Art, Design and Environment

Creative research at Bucks New University includes ceramic innovation, product design and cultural heritage. Bucks is also undertaking environmental research relating to conservation and sustainability.

Funded by Horizon 2020 as part of the decarbonisation portfolio, SOCLIMPACT models climate change effects and their socioeconomic impacts in European islands for 2030–2100. The project examines how European islands and archipelagos can flourish economically alongside the EU's Blue Growth strategy for sustainable progress in the marine and maritime sectors. It is also looking at how economies will grow as decarbonisation develops. The project is focused on the economies of the Baltic islands, Malta, Sardinia, Madeira, Cyprus, Sicily, Crete, Corsica, Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and the Azores.

SOCLIMPACT is led by the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and includes universities from Spain, Germany, the West Indies, France, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Malta.

Florin Ioras, Research Professor of Conservation Sustainability & Innovation, is leading the Bucks New University team alongside Research Fellow Ioan Dutca and Research Associate Dr Indrachapa Bandara.

Further information is available on the SOCLIMPACT project website. For news and recent developments, follow @soclimpact on Twitter.

SOCLIMPACT partners, 13 February 2018

Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 scheme, WATERSPOUTT aims to provide safe drinking water to communities who rely on unsafe sources. The consortium is carrying out a technological development programme to advance three applications based on Solar Disinfection (SODIS), which can make water safe to drink after it has been collected.

In parallel, a social science programme has been structured to make sure that the technologies are adopted by the target communities in rural Africa, with the support of the local authorities and in an economically sustainable way.

Dr Lyndon Buck and Richard Harlow are supporting the design element of the project, with Dr George Clerk supporting the social science programme. Further information is available on the WATERSPOUTT project website with project news and recent developments on twitter @waterspoutt_eu.

Following on from WATERSPOUTT and also funded by the EU Horizon 2020 scheme,  PANI WATER (Grant no. 820718) examines solar disinfection water-treatments in India.

Led by Dr Lyndon Buck, Bucks New University will be working with designers, engineers, health and social scientists to design, develop, manufacture and test a series of socially accepted and locally adapted solar water purification technologies in Indian rural communities.

Working with the University of Queensland, Dr Richard Mather, is developing an open source data-processing framework and a change-detection tool to map changes in vegetation and surface geology, a key priority for satisfying the operating conditions of underground mining operations.

The project is funded by The Australian Coal Industry’s Research Program (ACARP), in partnership with BIOSIS Research Pty Ltd.

Chinoiserie sketch, Pattern Book, Neil Brownsword 2018For nearly two decades Prof Neil Brownsword has highlighted endangered forms of industrial craft specific to the ceramics industry of his home town – Stoke-on-Trent. His residency at the V&A in 2017-18 was driven forward by the museum’s collection of 18th and early 19th century North Staffordshire ceramics and pattern books that convey and document production methods. The residency, supported by the Korean Cultural Centre UK, was in collaboration with Juree Kim to explore interactions with site, place and indigenous ceramic practice. It culminated in production of “Pattern Book”, a new performance installation in collaboration with Paul Holdway in April 2018.

The artistic and technological advances that evolved out of this region’s early industrialisation, were greatly influenced by the borrowing and assimilation of styles from East Asia. Prof Brownsword revisited examples of Staffordshire Chinoiserie, with a particular fascination for the ‘slippage’ that occurs via this mode of cultural appropriation, due to variants of skill or unavailability/substitution of specific materials.Chinoiserie sketch, Pattern Book, Neil Brownsword 2018

To better understand and directly work with some of these early reproductions, Prof Brownsword collected his own examples akin to those held in the collections of the V&A via online auction websites. Decorative surfaces unique to ceramics production have been digitally extracted from their form, via scanning technologies that embrace the ‘glitch’ as a means to transform instead of duplicate. The deconstruction and reimagining of this archive has informed the creation of Prof Brownsword’s own pattern book. Elements will be replicated via traditional industrial craft systems through a series of live events.

Master copper plate engraver Paul Holdway who worked for over 40 years at the former Spode factory, has been specially commissioned to engrave one of Prof Brownsword’s adaptations of a Staffordshire Chinoiserie prototype. At the live events, the intimate space where actions that constitute the engraving are performed will be amplified, providing a rare opportunity to observe an industrial craft no longer practiced. Through this process the immediacy of the digital is returned to the slow paced tactile and material interactions of handwork. Alongside this traditional mode of image re-production for ceramic manufacture, various iterations of Prof Brownsword’s pattern book, together with a taxonomy of his original eBay collection will be on display.

Deemed outmoded or economically unviable, much of the traditional know-how retained by a senior generation of industrial artisans in North Staffordshire remains in danger of being lost. South Korea’s safeguarding of intangible heritage associated with its own ceramic history, has ensured that associated skills are maintained for future generations. Prof Brownsword’s practice continues to explore aspects of North Staffordshire’s intangible heritage that remain worthy of comparable status and preservation.Pattern Book, 2018, engraved copper plate by Paul Holdway

Topographies of the Obsolete is an artistic research project funded by the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme initiated by Professors Neil Brownsword and Anne Helen Mydland at Bergen Academy of Art and Design (KHiB), in collaboration with partners in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, France and the UK. The project explores the landscape and associated histories of post-industry, with an initial emphasis on Stoke-on-Trent, a world-renowned ceramics capital that bears evidence of fluctuations in global fortunes. Further details can be found on the Topographies of the Obsolete project website.

Mydland, Anne Helen and Brownsword, Neil (2017) Topographies of the Obsolete: Ashmolean Papers. Topographies of the Obsolete Publications. (In Press)

Mydland, Anne Helen and Brownsword, Neil (2015) Topographies of the Obsolete: Site Reflections. Topographies of the Obsolete Publications. ISBN 978-0-9926931-1-4

Mydland, Anne Helen and Brownsword, Neil (2013) Topographies of the Obsolete: Vociferous Void. Topographies of the Obsolete Publications. ISBN 978-0-9926931-0-7

Mydland, Anne Helen and Brownsword, Neil (2013) Topographies of the Obsolete: Critical Texts. Topographies of the Obsolete Publications. ISBN 978-0-9926931-0-7