Beverly Ayling-Smith PhD 2017

Title: The Space Between Mourning and Melancholia: the use of cloth in contemporary art practice to materialise the work of mourning

In his essay ‘Mourning and Melancholia’ Sigmund Freud described the process of mourning as coming to a spontaneous end like a wound which has healed. In contrast, melancholia is like an open wound which cannot be healed. Beverly Ayling-Smith’s work explores the way traumas such as bereavement may heal but they are always present as scars embedded in the fabric of our lives.


Gail Baxter PhD 2016

Title: Re-Viewing lace in archives: Connecting the lacunae

Gail Baxter’s contemporary lace practice interlinks many individual threads to form a coherent whole around the absences that are the essence of the fabric. The research contemplates the processes at work in the absorption of a group of privately collected objects into a formal museum collection. The objects and their provenances are assessed by the curator and archivist in order to plan a co-ordinated scheme for cataloguing, storing, retrieval and archival purposes. The individual object histories form sub-strands within the story that is being woven in the archive.

The lace demonstrates the multiplicity of potential ways of configuring such diverse strands in relation to the formal constraints of the archival grid. Many apparently random potential thread paths are manipulated and controlled according to a chosen set of working rules. Questions as to whether a pair of threads should be twisted to make them move in a certain direction or if they should travel through a different partof the pattern have much in common with decisions on where to place items taxonomically in a museum system.

Carol Quarini PHD 2016

Title: The domestic veil: exploring the net curtain through the uncanny and the gothic

The net curtain lies in the liminal space between the homely and the unhomely, and Carol Quarini uses it in this role as a metaphor for the uncanny and the gothic in the home, to re-read the domestic. The gothic, the uncanny and the domestic, are all concerned with boundaries and their unstable, permeable nature.

The uncanny describes the blurring of the boundary between the homely and unhomely. The gothic considers transgression and decay, and things that can be sensed but not seen. The domestic references the duality of the home as sanctuary and prison that developed in nineteenth century Britain.