Research fellows 2022
Each year our fellowship programme enables artists and researchers to develop their work.
In 2022 our visiting fellows included Anahi Alviso-Marino, Nicola Ellis, Tony Heaton, Christos Kakouros, Laurence Kavanagh, Toni Rutherford, Alina Șerban, Mia Symonds and Stefaan Vervoort.
Mapping Monumental Microhistories of Henry Moore’s Sculptures
The research project Mapping Monumental Microhistories of Henry Moore’s Sculptures explores the movement and peregrinations of sculptural artworks made by Moore in the United Kingdom and currently installed in Saudi Arabia and Iran. It starts with archival material relating to five sculptures created by Moore in the 1960s and 1970s and it will continue by exploring their moving biographic trajectory as they reach Jeddah and Tehran where they are still located. Moore’s sculptures in both Jeddah and Tehran will be studied as part of a larger comparative study of monumental sculptural works made by a myriad of artists at a transregional level across Kuwait City, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah, among other cities.
Anahi Alviso-Marino is a political scientist interested in the sociological lives of objects made by visual artists across cities of the Arabian Peninsula. Her methodological approach intersects social sciences and artistic practices. She has conducted fieldwork in Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, focusing more recently on archives and the study of public monumental artworks. Currently, she is a postdoctoral researcher fellow and co-coordinator at the collective “Penser l’urbain par l’image,” Ecole des Ponts ParisTech/University Gustave Eiffel. She has an MA from Columbia University in New York, BA from Complutense University in Madrid, and a PhD in Political Science at the University Paris 1-Sorbonne and the University of Lausanne. Her forthcoming book focuses on art and politics in Yemen, and she is presently working on a research-creation project dedicated to mapping monument biographies across the Arabian Peninsula.
Artist Research Fellowship
Nicola Ellis’ fellowship focuses on archive material relating to Garth Evans’ artist placement at British Steel Corporation (BSC) 1969-71. The aim of the research is to gain a deeper understanding of the immediate and lasting impact the placement had on Evans’ work and practice.
Careful consideration will be given to ‘context is half the work’ – a concept discussed regularly by the Artist Placement Group (APG) in relation to the approach to placements and their tangible and nontangible results. Researching how the context of the British Steel sites shaped Evans’ practice, how it was manifested in his work and in the documentation of the placement will inform Ellis’ ongoing placement with Ritherdon & Co Ltd – a family-owned manufacturer of steel enclosures based in Darwen, Lancashire.
The historical sounding board of Evans’ placement will enable informed reflection on the body of work produced over the past four years at Ritherdon, along with the next series of sculptural responses and collaborations in the manufacturing context. The research will also inform thinking around a new type of collaboration between the artist and the manufacturer in which the artist’s practice will initiate the production of new powder coating finishes and influence the infrastructure in the factory itself.
Find more information about Nicola’s fellowship proposal and final report here:
In addition to exploring the Evans archive, artist papers and library material, Nicola hosted two study days focused on the Garth Evans BSC fellowship materials which were attended by members of the Incidental Unit (IU) (incidentalunit.org) and other interested parties. The first study day took place online and focused on essays and videos sourced in the Henry Moore Institute’s library during the first week of Nicola’s fellowship and by suggestion from the IU. The second study day was a blended online and in-person event, where attendees could inspect material in the Institute’s archive personally, or access scanned materials shared online. An online discussion was held later in the afternoon.
The experience of researching APG placements can be exponentially accelerated by turning parts of it into a team sport. Nicola would like to thank Marsha Bradfield, Polly Wright, Amanda Loomes, Sara Grisewood, Michele Allen, Emma Dryer, Ester Windsor, Laura Trevail, Ulrike Jordan, Annie Carpenter and Hannah Leighton-Boyce for attending the study days, for sharing their enthusiasm for APG archive material, and their individual insights from their respective practices and placements.
An online archive website was created to hold materials relating to Nicola’s ongoing placement at Ritherdon. This website will be populated and up to date by the end of 2023. Visit the archive here: nicolaellisandritherdon.com
Nicola also reflected on her experiences at Ritherdon since 2018 in a paper, ‘Progress Report framework’. The document is also for use by other artists and practitioners who might find it useful in its current form or amended to suit their requirements. Read the document here: nicolaellisandritherdon.com/view/archive/progress-report-framework
Artist Research Fellowship
Tony Heaton is drawn towards the practice of direct carving and intends to understand much more about its historical aspects and the nature of the breadth of materials used. He is conscious that much current sculptural practice has moved far away from direct carving, and is curious to understand how and why this has occurred and to perhaps discover more about those sculptors who have continued to explore their enthusiasm for a direct engagement with stone. Heaton is also interested in the way sculptors draw, capturing the space between ideas and reality and how this influences their practice.
Tony Heaton OBE is a sculptor, Chair of Shape Arts and Consultant/Advisor to many cultural organisations. He is the initiator of NDACA – the National Disability Arts Collection and Archive. His sculpture, Gold Lamé, occupied The Liverpool Plinth and is currently installed at the Riverside Museum, Glasgow. His ‘Monument to the Unintended Performer’ was installed on the Big 4 at the entrance to Channel 4 TV Centre in celebration of the 2012 Paralympics. His sculpture ‘Squarinthecircle?’ is situated outside the school of architecture, Portsmouth University. Awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, 2013, for services to the arts and disability arts movement and has an Alumni Award from Lancaster University and honorary Doctorates from both the University of Leicester and Buckinghamshire New University.
Artist Research Fellowship
The relationships between artist’s books and sculpture
This research project addresses the relations between artists’ books and sculpture. It explores the key elements that bring an artists’ book together and connections between the form and the narrative frame. Kakouros’ thematic interests for this project include recurring motifs of violence, tenderness, war, destruction, and physical infirmity. He is going to explore the artists’ books at the Sculpture Research Library in Leeds as sculptural depositories for artists’ personal narratives. Based on this exploration, he aims aim to assemble an index of book formats that vary in form and conceptual aspects. This index will not be standard documentation of what the archive contains. On the contrary, the index will be a narrative library of various books in terms of their structural elements, conceptual approaches, and contradictions. Based on my analysis, he will make a self-published edition informed by the research findings. Apart from exploring the topic of trauma, the book that he proposes draws heavily on the concept of creating a new type of archive. Archive as a conceptual catalogue, a space for inquiry and creation, beyond authority and preservational position. The project implies a cyclical method of observing various artists’ works and creating something new as a reflection on their perspective.
Christos Kakouros is an artist working at the crossroads of visual art and literature in a London-based duo called Morley House. He received an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of Cambridge, and graduated with first class honours in his BA at the University of Westminster, where his design work received several awards including the RIBA Journal’s Eye Line Drawing Competition.
Christos spent most of his life at the borders – of cultures, countries, languages. The fascination with liminal states and spaces translates into his central art themes: trauma and healing, violence and communication, unity and isolation. In keeping with his background in design and architecture, Kakouros views his creative process as world-building. He is particularly interested in making artists’ books, while seeing them as vessels, depositories for visions, comprised of textual and physical elements. From charcoal lines and watercolour shapes on paper he moves towards structured and sculptured narratives. Alongside his role at Morley House, Christos is currently an architect at Nex—, where his design work focuses on heritage and museum projects.
Artist Research Fellowship
The Thickness of Surface
How we navigate the world through screens, surface and touch is a major focus for Laurence Kavanagh. His work is often made on site within fixed time frames, ranging from one hour, one day, to one month; he breaks material and surfaces down to reconstruct them into works that exist as both object and image.
His research project, ‘The Thickness of Surface’, sets out to examine the relationship between human touch to haptic images, architectural surfaces and screens; how his practice might exist within and contribute towards a historical response to surfaces at a time of evolution in this field – where these themes have gone from theoretical ideas of our future to a grounded reality for many in a post lockdown world. Covid-related events have highlighted why these tactile visual languages are so important. During his fellowship Kavanagh will develop artworks that are both ‘of’ and ‘on’ photography; pushing the material limits of digital and analogue techniques to better understand his relationship to time, surface, trauma and memory. Kavanagh will look at the work of John Latham, the canvas performances, spray paintings and relationship to ‘Non Moving Movies’ are the areas of Latham’s work that are of specific interest. The Henry Moore Institute holds primary source material of Latham’s in the form of film and printed matter that cannot be accessed elsewhere. In parallel Kavanagh will connect with Flat Time House, London. He will carry out a series of email interviews with specialists in the field of haptics, drawing, sculpture and touch.
Laurence Kavanagh has recently shown work at Parafin Gallery, London (2022) as part of the group show ‘Secret of Lightness’, and pre-covid, as part of the inaugural show at HE:RO gallery, Amsterdam (2018) and notably, in ‘Transmitter/Receiver: The Persistence of Collage’, Hayward Touring Exhibition (2011). Solo shows include Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno (2016); Gallery North, Newcastle (2015); ‘Star and Shadow’, a Catalyst Arts Commission for the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle; Marlborough Contemporary London (2012 and 2015). Residencies at the British School at Rome (2007) and IMMA Dublin (2009) early on enabled Kavanagh to develop a career through a self-sustained studio practice supported by further residencies, awards and prizes (including the V&A Museum residency; Scottish Sculpture Workshop residency, Cocheme Fellowship (University of the Arts London). Kavanagh is a winner of both the Claremorris Open and Oriel Mostyn Prize. In 2014/15 he received a year-long fellowship at Baltic 39 (Baltic Gallery), Newcastle. The direct positive impact of this opportunity made 2014/15/mid 2016 the most immersive and productive period of Kavanagh’s career so far, with two major bodies of work October and March having been realised. Kavanagh’s work is in the Arts Council Collection.
Laurence Kavanagh – “I am interested in surfaces; surfaces of buildings, objects and images that surround us.”
In this film, Kavanagh discusses his research project ‘The Thickness of Surfaces’ which explores the relationship of human touch to haptic images, architectural surfaces and screens. He also explains how our library resources played a crucial role in his research and the development of his new work.
Royal College of Art
A creative family – Exploring the Thornycrofts’ professional networks
The Thornycroft family was one of artists and makers, sharing knowledge from each generation through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Their practices cross materials, disciplines, and genders. By exploring the financial records of the Thornycroft family, held by the Henry Moore Institute Archive of Sculptor’s Papers, we may be able to discover more about the businesses and skilled labourers used in the production of the artworks, examining the changes over time and geographical locations. By comparing these records to the family letters and social networks we can explore if recommendations to business or materials influence the making practices of the artists within the Thornycroft circle, or the Thornycrofts themselves. The outcome of this exploration will be a case-study database and open-source network visualisation that could be used by others exploring the Thornycrofts or wider art historical practices of this period. The hope is to show the changes in material techniques, processes, and technology through the study of three generations of sculptors.
Toni Rutherford is a MA History of Design student at the Royal College of Art, having worked in art and design education for over twelve years. She is the recipient of The Jordan Bequest Scholarship from the Victoria and Albert Museum, which has allowed her to take the next challenging step in her career as a researcher, maker and educator. Rutherford’s research investigates the exchange of information between makers and knowledge networks. Her research explores skills, education, material, and technological exchange in the nineteenth-century making sector, with a specific focus on plaster sculptures.
Scores for Anthropocene: Notation, Movement and Immateriality in Contemporary Sculpture
Alina Șerban’s research starts from a speculative theoretical reconsideration of a series of materials, seen historically as secondary in the work of sculptors, such as drawings, diary notations, scripts, performances, actions, photographs and films, and their potential to rewrite the conventional encounter with sculpture, reconfiguring not just our viewing experience, but also our understanding of the condition of objecthood and its complex interplay with notions such as time, duration, participation, preservation.
Based on a survey into practices from the 1970s to the present, using the Henry Moore Institute Sculpture Research Library, the Archive of Sculptors’ Papers and the Leeds Sculpture Collections, her project will take the form of an exhibition. Indicating a reconceptualization of the ‘coming into existence’ of the sculptural object, these notations suggest that they are not merely supplements of the finished work. These scores project another side of experiencing sculpture, one that is bringing back into discussion a holistic and philosophical apparatus through which sculptors reflect upon the world of Anthropocene.
Alina Șerban is an independent scholar and curator based in Bucharest. Her research is dedicated to post-war Eastern European art read from a transnational and transdisciplinary perspective. She is a core team member of the research project Confrontations: Sessions in East European History led by Maja Fowkes & Reuben Fowkes at the Post-socialist Art Centre (PACT). She is the co-founder of the Institute of the Present, Bucharest.
Artist Research Fellowship
Mia Symonds’ research is engaged with textiles, shelter, and sculpture. Throughout her fellowship, she will be exploring the complex notions of shelter and the roles in which the relational materials of body, cloth, and space act as interconnected and interchanging modes of shelter. Through subjects of the public and the private, material memory and the humanisation of fabric, she interrogates the position of textiles within sculpture and examine the capacity and impact cloth has on physical, emotional, and social human experience. This research project will further interrogate discourses of the embodied being through sculpture and material language.
The roles woven textiles play in our lives are monumental. Cloth, throughout our life becomes a metaphor, for how we feel, how we touch, how we place value, how we express narratives; for how we live in the world and how we form relationships with the materials that which surround us. Yet, when it comes to its material position, it is still generally detached from practices of sculpture. Symonds’ work aims to research fabric in ways which showcase its socially and physically sculptural elements and how, together, this material informs how we engage with our world and with each other.
Whilst engaging with social, bodily, and spatial theories, Mia’s practice situates around the complex and interconnected relationships we have with our everyday fabric. Through a critically, socially and materially engaged approach to research of woven textiles, Mia’s work stems from a formulative interest in the ways in which the ubiquity, commonality and material language of cloth acts as a tool for knowledge exchange and universal understanding of human experience. Her work is rooted in topics of embodiment, material value, and socio-political and emotional discourses situated in and around woven fabric. The multidisciplinary works, and often site-specific, sculptural forms and installations, she produces are offered as a space for re-imagining; for considering the depth of our relationships with cloth and the ontological effects of our engagements with it.
Ghent University /
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
For a More Humane World: Sculpture and Technology in Belgium, 1955-85
The relation between postwar art and technology is widely considered in terms of progress, optimism, and prosperity. This project sets forth to re-examine postwar art and technology in subtler and complex ways. Its ambition is to investigate postwar sculpture in Belgium in its unique engagement with the rise and fall of techno-optimism, starting from Expo ’58, the first World Fair in the postwar era held in Brussels, up until the massive rallies against nuclear arms in Brussels in the early 1980s. Examining artists’ engagements with sculpture’s industrial materials and modes of production, movement and triggering of the senses, seriality and modularity, weight and link to gravity, the project aims to understand how artists in Belgium used sculpture to explore different ways in which technology makes the world more modern and archaic, more enriched and impoverished, and more humane and dehumanized, all at once.
Stefaan Vervoort (b. 1986) is a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University and works as a scientific consultant at Mu.ZEE, Ostend. His research focuses on the interchange of art and architecture, post-war art in Belgium, and sculpture in relation to technology. He is a founding member of the UGent research group KB45 / Art in Belgium since 1945, which aims to write the assorted histories of post-war art in Belgium using fresh methods and perspectives. He is currently reworking his Ph.D., which examined scale models in the 1970s and 1980s visual arts in New York and Düsseldorf, into a book focusing on the art scene in Düsseldorf in the years between 1975 and 1985. His writings have been published in assorted art and architecture magazines, edited volumes, and catalogues.