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Contemporary Feminine Aesthetics After Postfeminism

My research investigates the relationship between 1990s-early 2000s postfeminist discourses of empowerment and constructions of female subjectivity in contemporary fictional genres aimed at women and girls. First, I explore the loss, disillusionment and failure that permeates narratives such as Girls (Dunham 2012–2017), which focuses on women in their late twenties whose embodiment of freedom through their spending power, unlimited choice of consumer products and performance of an “up for it” sexuality has not produced the anticipated happiness or self-fulfilment. Second, I focus on girlhood coming-of-age narratives like The Hunger Games (Collins 2008–2010), which are increasingly producing young femininity using the language and aesthetics of resilience, constructing girls as capable of overcoming and adapting to bleak and unforgiving social conditions. An acute disconnect exists between the media-reported failures of an older millennial generation to adapt to social circumstances radically altered by the 2008 global and financial crisis, and the fictional successes of girls constructed as capable of overcoming much harsher obstacles. Therefore, the primary aim of the thesis is to better understand the impact of postfeminist empowerment discourse on women whose coming of age coincided with the height of its cultural ubiquity, and to explore the continuing postfeminist legacy in girlhood coming-of-age genres. To do this, I focus on the shifting affective registers of postfeminist culture and the role feelings and emotions play in constituting female subjectivity.

Meanwhile/Becoming: A Postphenomenological Position Exploring Vision and Visuality in Landscape Photography

Meanwhile/Becoming is a practice-led research project that investigates methods of creating photographs that do not conform to the Cartesian perspective prevalent in photographs taken with a standard format camera. The research explores the opportunity of examining a visual space other than that offered by the standard single lens reflex camera through manipulation of the pinhole camera. It uses processes that produce what the research describes as a reinterpretation of phenomenology, postphenomenology and posthumanism through photographic practice; where the photographs are expressive of the what and how humans see and the lived experience of the situated perspectives of a specific space.

The Multimodal book as organism, artefact and assemblage: non-human agency in processes of growing and making.

This practice-based research diffracts the hierarchical dominance of humans over nature by considering non-human agency in the processes of growing and making. The ‘multimodal book’, conceived as an investigative practice which includes the maker and reader, and also an assemblage of works which come together in an exhibition, is developed to examine and articulate human-non-human relationships. Haptic and temporal aspects of the book are explored alongside growing plants to set up a dynamic interplay between concepts of organism and artefact and to interrogate non-human agency in the processes of growing and making.

Objects of Delight: The Nineteen Century Mass-Produced Miniature

My research explores the phenomenon of miniaturisation, as reflected by the global trade and consumption of mass-produced miniatures, and what it reveals about the nineteenth century people who delighted in, desired, acquired, displayed, collected and discarded them.

Conferred 2017

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