Dr Juliet MacDonald
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Dr Juliet MacDonald is Research Fellow in Art in the School of Art, Design and Architecture.
Juliet has a BA (Hons) Graphic Design specialising in printmaking. She worked in the graphic design industry for several years as a Mac artworker, before returning to higher education to complete an MA Fine Art (awarded 2000). Her practice as an artist is centred on drawing, and this became the topic for her PhD. Juliet conducted her research at the same time as working in a technical support role with art and design students, providing software instruction, maintaining a Mac computer lab and running an animation suite. In 2010, she was awarded her PhD from Leeds Metropolitan University (now Leeds Beckett), and was appointed to her first academic role at the University of Huddersfield.
She has since continued to develop her practice as an artist/researcher. In 2014/15 Juliet was appointed as Leverhulme Artist in Residence with the Liddle Collection, an archive of First World War letters and personal documents based at Leeds University Library Special Collections, in partnership with the Legacies of War research project.
A Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Juliet teaches undergraduates on BA (Hons) Contemporary Art and Illustration courses. She has completed the PG Cert in Research Supervision and supervises a number of postgraduate students, including acting as lead supervisor for two PhDs.
Research and Scholarship
Juliet MacDonald’s research interests are based on questions that emerge from her art practice. The focus is drawing, not only the traditional practice of pen/pencil marks on paper, but also understood in a broader sense. Expanded definitions of drawing might include for example: any visible trace of bodily movement (human or otherwise); and any action that delineates, divides or graphically differentiates. MacDonald’s PhD thesis is an investigation of her own practice of observational drawing, located within a Western academic tradition. She examines the humanist values attributed to metaphors of ‘the hand’ and ‘the eye’ as body parts instrumental in drawing. Informed by feminist writing, she also considers the knowledge constituted by practices of drawing bodies.
In a book chapter in the SAGE Handbook of Digital Dissertations and Theses, 2012, MacDonald used her thesis as a case study to examine what is at stake in the digital reproduction of drawings, and she has explored the relationship of paper and digital surfaces further in artworks exhibited in Drawology, 2014, at the Lanchester Gallery, Coventry.
Another concern that grew from the PhD is human/animal relations as manifest in drawing. A series of research outputs concern the chimpanzee, Alpha, whose drawings were studied by Gestalt psychologists in the 1940s. The story of Alpha was the basis for an artist’s residency Alpha #4: Scheme for a Drawing Experiment at MEANTIME, Cheltenham in 2012. This was then written up in the Journal of Artistic Research 5, 2014. MacDonald has also spoken at the international conference Minding Animals in 2012 and published in the interdisciplinary journal Relations on this topic. Her work questions the way in which drawing practices have served both to reinforce and to disrupt distinctions between human and animal. For example, the role of diagrams in early twentieth century Comparative Psychology was discussed in a conference paper, ‘The Art of the Diagram’, 2013. An article published in the German journal Tierstudien, 2014, focused on the epistemological implications of the graphic configuration of rats in mazes.
MacDonald’s interest in the techno-scientific developments of the early twentieth century are also reflected in her recent art practice concerned with the First World War. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust she investigated the Liddle Collection, an archive of WWI letters, interviews, photographs and personal papers. The project concluded with a solo exhibition entitled Inhalation at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, Leeds, from June to August 2015. MacDonald’s drawings, videos and installation were displayed with selected items from the Collection to address themes of rescue, separation and loss, the vulnerability of bodies and the supply of munitions.
MacDonald is a member of the Centre for Sculptural Thinking at the University of Huddersfield, and has contributed to the Centre’s research into artists’ use of archives. In a special edition of the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice, 2014, MacDonald’s article addressed the Liddle Collection as a particular archival context. She also contributed to the exhibition Thought Positions in Sculpture, at Huddersfield Art Gallery in 2015, and provided a narrative of her responses to Henry Fehr’s ‘Head of Victory’ (all that remains of the 1922 winged statue of Victory that once stood on top of the Leeds war memorial), which is available on the Centre’s web pages.
Publications and Other Research Outputs
MacDonald, J (2015) ‘Displaying the Head of Victory’. In: Thought Positions in Sculpture. Public Symposium, 12 November 2015, Heritage Quay, University of Huddersfield
MacDonald, J (2015) Inhalation [Show/Exhibition]
MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Alpha: the figure in the cage’ Relations: Beyond Anthropocentrism (Minding Animals: Part II) , 2 (2). ISSN 2283-3196
MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Running the maze: animal sentience as a variable in the psychology of early maze experiments’. In: Centre for Human Animal Studies (CfHAS) Inaugural Conference and Launch: Animals: ethics, sustainability, sentience, 25 October 2014, Edge Hill University, UK
MacDonald, J (2014) Marked Surfaces II [Show/Exhibition]
MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Drawing in the Collective’ Radar , 1 (4), pp. 31-35. ISSN 2049-4327
Heys, P., Temple, N., Adkins, M., Bailey, R., Tibbetts, S., Briers, D., MacDonald, J., Powell, A., Devlin, L. and Gfader, V. (2014) ‘The making of the Allure of the Archive an index of assemblies by Art (&) Currency: Institute of Vanishing Principles and Spells, 20132014’ Journal of Writing in Creative Practice , 7 (3), pp. 511-516. ISSN 17535190
MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Shelf lives: Drawing out letters from World War I’ Journal of Writing in Creative Practice , 7 (3), pp. 359-374. ISSN 1753-5190
MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Spuren im Labyrinth’ Tierstudien (6), pp. 28-40. ISSN 2193-8504
MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Alpha’ Journal for Artistic Research (5). ISSN 2235-0225
Lycett, R., Emmanouil, S. and MacDonald, J.(2014) trace.[instructions for mapping space] [Show/Exhibition]
MacDonald, J (2014) ‘In Passing’ TRACEY , pp. 1-11. ISSN 1742-3570
Emmanouil, S., Lycett, R. and MacDonald, J.(2014) trace.[insctructions for mapping space] ,Exhibition, Huddersfield Art Gallery, Rotor, University of Huddersfield,2014 [Show/Exhibition]
Bailey, R., MacDonald, J. and Beverley, K. (2014) ‘Interdisciplinary Imaginations: Using Creative Methodologies to Solve 'Wicked Problems'’. In: Interdisciplinary Imaginations: Using Creative Methodologies to solve Wicked Problems., 14th January 2014, University of Huddersfield, UK
Lycett, R., MacDonald, J. and Emmanouil, S. (2014) Horizons [Artefact]
MacDonald, J (2014) ‘Drawing Methods as Tools for the Interdisciplinary Imagination’. In: Interdisciplinary Imaginations: using creative methodologies to solve 'wicked problems', 14 January 2014, University of Huddersfield
MacDonald, J (2013) ‘The Art of the Diagram: modes of depicting apparatus used in Comparative Psychology experiments’. In: Technoscientific developments and Critical Animal Studies, 3rd EU conference for Critical Animal Studies, 28-30 November 2013, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Germany
MacDonald, J (2013) Marked Surfaces [Show/Exhibition]
MacDonald, J (2012) Alpha # 4: scheme for a drawing experiment [Show/Exhibition]
MacDonald, J (2012) ‘Creative activism found locally’ Radar , 1 (3), pp. 22-25. ISSN 2049-4327
MacDonald, J (2012) ‘Alpha: the figure in the cage’. In: Minding Animals Conference 2012, 4 to 6 July 2012, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
MacDonald, J (2012) ‘The Distinguishing Mark’. In: Minding Animals Conference 2012, 4 to 6 July 2012, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
MacDonald, J (2012) ‘Digits and Figures: a manual drawing practice and its modes of reproduction’. In: SAGE Handbook of Digital Dissertations and Theses. : SAGE Publications Ltd. . ISBN 9780857027399
MacDonald, J (2012) ‘Bus station’. In: INDA 6: International Drawing Annual. : Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-9837302-3-1
MacDonald, J (2011) ‘Lines of movement, points of stillness: drawing and the figuration of bodies’. In: Bodies in Movement: Intersecting Discourses of Materiality in the Sciences and the Arts, 28-29 May 2011, University of Edinburgh
MacDonald, J (2010) ‘Drawing as a form of enquiry: paradoxical aspects’. In: Observation : Mapping : Dialogue, Drawing Research Network Annual Conference, 14 Sep 2010, University of Brighton, UK
MacDonald, J (2010) The Drawing Shed: Inverted Garden [Show/Exhibition]
MacDonald, J (2010) Drawing around the body: the manual and visual practice of drawing and the embodiment of knowledge Doctoral thesis, Leeds Metropolitan University.
MacDonald, J (2009) ‘Drawing as Embodied Knowledge’. In: Creative Practice Creative Research, 15th - 17th April 2009, York St John University, UK
MacDonald, J (2008) De-Skill, Re-Skill [Show/Exhibition]
MacDonald, J (2007) Drawn Over [Show/Exhibition]
Tsegmid, T. and MacDonald, J.(2007) Odoo/Current [Show/Exhibition]
MacDonald, J (2007) Delineate: an exhibition exploring line [Show/Exhibition]
Co-editor of TRACEY | journal
Peer reviewer for Journal for Artistic Research
Artist's talks at the University of Lancaster and University of Leeds
Invited book chapter for the publication The Widening War – the central years of the Great War, edited by Peter Liddle, 2016.
Research Degree Supervision
• Art practice as enquiry
• Drawing as reflective process
• Traditional skills and techniques in drawing
• Human/animal relations as manifest in drawing