Inside

Discover the Obsessive Curiosity Behind RCA Arts & Humanities Student Research

For the second year running, School of Arts & Humanities MPhil and PhD research students are collectively, collaboratively and publicly presenting their research. Flight Mode is a multi-platform, multi-venue event, exploring a multitude of research imperatives, provoked by the dystopic politics of our times. Following on from last year’s hugely successful Daybreak, over 40 RCA postgraduate researchers and artists are returning to Peckham, London, for another set of experimental off-site events, from 28 June – 1 July.

Interweaving curatorial collaboration, performance and exhibiting – alongside the launch of the latest issue of research journal PROVA – Flight Mode offers a unique opportunity to see distinctive, developing and dynamic research and practice from the School of Arts & Humanities. From painting, sculpture and photography to performance, talks and readings, the four-day event showcases the diversity of the School's research culture, which is based on the interplay between theory and practice, and encourages in-depth focus on the particularities of each researcher's own work.

Flight Mode begins on 28 June with an afternoon of events at Asylum, a disused nineteenth-century chapel on Asylum Road, Peckham. From 4 to 7pm, this unique venue will be transformed by performances, video screenings, ghostings and artificial intelligence happenings. There is also an exhibition of work at Assembly Point Gallery, which starts with a private view on 28 June from 7 to 10pm and continues over the weekend, with further live events on Sunday 1 July between 4 and 6pm. On Saturday 30 June the researchers will host the launch of PROVA 4the School’s annual research journal. This will be celebrated with an event at the Peckham Liberal Club, including the much-anticipated Epistemological: Say What? pub quiz.

This variety of forms of presentation reflects the diversity of ideas, approaches and practices found within current contemporary arts and humanities research. At the RCA, this research is developed along six trajectories: Absurdity, led by Dr Chantal Faust, Disorder, led by Jordan Baseman, Documents, led by Professor Olivier Richon, Entanglement, led by Professor Johnny Golding, Fiction, led by Professor Rebecca Fortnum and Politicised Practice, led by Dr Mel Jordan. 

As second-year researcher Sharon Boothroyd explained, Flight Mode follows on from the ‘sparks’ of last year’s research show with a ‘glorious chaos’ of research activity. This group of researchers are not united through a shared medium or discipline, but rather – as Sharon describes – they are joined by ‘a compulsion to investigate’.

‘What we present to you in Flight Mode is a conversation in pause’, she explained. ‘Having thrown the ball up in the air we wait for it to land, watching it arc and form its descent together.’


Full details of Flight Mode venues and participating artists can be found here.

Find out more about the Arts & Humanities MPhil/PhD Programme here.