Collapsible spaces: Contemporary drawing practice and evolving places of retreat and refuge in the 21st Century.

AUB is pleased to offer one full-time fully funded studentship and/or part-time fees only bursary for the above PhD opportunity to outstanding applicants seeking to begin a programme of research with AUB in September 2018.

Proposals are invited for a practice-led PhD project that will investigate synergies between contemporary drawing practice and the material and conceptual aspects of places and spaces of retreat and refuge in the 21st century.

The investigation will thus engage with aspects of temporality and permanence, asking how drawing might illuminate, in Noel Arnaud’s words, ‘I am the space where I am’. It will contribute to an evolving research cluster which interrogates aspects of drawing and states of transience.

AUB’s extraordinary CRAB Studio, designed by Professor Sir Peter Cook RA and dedicated to drawing, provides an ongoing platform for a number of investigations currently led by Sian Bowen, Professor of Drawing, under the umbrella title, “Collapsible Spaces: Places of Temporary Refuge, Ritual and Retreat”.

The studentship will not only contribute to these practice-led lines of enquiry but might also engage with other research interests across AUB – which include contested spaces; magic in art; societal responsibility and the memorialisation of the past in relation to the chronicling of change.

The project will expand on themes reflecting the ephemeral in drawing which have been addressed through employment of fugitive materials as in Beuys (Painting Version, 1976), Cage (Wild Edible Drawing, 1990) and Long (Mississippi Mud Drawing, 1992), and through simple manipulation of existing materials as in Creed (Sheet of Paper Folded and Unfolded, 2004).

Its distinctiveness will lie with its investigation of the means through which drawing might engage with and in turn illuminate an understanding of the retreat and/or refuge in our current times – in a global context the temporary residences of disaster zones slowly become permanent homes to tens of thousands of people and dwellings which traditionally housed permanent residents are now inhabited by sections of society in transit.

On the other hand, the investigation might well focus on more conceptual or personal notions of the currency that the words ‘refuge’ and retreat’ hold.

The means to interrogate these themes through a contemporary drawing practice might include some of the following:

  • Dedication of specialist methods and materials to new ways of considering and creating drawings.
  • Investigation of the mutability of temporary spaces through the ‘expanded field’ of drawing.
  • Connection with current debates on how the textual nature of objects can communicate in various ways.
  • Establishment of a distinctive discourse that aims to bridge debates on contemporary drawing and craft skills across different cultural, social and geographical environments.
  • Examination of how drawing research and practice can communicate a state of flux through innovative means.