Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

LU Arts

Questions of Value

Overview / Maria Pask / Marianne Heier / Symposium

 Sculpture FG1.CD67 c.1977.jpg

Department of Creative Design, Loughborough College of Education, 1977 (Archive

Making Something from Nothing

Friday March 7,  11-5pm

LUA Project Space, Edward Barnsley Building, Loughborough University

£10 (to include lunch and all refreshments) To book, go to the Online Store

Jess Baines, Andrea Büttner, Maria Pask, Ciara Phillips, Jenny Richards (Manual Labours) , Assunta Ruocco and Marina Vishmidt

This symposium wants to address how some recent artistic practices seem to be interested in interrogating the nature of labour, and artistic labour in particular, placing certain activities, such as printmaking and ceramics for example, in proximity to those Marx would have spoken of as 'reproductive labour', and also to what more recently has also been defined as 'affective' labour.

The title is borrowed from Lucy Lippard’s famous text ‘Making Something from Nothing’ (1978), in which Lippard was attempting an articulation of the contradictions arising with more women emerging in the art scene, between their artistic labour and the reproductive labour they performed in the home, connecting their artistic activities to traditional making activities not part of high-art or culture.

We are wondering if today, with the de-skilling, precarization and ‘feminisation’ of labour in post-Fordism, artists are starting to look at the question of reproduction in relation to making afresh. Print and pottery have been engaged with, in recent times, by artists interested in critiquing value production within the art system or involved in participatory and community-based work. We are keen to raise questions about the status of the objects generated through these activities. 

The symposium is part of a programme of activity organised by Loughborough School of the Arts' Politicized Practice Research Group around the theme of value and a related series of commissions by Radar.

The symposium takes place on the day before International Women’s Day. www.internationalwomensday.com

Jess Baines is joint Course Leader for BA (Hons) Design Cultures at London College of Communication. Her research interests are currently concerned with the relationships between aesthetics, politics, technology and organisation.

Jess's career spans involvement in design and print co-operatives, working in ceramics studios, including running a project for mental health service users, freelance design and Contextual & Theoretical Studies teaching. She studied Ceramics (BA) at Camberwell School of Art and 20th Century Art History & Theory (MA) at Goldsmiths College.

Jess is currently pursuing a PhD at  London School of Economics (LSE)  on the history of late twentieth century radical printing workshops in order to produce a book on the subject. She has published and presented papers on the subject at conferences in both the UK and Europe. She has also given talks at various other events including: INK NOW! Posters, Collectives & Art, Community Matters (PARC), Politics and the Power of Print, Brixton Calling, Alternative Press Fair, Adhocracy! and Zinefest.

Andrea Büttner was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1972 and studied art, art history and philosophy. In 2010, she completed a PhD on shame and art at the Royal College of Art, London. Recent solo exhibitions include the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes and MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt. She is a recipient of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women and participated in Documenta 13 and the 29th Bienal de São Paulo. She teaches at the Academy  of Fine Arts, Mainz and lives and works in London and Frankfurt.

Maria Pask is an Amsterdam-based artist whose performance and installation works interpret the nature of collective creativity, empowerment and the live moment. Working with open formats and social structures, her works have been described as a “cocktail of social commentary, political doctrine, ecological soundings, philosophy, feminism, body politics and religion” (Michael Stanley). She has performed and exhibited internationally at, among others, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford; Athens Biennale, Greece; White Columns, New York City; W139, Amsterdam; Münster Sculpture Project, Germany; If I Can’t Dance I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution, Amsterdam; Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany; BAK, Utrecht; De Appel, Amsterdam and Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana. She is represented by Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam.

Ciara Phillips is a Canadian/Irish artist based in Glasgow who employs screenprinting, textile techniques and wall painting to create context-specific installations. Exploring the languages of material, method and process in relation to forms of written and visual language, Ciara works individually and collaboratively to realize her projects. She studied Fine Art at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario (BFA '00) and at the Glasgow School of Art (MFA '04).

Recent exhibitions include: Workshop (2010 - ongoing), The Showroom, London; There Should Be New Rules Next Week, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee (2013); And more, Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2013); The Souls: A Twice-Told Tale, CEAAC (European Centre for Contemporary Art Projects), Strasbourg (2013); Slippery under pressure, OUTPOST, Norwich (2012); Pull Everything Out, with Corita Kent at Spike Island, Bristol (2012); Start with a practical idea, Gregor Staiger, Zürich (2012); The only rule is work, Kendall Koppe, Glasgow (2011); Springtime will never be the same, Deuxieme Bureau/Galerie Parisa Kind, Frankfurt (2011) and Zwischenraum: Space Between, Der Kunstverein, Hamburg (2010).

Jenny Richards' research, writing and projects focus on the politics of collaborative practices. She has developed a number of projects and texts that through this frame address issues of labour, the commons and gender including ‘Manual Labours’ a collaborative research project with Sophie Hope, ‘Improvised’ a project and publication with Goldsmiths University and ‘We Build Families: The aesthetics of Domestic Labour - Critical Cities Vol. 4’ - a text written with Marrissa Begonia and Louise Shelley on the work of campaign group Justice for Domestic Workers. In 2012 Jenny completed an MA in Art and Politics from Goldsmiths University. Prior to this she has worked as Programme Manager of the Collective Gallery in Edinburgh, working with artists and audiences on long-term projects of mutual interest including Jesse Jones (Against the Realm of the Absolute), Tessa Lynch (Alexandrite) and Aleksandra Mir (The How Not to Cookbook). Current work includes a post-graduate research project with Curatorlab, Konstfack, Stockholm. Jenny continues to work with artist-run cooperative Cubitt Gallery, London where she was Gallery Manager in 2013.

‘Manual Labours’ is a long term research project exploring people’s physical relationships to work, initiated by Jenny Richards and Sophie Hope. This project reconsiders current time-based structures of work (when does work start and end?) and reasserts the significance of the physical (manual) aspect of immaterial, affective and emotional labour. ‘Manual Labours’ started with a 35 hour ‘working week’-long investigation into the embodied, sensory, emotional affects of work. Research included a 9 mile walk to work, meetings with our co-workers, film screenings and eating together during a Public Lunch Hour. In Autumn 2013 we launched the first publication - the 'Manual Labours Manual' which can be downloaded from our website and held reading sessions in different sites of work led by artist, researchers and those working in the care and education sectors.


Marina Vishmidt is a London-based writer occupied mainly with questions around art, labour and the value-form. She holds an MA from the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy and has just completed a PhD at Queen Mary, University of London on "Speculation as a Mode of Production in Art and Capital". Vishmidt co-edited Uncorporate Identity (Lars Muller, 2010) with Metahaven, and Media Mutandis: Art, Technologies and Politics (NODE. London, 2006), and contributes to catalogues, edited collections and journals such as Mute, Afterall, Parkett and Texte zur Kunst. She has worked with artists including Ruth Buchanan, Chris Evans, W.A.G.E., Haegue Yang and Grace Schwindt. She also takes part in the group projects Full Unemployment Cinema and Cinenova. She is currently writing a book with Kerstin Stakemeier on the politics of autonomy and reproduction in art (Hamburg: Textem, forthcoming).


Loughborough University Arts

Edward Barnsley Building

Loughborough University

Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK


01509 222 881