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Art and Science Collaboration / Repetition in the process of Art Practice

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20032021

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Personal profile

Biography

Dr Jill Townsley is seconded to the new, Centre for Biomimetic Societal Futures (CBSF) as artist in residence, and is a member of the centre’s management committee under lead researcher, Professor Towns-Andrews OBE. This is the first truly cross departmental Research Centre, drawing on expertise from all the schools at the University of Huddersfield. Jill is working to instigate collaborative projects with colleagues across disciplines, around the theme of biomimetics in society.

Her large installations and sculptures, supported by (photography, video, drawing etc.) and text explore questions such as: What influences do our culturally agreed procedural systems have on the way we construct or deconstruct our world? More concisely, the work points towards the gap between human processes (systems of research, innovation, and culture), and the tangible impact of those systems on the world around us, including the difficult space between human processes and natures ecology. This work is especially important today, as we hand over many social and cultural systems to machines, who are much more successful at draconianly applying a process, and then repeating it.

Working as an artist within the CBSF she draws experience from her role as an ‘Artist Expert’ at the European Commission since 2018, and as artist in residence at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Italy (2019 and 2021). The JRC is a community of researchers appointed to advise EU commission policy.

Throughout 2021 Jill was commissioned by SciArt project at the JRC, to further her ongoing collaboration with Nicole Dewandre, scientist and political advisor, currently serving in the European Commission cabinet to the Director General. They consider the term "transformative literacy’, the emerging work aims to tread a creative path between the polarized states of ecological catastrophe and denial, by harnessing the energy of "now", through present curiosity and cooperation, as viewers gather to observe an ever changing publicly authored sculpture.

Previously Jill has developed work for the EU funded ‘Resonance III’ 2019. The theme for the festival was Big Data, she collaborated with the JRC researcher in computer systems and security Carlo Ferigato, on a project called FOREVER-DO. This multi-faceted project  utilised research on data visualisation and Petri Net systems and has resulted in a socially relational game the FOREVER-DO Game, which was also presented at the Milan Digital Week in March 2019. It was further developed as the FOREVER-DO Game 2, for presentation at the JRC in October 2019 and incorporated digital tracking and visualisation alongside the analogue game. A large-scale installation the FOREVER-DO Infestation, was also presented at the Resonance III festival and a short documentary film The FOREVER-DO Project, was shown at the BOZAR(LAB) in Brussels in 2019-20.

Jill was awarded the ‘Juried Press Award’ for work exhibited in the ‘7th International Arte Laguna Prize’ held at the Venice Arsenale, Italy (2013). She was represented by Project 4 Gallery in Washington DC, and has had her work reviewed in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Independent and the art Journal ‘Artfractures’. She studied Sculpture at the Royal College of Art and has a practice-based PhD in Fine Art from Liverpool University, for which she received a Gladstone Fellowship from the University of Chester. She has taught art practice for 27 years and has been a senior lecturer at the University of Huddersfield since 2009, after moving from Winchester School of Art, Southampton University .

She has exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Project 4 Gallery in Washington DC, USA, The Nunnery Gallery, London, University Gallery Hertfordshire,  Huddersfield Art Gallery. Her work has also been exhibited in seminal group exhibitions such as ‘Second Lives – Remixing the Ordinary’, (2008 – 09) at the Museum of Art and Design in New York, exhibiting alongside artists including Ai Weiwei, Cornelia Parker and Do Ho Suh. She has had work commissioned by the Towner Gallery for the exhibition ‘Compulsive, Obsessive, Repetitive’ (2011) and by the international architects firm Gensler for the offices of Clifford Chance in Washington DC. Jill has had an essay published in an Arts Council funded book 100 Things Not Worth Repeating: On Repetition (2011) edited by Marianne Holm Hansen and published by Lemon Melon, and conference publications in Brazil and Portugal. A book chapter ‘The FOREVER-DO Game: A big data fishing expedition’ authored with her scientific collaborator Carlo Ferigato was published in the Springer book “Technology, Design and the Arts – Challenges and Opportunities” (eds. Earnshaw R.A. Liggett S. Excell P.S. and Thalmann D) in 2020.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Art and Science collaborations
  • Repetition embedded within the process of art production
  • Contemporary Sculptural practice

Research Degree Supervision

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External positions

SciArt Artist in residence, European Commission, Joint Research Centre - Italy

1 Jan 202131 Dec 2021

SciArt Artist in Residence, European Commission Joint Research Centre - Italy

1 Jan 20191 Dec 2019

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