June 15, 2012, by Harry Waddle

New ‘flash’ journal to challenge how people think about art

People across the East Midlands are to be given a new way to engage with contemporary art, thanks to a new project from Postgraduate students at four of the region’s leading universities.

Think Tank: The Flash Journal, which will be launched at a free event at Nottingham Contemporary on Wednesday 4 July, is aimed at engaging individuals from across the region with the issues and themes on display at the gallery.

Through the online journal, those who would not necessarily have visited Nottingham Contemporary will be encouraged to not only go and see the exhibitions on show, but to think creatively about what is on display and how people may interact with it.

All of the content on the site has been produced by volunteers from the Universities of Nottingham, De Montfort, Derby and Loughborough, who were given the chance to gain invaluable training and practical experience in editing the new Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded e-journal.

As a result, submissions include spoken word poetry, projections, photographs, a hyper-essay, a short-story, drawings and performances, in response to the work of Klaus Weber, Mika Rottenberg, Thomas Demand, the DAAR and James Gillray.

Think Tank Project Manager, Helen Wainwright – a PhD student in the Department of Art History at The University of Nottingham, explained:

“Our website is not a ‘journal’ in the traditional sense of the word. As academics we are used to dealing with high-quality, peer reviewed publications which contain up-to-date and cutting-edge research. We wanted to put a new spin on a journal; to ask individuals to go to Nottingham Contemporary and respond to what they found there in alternative ways: through images, sound, poetry, or prose.

“Ultimately, we have created a website which will act as a means of engagement and interaction with the ideas surrounding exhibitions; in the same way that an academic journal centres around a particular theme.”

Helen hopes that the website will also provide a legacy for the exhibitions featured, acting as an online archive of the general public’s response to art and its environments – a tool that could be invaluable to Nottingham Contemporary, which does not currently house a permanent archive.

She continued: “The long term goal is to extend our reach beyond Nottingham and to develop collaborations with art galleries, museums or artistic centres across the East Midlands, the UK and beyond.

“We are looking to bolster the way people encounter and remember exhibitions, and hopefully our aims will be recognised and appeal to other people. We are hoping to set-up purely digital collaborations with centres overseas, too.”

To find out more about the project or the launch event to be held at the Contemporary from 7-8.30pm on 4 July, please visit: http://www.thinktankflashjournal.eventbrite.co.uk

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