Elucidatory Minds / Imaginary Interactions

10 March 2017 | 6pm – 9pm

Kensington, Senior Common Room

Elucidatory Minds is a series of roundtable discussions in the Visual Communication programme at the Royal College of Art, which explores issues and possibilities for illustrative practices. The series looks at illustrative practices through four themes: Engaging Place, Imaginary Interactions, Changing Stories and (Un)Reliable Narration.

Elucidatory Minds explores contemporary interpretations by image-makers, artists, illustrators, writers and academics. The aim is to understand image representation in our current visual culture and cultural heritage.

Imaginary Interactions focuses on participation and interaction within visual art practices related to museums and archives. It aims to challenge, reinterpret and communicate the meaning, role and purpose of objects, collections and buildings. Imaginary Interactions provoke curiosity, support learning and explore personal and collective identity.

Our guest speakers are Joanne Morra and Slawa Harasymowicz.

Joanne Morra will talk about her recent book Inside the Freud Museums: History, Memory and Site-Responsive Art. The Freud Museums in London and Vienna have held over 90 exhibitions, from international and emerging artists, over 25 years. Joanne will consider the unique relationship between the Freud Museums’ and contemporary art through the 'site-responsive' artworks, exhibitions and curatorial practices that intervene in the objects, spaces and memories of these Museums.  She will explore how she approached the archive, made sense of it, and how contemporary art instigates imaginary and real interactions, through its objects and the ideas associated with it.

Slawa Harasymowicz is interested in the use of an archive as a point of departure, a strategy and a cognitive tool to pose questions around the validity of recollection, the ambiguity of reconstruction, political representation and autobiography. Slawa will consider ‘the personal’ as a strategy to subvert individual, political and cultural forgetting, and looks at the tensions between images, and imagination in invoking and 'recreating' memory.

Elucidatory Minds takes an expanded approach to illustrative practice to investigate these aspects. The series takes place within the Visual Communication programme amongst students, practitioners and tutors. The Elucidatory Minds program is co-curated by Debbie Cook, Mariana Sameiro and Dr Sheena Calvert.


Dr Joanne Morra is a Reader in Art History and Theory. She is a Founder of The Doctoral Platform at Central Saint Martins where she supervises PhD students and teaches on the Art Programme. Joanne hold a PhD in Art History and Theory (Leeds University, 1994-8), an MA in Feminism and the Visual Arts (Leeds University, 1992-3), an MA in History of Art (University of Toronto, 1990-2), and a BA Hons in History of Art and English (University of Toronto, 1985-90). Her recent book, Inside the Freud Museums: History, Memory and Site-Responsive Art (I.B. Tauris 2016) analyzes the Freud Museums’ relationship to contemporary art and psychoanalysis through a consideration of the consulting room; the archaeological impulse within psychoanalysis; the function of memory, migration and trauma; the confluence of dreams, delusions and death; and the intimate fiction of autobiography. Joanne is a Founding Principal Editor of Journal of Visual Culture, Founding Executive Board Member of International Association of Visual Culture, and Founding Member of Visual Culture Studies in Europe Network.

Sława Harasymowicz graduated from the MA Communication Art and Design at the RCA in 2006. Slawa works primarily with drawing, photography and screen-printing, and recently with sound and moving image. Her graphic novel The Wolf Man (Self Made Hero 2012) formed part of a solo exhibition at the Freud Museum, London in 2012. She has worked with the Guardian and Penguin Books and published with Le Gun and Modern Poetry in Translation. Slawa is a Fine Art PhD candidate at Central Saint Martins. Her practice-based Fine Art PhD deals with history and post-memory in the context of the Second World War and its aftermath in Poland. The project tests and reflects upon contemporary visual artistic strategies dealing with issues around collective history and personal memory.