Session Two: Storytelling; object, image, words

Huge thanks to all participants in our second re_fabricate session yesterday (and particularly to Joe Kerr, Gabrielle Stevenson and Libby Vale, our co-presenters)

This was an exciting session, which included walking out into Hereford, creating our ideal transdisciplinary studios, learning about De Certeau’s narrative theory, engaging in some active note-taking to draw theory and practice together, hearing the critical voice of crafts with Libby Vale’s quilt, and curating our  museum of unfinished curiosities.

The session unfolded as follows:

Creating our ideal transdisciplinary studio

Images of the posters we created below:

Walking Storytelling

Led by Joe Kerr, this was an amazing experience. We learned live about the eclectic nature of our building here at Hereford College of Arts, the different styles of architecture within the building, from tiles to bricks (and what they say about the society of Hereford and the architect). We walked on a short trip around the college environs, studying social housing, and discovering Hereford’s very own Garden City, less than 500 yards from College. We all loved this walking part of the session.

The image below was taken just before we set out:


Now I have my work cut out if we are going to all visit Kington by bus…which really would be amazing.

Joe also led a teaser for a second session, but we’ve saved this for next week (one thing that I am quickly realising is that we have more than enough content for these – and if we are successful in launching the second iteration of this pilot, then we need to allow more time – and perhaps theme over a month, with two-hour sessions).

3. Curating the Museum of Unfinished Curiosities

We quickly launched into the second half of the session by curating a ‘museum of curiosities’ – creative work or objects that we were intrigued by. This is an ongoing work in progress (currently in my office) and we can add to it through the weeks of Re_fabricate.

4. Gabrielle Stevenson at the edge of practice exploring  De Certeau’s ideas

Here is a further place where theory and practice met. Gabrielle took us through some of De Certeau’s thoughts on the landscape of theory and practice and his notion of a ‘third man’ which is a kind of theory-in-practice. De Certeau’s arguments around how we have created false binaries (tacit/articulate; theory/practice; unconscious/conscious) are hugely relevant today, and Gabrielle’s own theory – that the ‘third man’ is a storyteller, something very exciting for us all to hear about.

It’s lovely to work with an illustrator/theorist who crosses boundaries in this way and we’re so lucky that Gabrielle wants to be part of our creative community (we’re planning some surrealist game sessions post-re_fabricate)

5. Libby Vale:  textiles as critical political voice  and call to arms

Huge thanks to Libby for sharing her stories, music and ideas with us, and for bringing in her amazing quilt, which uses nursery rhyme and embroidery to transform a domestic object that usually signifies ‘safety’ into a challenge for society to hear the story of migrant prostitution.

What struck me particularly here is how well the quilt made a strong, unequivocal political message. When we think of ‘research’ we often think of papers or conferences – but this quilt embodied research in a way that communicated Libby’s ideas to a broad audience in a very emotive way.

Thank-you all for such lovely feedback, too – I agree so much with one comment that said:

Really enjoyed the practical/theoretical overlap today – the walking, talking, narratives, texts and quilts that sparked some great feminist/global issues and conversation. Great contributions.

That was exactly what Victoria and I were hoping for (although we do need to work on timing and not trying to cram too much in!)

Leaving us for next week with three questions about Joe’s textile:

1. What material is it made of?
2. What date do you think it was made?
3. What status do you think the woman who wore it had?

See you all, and some others, next week!

Sarah (Storify of session below)

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