University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Pedagogy, Language, Arts & Culture in Education (PLACE) Group Seminars > Searching and Re-searching for Practice: An Appetite

Searching and Re-searching for Practice: An Appetite

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In 2011, I completed a PGCE at UCA . Over the duration of the course, it invaded my time, consumed my energies, and completely transformed me. In the second year, my research projects explored embodied knowledge, phenomenology, the personal, and the body, and in particular my digestive system, which acted as a metaphor for critical reflection. When I finished with all this new learning, I was lost. I was adrift in the woods and overwhelmed by words. Was I still an artist if I wasn’t regularly making work? What work did I now want to make, anyway? I looked back along the path I had come hoping to find a trail of breadcrumbs that would take me back to my art practice. But there were no crumbs. I couldn’t see the way back to it. It wasn’t where I’d left it.

‘Searching and Re-Searching for a Practice: An Appetite’ explores the place I found myself and how I began to make work again. I found myself at the edges of things, of identities: artist, teacher, practitioner, researcher, performer, cook; of territories: fine art, performance, social science, biological science, art practice, cooking, artistic research, qualitative research, linguistic, visual, spatial, embodied, and phenomenological ways of knowing. In my talk, I will share findings of a Teaching and Learning research project, year-long auto ethnographic study that helped me to comprehend the new knowledge and interests I had, and enabled me to explore and demonstrate them through material, performative, and bodily gestures and activities. I will share aspects of my art and research practice, particularly the ongoing ‘Reflection on Digestion’ and ‘On Innards’ projects, and discuss and demonstrate how I utilise and incorporate theory, philosophy and other influences in the work. Finally, in an attempt to perform data, together, student/participants and I, will practice a phenomenological, experiential exercise to reflect on food and language: ingestion, digestion, and on embodied ways of knowing.

Amanda Couch is an artist, researcher, and senior lecturer in Fine Art and Creative Arts Education at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) Farnham. A particular fascination with sticky matter and materials comes from a grounding in sculpture, whilst studying at Norwich School of Art (1995-8). Her time in the printmaking department at the Royal College of Art (2003-5), was spent chasing dreams of recording, reproduction and repetition. Since this time her practice has cut across media, straddling the domains of sculpture and performance, the live and recorded image, process and participation, research and writing. She makes images, objects, and experiences that are visceral and narrative, in which the audience/participants are forced to confront a real continual present. After the PGCE (2009-11), her concerns are with the interior body and digestion. Often triggered by the processes and lived experiences of her own body, she employs it as material as well as metaphor to explore a personal and universal sense of self.

This talk is part of the Pedagogy, Language, Arts & Culture in Education (PLACE) Group Seminars series.

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