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Dr Sarah Bennett

Head of School Art and Architecture

About

I joined Kingston University in June 2016 when the new School of Art and Architecture was established, and have since worked with colleagues in our three Departments of: Fine Art; Architecture & Landscape; and Film & Photography, to develop new disciplinary and research synergies within the School, and partnerships external to the School. My own research interests traverse fine art practice, cultural geography, historic buildings, visual anthropology and museology. I employ a range of artistic research methods and material processes including: digital recording and projection; facsimile object making; observational drawing; and embodied actions. Through these I aim to reveal how diverse institutional systems operate, and to question the level of complicity society affords such systems, i.e. how we are implicated in their continuance. At the same time, in my methods of making and installing work, I endeavour to imbue the artwork with an affective 'charge' that may elicit critical, interpretative and associative responses on the part of the audience. Recent artistic research projects have centered on historical and contemporary institutional archives, with specific focus on nineteenth-century psychiatry. My PhD was completed at Plymouth University in 2010, and disclosed new understandings of the workings of a former asylum, now redeveloped as  exclusive housing.

Previous academic leadership positions held include - MA Fine Art Course Director at Exeter School of Art, and Head of Fine Art at Plymouth University where I subsequently became Interim Head of the School of Art and Media before joining Kingston School of Art. I have worked in international HE partnerships with Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, and Transart Institute, NYC. My examiner and adviser roles include Wimbledon College of Art (UAL); Birmingham City University; Gray's School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen; and UWIC. I am a Board member of EQ Arts and have, in that capacity, chaired international Accreditation panels for Vilnius Academy of Arts, Lithuania.

Areas of specialism

  • Contemporary art and mental health
  • Institutional critique
  • Site and context-based art practices
  • Artistic engagement with archives
  • PhD supervision

Qualifications

  • PhD Art and Media, University of Plymouth, 2010
  • BA (Hons) Fine Art, Exeter College of Art and Design, CNAA, 1980
  • Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) 2014

Professional membership

Board Member EQ Arts

Research

Research expertise

  • Affective encounters within the interactive museum experience - in Geographies of Affect and Memory in the Museo Labarotorio Della Mente, Rome
  • Non-representational theory and art practice
  • Entertainment as a therapeutic tool within nineteenth-century psychiatry - Bethlem Archives Project
  • Re-enactment as a performative and embodied method within artistic research
  • Tennyson and madness - Tennyson Archive Project
  • Methods in socially engaged art practice - through Window Sills: Art of Locality

PhD Supervision Completions

2014 Ismail, K Pudu Jail's Graffiti: Beyond the Prison Cells

2015 Baugh, T An Investigation of an Artistic Equivalence of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Publications

Bennett, S (2011) 'Re-enacting Traces: The Historical Building as Container of Memory' In The Journal of Memory Connection (online) - Vol 1, No 1, 'Contained Memory' Published by Massey University and Syracuse University http://www.memoryconnection.org/journals/memory-connection-vol-01/

Bennett, S and Melling, G (2010) 'Window Sills: Art of Locality' in Szijártó Zsolt (ed) Public/Space: Concepts, perspectives and approaches, Budapest: Gondolat

Bennett, S. (2010) 'Re-forming the institution: the wall as memory archive' in Journal of Media Practice Volume 11 Number 3

Bennett, S. (2008) 'Crossing the Line' in Coutts, G and Jokela, T (2008) (Eds) Art, Community and Environment: Educational Perspectives (Readings in Art and Design Education) Bristol: Intellect

Bennett, S. Butler, J. Kirkham, N and Miles, M (2004)'A Comparative Evaluation: Projects in Exeter, Barcelona, London and Tyneside in Miles, M and Hall, T (Eds) Interventions: Art and Urban Futures Vol 4, Portland, USA and Bristol: Intellect

Bennett, S (2000) 'Crossing the Line' in International Journal of Art Education Vol 19 No 3

Bennett, S and Butler J (2000) (Eds) Locality, Regeneration and Diversities, Art and Urban Futures Vol 1, Bristol and Portland, USA: Intellect

Conference/seminar Papers

2015 Creative Partnerships: supporting the Arts Ecology of Plymouth, at HEEG conference, Southampton Solent University 11th and 12th June

2013 Affect and agency in the archived objects of the Museo Laboratorio della Mente, at Museum Futures in an age of Austerity Conference, Art, Design, & Museology Department of Culture, Communication & Media, Institute of Education, University of London, 14th -16th June

2012 Shared Traits in the panel 'Interdisciplinary Geographies: Art, Design and Poetics' at Royal Geographic Society Annual Conference "Security of geography/geography of security" Edinburgh 2nd-5th July

2011 Tracing Absence: between bodies and buildings at American Anthropological Association Annual Conference  'Traces, Tidemarks and Legacies' Montreal 16th -20th November

2011 Fixed: architecture, incompleteness and change, University of Plymouth 7th-8th April 2011

2010: Wall-wounds: the wall as memory archive at Contained Memory Conference, Museum of New Zealand, Wellington 9th -11th December

2010 Dis-placing memory: the wall as memory archive at 'Creativity and Place' Conference (AHRC funded), University of Exeter 23rd - 25th June.

2010 Re-forming the Institution: Re-enactment as an artistic research method in 'Embodied Methodologies' strand at the Association of American Geographers annual conference, Washington DC  13th -18th April

2009 Reforming the Institution: Wall as Memory Archive, Journal of Media Practice Symposium 'Mediating Memory', University of Sussex 13th July

2006 The Importance of Names: an analysis of changing nomenclature in two former asylums at Connections No.5: An Interdisciplinary Conference of Research Students, University of Bristol February 16th -17th

Research projects/exhibitions

2017 Safe-keeping (Custodia) curated by at Museo Laboratorio della Mente, in Montefiascone, Italy  September 9th - 16th

2014 Safe-keeping (Custodia) at Museo Laboratorio della Mente, Rome October 31st- 30th Nov (group).

2012 Institutional Traits Series 1 and 2, installation at the former Exeter College of Art and Design building in Exeter as part of 'Revisions and Propositions'

2012 Geographies of Memory and Affect: international collaborative and interdisciplinary project at the Museo Laboratorio della Mente, Rome

2010 Re-formations Reg Vardy Gallery, University of Sunderland 11th nov-10th Dec (solo)

2010 Spaces Inbetween, Concent Art, Berlin (group)

2000 Window Sills: Art of Locality funded by Regional Arts Lottery Fund (research project)

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