel Levinas

    Artists have long been interested in the field of philosophy; it has been subject to both fascination and scepticism. Artists  are found quoting nuggets of philosophy as inspiration and as context for their work. For some, philosophers are names to conjure with, to add theoretical ballast to their perspectives, whereas for others philosophy is a vital of source of criticality, offering a new perspective on an individual's art and the context in which we find ourselves. For generations, artists have looked to philosophers of the Frankfurt School to understand the art-society-politics nexus and their role in it. Other artists, such as Joseph Kosuth, engage  with the Analytic tradition: in Art After Philosophy (1969) Kosuth responds to AJ Ayer. Philosophy comprises one aspect of an art education at BA and MA levels, and for many, a Doctorate in Fine Art practice, requires a serious engagement with philosophy in addition to theory, history and other disciplines.

    Can artists contribute meaningfully to philosophy? Can there be a productive relationship between art practice and philosophy that goes beyond name-checking the Good and the Great, or merely illustrating a well-honed philosophical phrase? What is it for an artist to love a philosophy? In this workshop, we want to explore the relationship of art to philosophy from the perspective of practising artists. Our aim is to examine how art can engage with, and contribute to the theoretical problems of philosophy, and offer a critical rethinking of philosophies re-imagined and interrogated through art practice. The symposium is open to both senior and early-career artists and scholars who are planning or conducting projects in philosophy and art.

    The Symposium will be composed of panels with 20-minute paper presentations, and roundtables with less formalized discussion inputs. Please indicate in your email to which format you wish to propose an idea. Panels and roundtables will then be formed based on the themes and submissions. We also welcome film, photo, or other media submissions as long as they respond to the theme and are within the time-frame of 20-minutes.

    Please send your proposals (including a title and abstract of 250 words max and a short bio) by the 22 April 2019.

    Get in touch

    For any queries, please contact Alana Jelinek,