10.00 Registration

10.30 Introduction Alison Gibb, Conference Director

10.40-11.30 SESSION 1

Presentations. Mark Greenwood, Helen Murphy

Audience Q&A. Session Chair: Ishita Mandrekar

11.30-13.00 SESSION 2

Keynote. Nick Thurston, Tom Jenks

Audience Q&A. Session Chair: Emma Conway

12:30-13:00 Performance. Holly Pester LUNCH

14.00-15.30 SESSION 3

Workshop. Eleanor Chadwick, Nisha Ramayya

Audience Q&A. Session Chair: Ishita Mandrekar

15:00-15:30 Keynote. Peter Jaegar

15:30-16:00 TEA BREAK

16:00-17.30 SESSION 4

Presentations. Alan Duffield, Joanne Ashcroft.

Audience Q&A. Session Chair: Nina-Marie Gardner

17:00-17:30 Keynote. Jerome Fletcher


Registration now open

Registration is now open for RHUL Practice-based Research Conference MOTIF: 2014

Tickets are £30 general, £20 concessions and are inclusive of lunch and refreshments. To book please visit: eventbrite  


MOTIF: 2014 is a day conference on Saturday, 15 November 2014 from 10am at the Centre for Creative Collaboration, London, focused around the theme of motif and its role within creative and critical practice.

The conference will provide a space for creative dialogue between practitioners and academic researchers through a programme of talks, performances, workshops and keynote speakers: Jerome Fletcher, Peter Jaeger and Nick Thurston.


For information on speakers and keynotes please scroll down


Update: Keynote Speakers

We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers.

Dr. Peter Jaeger

Jaeger copenhagen reading 2013-2Peter Jaeger is a Canadian text-based artist, poet, and literary critic now living in London. His recent  publications include John Cage and Buddhist Ecopoetics (Bloomsbury 2013) and 540493390 (University of London, Veer Press 2014). He is one of the very few writers based in the UK to have work included in Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing (Northwestern University Press, 2010). He has also shown bookworks and performed his work at various galleries and art festivals, including MACBA in Barcelona, the Whitechapel Gallery and the ICA in London, the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, and the 12th Istanbul International Biennial of Contemporary Art. Jaeger is Professor of Poetics at Roehampton University in London.

This keynote presentation explores the use of motifs in several of Peter’s texts, including Rapid Eye Movement (2009) and The Persons (2011). Peter will demonstrate the working methods for his new book A Field Guide to Lost Things, (forthcoming 2014), with a special focus on the book’s use of formal and thematic motifs. Peter’s presentation will broaden beyond the specific scope of his own research and will lead towards a discussion of practice-led method vis à vis the use of motifs.

http://www. portfolio/the-persons/ uk/peter-jaeger.php staff/Peter-Jaeger/


Jerome Fletcher

PompidouFetchJerome Fletcher is an academic/writer/performer. He is Associate Professor of Performance Writing and the MFA co-ordinator at Falmouth University. His practice-led research focuses on the relationship between digital text and performativity. His digital textwork, Pentimento was short-listed for the New Media Writing Prize 2012
As a page-based writer he has published three children’s books with OUP, Scholastic and Corgi, three literary concept books with Dedalus and a translation of a French novella. His own work has been translated into eight languages. He has also made a number of artist’s books and experimental texts.
His performance works comprise live voice, projection, digital text generation and sound. He has performed at the Barbican London, Kunsthalle Vienna, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Leo Koenig Gallery New York, as well as in Naples, Moscow, Paris, Barcelona and Prague. His latest work, The Fetch, was performed at the Centre Pompidou Paris in September 2013.


Nick Thurston

Nick Thurston is a poet and non-fiction writer whose art works are exhibited and collected internationally. His most recent book, Of the Subcontract, was published in 2013. His poetic writings have been anthologised in volumes including Against Expression (Northwestern UP), reviewed in periodicals like The American Book Review, and are the subject of scholarship in books including No Medium (MIT). Interviews with him and reviews by him have appeared in print and online for BOMB Magazine (New York), Afterall (London) and The Iowa Review (Iowa). Since 2006 he has been a co-editor of the independent publishing imprint information as material (York), with whom he was Writer in Residence at the Whitechapel Gallery (London) 2011-12. He took up an academic post at the University of Leeds in 2012 and was an Artist in Residence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art this year.

This keynote presentation will explore a related but other quality of book indexes, namely the way in which their format re-constellates those names and concepts in a rigid, dense but interesting way.

Nick will relate some of his work with such constellations to a micro-history of creative indexes, to some of the conceptualist concerns of contemporary poetry more generally, and to wider ideas of indexicality and cross-referencing beyond literature. During Nick’s talk he will make direct reference to his 2007 chapbook, Historia Abscondita (An Index of Joy), a full and free PDF version of which can be downloaded from the Electronic Poetry Centre’s Digital Library (ed. Charles Bernstein)(337 KB).

Fiona Templeton

Due to unforeseen circumstances we regret to announce that Fiona Templeton will not be able to deliver her keynote at MOTIF:2014

Update: Motif 2014 Speakers and Presentations

JOANNE ASHCROFT is a PhD candidate at Edge Hill University researching practice-led innovative poetry. Joanne’s presentation explores the tree as a prominent motif in her practice and as a visual sign using the nion/ash tree symbol from the Ogham alphabet, thus introducing the idea of sign as artefact.

ELLIE CHADWICK is an AHRC-funded PhD candidate from the University of Warwick’s School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies. Patterns, repetition and reiteration are central to her practice, which seeks to understand how historical modes of storytelling from the Middle Ages through to Shakespeare are represented in modern narrative productions from Punchdrunk to Lord of the Rings.

ALAN DUFFIELD is a doctoral researcher at Royal Holloway whose interests lie in non-hierarchical creative collaboration. ‘Emerging Never Arriving’ is a dance performance in which the idea of emergence appears as motif, and where the dancers are equal and active participants in the construction of the piece. Alan’s presentation combines performance and discussion, offering the opportunity for dialogue with one of the dancers.

MARK GREENWOOD is a performance artist/writer and curator who utilises indefinite durational practice and minimal actions as art forms. He recently completed a PhD in Fine Art at Kingston University. LAD BROKE: The Re-occurrence of Inscriptive Acts in Gambling (2012) was a 48-hour performance writing work that explored the nature of gambling as a ritualistic and repetitive behaviour. His presentation combines discussion and performative elements through which to observe this particular poetic.

TOM JENKS is a poet, editor of the avant objects imprint zimZalla and publisher whose latest book 1000 Proverbs with S J Fowler is forthcoming from Knives, Forks and Spoons. ‘Items’ is a 1000 fragment verbicovisual sequence assembled over four years. The sequence is a hybrid of found, made and procedurally generated material presented in the form of a list. It contains a number of repeated textual and visual elements that can be thought of as motifs. His presentation explores the use of motifs in a long poetic sequence.

HELEN MURPHY is a writer, researcher and scenographer. Born in Glasgow, she lives in London where she is a PhD candidate at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Her work seeks to make sense of a particular sort of postcard as period artefact (c.1890-1925), depicting a white, female dancer’s figure in a decorative orientalist costume and/or setting. Helen will perform a detailed description of one such postcard and respond to a Q & A.

NISHA RAMAYYA is a doctoral researcher from Royal Holloway and was the Director of its 2013 Conference Generative Constraints. Her thesis proposes Tantric Poetics as a new feminist theory for critical thinking and creative practice. ‘Once Very Familiar’ is a performative lecture, in which she explores how repetition and pattern combine to form community, referencing Tantric philosophy, philological and etymological studies of poetry and myth, alongside Freud and Jung’s theories of the mass psyche or collective unconscious.

HOLLY PESTER works with sound poetry and live texts. She has recently completed a practice-led doctorate at Birkbeck College, Contemporary Poetic Research Centre. Holly will perform Margery and the phantasy of research, a short story she has composed using the index of an archive of images from a collection held at Senate House Library relating to the study of mid-century psychics.


Call for Papers

RHUL Practice-based Research Conference: MOTIF 2014

MOTIF 2014 is a day conference on Saturday, 15 November 2014 at the Centre for Creative Collaboration, London focused around the theme of MOTIF. Its aim is to provide a space for a creative dialogue between practitioners and academic researchers, and to disseminate outcomes across interdisciplinary practice-based research academics and the arts.

We hope to create a day of lively debate and creative exchange and as such are looking for non-traditional presentations and papers. In particular we welcome presentations with an audience participatory element to them, including workshops, led discussions or performance-based presentations. We are also interested to receive page-based artworks to display on the day. The conference is open to postgraduate students, career researchers, writers and artists from all disciplines.

Within practice and research, repetition and patterns may be used as structuring devices to construct, interrogate or destabilize meaning; at other times these repetitive tics arrive unbidden, or even unwanted.

  • In what way does repetition or reiteration manifest in your project?
  • Is research circular?
  • What is the time, or space, of practice created by motif?
  • How are thematic motifs (a particular idea or narrative preoccupation) and iconic motifs (where a specific tonal or visual expression forges artistic patterns and modes) connected?
  • What does it mean to be decorative, or what is a decoration, in creative / critical practice?
  • Is the motif a way for the artist to build an individual mode of communication or to frame a communicative encounter?
  • What is the tension between an obsession and the urge to make something new?

We are delight to announce our confirmed keynotes speakers: Jerome Fletcher, Pascale Petit, Fiona Templeton & Nick Thurston.

To submit to MOTIF 2014 please email the following to:

  1. A proposal, that responds to the theme of Motif or to the question: What is the role of motif within your practice? – Approx. 200 words
  2. Your CV & small portfolio of work that illustrates your proposal
  3. Any technical or special requirements you may have for presenting your work

Deadline for Submissions: 31st August 2014

For further information please visit our blog:

RHUL Practice-based Research Conference is an annual initiative designed and produced by Practice-based PhD researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London, and funded by the Departments of Drama & Theatre, English, Media Arts and Music.