Picturing the Invisible
How can we articulate the invisible, that which is not known, or that which is not provable? A research network and collaboration between University of the Arts London (UAL) and University College London (UCL), funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
This project brings together leading academics from a wide range of disciplines including Art and Design, Architecture, Curatorial Practice, Literature, Forensic Science, Fashion, Medical Science, Psychoanalysis & Psychotherapy, Philosophy and Astrophysics with a shared interest in exploring how, in each discipline, we strive to find expression for the invisible or unknown.
As our understanding of the complexity of the world grows incrementally, so our realisation that issues and problems can rarely be resolved within neat demarcations. Therefore, the importance of finding means of communicating across disciplines and fields becomes a priority.
Whilst acknowledging the essential importance of the specialist academic, the capacity to understand other disciplines, their priorities, methodologies and even the language used, can become crucial in being an effective instrument for change.
- To explore how concepts about the invisible or unknown are expressed within different disciplines, and identify similarities and divergence.
- To examine the use of language within disciplines and provide a testing ground for cross-disciplinary dialogue.
- To explore common themes, common approaches and what can be learned from a diverse range of disciplines, experiences, and perspectives in order to address complex challenges and facilitate problem-solving.
- To explore future research themes for larger projects, identify opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaborations, and encourage risk-taking and blue sky thinking.
The project team
The network is led by Prof. Paul Coldwell, Professor in Fine Art at University of the Arts London (UAL). Coldwell is both an artist and academic with a practice that includes working with museums and collections. The co-investigator is Prof. Ruth Morgan, Professor of Crime and Forensic Science at University College London (UCL) Department of Security and Crime Science, and the Director of the UCL Centre for the Forensic Sciences.
By Paul Coldwell
16 June 2019
I came across John Cage’s 'Lecture on Nothing' and was struck by its relevance to our project. Written in 1949 three years years before the performance of his seminal piece 4’33’’, in which the audience were invited to listen to silence for 4 minutes and 33 seconds, the lecture explores ideas of language and structure. I particularly like the notion of
Structure without life is dead. But life without structure is un-seen.
Artist Paul Coldwell exhibits a new body of work exploring the notion of absence in Sir John Soane’s Museum, derived from over a year’s research.
Find out how to get involved in our project
Picturing the Invisible Seminar
8 July 2019
Chelsea College of Arts
A platform for an exchange of ideas concerning how we picture the invisible or the unknown within our respective disciplines.
7-9 November 2019
Opportunity to curate a pop-up exhibition to coincide with the Picturing the Invisible conference and the AHRC-funded research network.
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: history, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, languages, design, heritage, area studies, the creative and performing arts, and much more.
This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98 million to fund research and postgraduate training, in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits and contributes to the economic success of the UK but also to the culture and welfare of societies around the globe.
Sir John Soane's Museum
The Soane Museum is the extraordinary house of Sir John Soane, one of the greatest English architects, who built and lived in it more than a century and a half ago.
The Museum has been kept as it was at the time of his death nearly 180 years ago. It displays his collection of antiquities, furniture, sculptures, architectural models, paintings – including work by Hogarth, Turner and Canaletto – and over 30,000 architectural drawings. It’s a vast, extraordinary collection, full of curiosities and surprises.
University College London
University College London (UCL) is a multi-faculty college of the University of London with a population of over 36,000 students, from more than 150 different countries. Degree programmes are provided in Arts and Humanities, Social and Historical Sciences, Architecture, Building, Environmental Design and Planning, Laws, Life Sciences and Clinical Sciences (including Medicine), Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and Engineering Sciences. UCL has been ranked in the top 10 of the QS World University Rankings for the last seven years.