Who’s Who: Amy Jane Barnes

Who are you and what do you do at the OU? What modules are you involved in/have been involved in?

My name is Amy Jane Barnes and I’m a Staff Tutor in Art History at The Open University. A big part of my role entails supporting and managing the associate lecturers who teach OU students on the Level 1 undergraduate module, ‘Discovering the Arts and Humanities’: an interdisciplinary course that introduces students to the different disciplines taught at The Open University in the Arts and Humanities – art history, history, classics, philosophy, religious studies, music and creative writing.

What got you interested in Art History?

It was quite by accident really. I was accepted onto an undergraduate art history course when I had planned to do either history or English literature. The decision to take that place opened up a world of possibilities, ultimately for the better. I was able to specialise in Asian art and after my undergraduate studies, went on to study a master’s degree and then a PhD in museum studies.  

What are your main research areas?

My research looks at the representation of cultures and communities in museums and galleries through collections and exhibitions. I also have a particular interest in propaganda art and design from China.  

What is your most significant publication or latest publication?

 My recent publications include Museum Representations of Maoist China (2014, Ashgate/Routledge) and the co-edited volume, A Museum Studies Approach to Heritage (2018, Routledge). 

For more information about my publications and research interests, please see my OU people profile.

Who’s Who: Lindsay Polly Crisp

Who are you and what do you do at the OU? What modules are you involved in/have been involved in?

I’m Lindsay,  a Staff Tutor and Lecturer in art history, which means that alongside my own research and other academic work I help to design and support tuition and assessment, often by working directly with tutors and students. I also worked for about 15 years as a tutor specialising in teaching beginning-level modules in the Arts and Humanities, including AA100: The arts past and present, and A105: Voices, texts and material culture. I have been a module team member of AA100, A105, and A111: Discovering the arts and humanities, and am excited to be contributing to A236, a new Level 2 module in art history.

What are your main research areas?

I’m interested in materiality and mediality in contemporary art – that is, how the materiality of objects enable them to tell a story or to be ‘read’ like a text, and relatedly, how thinking about the material form of various kinds of written texts helps us to reach new understandings of how they work, or what they do in the world.

What Open Arts Objects films have you done? Are they related to your research or a module?

I only recently joined the Art History Department so haven’t yet made an Open Arts Objects film, but if I did, I might focus on fragmentation. Acts or processes of breaking objects – including art objects – have been important in different ways at different moments, and can help us to reflect upon how we usually expect works of art to be treated.

What did you love most about doing an Open Arts Objects film?

Since I haven’t made one, this question gives me an opportunity to praise my colleagues! So what I love most about watching Open Arts Objects films is seeing these objects or ideas brought to life through their eyes, and vicariously benefiting from their expertise.

What is your most significant publication or latest publication?

I am currently editing my first book, which is about the artwork Break Down (2001) in which Michael Landy oversaw the dismantling and granulation of everything he owned in an abandoned department store at 499 Oxford Street, London. Described by the artist as ‘the ultimate consumer choice,’ the work can also be seen as a kind of portrait – a rather unsparing public dissection of Landy’s life as revealed by his stuff, as a son, an artist, and a shopper.  When Landy dismantles his stuff he makes visible the processes by which they were produced, which relates to ideas about globalisation. Modern labour relations, manufacture and supply chains mean that the most familiar and ‘ordinary’ consumer objects – my toaster, hair-dryer and certainly my mobile phone – could easily have been made in another continent. Could this knowledge change the way that we engage with our own stuff?

Fun fact?

I once went to interview Michael Landy at his studio, and in the course of our conversation his dog completely and systematically destroyed her ball! I like to think she was trying to make some kind of point.

For more information about my publications and research interests, please see my OU people profile.

 

Who’s Who: Kim Charnley

Who are you and what do you do at the OU? What modules are you involved in?

I’m Kim Charnley, and I am a Staff Tutor in Art History. This means that I support Associate Lecturers overseeing the day-to-day delivery of modules, alongside my duties which are located within the Art History Department. At present I manage the MA in Art History (A843 and A844) and a level one module (A111). I joined the Open University in October 2019, and I am enjoying it immensely so far!  

What got you interested in Art History?

I first became interested in Art History when I studied painting at art school. I wanted to understand why painting was considered, by some artists and critics, no longer relevant to contemporary experience. As I learned more about this debate, I became increasingly interested in conceptual and post-conceptual art, especially in art works that do not seem to have any basis in traditional artistic skills. Although I continue to enjoy all kinds of art, I study avant-gardes that challenge basic assumptions about what an art work is.

What are your main research areas?

My research focuses on conceptual art, institutional critique and art activism. These socio-political art strategies emerged in the 1960s, but they are still very widespread in contemporary art, especially so since the turn of the millennium. They present interesting questions about the relationship between art and life, and the purpose that art serves in our society, especially its relationship to politics.

What is your most significant publication or latest publication?

In 2017, I edited and provided an introduction for a book of essays by the artist and theorist Gregory Sholette, called Delirium and Resistance: Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism. Sholette’s essays provide an interesting perspective on art collectives and other activist strategies and their interaction with social and political change over the last forty years.   

Delirium and Resistance Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism

For more information about my publications and research interests, please see my OU people profile.