TrAIN Open Lecture: Alia Syed. The Migrating Image. @ Lecture Theatre
Feb 14 @ 6:00 pm
Affective Economies of Translation and Location Chaired by Prof Paul Goodwin, Director, TrAIN What the map cuts up, the story cuts across Michel de Certeau Using her own film works as a starting point, in this presentation and screening Alia Syed will discuss how strategies of representation combine with stories constructed from personal and historical realities to create avenues of mobility, migration and cognition in relation to the filmic “text”. Syed will be showing and discussing two recent works: On a Wing and a Prayer (2016, HD Cam, 19m) is a film inspired by the story of Abdul Rahman Haroun, who walked to Britain through the channel tunnel from Calais on 17th August 2015. Held on remand for 5 months at Elmley Prison, he has since been released and granted Asylum but was charged under The Malicious Damages Act of 1861 for illegal entry into the UK. The language in this bylaw, when juxtaposed against the physical and emotional feat of traversing 30 miles of the Channel Tunnel supplies the terrain for this film. Points of Departure (2014, HD Cam, 16m) uses archive footage of a collective past and combines it with personal recollections to fracture the normative culturally dominant view of Glasgow’s cityscapes and re-insert a Scottish Asian presence. Alia Syed is an artist who lives between London and Glasgow. Syed’s films draw from personal and historical realities in order to address the subjective relationship to gender, location, diaspora and colonialism. Syed’s films have been shown at numerous institutions around the world including the Whitechapel Gallery (2017), Antwerp Art Weekend (2017); Tate Britain (2016), Tate Modern (2016); BBC Arts Online (2015), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2012-13), 5th Moscow Biennale (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2009); XV Sydney Biennale (2006). Syed was nominated for the Jarman Award in 2015. A mini-retrospective, BL CK B X Alia Syed: Wallpaper, at LUX in London shown until 10th February 2018
Utsuwa Utsushi symposium @ Banqueting Hall and Red Room Chelsea College of Arts
Mar 4 @ 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

Photo: Hiroshi Onishi, Machiya of Image, 2012

Drawing from the wordplay of two etymologically associated Japanese terminologies: ‘Utsuwa’ (vessel, container, receptacle, vacuum, reality) and ‘Utsushi’ (copy, transfer, possessed), this symposium raises philosophical and visual cultural questions on the conventional idea of dichotomy ‘original’ vs ‘copy’, ‘fine art’ vs ‘applied art’/’craft’, ‘seen’ vs ‘unseen’ and ‘material’ vs ‘immaterial’.

According to Inaga Shigemi who inspired this symposium with his idea of ‘“Pirates’ View” of world history’, the current rigid legal regulations and knowledge production system set by Euroamerica have been challenged by the pirate’s trade their products and access to information.  However, the negativity attached to the idea of ‘copy’ also enables us to realise the positive values that can be found in the Japanese/East Asian ideas.

It was Okakura Kakuzō in his Book of Tea who pointed to the positive value of the negatively perceived vacuum by saying ‘The usefulness of the water pitcher dwells in the emptiness where water might be put, not in the form of the pitcher of the material of which it was made.  Vacuum is all potent because it is also all containing.  In the vacuum alone motion becomes possible.  The person who could make of himself a vacuum into which others might freely enter, would become master of all situations.  The whole can always dominate the part’.  Unlike the Euroamerican idea, Utsuwa (vessel) is not merely functional tableware.  Utsuwa can be a teabowl that contains tea, but can also contain aesthetic spirituality and potent space for containing.  Utsuwa can be the human body which contains the mind, or Utsuwa can be a haniwa figurine that may contain the spirit of the dead.  Also, Utsuwa is not just applied art/craft, because it is made of ceramic.  Material combined with skills produce material-centred logic that results in a particular form and aesthetic value that is not confined to the narrow definition of ‘applied art/craft’ as opposed to ‘fine art’.  Utsuwa has been copied many times and material knowledge as well as the skills involved in making were passed on to many generations through the process of copying.



Welcome and Introduction by Yuko Kikuchi (Reader, TrAIN, CCW-UAL)


Keynote 1: Shigemi Inaga (Professor, International Research Center for Japanese Studies)

‘The Pirates’ view of the world as an alternative to the current knowledge production and system’

10:20-10:30 break

Session 1: The Question of ‘authenticity’ and border-crossing approach

10:30-10:35 Introduction by Chair: Hammad Nasar (Independent curator and Senior Research Fellow at Paul Mellon Centre and UAL; Former Head of Research & Programmes, Asia Art Archive, HK)


Toshio Watanabe (Professor, UAL and SISJAC, University of East Anglia)

‘The Authenticity of Transnational Japanese Gardens’


Alfred Haft (Curator, British Museum)

‘The Self-activating Echo:  Mitate vs. Yatsushi in Ukiyo-e’


Hiroshi Onishi (Professor, Kyoto University of Art and Design)

‘Digital Art and Question of Copies in Japanese Culture’


Katie Hill (Programme Director, MA Modern and Contemporary Asian Art,

Sotheby’s Institute of Art)

‘‘Van Gogh was here’ (梵高在此). Translating the madness of modernity through Cai Yuan’s enactment of an outsider in London in 1873’

12:35-13:05 Q&A

13:05-14:00 Lunch

Session 2: The Question of ‘Craft’ in the Spectrum of ‘Design’ and ‘Art’

14:00-14:05  Introduction by Yuko Kikuchi


Keynote 2: Julian Stair (Potter)

‘Embodying Narratives: Pottery in the 21stcentury’

15:15-15:20  Introduction by Chair: Dr Imogen Racz (Senior Lecturer in History of Art, Coventry University)


Maiko Tsutsumi (Course Leader, MA Designer Maker, CCW-UAL)

‘Thoughts and Utterances in Material Practice: Objects and Words / Thoughts and Actions’


Marta Ajmar (Deputy Director, V&A Research Institute VARI)

‘Mimetic Earthenware: How Italian Renaissance ceramics complicate Eurocentric hierarchies of the arts’


Yuko Kikuchi

‘The logic of Kazuya Ishida’s Material Centred Approach within Bizen Tradition’

Demonstration by Kazuya Ishida (Potter, Bizen and Oxford Anagama)

16:55-17:20 Q&A

17:20-17:30 break


Giorgio Salani (Maker, PhD candidate, Central Saint Martins, UAL)

‘Making for Others: qualities and narratives in contemporary British tableware pottery’


Chih-I Lai (Curator, National Palace Museum in Taiwan)

‘Borrowing or Stealing: the Dialectical Aesthetic Discoursebetween Designers and Craft Makers in the Yii Project’

18:30-18:50 Q&A

19:00 End

Exhibition of works by Takahiro Kondō (ceramic artist) and the video of his work shown at the Red room.

Dr. Jenny Lu: Feature Film ‘The Receptionist’ @ Main Lecture Theatre, Chelsea College of Arts
Mar 8 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Dr. Jenny Lu: Feature Film 'The Receptionist' @ Main Lecture Theatre, Chelsea College of Arts | England | United Kingdom

TrAIN Open Lecture: Dr. Jenny Lu
Feature Film ‘The Receptionist’
Chaired by Dr. Yuko Kikuchi

Artist Jenny Lu will be talking about the making of her first feature film ‘The Receptionist’ and the relationship between her film and her doctoral research. She will also screen the film.

Watch BBC interview with Jenny Lu

THE RECEPTIONIST is based on a true story and follows the lives of women whose dreams of a better life in London have been crushed by the harsh reality and seeming cruelty of the world, which has forced them to take up jobs in an illegal message parlour. As seen through the eyes of a receptionist working at the massage parlour, the film shows a hidden Britain that we are all too willing to overlook or forget. It also tells a very human story of friendship, of shared experiences and how some are able to live and survive while others will simply fade away under their burdens.

Jenny Lu is a Fine Art (Practice) PhD graduate from Chelsea Cllege of Art. Her work is based on the theme of ‘home’ and other related subjects. Her first feature film, ‘The Receptionist’ has been nominated for ‘Best Film’ for Milan and Salento International Film Festival 2017. She is the winner of ‘Best Emerging Director’ for the 40th AAIFF, New York. The film has also been screen-ing in Edinburgh, Durban International, Raindance and London East Asian Film Festival this year. Chen Shiang Chyi has been nominated for Best supporting Actress for Taiwn Golden Horse Film Awards in 2017.

TrAIN Seminar – New Borders, New Boundaries: Fashion in a Shifting World New Fashion Narratives @ Banqueting Suite and the Red Room
Mar 15 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

A Panel New Fashion Narratives is organized by TRAIN/The Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation, UAL, in partnership with Calvert 22 Foundation and the Institute of Contemporary Arts/ICA.

Introduced by Professor Paul Goodwin, TrAIN/UAL and chaired by Dr Djurdja Bartlett, LCF, TrAIN, UAL

Djurdja Bartlett in discussion with Niamh Tuft the Fashion Programme Manager at the British Council, and Anastasiia Fedorova, writer and curator focusing on fashion and art in the New East.

The Panellists will share how they support and create new fashion narratives in their respective fields, and debate if engaging emergent creatives, and presenting them not only as fashion designers but also as cultural mediators, brings a new dialogue and enables a different perspective to the well-established narrative of the western-centric world of fashion.


Djurdja Bartlett

Dr Djurdja Bartlett is Reader in Histories and Cultures of Fashion at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, and also a member of TrAIN, UAL. Bartlett is author of FashionEast: The Spectre That Haunted Socialism (MIT Press, 2010) and editor of the volume on East Europe, Russia and the Caucasus in the Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion (2010). Bartlett’s new monograph European Fashion Histories: Style, Society and Politics is forthcoming with Bloomsbury Academic (2019), and she is also editor of a book on Fashion and Politics (Yale University Press, 2019).


Anastasiia Fedorova

Anastasiia Fedorova is a writer, curator and cultural critic based in London. She is a regular contributor to Dazedi-DGARAGE032cThe GuardianHigh snobietyBoF and The Calvert Journal among other titles. She also guest chairs SHOWstudio panel discussions, and appeared as a speaker at Radio BBC World Service and ICA London. Fedorova is co-curator of Post-Soviet Visions: image and identity in the new Eastern Europe., Calvert 22 Space, 22 February – 15 April 2018.

Niamh Tuft

Niamh Tuft is the Fashion Programme Manager at the British Council. She specialises in fashion history and curation. Tuft studied English Literature prior to completing an MA in Fashion Curation, and is particularly interested in the intersections between fashion, literature, philosophy and cultural theory. She has previously led on the British Council UK International Showcases programme, which includes the International Architecture Showcase and Design Connections. She continues to lead on the ever-growing International Fashion Showcase, and on programmes in Wider Europe. Having shifted her focus to fashion curation, Tuft began work with the Shwop Lab project with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion and the National Trust, where she programmed Out of Hours, a cross-disciplinary art event at Ham House. She joined the Architecture Design and Fashion team in 2012 to assist on the production of the international showcases, as well as other programmes including Mark-ing, Design Explore and Gem.

This Panel is organized within the programme ‘New Borders New Boundaries: Fashion in a Shifting World’, comprising two other events: Panel ‘Fashion and the New East: Made in Georgia’, ICA, 16 March, 6,30pm-8pm, and Symposium ‘New Borders, New Boundaries: Fashion in a Shifting World’, Calvert 22 Space, 17 March 2018, 10am-6pm


April Event @ Chelsea College Arts
Apr 6 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
April Event @ Chelsea College Arts

In this lecture, Yuiko Asaba examines the transnational dynamics of Tango music culture in Japan between the 1910s-2010s. Originally arriving as a form of British ballroom dance in the mid-1910s, Japanese dancers and musicians quickly began to look to Argentina in search for Tango’s ‘origin’ from the late 1920s through recordings and by traveling to the distant country. Asaba reveals how Tango and Argentina became emblematic imageries of the ‘modern’ at this time: a popular ideology and one that continues as a cosmopolitan idea that is attached to Tango to this day in Japan. By complicating the usual East-West patterns of cultural adaptation, Asaba illuminates how Tango in Japan came to resonate directly with Argentina. In doing so, Asaba charts how today’s Japanese tango has become an export that in turn resonates with the Tango boom within neighboring East Asian countries.

Dr Yuiko Asaba studied at Royal Holloway University of London (BMus, MA, PhD), and received Diplomas in Tango violin from Fernando Suárez Paz and at Orquesta Escuela de Tango in Argentina. Having performed professionally in Argentina and Japan, Yuiko is currently a Tutor in Music at the University of Oxford.

TrAIN Open Lecture:Racial Imaginary Institute by Claudia Rankine @ Lecture Theatre Chelsea College of Arts
Jun 8 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Image credit: © Nona Faustine, Liberty or Death, Sons of Africa, Washington Monument, 2016, archival pigment print. Courtesy of artist

Introduced by Dr Stephen Wilson, Postgraduate Theory Coordinator, Chelsea and Moderated by Prof Paul Goodwin, Director, TrAIN.

The lecture will be followed by a reception. 

The ‘racial imaginary’ is meant to capture the enduring truth of race: it is an invented concept that nevertheless operates with extraordinary force in our daily lives, limiting our movements and imaginations. We understand that perceptions, resources, rights, and lives themselves flow along racial lines that confront some of us with restrictions and give others uninterrogated power. These lines are drawn and maintained by white dominance even as individuals and communities alike continually challenge them. Because no sphere of life is untouched by race, the Institute gathers under its aegis an interdisciplinary range of artists, writers, knowledge-producers, and activists. It convenes a cultural laboratory in which the racial imaginaries of our time and place are engaged, read, countered, contextualized and demystified.


Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry, including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; two plays including Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue; numerous video collaborations, and is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind. For Citizen, Rankine won the Forward Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (Citizen was also nominated in the criticism category, making it the first book in the award’s history to be a double nominee), the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the NAACP Image Award. A finalist for the National Book Award, Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times bestseller in the nonfiction category. Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, United States Artists, and the National Endowment of the Arts. She lives in New York City and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry.

TrAIN Open Lecture: Ways of Non Seeing @ Lecture Theatre Chelsea College of Arts
Nov 28 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

The question of how to disappear and reappear in art history invites us to reimagine the object of art history without favouring visibility over invisibility. Artists without work, gestures based on silence, withdrawal and refusal have inscribed within art practices several forms of (im)materialism. Drawing on feminist art theories, disappeared exhibitions of Palestinian art and Georges Didi-Huberman’s reflection on art history’s faculty of non seeing, the lecture will address ways in which contemporary art includes ellipses and forms of (non)disappearance in the context of a TRAIN/ECAV research cooperation in progress.

Dr Federica Martini is an art historian and curator. Since 2018 she is dean of Visual Arts at the ECAV – Ecole cantonale d’art du Valais (Switzerland). Previously, she was Head of the MAPS Master of Arts in Public Spheres at ECAV, and a member of the curatorial departments of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Musée Jenisch Vevey and Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts/Lausanne. Together with Patrick de Rham and Elise Lammer she initiated the Museum of Post-Digital Cultures (2012). Publications include: Blackout Magazine (No. 0 Art labour and No. 1 Olivetti poesia concreta, 2017); Tourists Like Us: Critical Tourism and Contemporary Art (with V. Mickelkevicius, 2013); Pavilions/Art in Architecture (2013, with R. Ireland); Just Another Exhibition: Stories and Politics of Biennials (2011, with V. Martini).

TrAIN Open Lecture – MULTIFOCALISM @ Lecture Theatre Chelsea College of Arts
Dec 5 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

IMAGE CREDIT: Kimathi Donkor, Notebook XXXIV (detail), 2018, graphite, ink and watercolour on paper.

Dr Kimathi Donkor discusses his recently completed post-doctoral fellowship with the TrAIN Research centre, sharing reflections on his work with UAL’s teaching curriculum, recent exhibition projects, new artistic directions and imminent publishing debut.

Dr Kimathi Donkor completed his PhD at Chelsea College of Arts in 2016 with the practice-led thesis Africana Unmasked: Fugitive Signs of Africa in Tate’s British Collection. Primarily a painter, he has shown in many international group and solo exhibitions, including at the 29th São Paulo Biennale in 2010, Queens of the Undead at InIVA in 2012, Some Clarity of Vision at Gallery MOMO in Johannesburg in 2015, The Diaspora Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017 and A History of Drawing at Camberwell Space in 2018. Examples of Donkor’s work are held in museum and private collections in the UK and internationally. He is the Acting Course Leader for MA Drawing at Wimbledon College of Arts.

TrAIN Open Lecture: Dr Ope Lori – Undoing Codes of Conduct @ Chelsea College of Arts
Feb 20 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Image credit: Ope Lori, Power Is Nothing Without Resistance,
2016, Billboard Poster

Dr Ope Lori reflects on her continuing engagement with unpacking the intersections of race and gender for black and white women as they appear, through focusing on the codes used in visual representations. She will discuss the politics of looking and recognition, empowerment and disempowerment, exploring the ambivalent positions in wanting to be seen versus those who are not seen and finally discuss the paradoxes of pleasure, desire and the location of aesthetics. Through discussing her work and those of four other British contemporary artists who feature as in-conversations in her upcoming book, ‘Beyond The Feminine: The Politics of Skin Colour and Gender in Visual Representations’, (2019) published by Bloomsbury, including Rachel Maclean, Ajamu, Sadie Lee and NT, she will give us prompts into seeing differently.

Dr. Ope Lori was a TrAIN Research Centre Fellow in 2017-2018. I Want Me Some Brown Sugar, (2013, curated by Maria Kheirkhah) at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, put Ope Lori’s work on an international stage. Other seminal shows include La Parole aux Femmes: Women Speak Out (2014/15) at La Fondation Blachère, France, where she has exhibited alongside Kara Walker and Ayana Jackson and in 2016 was part of ‘Now! Now!… In more than one place’ (2016) a show curated by Sonia Boyce (OBE, RA) around black British artists and modernisms. In 2018 she was part of Practice in Dialogue ‘In Whose Eyes’ exhibition at Beaconsfield Gallery, London. She was awarded a PhD from UAL in 2014. She lectures at both Chelsea and Leeds Arts University, and was the 16/18 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at TrAIN, UAL. She is the author of the upcoming (2019) book, ‘Beyond The Feminine: The Politics of Skin Colour and Gender in Visual Representations’, Bloomsbury, London and is the founder of PILAA (Pre-Image Learning And Action), an Arts & Diversity company which she started in 2015 of which tackles diversity issues through educational consultancy and creating visual art campaigns.

Image credit: Ope Lori, Power Is Nothing Without Resistance, 2016, Billboard Poster

TrAIN Open Lecture – Prof. Anthony Downey: Performing Rights Contemporary Art, the Refugee Condition, and the Alibi of Engagement @ Chelsea College of Arts
Apr 24 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm


Image: Karl Marx Allee, Berlin, 2019 ©ATPD

Anthony Downey, PhD
(Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa, Birmingham City University).

Was I sleeping, while the others suffered? Am I sleeping now? Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today?
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot, 1953

If the disavowal or absence of legal and political representation is a feature of being a refugee in an era of political exceptionalism, then what happens when artistic representation is inserted into this already compromised regime of visibility?  In an all too amenable substitution that can often reconfirm the apparent absence of legal accountability, is it possible that cultural forms of representation are compensating for — if not replacing — the very systems and procedures of political and legal responsibility that are being denied refugees in the first place?

What happens, this talk will ask, when the “culturalisation” of political debates around the status of refugees produce a culturally determined — as opposed to politically defined — idea and ideal of those concepts? Are we, in sum, merely formulating an alibi of engagement through the performance of human rights that has become an institutional mainstay in contemporary art practices and their often inflated claims on political realities?

Anthony Downey is an academic, editor, and writer. He is Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University. He sits on the Editorial Board of Third Text ( and is the Associate Researcher for the Institute of Human Activities. Recent and upcoming publications include Zones of Indistinction: Contemporary Visual Culture and the Cultural Logic of Late-Modernity(forthcoming, Sternberg Press, 2019); Don’t Shrink Me to the Size of a Bullet: The Works of Hiwa K (Walther König Books, 2017); Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East (Sternberg Press, 2016); and Art and Politics Now (Thames and Hudson, 2014). In 2019, he will launch Research/Practice: 25 Artists/25 Projects (Sternberg Press, 2019), which will examine the role and uses of research in artistic practices today.