Martin Newth is an artist and academic leader interested in developing event-based curricula and forging innovative modes of learning, underpinned by research and practice.
As Assistant Dean in the School of Arts & Humanities Martin works with colleagues to help lead all aspects of enhancing learning and teaching, including developments in curriculum design and implementation. Ensuring that best practice is shared, Martin’s role supports the needs of RCA students, encouraging innovative practice that is informed by outstanding research in the school. Martin also works closely with the Assistant Deans from other schools at the RCA, overseeing the AcrossRCA Unit, for which he is academic lead for the Climate Crisis theme.
Martin’s current research operates at the intersection of pedagogy and art practice. Through his art practice and research Martin has explored the apparatus of photography. He deploys modes and methods which emphasise the process by which photographs are made more than the product. His work often explores the nature of the encounter with the image and has included building cameras which operate as sculptures to establish a dialogue between the camera, the subject and the viewer.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic Martin’s work has taken the form of film-essays, which he uses to encourage responses from participants to explore changing understandings of place, and has marked a coming-together of his art and teaching practices. Most recently, a film entitled In Transit, commissioned by Arts Council England, investigated the London Borough of Hounslow. Residents of Hounslow responded by creating their own short films. A question explored through this project was how community participants might have genuine agency over the nature of the work they create? This focus on agency and participation is also central to Martin’s approach to curriculum design and teaching practice. A further aspect of Martin’s research has included a collaboration with Polish artist and researcher Pawel Mendrek. Their Parallax project established a pan-European exchange that explores the role of art education within diverse communities and has included co-curating four group exhibitions, an annual conference and two books.
Martin’s art practice often explores connections between the landscape and modes by which it is depicted. Previous projects have included an investigation of militarised areas of the British Isles and included transforming bunkers, commonly known and pillboxes, into cameras. Recent research into the connection between landscape and identity are part of Martin’s photographic and video practice that can be broadly described as experimental. He deploys a range of hands-on and processes, manipulating the apparatus to draw attention to the way images are made including using very long exposures and building bespoke cameras. His work recalls early photographic technology, raising questions about our relationship to the world via images in the digital age.
Current and recent projects
Depictions of Hounslow: In Transit
Commissioned by Arts Council England and Creative People of Places. The project involved making a 20-minute film-essay entitled In Transit, which was used as a starting point for residents of Hounslow to respond by making their own films. The results have been screened in Hounslow and will include an exhibition that will tour the Borough in 2023.
The Parallax project was established in 2015 by Pawel Mendrek and Martin Newth. It is a research project designed to create a network that explores the relationship between art schools and their communities, asking questions about the role of the art academy in the context of a changing social, economic and political context of Europe. Public outputs have included exhibitions in Poland the London, and annual conference and 2 books, the most recently published in 2022.
Publications, exhibitions and other outcomes
Mendrek, P and Newth, M (2022) Parallax 2018-2022, Academy of Fine Arts, Katowice, Poland
Newth, M (2018), Martin Newth: Rezension – Skulptur, Objekt, Apparat. MEWO Kunsthalle, Memmingen, Germany
Mendrek, P and Newth, M (2022) Parallax 2015 - 2017, Academy of Fine Arts, Katowice, Poland
Newth, M (2016) Territories of Practice: Expanding Space for Risk, Collaboration and Agency in the Fine Art Curriculum. In: Wasilewski, M, ed., Alternative Zones: Uncovering the Official and the Unofficial in Fine Art Practice, Research and Education. pp: 165-168.
(2022) Keywords. BWA Gallery, Katowice, Poland
(2020) Red Mansion Anniversary Art Exhibition, Weston Studio, Royal Academy of Arts, London
(2020) West Coast Photo, The Dock Museum, Barrow-in-Furness, UK
(2019) Sex, Suicide, Socialism, Spirits and Stereotypes, Kronika Centre for Contemporary Art, Bytom, Poland
(2019) The Storm is Blowing from Paradise. Loft 8 Gallery, Vienna, Austria
(2018) Martin Newth: Rezension – Skulptur, Objekt, Apparat. MEWO Kunsthalle, Memmingen, Germany
(2018) Martin Newth: Re-view. Photofusion, London
(2016) Panoptic. 2016 Chongqing Creative Festival, Chongqing, China
(2015) In Place of Architecture, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, UK
(2015) Parallax, ASP Katowice, Poland
(2015) A Small Constellation of Photographic Evidence. Cheng Art, BO3 798 Art Zone, Beijing