Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Towards a Plastics Research Group 2

The meeting between staff from the Arts University Bournemouth's Faculty of Media and Performance and the MoDiP team has now taken place. It was a select but none the less interesting group:  Jonny Hoskins (Acting), Humphry Trevelyan (Film) and Jeff Baggott (Dean of the Faculty) and Louise Dennis and myself from MoDiP. Laura Cotterill (Make-Up) was unable to make it at the last moment and I will be catching up with her.

The conversation focused by and large on research by practice and the role of plastics as an enabler especially in terms of making the imagined a reality.  Plastics are  key materials in scenic design in which  respect Sarah Butterworth's Emerald Ant, a Community Interest Company specialising in large scale, outdoor, interactive, celebratory art, was cited. This is a company with which our students have worked.

Jonny Hoskins proved to be passionate about ecological sustainability and has a special interest in compostable art and design. He mentioned in particular some six pack holders that feed rather than kill marine life. The question is though, are they plastic?  He is also interested in using plastics in place of more traditional materials. He mused upon the role plastics could have in his existing design of a walk-about sofa with fake legs and as an alternative material for stilts. He would value working with Modelmakers to explore the advantages of plastics over metals: just the kind of collaboration the Plastics Research Group sets out to foster.

Humphry Trevelyan was interested in how plastics have created new ways of making, especially Advance Manufacturing, and the introduction of clever materials. This led to a discussion about the use of plastics in prosthetics whether for the stage or for medical reasons. He was also, like Jonny, interested in its use in place of more traditional materials, for example in camera support systems.

Jeff Baggott is fascinated by the cable tie. He sees it as an innocent multi-purpose object representative of  plastics' ubiquity, good and evil.  He cited their use in place of metal clamps on bamboo scaffolding at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre; and as hand cuffs at Guantanamo Bay.

Jonny, Humphry and Jeff were all interested in being part of the Plastics Research Group. We now need to look for a date for the whole group to get together. Given that term has ended and the holiday season is upon us that may not be for a while.

Susan Lambert (Head of MoDiP)

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