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Dr Daniel Fountain

Lecturer in AHVC (E&R)

Dr Daniel Fountain is Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Exeter. They are also an artist, curator, and researcher with interests in contemporary art, craft, and queer visual culture. Daniel is currently developing an edited collection titled Crafted With Pride: Queer Craft and Activism in Britain, which will be published by Intellect in 2022. They have exhibited artwork on an international level and have lectured at 8 Universities in the UK and Canada on programmes in Art History, Fine Art, Textiles, and Fashion. They have also curated a range of public programmes in collaboration with organisations such as National Museums Liverpool, Tate and Paul Mellon Centre. More details about Daniel’s work can be found via their website, or you can follow them on Twitter.

Pronouns: he/they

Office: Queens Building, BG33

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Research interests

My interdisciplinary research has two major strands, namely queer craft and the visual politics of waste. Trained in both Fine Art and Art History, my research is often grounded in art practice and is collaborative in nature.

Queer Craft

While much has been written about women’s engagement with handicraft, its role in queer art and culture has often been overlooked. My research seeks to revise understandings of how we understand craft (namely collage and textiles) in relation to both gender and sexuality. This draws upon my own embodied experience and longstanding artistic practice which has used craft to explore themes of gender and sexuality because of its longstanding gendered associations, malleability, metaphorical capaciousness, and historic position as a ‘low’ form of art-making. Funded by a Fellowship from the Paul Mellon Centre, I am currently developing an edited collection titled Crafted With Pride: Queer Craft and Activism in Britain which will be published by Intellect in 2022. This will be the first book of its kind to explore these threads between queerness, craft, and activism, in a British context.

Visual Politics of Waste

My research focuses on the social and political dimension of waste as civilization’s abjected ‘other’. I have suggested that concepts surrounding the abject are not limited to objects such as waste or ‘dirty’ matter alone, but that people and practices can also be understood through abjection. Furthermore, I am particularly the materiality of waste. This includes how artists have used waste materials to transform the deprecated into powerful sites of self-expression, and as a vehicle to explore the wider socio-political experiences of marginalised lives being treated as ‘disposable’. In the forthcoming collection Queer Trash and Feminist Excretions (SUNY Press, 2022), I explore waste’s convergences, alignments, and reverberations with the camp produced by sexual minorities as a form of cultural recycling. 

Research supervision

I would be open to supervising PhD projects relating to:

  • Contemporary art
  • LGBTQ+ history, art and culture
  • Material cultures of activism
  • Textiles and craft
  • Waste and materialities

I particularly welcome proposals from those wishing to explore interdisciplinary, collaborative, or practice-research projects.

Research through practice

Curated Projects

Queerly Made is a curatorial project co-ordinated by myself and fellow artist, Matt Gale. It started as an Instagram page in May 2020 (@queerly_made), where we featured the work of LGBTQ+ artists as a means of exploring queer approaches to materials and practices. Since then, the project has evolved into a much larger platform to spotlight the work of LGBTQ+ artists. In 2021 we were selected by UK New Artists as part of their Future Producers programme and awarded funding from Arts Council England. This enabled us to commission new work by emerging UK-based artists Claye Bowler, Dan Chan and Matthew Rimmer, whose practices all explore themes of transformation and transitioning. 

Crafted with Pride emerged from my practice-research which has often uses textile processes and techniques to explore themes of gender and sexuality. Commissioned by the Queer British Art Research Group, a sub-group of the Tate and Paul Mellon Centre’s British Art Network, Crafted with Pride began as a curated public programme. Rather than conceptualising craft as a fixed set of objects, I suggested that we might think about the term as a process – of crafting identity, crafting community, and crafting change. I curated a full day of discussions and workshops to explore the role of craft, broadly speaking, within queer activism in Britain. Working with a number of the academics, artists, activists, and curators who presented at the event, I am now in the process of developing an edited collection to ensure these stories of LGBTQ+ art and culture can be told more widely. The collection is under contract with Intellect Books and will be published in 2022.

Re-imagining Citizenship is an ongoing interdisciplinary research project, a collaboration of the Politicized Practice, Anarchism and Theatre Activism Research Groups at Loughborough University. Since 2014, artists, researchers and associates of the three Research Groups have organised exhibitions, installations, performances and events to explore the potential for art practices to re-imagine what citizenship means in theory and practice. This included exhibitions at the Martin Hall Exhibition Space and at Nottingham Contemporary. As part of the 2019 Venice Biennale, we also had our Activity Station work installed at Palazzo Mora, distributed copies of the Re-Imagining Citizenship Activity Book, and several members ran workshops and reading groups.

 

Exhibitions

2021

Breeding Grounds, Two Queens, Leicester, 16 – 18 July

Festival of Quilts, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, 29th July – 1st August

 

2020

Two Queens Members Show, Two Queens, Leicester, 22 October – 31 October

TOUCH ME, Online, 19 September – 8 November

Queer Contemporaries, AIR Gallery, Manchester, 27 August – 19 September

Riposte X Club, Virtual Exhibition and Club Night, 9 May

Queer Art(ists) Now, Archive Gallery, London, 13 – 22 March 

LANDED, Loughborough University, 28 February 

Slippery and Subversive, Wellington B. Gray Gallery, North Carolina, 6 – 26 January

 

2019

Personal Structures – Identities, 2019 Venice Biennale, Palazzo Mora, European Cultural Centre, 11 May – 24 November

Crafting Change, Parkside Gallery, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, 12 – 29 March

Re-Imagining Citizenship, Martin Hall Gallery, Loughborough University, 13 – 29 March

 

2018

Vinylism 2.0, Tent Gallery, Edinburgh, 3 – 14 July 

Vinylism, Edinburgh Central Library, Edinburgh, 11 – 30 May

 

2017

Equal/Human, University of Leicester, March

 

2016

Aberystwyth Printmakers, Minerva Arts Centre, Llanidloes, 4 – 19 April 

Aberystwyth Printmakers, Oriel Q, Narbeth, 20 March – 25 April 

The Open: Young Wales, The Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy, 9 – 20 January 

External impact and engagement

I am deeply committed to working with community partners, curators and artists to ensure that my socially-engaged research has a wider impact beyond academia. I regularly deliver public talks at museums and galleries and have been commissioned to curate a range of public programmes, such as a panel discussion I developed for Watt’s Gallery with the artists Rose Schmits, Raisa Kabir and Bisila Noha, titled Contemporary Craft: Crafting Identity and Community. 

Contribution to discipline

In 2019 I was elected to the Association for Art History’s Doctoral and Early Career Researcher Network Committee which provides a support system and platform for current PhD students and Early Career Researchers engaged with Art History and Visual Culture. We deliver an extensive annual programme of events and initiatives including our annual Professional Development Day, Dissertation Prizes, and symposia such as our 2020 New Voices Conference, Global New Voices: Art, Craft and Industry, which I co-organised. This conference provided a key opportunity for researchers, makers and practice-researchers to open a dynamic discussion about the similarities, divergences and interconnectivity of art, craft and industry taking place in a global context.

Media

My artwork has been featured in a range of publications including Surface Design Association’s issue on Spontaneity and Play in Fiber Art, the Festival of Quilts Magazine, and Embroidery: The Textile Art Magazine. Alongside artists such as Catherine Opie and Zanele Muholi, Rise Art selected me as one of seven LGBTQ+ artists challenging the cannon and I am also a featured artist on Craft Conscious as part of their ‘Craft and Gender’ series alongside artists including Harmony Hammond, Sheila Pepe and Faith Wilding.

I have written a range of art criticism for popular journals such as Decorating DissidenceBurlington Contemporary, and MAP Magazine, and have been peer-reviewer for journals including Craft Research and Revenant: Critical and Creative Studies of the Supernatural.

Teaching

I am Module Convener for the BA Art History and Visual Culture Dissertation and also teach on MA International Contemporary Art: Curation and Business.

I am a Fellow of Advance HE and trained in both Disability and Mental Health Awareness.

Modules taught