Contextual Studies Lecturer
- 0121 331 5940
Sian's PhD thesis goes under the working title of Subjective Embodiment – Jewellery at the Boundary of the Self. This research is practice-led, and she uses her own creative practices –specifically drawing – to explore the different elements of embodied identity that are held in tension when we gather together a cohesive identity to present to the world.
Insights derived from my practice are synthesised with theory drawn from neighbouring fields, such as social psychology, philosophy, anthropology. She has a growing publication record, which includes journal articles and a catalogue essay, and have presented papers at a number of research events. Her completion date is 2018, and she is looking forward to the sabbatical that will facilitate the writing up!
Her background is in English Studies: she has a first degree in English from the University of York (1997) and a Master of Research from the University of Strathclyde (2000). Since completing the latter, her interest in language has broadened to become a concern with the arts and material culture more generally; a common element, however, is a continuing interesting in self and identity – particularly embodied identity – and how it can be articulated and communicated both in writing and through the adornments that we wear.
Sian's Masters thesis explored the nature of the self portrayed in Modernist fiction (specifically Woolf), and her PhD research is concerned with the role played by adornments in performing aspects of the self. She completed an HND in Jewellery andSilversmithing in 2005, and has been teaching Contextual Studies to Jewellery students since then. She is largely self-taught in the field of design history/theory, but key to her role is her ability to apply social/communication theory in order to read objects in just the same way, as a English scholar, she would read texts.
Sian has a broad range of teaching experience, from English GCSE re-sits and ESOL, climbing and outdoor activities, teacher training and design history, but finds teaching undergraduate/postgraduate students the most satisfying, because of the freedom to explore a vast range of ideas. Currently, she is responsible for co-ordinating Contextual Studies delivery across (most of) the undergraduate programmes at the School of Jewellery. Within the BA(Hons) Jewellery Design and Related Products programme, the focus is on combining theory and practice to deepen students’understanding of their own field; within the vocational programmes (HND Jewellery and Silversmithing; BA(Hons)Horology; BSc Gemmology), the emphasis is on exploring the industry into which students will graduate and investigating the specific area they wish to occupy.
Sian gained a Certificate in Education in 2005 and central to my teaching philosophy is the need to share insights about the learning process with students so that they are supported to learn independently, are able to articulate both their skills and their learning needs and to become, genuinely, lifelong learners. Part of her role at the School of Jewellery is to facilitate a series of lectures, which goes under the name of Talking Practice. These monthly talks feature contributions by artists, practitioners and researchers who operate within jewellery as an expanded field.
They reflect on their research and practice, exemplifying the complexity of the territory we claim to be home and sometimes serving to challenge the assumptions of the students and members of the public who make up the audience. Sian is keen to engage a range of audiences with the research her and other scholars are involved with, and find social media a useful tool through which to communicate.