Collaborations, education & research

= Founder of Colour/”Chroma” project: developing and delivering workshops and events on colour and sensory perception.


Colour/ “Chroma” is an ongoing project which seeks to work with students, scientists and arts practitioners to explore the role of colour in sensory experience.

The project is inspired by Derek Jarman’s text Chroma: A Book of Colour – June ’93, a text responding to the author’s encroaching blindness due to AIDS related complications. A painter, film maker, writer and gay rights activist, Jarman’s exploration of colour touches upon history, literature, philosophy, psychology, religion, science, art, and personal memory. Diagnosed as HIV+ in 1986, Chroma was one of his last projects prior to his death in 1994.

There are three key strands to the Colour/”Chroma” project: the first, is to engage a wider audience with the themes and concepts of Art History and Visual Studies; the second, is to further explore the relationship between arts and science; and the third (via the other two strands) is to open up conversations about our understanding and perception of sensory impairment.

In Memory of “Chroma” performance is an science-arts collaboration with Dr Frank Mair (Chemistry), exploring the role of colour within science and visual art. Through live chemical experiments by Dr Frank Mair and a narrative of art, history, memory and science from Jenna Carine Ashton, the performance invites an audience to revisit, and remember “Chroma”.

[Performed 19 November 2011, The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, and at the  Manchester Science Festival, 26 Oct 2013]

= Teaching & Research project with Sheila Fidler in the Dept. of Human Communication and Deafness.

Ear on the Beach

A collaboration with Sheila Fidler on joint teaching for the first year Healthcare Science programme for Audiology students (The University of Manchester); the project looks at the interaction between the senses, narratives of deafness, and the relationship to the visual.

This project will challenge first year BSc Healthcare Science (Audiology) students to consider what hearing and sensory perception means to them, before they are asked to consider the impact of aging, trauma or disease on the auditory system.

By exploring how students value and use this primary sense, we hope the importance of hearing becomes evident and students recognise its significant contribution to their quality of life and conscious perception of the world in which they live.

The traditional focus to the teaching of Audiology has a strong emphasis on the diagnostic and management of hearing loss, with no attention being given to wonders of the sense of hearing itself. This project aims to contest the traditional pedagogic approaches to the teaching of this discipline.

The outcome of this work will contribute to the modernisation of attitudes towards deafness, by providing audiology students with the opportunity to understand and respect the purpose of their own hearing, instead of taking it for granted. By instilling this appreciation in our students, the impact of hearing loss can be situated in something they can now relate to. Consequently, they can begin to understand the magnitude of the impact deafness can have on people’s lives.

It is hoped that the impact on the quality of Adult Aural Rehabilitation Services, delivered by these future healthcare professionals, will be enhanced by this more insightful knowledge and understanding.

= Whitworth Art Gallery Dig: Creative Interpretations


Working at Lead Arts Practitioner with Depts. Archaeology and Creative Writing to develop and deliver a series of workshops entitled “postcard art” responding to the Park’s postcard archive and collections of found objects. More info here:

= Researcher in Residence, project Archive Interventions 2012-2013 {AHVS Slide Collection, artsmethods and The John Rylands Library}

Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, Ill Humoured Man (c.1770)

For the academic year 2012-2013 I acted as the first Researcher in Residence with artsmethods@manchester and The John Rylands Library on a project entitled Archive Interventions, working with the extensive but seemingly obsolete Art History and Visual Studies Slide Collection and Rylands’ Photographic archive.

Events included:

  • AHVS Undergrad workshop 14 November 2012, 2pm: Students introduced to the Art History slide collection and the issues concerning its preservation and its use within teaching. Students will be handling the slides and will engage in a group discussion/ debate about the contents and future of the collection.
  • Artsmethods workshop 26 November 2012, 2-4pm: What is an archive? Why are archives important for teaching and research? How can they be made more accessible, visible, and useable? As with all large bodies of collated material, there are conflicting perspectives on the uses and preservation of archives and collections. Responding to these questions and concerns, the workshop explores the creative and academic ‘archive interventions’ of researchers, artists and writers – considering how film, photography, writing, and public engagement and education programmes open up archives and highlight issues surrounding ‘access’.
  • “Photographic Archives, Technologies, and Methods of Recording”, 20 Feb 2013: A day workshop at The John Rylands Library, organised with Stella Halkyard, exploring the status and uses of photographic archives, collections, and technologies. Talks through the day examined how photographic technologies are viewed as artworks or research objects in themselves, and how methods of photographic recording are being used to bring to life or to critically engage with other existing archives.


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