Leeds Creative Labs

Collaborations for Academics & Creative Innovators

Author: Steve Manthorp

Hepworth Session 2 – Joanne, Louise, Rob, Steve

For our second meeting, our team convened at the School of Music at the University of Leeds – Joanne’s Armitage’s crib.  After mastering the technical complexity of the Light Hadron coffee machine, Louise Atkinson, Rob Carroll and I were by joined by my old friend and Joanne’s colleague Dr Kia Ng, co-founder and director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Research in Music and an alumnus of the second Creative Lab last year.

We resumed our progress to date for Kia and he told us a little about how the previous team had tackled their brief last year.

Two notable strengths of our team served us well at our first meeting and even better at this one.  Firstly, we really get on with each other and secondly (possibly because of the first), we enjoy developing and expanding upon each other’s thoughts.  This generosity of working meant that when we looked at our whiteboard notes at the end of the session, we were all represented.  The core concepts we had settled on were our joint work.

We don’t, at this stage, want to go into too much detail about our ‘modest proposal’: we’re still developing the means by which our ideas may be expressed.  But our discussions were an evolutionary development of our initial discussions around the relationship between the museum, the object and the audience.  In particular we explored the notion of the ‘authenticity’ of what we termed the ‘venerated object’ and how we might employ ‘inauthentic objects’ and mediated audience interaction with objects to create new audience experiences and relationships with art.  It was all a lot funkier than that description makes it sound, though.

We hope to be able to go into more detail regarding our suite of proposals at the coffee shop event on the 15th.

Hepworth Session 1 – Joanne, Louise, Rob, Steve

The 2015 cohort was selected and invited to attend the first meeting at The Hepworth on 19th March. We’d already been separated into groups and I’d been matched with Steve Manthorp (artist), Rob Carroll (creative technology and information designer) and Joanne Armitage (PhD candidate in Music). As we discussed potential crossovers in our work, it became apparent that we had lots of complementary skills and ideas


As part of remixing the gallery we considered ways of reversing the curatorial or making process in order to make the layers of meaning and decision making more transparent to the audience. Potential methods suggested for this included animation, version control, and the Surrealist game ‘Exquisite Corpse’. We also considered how engagement projects like this had previously been achieved in collaborations such as www.exquisiteforest.com.


Our initial feelings were geared towards preserving iterations of the project in order to show the working process, as a kind of visual palimpsest. These discussions brought to mind writings including Freud’s Mystic Writing Pad and Heidegger’s ontological theories. However, we soon realised that we were repeating the museum process of collecting and conserving, and wondered if we needed to look further at the problems of collecting, including the inevitable need for deaccessioning, and who or what was responsible for deciding what was worth collecting.






Stock photos

Ethics of revealing artistic process?

Too much stuff?

Deaccessioning / destroying



Inspired by galleries

Discussed whether art should be graded by ‘difficulty’

Watched 3D printing teapot installation

Joanne noticed number of signs not allowing photos or touching objects in gallery.


‘folk art’

Knitting sheaths – different according to each Yorkshire Dale

Reverse the making process?

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