first discussion

Tonight at 6 pm in Waterfront Building 602, we’re convening the first UCSjournalism meeting, considering questions like the following:

  • Is there a difference between national and local media, as suggested in the Leveson report? (Tip: the 48-page summary is a quick read, though elliptical in places.)
  • Do journalists have roles or responsibilities beyond reporting the news, such as building the public sphere? Should they have?
  • What’s the difference between journalists and ‘citizen media’ such as bloggers?
  • What kind of media do we want to have in Ipswich?
Everyone from the university and beyond is welcome to join us. These meetings will morph into a research seminar over time; there is no assigned reading for this one although I did flag up a chapter from Jay Rosen’s book on public journalism. The following meeting is in January – please let us know (journalism@ucs.ac.uk) if you want to be on the mailing list.
In other news, we are offering the Digital Freelancing and Features module in the spring with a focus on arts writing – it can be taken standalone as continuing professional development  – and I’m planning a general journalism taster course as well. Details TK.

The opposite of Banksy

As UCS grounds staff washed the windows of the Atrium building this week, they eradicated sketches made on the glass by artist Andrew Vass. Vass wasn’t upset, he told an audience of colleagues and students at the Atrium studios tonight: “If you’re too invested in longevity, it can constrain you in making the work.”

His current work is inspired by the urban-industrial texture of Ipswich, such as Park Area 02 which is showing at the Jerwood Space in London as part of the shortlist for the Jerwood Drawing Prize. He likes the urban environment and has no wish to paint pure landscapes. “In Rome I was inspired in a similar way by ruins.”The work is an example of how he finds interesting subjects in pieces of ground, “something below the horizon.” What he makes of them is abstract, a way of capturing the instantaneous physical sensation of the scene.

He’s lately been using the car parks themselves, as well as docks and demolition sites near UCS, as canvases for drawings. Although at an earlier stage in his career he spread large canvases on the sidewalk, in-your-face art, he says “I feel I’ll succeed if I’m the opposite of Banksy – if it disappears into the surface.” Yes indeed – it took me a couple of days to locate the work above on a site along the waterfront. Now they seem to be everywhere. Catch them before they decompose.