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I was born in Doncaster and now live in London. Working across and amidst sculpture, moving image, and writing, my work draws from lived experience and stories stolen from eavesdropped conversations, to explore the edges of our everyday realities and the ways in which we construct our identities. Through storytelling and world-building, my work (re)searches for an alternative space beyond aggressively progressive capitalist time, seeking new worlds from the ashes of the present.
As we emerge from a point of crisis seeking new worlds, my work seeks an alternative way of being and of seeing, another way out of crisis. My artworks have been presented at galleries, film festivals, nightclubs, house parties, and academic conferences. My writing has been published in glossy magazines, illicit newsletters, academic journals, and artist publications. I often work collectively with others, and this includes working from within my communities to challenge and question the realities we confront. This has led to projects with neighbours, friends, colleagues and students across differing but mutually implicating social contexts. These projects are supported by a long-term collaborative practice with the artist Sarah Howe.
I joined Kingston School of Art in 2020 as Senior Lecturer in Fine Art. I teach on the BA Fine Art and BA Fine Art and Art History programmes and occasionally contribute to the other programmes across the faculty.
I am a co-lead of the cross-institution research network Material:Pedagogy:Future, and a member of the collective A Particular Reality. The views expressed in my work and public speaking do not reflect those of my employer.
I studied Fine Art at the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and later Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, where I also completed a PGCert in Art and Design Education through the RCA Teaching Fellowship.
Senior Lecturer in Fine Art
I primarily teach on the BA Fine Art programmes and occasionally contribute to other programmes across the faculty. I am joint lead with Alexis Teplin for L5 Fine Art, and module lead for Professional Skills with Morgan Quaintance, a practice-based module that considers the future roles and vocations of our students as artists and arts workers in society, politics, and creative (or not so creative) economies.
My work as an artist/teacher is informed by an understanding that these roles exist as part of an intimately entangled environment of knowledge, intelligence and the senses, that both shape and is shaped by my complicit actions and ideas.
In consolidating the concerns of my work, I bring it into synthesis with studio-based teaching, inviting students to collectively bring our work to bear on the urgent socio-political and ecological challenges we face today. I am interested in developing and participating in communities built on collaborative and non-hierarchical teaching and learning relationships which allow us to co-create active curriculums with our students to confront the most urgent enquiries pushing against the cultures of tomorrow. In doing so we can build communities of practice that hold at their core the values of academic research; that of the urgency of new discovery and its contribution to the future of knowledge.
Having been in advisory roles on tackling racial and gender-based discrimination in higher education, and having previously worked in outreach and widening participation, I have a developed understanding of the barriers to education (acutely so for postgraduate education). As such, I actively seek to establish routes to a change in the culture and towards actionable responses to problematic practice, developing critique into a practice of optimism, action, and change. This is sought through a drive for continual programme development and the engagement of the student body in a process of curriculum review and coordination. This collaborative student/teacher endeavour allows us to find new curricula, methods, and approaches which can unlock the gates of Higher Education and offer significant potential for developing the cultures of teaching and learning.
With a keen interest in encouraging new voices to enter the academy, particularly those from backgrounds that remain demographically underrepresented, I work to create an open model of education and a curriculum that reflects the diversity and richness of wider communities of Art practice. Across institutions and in various roles, I have been focused on designing learning environments, activities and programmes of study that aim to widen participation in contemporary art. Through my work within Higher Education, and with research interests concerning language, gender, and identity I am aware of the underrepresentation of BAME and queer voices in Fine Art Higher Education and work to confront it.
Along with students, staff and alumni from art departments at Kingston, Goldsmiths, and Manchester Metropolitan universities, I am a member of the collective A Particular Reality, which works between our institutions to platform the voices and experiences of those marginalised by these organisations.
As an artist, my work (re)searches for alternatives ways of being and of seeing. My work is often encountered in the form of a provocation. My work is often temporary, yet I care more about tomorrow than I do about today. My work comes in many forms and disguises; it operates in different contexts and situations. I am adaptable. I approach all my work as artwork.
At the foundations of my practice is an investigation of portraiture and self-portraiture that seeks to discover new cartographies of gender, identity, and collecting. Somewhere between the authentic and imaginary, I aim to discover new forms of representation and storytelling; and to work towards the discovery of a new kind of imag(in)ing. Through praxis-based enquiry, practice-as-(re)searching, and collaborative modes of working, my work contributes to artistic enquiries on race and gender, identity and portraiture, and to education and future studies. In all of this work, I give emphasis to questions of materiality, embodiment, and sensuality.
I am a co-lead of the Material:Pedagogy:Future Research Network based between Kingston University, Bath Spa University, and UAL which seeks to critique and develop understanding around the function of the present-day art school in relation to broader emerging social, cultural and economic ecosystems of the future.
I collaborate with colleagues across institutions and disciplinary schools to work towards our collective concerns. Ongoing collaborations include projects with co-conspirators based at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge (UK); Willem de Kooning Academie (NL); University of West England (UK); Manchester Museum, The University of Manchester (UK); Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (AT); and Dundee Contemporary Arts (UK). Between February 2021 and March 2022, I will be the inaugural Blueprints for the Otherwise artist-in-residence at Bloc Projects, Sheffield (UK).
The views expressed in my work and public speaking do not reflect those of my employer.
Chan, JJ, ed. (2019) Momentary Glimpses : An Anthology of Contentedness. London, U.K. : Folium.
Chan, JJ [Speaker], Wong, Sunshine [Speaker] and Teo, Wenny [Moderator] (2021) In Conversation : Blueprints for the Otherwise. In: Asian Art after Quarantine; 11 May 2021, London, U.K. (held online). (Frank Davis Memorial Lecture)
Chan, JJ [Speaker] (2021) Agility and agitation : The Rising Buns. In: Decolonising Research : Kingston University Festival of Research; 22 Mar - 01 Apr 2021, Kingston upon Thames, U.K. (Held online). (Unpublished)