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Art, Architecture & Design Good News

The latest Good News from the School of Art, Architecture & Design


Designing for energy

Senior Lecturer and Global Engagement Champion for the School of Art, Architecture and Design Dr Anne Schiffer has had an eventful few months and had a lot of success with her research into applying design thinking to producing better energy solutions.

In August, she co-organised two sessions and presented her research around The Gambia at the 2018 RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Cardiff, and has been awarded funding through the prestigious BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants for her project ‘Co-designing Kartong energy futures’, which will enable her to continue this research. Dr Schiffer also presented research at the Fourth Energy and Society Conference: energy transitions in a divided world, University of Exeter and at the Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos Conference, Zhoushan, China. Lastly, as part of an ongoing collaboration with Eden Project Communities, Dr Schiffer facilitated a free workshop for members of the public on ‘Applying design thinking to social change’ in the University’s Product Design Studio.

Eden Project Communities Workshop - 'Applying design thinking to social change'

Sewing Borders

Senior Lecturer Dr Mohamad Hafeda’s film ‘Sewing Borders’ continues to garner positive attention and was invited to be shown at the Queer Lisboa International Film Festival. In September, Mohamad was also asked to participate in a talk at the Border Studies Network Workshop, DePauw University, Indiana, USA and presented a paper at The City (Re) Shaped:Exploring the Nexus between Politics, Memory and Urbanism in the Built Environment conference at the University of Leeds.

Sewing Borders


Audio art

Lecturer and practicing artist Dr Alan Dunn has been making some noise in the world where art and sound combine.

Along with Senior Lecturer Martyn Rainford, Dr Dunn recently collaborated with BasementArtsProject, Shimmer Twin (Echo & The Bunnymen) and JRM, Paris on ‘Everybody, Look Surprised!’, the 10th and final iteration of an ongoing sound art project, and premiered their vinyl dubplate, pressed by MAP Charity, Leeds, at an abandoned Paris railtrack. He also took part in a collaboration with Canadian poet and artist Derek Beaulieu on ‘(drowned out by traffic noise): a, A Novel’, a limited edition CD inspired by Beaulieu’s ‘a, A novel’, facilitated by Director of Research Dr Simon Morris.

Everybody, look surprised!

Alan has worked with Paul Ratcliff, a Principal Lecturer from the School of Film, Music & Performing Arts, on ‘Mill Workers’, a new soundwork presented at Sunny Bank Mills Archive for the 1,200 people attending their three-day Heritage Open Days. Alan and Paul also contributed to a major new audio work ‘Reflect Your Futures’ by BLOORT which premiered at the BLAUES RAUSCHEN (Blue Noise) Electronic Music Sound Experiments Festival in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. They have made new recordings and curated audio material for the collaged work that considers the decline of coal mining across Europe, including collaborations with The National Mining Museum, North East singer-songwriters Ribbon Road, recent MA Art & Design graduate Naomi Gilby and artists’ group Foreign Investment.

Reflect Your Future

Landscape architecture field trips

In the last month, first year landscape Architecture students have been out and about observing the local landscape through observational sketching as part of their first module. Observational sketching trips have included drawing along the river, within the Victorian arcades and alleyways of Leeds city centre. They then moved out to the urban fringe of Meanwood Park, a local woodland on the outskirts of Leeds, which forms part of Meanwood Valley Way, which links to the Dales Way walking route to Ilkley.  This was followed by a trip to a local world Heritage site of Saltaire including visiting an exhibition ‘The arrival of Spring’ by David Hockney at Salts Mill. A three-day field Trip to Robin Hoods Bay immersed them in a coastal landscape drawing serial vision through the beach, town and cliffs of the bay. Observing the layers of culture, nature and processes that make up the landscape. The students then focused on drawing for design by learning orthographic projection in a series of drawing workshops at the Landscape Resource Centre, our experimental gardens within the Headingley campus of the University.

(L to R): Meanwood Park,Robin Hood's Bay, 'The arrival of Spring' by David Hockney at Salts Mill

Second year students enjoyed a field trip to the Lake District to explore large scale rural landscapes at the beginning of this semester.  Fieldwork explored ways to identify, record and articulate the character of a place using professional Landscape Character Assessment techniques.  The key characteristics of the iconic limestone landscape of Malham Cove, visited on route, was recorded on site and compared to the complex volcanic landscape of the southern lakes. The trip provided the opportunity to engage with leading specialists in the field of forestry design including Professor Alan Simson and Landscape Advisor at the Forestry Commission and Leeds Beckett alumni Richard Hellier. They discussed the current initiatives to encourage re-afforestation of our rural landscapes, traditional approaches to tree planting and how the greater diversity of uses anticipated will affect the approach to the design of these large scale landscapes in the future. Whilst visiting the dramatic Castlerigg Neolithic stone circle, exchange student Tori Fields commented that she was inspired by the immersive experience that the trip provided, enabling her to fully engage with the landscape and that she was ‘blown away’ by the scenery and cultural features in the landscape that the trip had revealed.

(L to R): Malham Cove, Torver Common and Castlerigg

Architectural technology in the city

Architecture students were treated to tours around some of Leeds’ most interesting construction sites in the week commencing 15 October. Lectures in the Technology modules for all year groups of the undergraduate BA (Hons) and postgraduate Master of Architecture were moved into the city with seven construction sites of differing scales, technical approaches and level of completion opening their doors to provide a fantastic hands on learning experience.

Students enjoyed guided tours of The Majestic, Leeds Arts University, Leeds University’s Newlyn Building, 33 Wellington St, Spenfield Court, Symonds House Student Accommodation and the West Yorkshire Playhouse renovation. Special thanks are extended to all collaborators including Sir Robert McAlpine Construction, DLA Design, DLG Architects, Evora Construction, RG Group, BAM Construction and Actavo Construction.

Architecture students visiting several sites throughout the city

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