Joanne lee



April 2015

Along with my Nottingham Trent University colleague Emma Cocker, I am co-curating Care + Attend, a strand for Unconditional Love, the Society of Artistic Research Spring Event taking place at Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, April 30 - 1 May. 

Care + Attend comprises a constellation of fragments and extracts - of different intensities and durations - where the exposition of research emerges as a poetic and performative event, generating moments of potential resonance and dialogue. This event explores the theme Unconditional Love through the principles (perhaps even methodologies) of care and attention, as applied within specific (artistic) practices of both the everyday and of the self. Beginning with the observation that both curate and curiosity have shared etymology in the term ‘care’, Care + Attend seeks to develop a research vocabulary based on receptivity, openness, fidelity, integrity, intimacy, friendship and commitment (whilst not ignoring the parallel principles of distraction, inattention, the act of closing one’s eyes or of looking away).  Cocker and Lee have invited a range of artists & writers to share and reflect on their own processes, philosophies and politics of care and attention, and to present these through live performance/actions, screenings and spoken word. 

Contributors include: Kate Briggs, Daniela Cascella, Belén Cerezo, Emma Cocker, Steve Dutton + Neil Webb, Victoria Gray, Rob Flint, Mark Leahy, Joanne Lee, Martin Lewis, Sarat Maharaj, Brigid McLeer, Hester Reeve, and Lisa Watts. 

Society for Artistic Research (SAR) is an international, non-profit organisation that nurtures, connects and disseminates artistic research as specific practices of creating knowledge and insight. SAR facilitates a range of encounters for its community of artistic practitioners in the pursuit of transformative understanding that impacts on political and societal processes as well as on cultures of research and learning. SAR has an international membership drawn from individual artists, as well as academic and non-academic institutions. Unconditional Love will explore how caring and attention is expressed in such practices as artistic research, open access, auditing, peer-reviewing and critique, as well as the tug of war between science, magic and art on the issue of love. The programme for Unconditional Love can be downloaded here and booking for the event is here

The Pam Flett Press is on show at Plat.Form.Plai.Ground, a week long pop up event organised by NTU Fine Art graduates Caroline McDougal and Claire Tarrant at the It Is What It Is pop up shop, 102 Gloucester Road, Brighton. Drawing upon issue #3, Gumming up the works, I will be giving a talk about chewing gum there on Friday 10 April - it’s FREE and will start at 7pm.

March 2015

My essay ‘White windows’ has just been published in Abigale Neate Wilson’s ‘White window’ artists book. (A4 Four-color riso, spiral-bound, edition of 50) The publication was launched  March 28-29 2015 at Open Space's PMF VI – The 6th Annual Publication & Multiples Fair at Baltimore Design School. You can find more info on Abigale’s work on her site and you can read the essay here.

I was delighted to be invited to contribute to the Sunday Session (a day’s seminar and reading group) on March 29 at School of the Damned, an independent MA level programme run by students, for students... Together we read Erving Goffman and Michel de Certeau and discussed works in photography, collage, painting and video by four of the current students. The students meet at the Function Room, a space above the Cock Tavern, Somers Town, London, which also hosts exhibitions and other discussion events.

February 2015

Vague Terrain, the fourth edition of the Pam Flett Press was presented in Returns, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham accompanying Spode sequence, a photographic projection piece. 

The publication emerges from a long time fascination with the sort of ambiguous derelict site to which architects and planners often give the name ‘terrain vague’; it draws upon encounters with abandoned quarries and lead-mines across the North Pennines, Sheffield’s post-industrial topography and the hinterlands of the Staffordshire Potteries. This version develops a first iteration made specially for Seconds at Lace Market Gallery in 2014. It is designed by dust, Sheffield.

Three discussion events about art and archaeology, the role of artists in regeneration, and the loss of craft skills accompany the Returns show. Places are FREE, but booking is essential. More information via the Bonington Gallery site.

I was invited to contribute a text to Tanja Barazon’s Soglitudes website, a place devoted to threshold thinking. She wanted us to produce 100 words considering the thresholds in bodily activities: do you think while you sing? / do you think while you dance / where does the mind go while you play / where does the body go then? I chose to think about cycling. Getting immersed in the task of writing, I ended up with more than 100 hundred words. The edited text is available on the Soglitudes site here, along with those of the other contributors; you can read the longer piece here.

January 2015

I spoke about the political dimensions of friendship at the closing event for the ‘37 pieces of flair’ exhibition at The NewBridge Project, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Disconnected Paragraphs: Friends reunited & a daily dose of democratic material or sweetshop toxicity, also involved Harry Palmer and took place in the NewBridge Project Space on Friday 16th January. More info via Eventbrite. You can read a pdf of the publication to which I’ve contributed on the curators’ website at Lloyd-Wilson.

December 2014

Between 8 - 11 December, I participated in the annual NTU Fine Art Winter Lodge, which took place again at Ilam Hall YHA. This event is a space in which lecturers on the course put our current research and inquiry under critical pressure, as well as workshopping one another's ideas and exploring options for the year ahead.

November 2014

I’ve contributed an essay entitled ‘Nine rather disconnected paragraphs: on mental health, capitalism, creative education and the politics of friendship’ to a publication appearing as part of the 37 pieces of flair project.


‘37 pieces of flair is a 3 part season of arts and cinema starting in September with 4 film screenings at The Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, followed by a publication launch in early October and concluding with an exhibition and events programme at The NewBridge Project, Newcastle-upon-Tyne throughout November. Unlike countless other mental health themed Film Seasons or exhibitions, 37 pieces of flair will focus its attention less upon the individual stories of enduring mental health problems and rather take a step back in an attempt to grasp a broader look at, or investigation of, the society and its culture from which they emerge.’

Curated by Andrew Wilson and Toby Lloyd for the NewBridge Project the exhibition features John Smith, Graham Dolphin, David Foggo, Dave Sherry and Roy Andersson, and continues until 17 January 2015.

The publication will be launched at The NewBridge Project, 12 NewBridge St. West, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AW from 6 – 9pm, Friday 21 November as part of the exhibition preview. It includes a diverse collection of writing and artworks by Alisdair Cameron, Joanne Lee, David Korowicz, Chris Erskine, Mark Fisher, Harry Palmer, Andrew Wilson, Sneha Solanki, Amy Mackeldon, Tom Walker, Pauline Sallis, Topsy Qu’ret, Nick Malyan, Joe Posset and Francis Mckee. If you can’t get hold of a printed copy, you can read it online here.

Friday 21 November also sees the private view of The Nine, an exhibition at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, featuring work by students completing the Open College of the Arts’ distance-learning MA in Fine Art. I’ve written an essay, A Continuing Conversation, to accompany the show. More information is available via the Bank Street Arts site. The exhibition continues until 29 November.

Thanks to curator Rachel Marsden for including the Pam Flett Press in her self publishing lecture/workshop for Fine Art students at Loughborough University on Thursday 13 November.

October 2014

On Saturday 11 October I gave a talk about the Pam Flett Press (and independent publishing more generally) at the 2014 Nottingham Zine Festival, organised by Thrive Collective. Lots of great stalls, funny and interesting talks, and plenty of tea and cake! A great day.

From October this year, alongside my regular role as Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University, I am pleased to be working as a visiting lecturer on the excellent Graphic Design course at Sheffield Hallam University. Lots of new challenges, a lot of travel... and an opportunity to catch up with friends in my beloved city.

September 2014

Between 19 - 28 September, I participated in 'Distractions', an exhibition at the Castle, a busy pub in Walthamstow, London, along with Rachel Fox, Gisli Bergmann and Samuel Mercer. The term ‘distraction’ is loaded with associations: it is complex and confusing, at times contradictory. 'Distractions' saw artists and writers engaged in a conversation about the nature of distractions...  Two illustrated publications, designed by Hannah Ellis of Dust were available free of charge, for people to browse within the pub and to take home.

The Pam Flett Press was on show in the book fair at PROGR-Fest 2014 at PROGR - Zentrum für Kulturproduktion, in Bern, Switzerland. The festival took place between 4-7 September.

August 2014

During August I worked on a number of pieces of writing, including a one for an independent publication by Glasgow-based artist Abigale Neate Wilson, which focuses upon whited out shop windows, and a text for a postcard and publication relating to the work of students graduating from the Open College of the Arts MA Fine Art course. I’ve made also been making progress on Pam Flett Press #5 I see faces, which develops some of the thinking I’ve been doing about pareidolia and the human desire to read meaning and significance into mundane things.

July 2014

Gumming up the works, Pam Flett Press #3, was included in KALEID 2014 London. This major annual event selected the best books by European-based artists focuses on the form of the book as an interdisciplinary activity, combining visual arts with traditional book arts, contemporary ideas and new technology. Supported by the National Art Library, MoMA Library, Frans Masereel Centrum and Arts Council England, KALEID 2014 London explored performance, photography, video, printmaking, drawing, painting and sculpture. The event took place on 18 - 19 July at Mermaid Court, 165a Borough High Street, London.

I presented ‘I see faces’: popular pareidolia and the proliferation of meaning at The Popular Life of Things: Material Culture(s) and Popular Processes, an international conference organised by the Institute of English Literatures and Cultures at University of Silesia, Poland, which took place in Sosnowiec on 3 - 4 July.

The presentation discussed the curious facial recognition performed upon everyday things and places - currently so popular on the internet – when faces are read into cheese graters, parking meters, coat hooks and the like. The phenomenon of pareidolia occurs because the human visual system has a tendency to extract patterns from noise, thus perceiving ‘meaning’ in random source material. In my paper I wanted to use this current fascination as the occasion to think about our desire to read meaning and significance into things. As an artist/scholar working with the everyday, rather than attempting to pin down definitive interpretations, I am interested in enlarging what can be generated from the ordinary objects and materials that surround us.


I have also participated in Saturday, a project which charts ‘the reoccurring events in undertakings, movements or engagements during twenty four hours’ - in this case the Saturday 5 July. Inspired by Georges Perec’s An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris, it has been devised by Lena Séraphin, a doctoral candidate at Finland’s Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, and it also features Pia Sandström & Ulrika Gomm (Stockholm) Behzad Khosravi (Teheran), Minna Heikinaho & Petri Kaverma (Helsinki). There’ll be more news about the resulting publication when I have it.

June 2014

I talked about the Pam Flett Press in an event at Loughborough University School of the Arts entitled Researcher Essentials: Publishing and how to get Published. The day considered an expanded notion of publishing, including (but not limited to) residencies, events, exhibitions, performances, as well as traditional publishing, artists books and zines. The programme included a keynote, a chaired panel discussion with a variety of publishers, masterclasses, workshops, film screenings and concluded with a networking social:  Info via the Facebook event page.

May 2014

I have started work on a new project exploring ‘Rural Mythologies’ with In Certain Places at University of Central Lancashire. I’m so pleased to be working with curator Elaine Speight alongside Manchester Metropolitan University’s Senior Lecturer in Art History Rosemary Shirley and artist Rebecca Chesney. We are developing ideas at present: we recently spent a day together in Preston where we discussed the new range of Glade air fresheners themed around the National Parks, ‘witches knickers’ - those stray plastic bags caught on trees and fences; the global reach of the dandelion, and went to visit a curious plant discovered on a Preston terrain vague!  We have proposed and had accepted a panel on ‘Reimagining Rural Mythologies’ at the Nordic Geographers Meeting in Tallinn and Tartu, Estonia (whose focus in 2015 will be "Geographical Imagination: Interpretations of Nature, Art and Politics")

Artist Lisa Watts’ Skittish project came to a conclusion at Puff of smoke: curating live art / performance in the gallery, a symposium for curators at the Tetley, Leeds 12 noon - 5pm on Friday 2 May. I began the day by presenting my findings from a series of interviews with the artists and curators who participated in Skittish, exploring the current state of performance/live work in the gallery. For more information see Lisa’s website.

April 2014

Pam Flett Press #3 Gumming up the works was out and about at a few events this April.

The London launch took place on Friday 11 April at the Space Station Sixty Five Bursary Studio, 20 Parade Mews, London, SE27 9AX. Many thanks to artist Rosalie Schweiker for hosting!

I read from Gumming up the works at Soup Kitchen II, an eclectic night featuring live music, art and performance, at Bohunk Institute, 3 Fishergate Point, Nottingham on Friday 25 April.

I spoke at Art of the Edgelands at Spacex Gallery / University of Exeter on Saturday 26 April. This interdisciplinary symposium considered the significance of ‘edgelands’ and other marginal spaces, neither urban nor rural, as sites for artistic inquiry, and as cultural spaces. Other speakers included Edward Chell, academic and lead artist of Spacex’s current exhibition ‘Soft Estate’; Dr. Caitlan DeSilvey, geographer and senior lecturer in Environmental Social Science, University of Exeter; Laura Oldfield Ford, artist and psycho-geographer and Dr Jos Smith, associate research fellow, University of Exeter.


Spacex’s exhibition ‘Soft Estate’ (ran until Saturday 3 May 2014) featured artworks exploring the marginal spaces of contemporary motorway landscapes, including these (above) by Ed Chell.

March 2014

Pam Flett Press #4 Vague terrain made its first appearance as part of a two person show with Debra Swann at Nottingham’s Lace Market Gallery. You can see pictures here. Throughout the afternoon of Thursday 24 April we talked to diverse visitors about the works and our research at the former Spode ceramics factory on Stoke-on-Trent.

On Friday 28th March 2014 I gave a presentation entitled 'Barely indicative of a method’: researching with Perec, at Species of Spaces: A Transdisciplinary Conference on the Work of Georges Perec, organised by Teesside University & supported by the Modern Humanities Research Association. The paper, referring to my work through the Pam Flett Press, focuses upon the lessons for creative and critical method to be derived from Perec’s oblique approach... Keynote speakers: Christian Bök (Associate Professor in Creative Writing, University of Calgary); Dr Kate Briggs (American University Paris) & Dr Victoria Hunter (University of Chichester)

February 2014

Pam Flett Press #3 Gumming up the Works finally arrived!

'This third issue fantasizes about luminous constellations of dropped chewing gum on the street, confronts a horrible compulsion to seek out the hard stuff glued under desks or in the recesses of train carriages, before finding itself fixated upon various species of lumps, heaps and piles; ultimately the writing explores creative work as a sort of digestion or composting, and suggests we have quite a lot to learn from worms'


It was launched at an event at Nottingham Trent University on Wednesday 5 February.

The event also presented a book by Dr Traci Kelly, which emerges from her Seers in Residence project in Bonington Gallery, to which I have contributed, along with NTU colleagues Emma Cocker, Ben Judd and Simon Cross.

Between 23-25 February, I participated in one of a series of European Think Tanks exploring ‘the Power of Art and Culture in an Interconnected World.’ This meeting, organised by the University of Turku, will consider Art, Creativity and Active Citizenship. It took place in Jan-Erik Andersson’s Life on a Leaf house.


January 2014

I gave a talk on The Art of Failure at a Bettakultcha night at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on Tuesday 28th January. The event focused upon The Importance of Failure. Booking is via Eventbrite. A small e-publication involving contributors to the event has been produced - it’s available from Amazon.

October 2013

I have contributed to this new book from Ashgate, The Concept of the 'Master' in Art Education in Britain and Ireland, 1770 to the Present. My chapter ‘Without a master’: Learning Art through an Open Curriculum takes Jacques Rancière’s suggestion that people can and do learn without a master’s explication, and explores the work we have done at Nottingham Trent University to open up the ways students learn.