Project Proposal: Draft 0

Update Nov 2018: My original intention was to produce a project based on feminism, in particular about the role of women in the workplace. However after much research and reflection, I felt this project was not inspiring or motivating me as much as the work I had produced for the recent Tryweryn Project.

To help me process where I was at and why I felt this way I began a period of much soul searching was done and many mind maps later I had decided that indeed I was going in the wrong direction. So, I scrapped the Women in Work Proposal/Idea and then directed my energy towards the displacement of people and the loss of memory over time of such events. At my tutorial, I discussed this with Jonathan and we agreed this was the better way forward. See the links below for my new Project Proposal and my tutorial with Jonathan.

Critically evaluate the impact of Digital Media on the way the art world has typically represented social equality in the modern workplace over the last 100 years.


My initial inspiration for this research project was the piece, Women and Work: A Document on the Division of Labour in Industry 1973-75 by Margaret Harrison, Mary Kelly, and Kay Hunt. Around the time that the Equal Pay Act came into being, the artists began this research project. The collaborative project focussed on a local factory in Bermondsey and the working lives of the factory women. Observational data was collected through, structured interviews and archival research and carefully presented through published film and photographs and historical artefacts. The concluding exhibition revealed the factory women to be restricted in opportunity. Low-skilled work was available to the women while men in the factory were afforded broader opportunity to take on more skilled and supervisory roles.

Margaret Harrison and Mary Kelly both demonstrate a strong research ethic that underpins their contemporary artwork. They both consistently examine the social experience of women. Modern women continue to gain more equality in the present day and the traditional roles of women in society are slowly become outdated. A strong research ethic is prevalent in the work of both these artists.

This feminist work demonstrates both impartial and biased opinions, mixing political and personal opinion. A profound sense of social intimacy was provided using portraits along with historical facts and figures to subtly convey a personal aspect.

The Feminist contemporary artists Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer were both concerned with the impact that imagery have on our ordinary lives and society. They used narrative and commentary as part of their visual communication. Barbara Kruger uses seemingly anonymous photographs juxtaposed with effective cultural messages whilst Jenny Holzer delivers her message through text and words in urban spaces.

The remarkable Instant Stories exhibition of the extensive Wim Wenders collection of polaroids has been of additional inspiration for this research proposal. His method of recording information provides a process to describe archival research recorded using photographs.

I am keen to investigate types of working that women are engaged in locally and the accessibility to work that may or may not inhibit working opportunities for women. Some of the numerous questions raised to be considered:

  • Does the apparent inability (for whatever reason) inhibit direct access to better paid work that is more skilled?
  • Do mothers still inhabit a traditional role in the modern home?
  • Are mothers prevented from gaining access to better working opportunities?
  • Are there other factors that affect the possible opportunities in the workplace afforded to women?
  • Are these findings consistent across industry sectors?
  • Is home-working different nowadays compared to that typically experienced by the countless generations of women that have gone before?

For many modern women, equal-rights in the workplace do not necessarily represent equal-rights in the home. They find that pursuing a career can potentially be in addition to the family responsibilities in the home. Traditional values, nevertheless, exist for many in the home and the responsibility of home and family is necessarily unshared between man and wife.

Digital Media is considered to be an up and coming method for visual communication and can be used to represent gender equity in the workplace through observation and recording. However, are there better opportunities for women with the onset of digital technology as a constantly expanding industry sector?

Archival Research will be gathered utilizing a variety of methods. Initially, the internet will be used to identify exactly where statistical information that relates to gender equity in the workplace exists across different industry sectors, including homeworkers. This will then be further investigated to gather as much relevant information as possible.

The key findings will form the basis of a set of interview questions. These questions will be formulated into a survey hosted on a site like Survey Monkey. Potentially, I may contact Network She, a local organisation with a view to advertising in their newsletter. I will be seeking women prepared to complete the survey and also those who may be prepared to be photographed in their workplace. I will also be producing a Facebook page where I can begin to solicit responses from women on social media. The Facebook page will also form an ideal tool to share findings that occur during the lifetime of the project.

I will also identify some local businesses from different industry sectors. Visits will be arranged to these industry sites with prior permission when I can interview potential survey respondents and then take observational photographic and film evidence.

I hope to attend The Women of Manchester Exhibition and the Oldham Women at Work Exhibition along with any of the Women’s Work 100 Exhibitions. I plan to visit the Liverpool Biennale and also will plan a research visit to London to attend relevant exhibitions. There are two particular events that I have already identified as of particular interest, the Suffragettes on Film event at the Portico Library and the Shoulder to Shoulder: Annie Kenney event both in Manchester.

I am keen to record my visual findings using both a Polaroid and a modern digital camera. Using the polaroid camera will provide me with a means to produce a seemingly archival record of my findings. The material recorded with the digital camera will provide me with the means to harness modern technology to work with the imagery in a more up to date manner. Video will also be recorded and potentially this video material may be exhibited using projection.

I already own a modern digital camera and a portable projector. I plan to purchase an original refurbished Polaroid camera from the Impossible Project. This organisation acquired the last Polaroid factory after cessation of production in 2008 and continue to produce Polaroid film and cameras.

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