PhD conference with The MAC, Belfast

Found image, The Newbridge Project studios, Newcastle, June 2019


Conference: Thinking as Praxis in a Radically Altered World 

Date: Thursday 10 June 2021, 11am – 5pm

Location: Watch online (event link to follow)

Free, all welcome

The MAC is delighted to present this online knowledge-sharing event led by seven final-year PhD researchers at Belfast School of Art: Emma Campbell, Alessia Cargnelli, Niamh McConaghy, Jane Morrow, Jingshu Tang, Sarah Tehan and Jan Uprichard. 

This event, conceived amidst a radically-altered culture for research and practice, shares researchers’ timely research contributions and their elaborate survival skills in the context of a changing city and evolving sets of values. The event will feature a series of talks, discussions, performances, films and participatory sessions around a number of key themes. These include: 

  • the intersections of art and activism, reflecting on current and historical social justice issues globally, and on the island of Ireland, including theoretical and practical reflections on collective action, cultural memory and reform around gender, healthcare, race and representation 
  • the mapping, monitoring and articulation of embodied sensation, ranging from chronic pain to sensory perception, reflective of internal (physical) and external (social/cultural/medical/geographical) interpretations
  • …and reflections on the places/spaces in which urban populations live, work and play; from accessibility for aging demographics to cultural provision/infrastructure. 

MACtivate is a programme of innovative engagement, participation and creative development opportunities with a range of associate partners, including Action Mental Health, Alliance for Choice, Extern, Participation and Practice of Rights and The Rainbow Project. In 2020, The MAC exhibited the work of graduating students at degree and postgraduate level from Belfast School of Art. This research-sharing event led by PhD candidates is an extension of our commitment to supporting art and design students from Ulster University.


I have invited speaker Benedetta D’Ettorre to join me for the conference. Benedetta is a PhD researcher, and a freelance curator/organiser, currently supporting individual artists’ development, communication strategy and bid writing. Her collaborative PhD, between the University of Leeds and East Street Arts, engages with the themes and aims of Guild, a four year project (2018–2022) led by East Street Arts and conducted with significant national and international partners, funded through Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.

Guild is focused on developing sustainable artists’ spaces, and examining their value and impact on the national cultural landscape. Guild will support the growth of innovative operating models for artists and art spaces by providing learning programmes that are embedded within localities. Benedetta’s research looks at how organisational structures can support the sustainability and development of artists’ groups.