Material Witness

Material Witness Blog

Material Witness is an interdisciplinary training programme for the interrogation of physical objects in the digital age.

The prevalence of digital images both online and in exhibition and museum spaces has resulted in the dematerialised object becoming increasingly ubiquitous. Interest in physical artefacts has intensified as a result, both within the academy and across the public sphere. Material Witness acknowledges the centrality of objects across the humanities and offers innovative and cutting-edge training to emerging scholars in a broad range of theoretical and practical methods for interpreting physical objects. A central theme of Material Witness is the mutually enriching relationship between the digital artefact and the ‘real thing’.

Material Witness will provide training for PhD students in techniques and methods for examining the material world. It aims to encourage researchers who come from different disciplines and backgrounds and who study diverse time periods, pre-modern and modern, to share ideas about the relationships between materials and meaning. The programme also promotes collaboration across (and beyond) the spectrum of humanities disciplines through the study of materiality.

The programme will take the form of day-long (11am-5pm) events for 12-15 participants which will take place during the Spring and Summer terms, with a concluding event at the Art Workers’ Guild designed to showcase skills learnt during the programme.

3-4 October 2019 - Intaglio Printmaking Workshop at Black Pig Printmaking

Frome, Somerset

For the two days of the Black Pig Printmaking workshop, we will be making a black and white linocut. The principle of all relief printing is the same: the removal of material from the matrix produces the white tones of the image. It's one thing to study a print for its meaning and context but something else altogether to actually make a print. Some sort of magical intervention seems to happen between the carving of the block and  the end result. The wonder of this process, the mediated image, never leaves those who have been making relief prints for most of their lives: it's exhilarating and can be highly addictive.

Black Pig Printmaking Studio is a purpose-built space dedicated to all relief and intaglio techniques including, unusually, wood engraving. It was finished in summer 2015 and has been busy from the start. In 2017 Chris Pig was invited by Bethan Stevens of Sussex University to contribute to the Dalziel Project as a prominent wood engraver. The Dalziel project focusses on the prodigious output of the Victorian engraving company headed by the Dalziel brothers; over the fifty plus years they were in business they produced over 54,000 engravings. As a result of this Pig realised a long-held ambition to bring academics and printmaking practitioners together under the working title "Theory and Practice". It has been a success, informing artist-printmakers of their history and heritage and giving academics a better understanding of the making process. The workshop will be led by Chris Pig and Amy Jeffs.

Chris Pig has been an artist-printmaker for 40 years. After studying for his MA in Barcelona and Winchester he was principal lecturer in printmaking at City and Islington College for seven years. He left to set up his own studio in Córdoba where he lived for six years before returning to London and working at East London Printmakers. He now lives in Frome with his family where he is director of Black Pig Printmaking Studio.

Amy Jeffs recently submitted her PhD in Art History to the University of Cambridge and holds an MA from the Courtauld. Her research focuses on illustrated medieval manuscripts containing the Brut narrative (the deep history of Britain). Towards the end of her PhD, she began depicting episodes from Brut histories in linocut. Amy works from the Black Pig Printmaking Studio and is currently producing a series of illustrated articles on the theme of Britain’s legendary topography. 

SIX PLACES (to include the workshop, dinner and overnight accommodation in Frome) ARE AVAILABLE - SIGN UP BELOW ASAP

The sessions are open to:

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  • By registering below, you are requesting a place on this training programme or selected sessions that form part of the programme. A member of the CHASE team or the workshop leader will contact you in due course to confirm that a place has been allocated to you.

  • If you are allocated a place but can no longer attend, please email so that your place can be reallocated. CHASE training is free to attend and events are often oversubscribed with a waiting list. Failure to notify us of non-attendance in good time (ideally 5 days prior to the workshop/programme) means your place cannot be reallocated and may result in your access to future CHASE training being restricted.

Material Witness Blogposts (from previous years)